Pride of America Cruise Review by Babs25: Great Way to See Islands, NCL could do better
Member Since 2008
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Great Way to See Islands, NCL could do better
This is a good way to get a taste of the islands. Unfortunately NCL has no competition.
There were several nice suprises based on some of the negative reviews. Embarkation was a breeze, our cabin was clean and well kept by our steward (except in seven days he never figured out we wanted turn down, he would come by each day and ask, and each day I'd tell him yes to come by a little later, as he came when we were getting ready for dinner.)
You can bring your own water on board, don't fall for their "special pre-board" very overpriced case of water. Irons and boards were available, and my blow dryers were not confiscated as some members stated, and they did not blow any fuses. Be warned, though, the only plug is NOT in the bathroom, it's by the desk.
Plenty of storage space and comfy beds. We opted for a bigger balcony on the front of the ship Deck 9 (B6) which was well worth it. With the exception of a surly bartender or two 95% of the help on board were nice; More however if you asked questions many times staff was clueless. When I asked one young man when we sailed, he told me "5:30". That was when we were due back on board. I asked another front desk person about the Napali Coast sailby on the port side, and she told me we'd already sailed past it, when we had not. It's clear employees are not given an overview or briefing of the ship, which would be helpful. They have also discontinued the luggage sail away program, disappointing, although they will hold your luggage until 6PM for a fee the day you leave the ship. It would also help if the stewards would give you a little room tour, show you how the shower controls work, where the medicine cabinet is, and that there is a light in the closet (which we discovered when packing to go home).
Getting on and off the ship was pretty easy, but the line for the tender in Kona coming back to the ship ate up precious shore time. As for the general areas, the Lanai Martini bar on Deck 13 was a hidden gem with little publicity. It would be nice to show movies in the Hollywood theatre, or at least have them on demand in your room. The shows were lame with the exception of Second City, which was terrific. We did not have Tim Kaminski on board, disappointing as he got such glowing reviews. Pink's Champagne Bar had a following for those in the easy listening crowd, we heard the same Billy Joel songs a few times passing through. The White Hot Dance party was lame, we poked our heads in to see the "Electric Slide", not unlike a bad wedding reception.
The food was probably the most disappointing. It was mass produced and it showed. Service was pretty slow, exasperating if you wanted to have breakfast in the dining room. The servers looked overworked and spread thin. I avoided the "chow lines" in the Aloha Cafe. One of our diners had raw chicken, the chef came over after we complained and said he would check with her to make sure she did not become ill. He never followed through. The Cadillac was the only 24/7 restaurant and yes, the sundaes were yummy, but many times it was just too crowded to eat there. When we returned from our Hilo excursion we were starving to find a very small amount of food in the Aloha cafe for us to eat. I've never been on a cruise where food was not more readily available.
Anything regarding an upcharge was heavily promoted, sparkling water with dinner or lattes/special coffee with breakfast, specialty restaurants (where service was much better than other "free' dining rooms) and drinks, drinks, drinks. If you sat in one of the bar areas and did not order a drink you felt awkward. This must be a tremendous cash cow for NCL. Would I recommend NCL? If you want to overview the islands, maybe. But I'd tell people not to expect too much. Next cruise I think I'll go back to Royal Caribbean. Less
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Cabin review: Pride of America 9012
Light in closet, just look in the back. Great balcony, doubled room size. Only tiny clock on phone, bring your own clock/alarm we like seeing what time it is. Irons/boards available upon request.