Norwegian Sky Cruise Review by pianobear: Not much to complain about
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Not much to complain about
I read the previous reviews of this ship before booking. Now that I have experienced it, I am happy to report that my experience was not bad.
What I have to say will probably not influence many people, since the Pride of Aloha is being re-branded and moved to Asia. However, I want to give some positive feedback, since so much negative feedback has been voiced here.
I have sailed on two previous cruises - both with Royal Caribbean. The NCL Pride of Aloha definitely does not measure-up or come close to comparing with Royal Caribbean service or quality. But, I did NOT have a "nightmare experience" with them as others have reported in this forum. (I went expecting "LaQuinta" instead of "Marriott", and that is exactly what I got.)
The registration desk and personnel were all helpful: A+.
Our inside cabin was exceedingly small, but clean. Yes, it showed signs of wear - especially in the bathroom where we found rust and a deteriorating mirror, but More overall the room itself gets: "B".
The maid service was adequate: A. There were some initial issues getting toilet paper and Kleenex boxes stocked, but that did not end up being the maid's error - just a procurement problem.
The dining experiences varied. Both the Crossings and Palace were exactly what I expected under "freestyle" cruising: B+. Our waiters were good, and our orders delivered as requested. The only negative was that there was dish breakage at EVERY meal in these restaurants. Makes me wonder how many dishes they go thru!
The specialty restaurants were superb. We ate at all 3 (italian, asian, and french) and all were excellent food quality, and excellent service: A+ I also have to add a kudo for the restaurant reservation desk agent (Cheryl) A+++, who got us into Pacific Heights after we were turned away at the door because it was "fully booked".
The breakfast buffet had a great selection: A. It was well attended every morning we were there. Special order egg line was worth waiting for, and the taste was appealing.
Sanitization units were at every restaurant entrance, and at the entertainment venues: A+
The tender ports were not nearly as difficult to maneuver as others have made them out to be: B+. Yes, you have to take a ticket and wait your turn - but this was never an issue for us. We never had to wait longer than it took us to eat breakfast - 15-20 minutes.
The hot tubs were excellent, and the water chlorine levels were checked every day we were there: A+. We did not use the saltwater pools, and did not really care when they were open or not open.
The bar service was good, but not great. We had an anniversary party that was supposed to include Champagne - but the bartender failed to show up. After a few phonecalls, this was resolved - and we actually ended up getting served a high-dollar Champagne instead of what was normally served at these events. B.
We did not book our shore excursions thru the ship. Instead, we did all our own booking online. We booked a car at every port except Lahaina. This worked out well everywhere except Kona, where getting to AVIS took a taxi. We booked these excursions, all of which were A+++: Wings over Kauai, Princeville Ranch Zip-n-Dip, Blue Water Rafting Molokini snorkel and whale watch. We toured Pearl Harbor, Haleakala, and Kilauea on our own using rental cars.
The on-ship entertainment was good. No, it did not compare to the well-known names that Royal Caribbean books (like Charo for instance) - but it was adequate: B.
The disembarkation was organized and staff was helpful. We used the EasyFly option to get boarding passes and check luggage thru to the Airport early. This was WELL worth the extra $40: A+
I would love to see some non-NCL competition be allowed to service just the Hawaiian Islands. I think some good competition may be just what NCL needs in this market, and the consumer would benefit. However, I did enjoy this cruise and its locale - and will be sorry to see it go. Less
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