After reading so many negative reviews of the Pride of Aloha on the Cruise Critic site, I sent NCL a letter expressing my concerns about my up-coming Cruise. I soon received a phone call from a NCL representative advising me that they were trying to correct the problems and that I should "try to go with the flow" and I would enjoy my trip. That response only gave me more concerns. However, she was right. I went expecting the worse and I ended up having a thoroughly enjoyable time. (except for the food)
We arrived two days early from New York and stayed at the Marriott Waikiki Beach Hotel.(a great place to stay) At the Marriott, we pre -registered for the Cruise. We boarded the POA on 9/5/04 at 3pm and it took us only about 20 minutes to board. We had a balcony room and it was clean when we arrived. We called room service and the front desk each day for three days to report that our room was missing a hair dryer. We finally received it on the third evening. We only saw our room steward on three occasions but the room was clean each evening so I know she was busy. My only complaint is that she put ice in our ice bucket only once and we needed it for the drinks we brought on board.
Entertainment on the ship was professional and thoroughly enjoyable. Each day we left the ship and rented a car for approx $33 a day, by catching a free shuttle where we docked.(Budget and Thrifty) It was much cheaper than the organized excursions and we still got to tour the Islands and visit the beaches. The Hawaiian Islands have some of the most beautiful scenery (colorful mountains, beaches, flowers,etc.) I have ever seen in my life and I am ready to go back again next year.
Now I will get the the negative aspects of the this cruise. The foods served were definately a disappointment. I am a food oriented person and I look forward to experiencing great tasting food on my vacation. I found the food on the POA to range from just OK to good, but I never found it to be excellent, even in the specialty restaurants. The fresh fruits were served unripe. There was a poor selection of breakfast juice;I was only able to find orange. The coffee was always weak and tastless. The fresh made breakfast waffles looked great but when you ate them they were so heavy I could not and did not want to finish them. The fish dishes did not taste fresh. The same meals kept being served each day. The desserts looked great but when eaten there was nothing great tasting about them, they tasted plain and just OK.
For me the true test for a great food item is whether you want seconds. On the POA, except for the ice cream, I never found the food good enough to want seconds, even in the specialty restaurants.
I believe the POA is improving with each trip but I would not take it again unless the price was so good that I would be willing to put up with the highschool cafeteria food.