Norwegian Sky Cruise Review by Arnold4God: Pride of Aloha - Hawaii
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Pride of Aloha - Hawaii
This relocation cruise was sorely lacking in organization. Sailing short-handed was clearly a stress to all concerned: there were lines at all of the "Freestyle" dining rooms and buffet/cafeteria, and instructions were often contradictory and frequently wrong. The Inside Stateroom was the biggest disappointment -- we expected small NOT dangerous! With 4 to a room, the one wall-mounted bunk was OK, but the pull-out couch blocked egress for the other 3 occupants -- that meant we had to climb across the bed -- LITERALLY -- to get to the bathroom in the night (we were fortunate that we didn't have an emergency evacuation situation).
Food was cafeteria quality in the buffet, and appeared to be running out by the end of the cruise! The service dining was plagued with mixed-up orders at first, but eventually improved to moderate quality meals with service that was painfully overworked which impacted the speed of service. The specialty dining was very good quality, but at $12.50 - More $15 per meal, we thought it was a little ridiculous for the kind of quality we were expecting.
Entertainment was mostly very good, although we found some of the costuming offensively skimpy. Public rooms were generally crowded and suffered scheduling conflicts frequently. My family really enjoyed the Hula lessons and crafts, though. Hawaii was awesome, and the USA cruise line gave us more time in port which was fabulous. We even liked the relocation part of the cruise, because it gave us time to get over the jet lag. We had a couple of the Waiters/Waitresses that we really liked (they worked like dogs, though), and we found the room Steward to be excellent.
What was originally described as a fixed gratuity that could be adjusted as desired, was later redefined as a Service Charge that was non-negotiable (probably because of the number of people complaining about the slow service). At the end, they even encouraged us to provide in-person supplements to the tips (which was officially discouraged prior to the cruise). We didn't like the approach. We didn't like "Freestyle" because we didn't get to know a waiter and had to slog through lines to wait for dinner. The ongoing construction as we were getting underway (contact cementing carpet down on the stairs, etc.) was bad form at best, and possibly a violation of OSHA and environmental safety laws! No clock on the ship was on correct time -- we bought a room clock just to be able to get up on schedule (even then, the 60 Hz was off enough to cause it to lose several minutes daily)!
Extras like Sodas (even with meals), exercise programs, Bingo, and many of the shore excursions all seemed overpriced.
The cruise director and her staff were enthusiastic and entertaining.
It is hard to screw up shore excursions when you're in Hawaii, so once we started touring the islands, all of the mediocrity faded away -- beautiful islands, exceptionally good weather, and a generally enthusiastic welcome to the new ship (although one port had protests going on) most of the shops, even well away from the port, seemed genuinely excited about the ship being there. We enjoyed the trip overall, Hawaii was wonderful, but plan to avoid NCL in the future. Less
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