Now that the laundry is totally done, I am ready to post more on our Pride of Aloha June 20th sailing. Be prepared this post is really, really long! Let me try to answer some of the questions that were asked:
Laundry facilities-no passenger washer/dryer areas or pressing rooms. If you want laundry done, there are bags in room and laundry slips similar to those at hotels. I had mine done once. I had heard that the facilities were not consistent so it might be returned the next day, but not to count on it. I opted for the same day (the usual double the price as you find everywhere) and everything was returned that evening after dinner. A white sweater which I had gotten a makeup stains on the collar was returned covered with a blue ring. I suppose it was the cleaner they used to remove the makeup stains. They rewashed it and it was returned perfect and the charge was removed without me even asking for one. No $20 bag of laundry available for this cruise. Maybe in the future but not sure so bring your woollite or laundry soap and be prepared to wash things in the sink. There was no laundry lines in the inside cabins but a flamingo friend stopped at a hardware store the 2nd day of the cruise and “creatively” solved the problem. Not sure if the ocean views or balcony cabins had them. I was in an Owner’s Suite and there was one over the tub.
Cruise Critic Members Treatment- someone asked if we were treated differently than other passengers- my guess is probably. Email them ahead of time or inform them as soon as you are settled onboard to set up a cruise critic meeting. They were very accommodating. Plus it was so much fun meeting everyone you had met on the boards. You do need to know their cabin numbers so invitations can be sent out. I know there were a couple people on the message boards who were left out of the gathering because I had never received word from them with their room numbers. The ship and staff were very interested in our opinions- what we liked and what we thought needed more work.
Owner’s suite gets 3 bottles of liquor, waters and sodas. The fridge was always stocked with our preferred sodas. All were included and no extra charges for them but only available to Owner’s Suites. Other rooms and suites had to pay extra for them. Always ate breakfast in the room. Suite breakfast menu is good and if you don’t see what you want, just ask. Hubby liked eggs over easy and grapefruit so I just wrote them in and sure enough they came. There is a DVD player in the living room; no VCRs. TV in bedroom has front connections if you need to attach anything
Photo Package- the 12day package was $199. I’d bet 7 days are less. Some photographers seemed to be new crewmembers (not for sure) and learning the equipment, so they were constantly taking our pictures. The package came out the about the 3 day of our trip. Not sure if once it is fine-tuned they might put a limit on the number of photos. Being a member of our newly formed flamingo flock, we always wanted our pictures taken. Everywhere we saw a camera we jumped right in. Well worth the money and as Tammy stated, I’m sure we had a thousand dollars worth of pictures.
Food- As you have read from many, they thought the buffet was pretty bad. I am a gravy lover so I had no problem. I also like fish and pasta salads. My husband liked the pizza too. If you like a special low calorie dressing for your salads, I’d suggest bring it and store it in your fridge. We did prefer eating in the main dining rooms for lunch. We never had much of a wait. Deck BBQ was great (but not everyday-only available a couple times). Dining Room Dinner service was usually pretty good and so was the food. Eat there for breakfast, lunch and dinner the first days and find your favorite servers. Then always ask for them or call ahead to the dining room and try to request a time. The 3 specialty restaurants were great!!!! We ate at the Pacific Heights twice, Kahili once, and Royal Palm Bistro twice. Even ordered from the Bistro menu for the room-of course, we still had to pay. All places were well worth the extra 12.50 to 15.00 dollars. Make reservations early because they quickly fill up.
Kids Crew and Teen Zone- Sorry, no kids with us so can’t say much but several other members of the Flamingo families used them. Since you are having so many shore days, most of the future cruisers won’t have many opportunities to use the Kid’s Club except in the evenings unless you want to pay the extra money for Port Play 9AM-5PM while in port and nights from 10PM-1AM- $5 per hr. first child, $3 for each additional child in same family. You must also sign them up by for Port Play Days by 10 PM the preceding evening.
General Room Info- If you like bar soap, bring your own (except suites). Rooms have the liquid soap and shampoo dispensers. I like my own brand of bar soap so I brought one with me. All rooms had a small fridge, hairdryer, and coffee maker. If not there, just ask. I couldn’t find a hairdryer and it appeared as soon as I asked for one. It seems some of the rooms were opened for tours a head of time and what wasn’t nailed down, mysteriously disappeared. Activities- WOW-way too many to chose from!!!! There were dance classes, Hawaiian arts and crafts, Hula dancing lessons- which culminated in a Hula Show/ Hawaiian Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony-hopefully the tape doesn’t find it’s way to Americas Funniest Home Videos- we were pretty bad, basketball tournaments, ping pong, golf putting contests, poolside games, Not so Newlywed Game, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Name That Tune, Battle of the Sexes, Country Music Night (aka Paniolo Night) Talent Shows, karaoke, art auctions, lecture series, 70s Disco Night, New Year’s Eve Party, 80s Night, Sock Hop, wine tasting seminar, various trivia games…etc. Lots of socials- Legal Eagles, Friends of Bill W., Friends of Dorothy, Teachers, Red Hat Society, grandmothers group, and many more. Giant kudos goes out to Cruise Director, Patti Honacki, and her staff- hard workers and such fun to be around. You have to hear Patti sing. I can’t say enough good things about this group!!!!! Again, most of you have port days, so there may not be as many morning and afternoon activities scheduled like the 12-day crossing.
Entertainment- Jean Ann Ryan Company- the best!!!!! Saw 3 of their shows. Sea Legs Cirque is a MUST of theirs! You will regret missing it. “Runnin’ Wild” and “Hey, Mr. Producer” with the Jean Ann Ryan Company were also top-notch performances (the later is not really for children- excerpts from Miss Saigon and a scene from Carousal shocked a couple parents, but not having my son with me- I loved them). Comedian, Kermit, was great! As was the Tahiti Productions, a Polynesian group. I tried to catch as many shows as possible and only disliked one. 6 different lounges had various entertainment from piano to jazz.
Internet Access- I had read that there was in-room internet connections- not working this cruise and not sure when it will be back up and running. Connections were very slow, so with all the activities and tours, I never got to fully use the internet package I had bought. Live and learn. The internet staff was always ready to help me when I hit a snag. Accessibility for wireless connections are centered around the middle of the ship on decks 6-8 (I think those are the numbers) and on the pool deck.
I’m sorry to see someone has already posted this cruise as The Cruise from H---… I had nothing but the opposite views. Sure there are still several things that need refined and “tweaked” before everything is seamless. NCLA (NCLAmerica) is now separate from the NCL that most of you know. The whole industry is watching NCLA and waiting to see if it can be profitable. Hotels, airlines, bus transfers, NCLA offices at some hotels- are all in the “learning” stages. Sure, they are making mistakes, but they are leaning from them. I never realized just how many “hoops they had to jump through” to get to be an American Flagged ship. Staff and crew are trying very hard- remember this ship has to be almost all American staff. As a stated earlier in my posts- a Hi, a compliment, a “How are you doing?” and a big smile goes a long way. If you future Pride of Aloha cruisers have the attitude that our Flamingo group had, you will LOVE the cruise. The ports of call and tours are awesome.
Overall- having survived the Pride of America rebooking and making so many Cruise Critic friends since the “sinking” I had a wonderful cruise and cannot say enough good things about the staff. Patti was awesome- even wore her PJs on the morning show of disembarkation- with a pink flamingo beanie baby in her pocket. She named it CC (clever). If I had to run around from show to show and be in 2 places at once like she had to be most days, I never would survive. I really enjoyed her and her staff. James Deering, Hotel Director, again I had heard so many good things about him before the cruise, and they were all true. He was always asking our impressions and was sincerely interested in what we all had to say. He is extremely knowledgeable about wine and gave one of the best wine seminars my husband and I have ever attended. Unlike other tastings we have attended on other ships, they used the large crystal glasses, which were appropriately shaped for the various wines we were tasting. Al Almazan, the Concierge, was very helpful in setting up our CC meeting, making reservations, getting tender tickets...etc. Anyone booked in rooms with Concierge service included, will be pleased with his attentiveness. Butlers Ryan and Chris were so nice and again kept our fridge stocked with our preferred sodas. There are just the 2 of them for all 14 suites- 6 on one end of the ship and 8 on the other end and the ship’s halls are long. Not sure how they did it, but they were usually there when we needed something. When something in our room was broken- maintenance was there and fixed it- and reception gave a followup call to see if we were satisfied. Now, Tracey’s lop-sided table- that is another story. Never did work without tipping even though several people worked on it. Our room stewards, Katherine and Nathan were superb! Katherine made the cutest towel animals for me. Linens and towels were always fresh and place was clean. Hopefully, between all us Flamingoes, we will be able to answer your questions and alleviate your worries. Remember no 2 experiences will be the same- one reviewer will see a movie and love it and another will hate it. So it’s up to you- set the right attitude and you will have it made!