Sail Date: December 2014
We sailed on NCL - Pride of America for Christmas. Staff was definitely the best I have ever seen and I have been on 7 other cruises with various cruiselines. The ship itself was old and I knew that before hand and the rooms are definitely ... Read More
We sailed on NCL - Pride of America for Christmas. Staff was definitely the best I have ever seen and I have been on 7 other cruises with various cruiselines. The ship itself was old and I knew that before hand and the rooms are definitely tight. We had 4 of us in a rooom, 2 adults, and a 16 and 12 year old. It was manageable but room for all of our stuff was tight, especially in the closet. The only real complaint that I had about the room was that the bathroom always smelt like urine, and my in-laws said the same thing about there room at the other end of the ship! If you are looking for nightly entertainment, this ship is not for you unless you like to just sit in a bar. After the show there really is nothing else to do, which wer were ok with since we are not realy partiers. The ship does get rocking around at night when you are sailing so if you are one who gets sea sick, be prepared. I really didn't think it would be rough, but man was I wrong. The islands were great, but we did have some problem with excersions booked through NCL always running late!!! Also we had booked the Circle of Fire helecopter tour and all of the flights that day were ground due to weather (which apparently happens alot) which I was very dissapointed about, since it was the one thing we were really looking forward to! The food in the restaurants was alright, but nothing great. The main diningroom, seemed like it always had new people working in them and there was always soemthing wrong with our food, or wrong food or no food at all. This happened during breakfest and at dinner. The Cadillac diner had amazing wings!!! This cruise is definitely one you book for the islands so dont expect alot from ship itself, but it is a great way to see Hawaii and the staff definitely help make the ship enjoyable! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
Checking in was a breeze. Luggage delivered pretty quick. Went to room, aft balcony and found the air not working, empty wrappers behind drapes, along with sticky straws next to safe. Spoke with our steward and was told he would put in a ... Read More
Checking in was a breeze. Luggage delivered pretty quick. Went to room, aft balcony and found the air not working, empty wrappers behind drapes, along with sticky straws next to safe. Spoke with our steward and was told he would put in a work order with his supervisor for air, We waited and waited and waiting. Finally hubby went down to front desk and was told they did not do much in the way of repairs when the ship would be leaving port. My husbands response was "then just tell me when it will be done, because if you cannot get this fixed, i may as well disembark (and he was serious). Food; we tried La cucina has spaghetti carbonara (more like alfredo & was supposed to have pancetta, not that i could see) Minestrone soup, no flavor. Hubby like the osso bucco. Cagney's steakhouse, was continually told the chef was finishing up our order, only to receive lukewarm steaks & congealed gratin potatos, It was not even crowded. Skyline I had ordered a sirloin steak that i could not even cut (seriously) Buffet was ok had choices, but pretty sad to travel all that way and live on pizza. I traveled with a party of 6, They all felt the same. John adams coffee bar was good, but sooooo slow. I normally love dessert, the only thing i liked was the crepe, which you had to wait forever for and the soft serve ice cream.. Service staff: beware near buffet they cross with carts like they are driving nascar, and would not dream of stopping to let a "guest" go first. Aft deck 11,12, 13 wakaiki bar smell like grease. The shows were great.. i am all for being able to hear what is said, but when it was a musical you would of thought they were playing 10,000 seat stadium. Very loud. Room: aft balcony deck 19. very small. one person at a time to get around bed to balcony. The showers are miniscule, hubby was trying to wash legs etc and realized his head was hitting the soap dispenser and was pumping out soap onto his head. NCL provides soap and shampoo that's it. No conditioner, no lotion. Poor quality, went and bought my own soap and thankfully packed some conditioner. Shore excursions: waterfall hike, beautiful, had a great tour guide TONY. A little tougher than i anticipated. Hubby had bruises on bottom of feet. Mine were mostly from the knees down. Very uneven walking. Whale watching. So excellent saw 4 whales and the catamarran was brand new. KOna coffee and choclate factory was interesting. Luau was done very well. Lastly if you are a smoker cigar or cigarettes, you can only smoke in wakakai bar aft deck 13. Has a canopy for shade, but can get real windy up there. also when it rains there is no protection from the rain which blows in sideways. Personnel is great there!!! Children: is it really that hard to teach kids 10-17 not to run in halls and about run you down and some manners would be nice. I say this only because at some time or another they are going to hurt someone! I was told because this is the only american based ship, that half the crew has to be american. I really do not think i will be experiencing ncl again. I had 5 others traveling with me, that feel the same.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Just got off POA and was extremely disappointed in the whole cruise, the Islands were great, but the ship left a lot to be desired. Food, average. the ship had been in dry dock for a refurb just prior to this sailing and had not been ... Read More
Just got off POA and was extremely disappointed in the whole cruise, the Islands were great, but the ship left a lot to be desired. Food, average. the ship had been in dry dock for a refurb just prior to this sailing and had not been completed. Deck 13 had 2 x 20 foot containers still on and half deck closed. No TVs in the rooms worked Food just average - buffet only Water leaking from downlights at reception deck 5 Bar staff pretty average Cabin staff obliging and kept room well Know of at least 1 cabin that was flooded Very little entertainment I had gone on this cruise with rave reviews from my parents, I paid single supplement for my cabin and have to be honest it was the worst cruise I have done. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
This was our 10th cruise, 5th with Norwegian, which has rapidly become our favorite cruise line -- though we'll certainly go on others when the itinerary, timing, price, etc., warrants. There were 14 of us who went on this cruise: ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise, 5th with Norwegian, which has rapidly become our favorite cruise line -- though we'll certainly go on others when the itinerary, timing, price, etc., warrants. There were 14 of us who went on this cruise: our honeymooning daughter and her husband (married the morning of the cruise on Waimanalo Beach), our other daughter and her husband, my sister-in-law and her husband, their adult daughter and his 89-year old father, four grandkids (17, 5, 3, 3) and the two of us. One of our daughters and her family actually live in Mililani on Oahu, having moved their six months ago. Prior to the wedding and cruise, we stayed two nights at the Hotel Mirimar on Waikiki. It was a decent hotel. Pretty good location though not "on" the beach. I'd stay there again if I was doing a pre-cruise stay. I probably would not stay in Waikik/Honolulu otherwise. Because of the wedding, we were all transported to the port in a limousine. Our embarkation was very smooth but three of the four staterooms were suites so we got even more preferential treatment than we'd normally get as gold Latitudes members. It was pretty painless and we were escorted up to our suites area pretty quickly. We had been on the Norway way back when, and then only on Gem-class ships so the Pride of America would be pretty new to us. We had read a few negative reviews about the ship, the staff and the cruise itself but we were pleasantly surprised that our experience was quite the opposite -- everything was very good to excellent! We booked one of the obstructed view family suites (7594) because a) we needed to sleep eight people (four adults, a 17-year old, a 5 and two 3's) and b) we really didn't want a balcony with the young ones. We would normally get at least a balcony when it's the two of us. We were pleasantly surprised by the suite. It had a large room with a queen bed and a sleeper sofa, along with plenty of closet space and sitting space. It also had a second, separate room with two singles (could be made into a queen) and two pull-down bunks. Each sleeping area had its own bathroom. There wasn't an overabundance of space, but we never felt we were right on top of each other, either. It certainly met our needs well. The first night, all the adults went to the Lazy J Steakhouse, having made reservations 45 days in advance. The food was quite good but the service was a little lacking. I wouldn't rush back there. That was the only specialty dining we went to. (One daughter did the Little Italy and found the opposite, great service with so-so food. The other daughter did Jefferson's Bistro and raved about it. We will do that one if we go again.) We did all breakfasts in the Aloha Cafe (buffet), even though we were in a suite, and we were quite happy with it. Any lunches we had on board were also there and they were quite good, also. We also did one dinner there (first time ever for us) and were pleasantly surprised at a) how good it was and b) how many people do the buffet for dinner! Otherwise, when we had dinner on board, it was in the Liberty Main Dining room where we wound up asking for the same waiter, Gavin, and assistant, Chris, each time. We never had a wait, though we are late diners, usually 8:00 or later. But even with a wait, you just grab a beeper and head to some live music until the table is ready. Food was great, service was very good. Nothing but positives to say. Another unusual thing for us is that we never got to see one show -- the grandkids kept us busy! But others who went said they were quite good. Even our 17-year old grandson raved about one. We also discovered Randy Meyers, a singer/guitarist, late in the cruise. We had met Randy on a Mediterranean cruise two years ago so we wish we had known sooner that he was on board. We really didn't have much chance to see any other entertainers. We didn't attend White Hot Night ourselves (bummer) but the younger adults did and enjoyed themselves. We also had a couple of evenings of fun karaoke (Ash was great leading the effort), and we were picked to be the elderly statesmen for the "Not So Newlywed Game" as our fellow passengers had put our name in. We did it and it was fun. Prior to the cruise, we had told our 17-year old grandson about the Teen Connection and he pretty much dismissed the idea. When on board, we convinced him to give it a try -- if you don't like it, just leave. Well, we couldn't tear him away from the place once he tried it. Kudos to the counselor there. Additionally, we availed ourselves of the Kids Rascals Club most evenings for the 5 and two 3-year olds and they loved it. They even went there for a while a couple of late afternoons. The staff there were outstanding, well-deserving of the hefty gratuity my daughter and son-in-law gave them! We never did the late-night babysitting service but might consider it in the future. One other well-kept secret for kids is the small pool and hot tub area for kids right next to Rascals. We went in there with the little ones and they (and we) had a blast. Another well-kept secret that we never got a chance to avail ourselves of was the (very) quiet Oasis Pool area, aft on Deck 12. Only a handful of chairs and never seemed to be full. The first port was Maui and the pier was on the windward side -- and was it windy! We had rented a van and just traveled the 8 miles over to Lihei where there were plenty of sun-drenched beaches and no wind! Four of us went that evening to the Feast at Lele in Lahaina -- NOT a shore excursion. If you do one "luau", do this one. It's really marvelous. It's more for adults. You have a five course meal. A given course is served (yes, served) and is of the foods that are common to the islands in question, followed by a little show about the cultures of those islands. So, you have Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti and Fiji for the four courses and four shows, followed by dessert. There is also a virtual open bar (some drinks are a dollar or so more). The second day we drove up Mt. Haleakala but only got to the visitors center as it was very foggy and raining on the top. Fortunately, we had been up there before. All aboard for a 6PM departure after our overnight in Maui. Next port was Hilo on the Big Island. My daughter had an extra ticket for a zip line tour so I went along. It was the ship shore excursion Rainforest Zip Line & Waterfall. This was a great excursion. It was my first time zip lining and I'd recommend this one to any beginners. You zip across some deep and pretty ravines, but you typically go from ground to ground, not up in the treetops (see later). It also afforded a little bit of travel on the Hilo side. We later drove over to a black sand beach not far from the ship. At night, the ship leaves Hilo and heads for Kona. While cruising, the ship goes by the area where the active volcano has lava running out into the sea. Though not as active as a year or so ago, it was still quite a sight to see. The next stop is Kona on the other side of the Big Island. You need to tender in at Kona so we had no specific plans. We hitched a taxi and went to Turtle Beach several miles up the coast. Nice -- and different! We spent the better part of the afternoon just lounging aboard before our departure for Kauai. The Kauai port is Nawilili. We rented a van day one and took a trip up to Waimea Canyon. This is a must-see if you go to Kauai. It's not the Grand Canyon, but pretty close -- and the views going up there and back down are outstanding. That afternoon, we took our 17-year old grandson and headed to Port Allen to hop on a sailing catamaran (Captain Andy's) for a sunset dinner cruise of the NaPali coast. Unfortunately, it was too rough up that way so we just cruised the coast and saw a few whales. It turned out to be a great trip. This is NOT a ship excursion. The second day I was roped into another ship excursion, Tree Top Zip Line Adventure. I was happy I had experienced zip-lining on the tamer tour in Hilo because this was truly treetop -- zipping from one platform to another up to 90' up. It was fun and exhilarating and we had two acrophobiacs who made it okay thanks to the fine guides there. I'd recommend it but be aware you are truly in the treetops for a couple of hours, solid. Back to the ship for a 2PM departure so we can all get an afternoon view of the NaPali coast. This is the highlight of the cruise -- not to be missed. The coast is beautiful and we got relatively close to view it. For disembarking, we normally just walk off with our luggage but, with 14 of us, we decided to have NCL take our luggage off. Disembarkation was about as smooth and painless as one can imagine. Helpful that there were no customs requirements, having stayed entirely in the USA. All in all, we found this to be an outstanding cruise and the easiest and best way to see the four main islands of Hawaii. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2011
We sailed POA over this Christmas Holiday and had a lovely time. The ship is family friendly and, although clean and lovely, is definitely on the more casual side. We booked owner's suite 8500 - a beautiful, private and spacious ... Read More
We sailed POA over this Christmas Holiday and had a lovely time. The ship is family friendly and, although clean and lovely, is definitely on the more casual side. We booked owner's suite 8500 - a beautiful, private and spacious room. Separate living room and bar area with dining table/chair for 4 as well as couch and two armchairs had ample space for sofa bed to open and roll away bed for our two tween daughters. Balcony with private hot tub and two chaise lounges. The balcony view is somewhat obstructed by dividing and front walls, but once the ship was underway I understood the need for the walls. The wind on the front of the ship was quite strong (!!) and it was difficult to sleep with the very loud rattling of the two sliding doors. There are other staterooms of the same category that face the side of the ship and I would recommend those for that reason! The bedroom area was lovely and also had a sliding door to the balcony. The bathroom and closet areas were really fantastic. Double sink with large counter areas. Plenty of storage and hanging space. Large marbled walk-in shower and separate large jacuzzi bath. Well-stocked and maintained by our wonderful cabin steward who serviced the cabin twice daily and seemed to always be nearby and eager to help us. The perks of booking suite level accommodations were numerous and included access to one of the specialty restaurants for a more quiet, private breakfast each morning. The concierge was present at breakfast each morning and was very helpful and informative about the days events. Lunch was also offered. Also priority for tender in Kona as well as private area for arrival/check-in. Suites also come with daily water/soda service and three bottles of liquor for the cruise. We did not see our butler often. He did leave a little treat each afternoon when we returned from excursions and was available by phone but we did not really ask much either! We chose to have dinners in the specialty restaurants. Extra cover was $15-25 per person. They were all good, especially East Meets West. Sushi was available in East Meets West (and Teppanyaki) at an additional charge and was good. My husband loved the sashimi. Teppanyaki was so-so. Jefferson Bistro was the most formal and the food was good but not over the top. They have one night when they offer whole Kona lobsters which were delicious. I would recommend reservations in advance and early seating for that. Cadillac Diner was a fun place for lunch with great smoothies! My parents tried Liberty (main dining room) one night and liked it. It is the more formal of the two main dining room - no flip flops or shorts! The buffet was crowded and noisy but the food was decent.... but honestly the ship is always in port during the day so we were exploring and doing excursions at lunch time. The best thing about this cruise is the ability to easily visit and explore multiple islands. Embarkation is from Honolulu, overnight to Maui - Kahalui Harbor not Lahaina. The boat overnights in port. Maui is VERY easy to explore on your own. I would not bother with organized excursions here. There are free shuttles to the airport car rentals (5 minutes away). We spent one day relaxing on the beach at the Kea Lani in Wailea (30 minute drive) and the second in the upcountry on the slopes of Haleakala touring the winery, goat farm (really fun!), lavender fields and dinner at the Hailemaile General Store. It was gorgeous and easy driving. You can easily drive to the summit yourself. The road to Hana is more difficult and for that I would at least book a driver so that you can actually enjoy the scenery. Bear in mind that the port in Maui has no shopping or restaurants in the immediate vicinity, but you are staying overnight and a fun option is to go to one of the many great island restaurants instead of the ship. Hilo is the first port on the Big Island. It is an industrial town and it rains a lot!! We booked the Crater Rim Hike and Akaka Falls. Hike at Volcano is about 4 miles and although not strenuous the footing is a little tricky. You see steam but not lava. Stop at the museum is interesting. The Akaka Falls were just gorgeous..Another short hike on paved trail with lots of steps. It poured which just added to the beautiful atmosphere. Also stopped at Mauna Loa macadamia nut farm/plant which was fun. That night when the ship pulls out you sail past the lava flow in the dark. We were extremely lucky and saw rivers of molten lava flowing clear from the top and streaming like waterfalls into the ocean. It was an amazing and unforgettable sight. You may want to tailor your dinner reservations to lava sighting time! The second port on the Big Island is Kona. It is dry and makes a good beach day. Miles and miles of old lava flows. Kona is a tender port. Kauai is beautiful. Take the helicopter tour of the island which takes you over the Na Pali Coast. It was stunning. Probably one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Rainbows, waterfalls. Not to be missed. Boat docks within walking distance of resort (Hilton?)/beach/little shopping area with restaurants. Check out the chickens. The ship offers much more than we had time to sample. There is a gym with exercises classes and the standard equipment. You can do personal training as well. Who had time? There were shows and evening entertainment which people seemed to like, but we didn't have time (or energy!) to get to. Never went to the pool area but it looked nice. They will deliver food to your stateroom day or night and there are several bar areas. Overall this was a great vacation with enough variety of activities and accommodations to suit almost anyone. Our suite was pricey but worth it. The kids were worn out by the end of each day. My husband and I had a great time. The level of service was very good. My father-in-law has mobility issues and the staff were extremely helpful and prompt with wheelchair assistance. Aloha and have a great time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2011
After alot of decision making, we decided to book the 7 Day Cruise on the Pride of America during Christmas 2011... The reviews we read here were mixed, but were mostly poor, but we really liked the itinerary, so we figured, why not? Lets ... Read More
After alot of decision making, we decided to book the 7 Day Cruise on the Pride of America during Christmas 2011... The reviews we read here were mixed, but were mostly poor, but we really liked the itinerary, so we figured, why not? Lets take a chance.. Norwegian took care of the Air arrangements as we flew from Florida to Honolulu via Atlanta on Delta. We arrived at Honolulu and was met by the cruise line rep at the Airport as soon as we came of the Airplane. They told us to get our luggage and then they took care of everything from there.. They transferred us directly to the ship... Getting onto the ship was a breeze.. They were very organized.. Didn't wait in any line for longer then maybe 5 minutes.. Once on board, we were greeted with a drink and headed to check out our room. As with other reviews, the room was a bit small, but had the balcony, so it made for a nice experience.. The port at Maui was nice.. We rented a car and drove everywhere.. No problems.. We booked the Luau at the Hyatt Regency Lahaina on our own and it was ok... We had seen it 10yrs ago and it seemed better then, I would recommend it if its your first time.. We then went to Hilo on the big Island.. To be honest, its not the nicest place to go.. Hilo is very old and run down.. We went downtown and turned around and went back to the ship.. We spoke to other people and they said the Volcano trip on the Helicopter was the thing to do there.. Not crazy about helicopters so we decided to hang out poolside. That night, we sailed past the Volcano.. It was amazing to see, but we were a bit far off the coast to really get a good look at the Lava.. Maybe due to safety, but if your going to take pictures,make sure you have a good zoom lense and the ability to slow down the shutter speed to capture the picture. We then arrived at Kona.. We decided to rent a car and drive around a little bit on our own.. We ended up at the Marriott Wailulua.. As it turned out, this was the beach where Norwegian had their Beach Day Excursion.. We didn't even know it until we got there... A word of caution though, DONT RENT YOUR CAR FROM DOLLAR in KONA.. They do NOT provide a shuttle from the Pier.. It cost $30.00 EACH WAY for a cab to go from the Pier to the Rent a Car lot at the Airport.. Alamo was the only shuttle bus we saw at the Pier.. FYI... We then sailed to Kauai... Kauai is a beautiful Island... We signed up for the Plantation tour and Luau.. It was very nice , but Ill tell you, the cost was way to much for what they gave you.. Dinner was ok, but it was very small portions and was more like a pre - appetizer.. The show itself was very good, but only lasted about 25 minutes.. This excursion costs about $160.00 a piece.. To much money for what they gave you... The Plantation tour was ok.. The home was beautiful , but the folks there rented out every room in the house to various vendors instead of restoring it.. That to me destroyed the charm of the home.. So sad as it is a historical landmark.. Anyhow, the next day, we got back on the ship and the captain headed for the Napilli Coast of Kauai.. The Napilli Coast is absolutely breathtaking.. Looked like something out of a Thomas Kinkade Painting.. We spent well over an hour at Sunset cruising north along the coast.. At Sunset, the ship stopped at the northern point then slowly turned around to head back to Honolulu.. This was the highlight of the trip in my opinion.. I cant find words to describe this part of the journey.. Back in Honolulu, it was time to disembark.. Again, a very smooth process.. There was no lines at all to get off the ship.. We did the self check out and carried our luggage off.. All in all, this cruise was much better then I expected.. The crew on board could not have been nicer to us.. We cruised other lines ie; Carnival many times, however this is by far the best experience we ever had.. The only complaint I could come up with was that my in room coffee pot had some dust on the lid on the first day, but was quickly cleaned up after we arrived! The photographers did get a bit out of line in the costs of their pictures that they took of you .. I suggest you take your own pictures as the costs quickly added up.. That was it!! I highly recommend this cruise to anyone who wants to get a taste of the Hawaiian Islands... GREAT TRIP!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
We couldn't have asked for a better cruise! After reading a number of negative reviews on this ship our expectations were fairly low so we were delighted when this cruise proved to be nothing like anything we'd been ... Read More
We couldn't have asked for a better cruise! After reading a number of negative reviews on this ship our expectations were fairly low so we were delighted when this cruise proved to be nothing like anything we'd been anticipating. We found our cabin, although quite small, to be very comfortable with lots of storage. It was spotlessly clean and our cabin steward was eager to please at all times. We were impressed when we were boarding that as he showed us to our cabin he already knew our names - we'd told him our cabin number and he welcomed us on board and used our surname! It is only a little thing....but it is what I expect from 5-star service and not necessarily for passengers located on Deck 4, as we were, and not in an owner's suite. So this was a nice start :) Bathroom was small also but the ribbed shower curtain was a definite plus - no wet curtain sticking to you as you shower. We've been on other ships where that shower curtain (un-ribbed) is nothing but a nuisance. We'd arranged for a Cruise Critic Meet and Greet which Leonie (Group Service Co-ordinator) organised for us in the Napa Wine Bar. Two Officers came and met with us, Dallas (Hotel Director) and Frank (Food and Beverage Director), and talked about the ship and answered any questions we had. It was lighthearted, very informative and a great way to begin our cruise. It was also a lovely to meet the eight other CC folks and we seemed to bump into them fairly often throughout the cruise and managed to catch up for dinner with some them of them at various times which we enjoyed very much. As it turned out all of us who attended the M&G were also invited to an Officer's table for dinner on the Tuesday evening after our day in Hilo. What a lovely surprise! We were split up at different tables and at our table was Steve (in charge of staff) and Brian (in charge of fire safety). It was a wonderful evening in the Liberty Main Dining Room. Our table shared good food and lots of laughter. It was lots of fun and very memorable. (Thank you POA!) The food served in the Dining Rooms was good to very good. Not 5-star fine dining by any means but fresh, attractively served and very enjoyable. We mainly had our meals in the Liberty and somehow we always had good service although I did hear stories of long waiting times. Apparently the first evening in Kauai the service was very slow due to the fact that the one of the main dining rooms was closed as a huge number of people were ashore for a luau. This night we had chosen to have a quick light meal at the Cadillac Cafe as we'd done a sunset cruise on a catamaran sailing past the Na Pali coast and they had served a delicious chicken and salad meal before we docked at 6pm. We tried the Lazy J Steakhouse one evening and the steak was "to die for" - absolutely melt in your mouth fillet steaks and definitely worth the cover charge. We enjoyed this restaurant as service was exceptional and food mostly great. We did not enjoy the prawn cocktail - prawns tasted very watery and did not have much flavour - probably frozen and thawed. All, and I do mean ALL, the staff were wonderful. We did not come across one member of staff in any area of the ship who was unhelpful, surly or less than friendly. Without exception they were eager to assist and always smiling. We had been a little worried about the tendering process at Kona as on various other ships we've been on tendering sometimes proved to be a long drawn out process. Not here! Smooth and quick and no waiting time at either end. I wish I could say the same for the initial embarkation in Honolulu. Two hours is an awful long time to stand in a queue! Maybe the fact that Apec was starting in Honolulu that morning had something to do with the slowness of being able to board....but maybe not. Maybe its a current occurrence. I would have thought though that since the POA does this week after week that they would have a smooth system in place. Even to have had the rows sign-posted better could have helped. It wasn't until we were finally near the front of the queue that we could see the sign that said "Latitudes".....hmmm, if only that had been at the end of that long row!! That is my one and only complaint otherwise everything was just perfect. The ports, the cruise, the ship, the passengers, the cabins etc etc was perfect, perfect perfect. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
This was our first cruise and I think we got the best! I read some of the negative reviews and do not understand them at all - Our experience was great! The Pride of America was clean and in great shape. The crew was very friendly ... Read More
This was our first cruise and I think we got the best! I read some of the negative reviews and do not understand them at all - Our experience was great! The Pride of America was clean and in great shape. The crew was very friendly and knowledgeable. Our stateroom steward learned our names quickly and pampered us the whole trip. The food was really good - The Aloha Buffet had a good variety of food and tasted great. Also, room service is included in the food package and we took advantage of that several times, including the early breakfast room service. They were always ready early, and would call 15 minutes early to see if it was OK to bring it then. WOW - that's good service! The "Freestyle" cruising fit our needs perfectly. We go on vacations to relax and not be on a schedule. Unlike more formal cruises (where you eat at a certain time, same table with the same people), the Freestyle cruising means you can eat wherever and whenever. It was on OUR schedule - Which was great. The shore excursion were great - especially the Luau on Kauai. DEFINATELY upgrade to the Manor House and Plantation Tour. Instead of the luau buffet, you get waited on at the Manor House, then get escorted to front row seating for the entertainment. When they say "Premier seating", they mean it! It was great - The highlight of our trip! We will be sailing with Norwegian Cruise Lines again without hesitation! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
We sailed out of Honolulu Sep 2011, there were 64 Aussies and we had an absolute blast. The staff were friendly and were most helpful, this was only my second cruise so I am no expert. My first cruise was on P & O lines. The ports ... Read More
We sailed out of Honolulu Sep 2011, there were 64 Aussies and we had an absolute blast. The staff were friendly and were most helpful, this was only my second cruise so I am no expert. My first cruise was on P & O lines. The ports were amazing, my fave was Kona, such character about this place, would have been happy to spend more time there. The Pride of America was just magic, we had an aft cabin on deck 8 and it was perfect, loved the big veranda and having lounges for us all. We enjoyed visiting Punch Bowl and placed a wreath for Vietnam Veterans, followed by a small service..such a peaceful place for resting servicemen and women. Food on the ship was first class, no complaints in that department. Ship was in great condition, very smart and colorful. I would sail NCL again without hesitation. Our next cruise is on Celebrity Millenium, sailing Nov 2 2013 from Honolulu, via Tahiti etc cruising back to Sydney Australia. It is a 18 night cruise so will write a more detailed review on return. Regards Gwenda Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
We set out into the unknown having never cruised before. We chose the RCI Radiance of the Seas as it was sailing to ports we were interested in. Getting on the ship was very easy (obviously they have done this before!!!) It was all a bit ... Read More
We set out into the unknown having never cruised before. We chose the RCI Radiance of the Seas as it was sailing to ports we were interested in. Getting on the ship was very easy (obviously they have done this before!!!) It was all a bit of an eye opener to begin with but we soon found our feet. We were a bit disappointed with the size of our cabin - but we chose it so that was our error. It was very close living for 2 people for 18 days and next time we will go for a bigger cabin. There was however plenty of storage space and the bed was very comfortable, bathroom is very compact but really didn't need to be any bigger. Our cabin attendant Antony was fantastic. The room was kept immaculate and our bed was made or straightened twice a day with a little surprise left for us every second day. We dined a few times in the Cascades Dining Room but ate most of our meals in the Windjammer Cafe. There was so much food to choose from you would have to be pretty fussy to not find something you would like. The selection was awesome from roasts, asian food, pizzas, salads, fruit and a huge selection of desserts with an icecream machine as well. We were disappointed with the Meet and Mingle that was pumped up to be a fantastic get together to meet people that had cruised before. The cruise director was there but it was more like an information session on what was going on in the next few days than a meet and greet. Everyone sat in their little groups and no-one mixed with others. I wouldn't bother with this again!! We loved the Cruise Compass that was put in our cabin each night with all the activities for the next day. Plenty of things to keep us amused and entertained. I am an avid reader and was so busy I had no time to pick up my book. The crew were put under pressure with a gastro outbreak on the ship on the 3rd day of sailing. They were flat out keeping everything cleaned and had to serve in the Windjammer Cafe (which is normally help yourself) and they always had a smile on their face and a happy word to say to us. Every one no matter what their "real" job on the ship was pitched in and helped. Also if you are thinking of pre-buying water and fruit juice - dont bother. Water and juice, and in fact anything, can be delivered to your room from room service for free so save your money!! Congratulations to all the staff from the Captain to the laundry staff. We thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise and are looking forward to many more. Anita and Kerry Moore Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2011
This was our third cruise and first with Royal Caribbean. It was nice to be on this ship's maiden voyage to Australia (our home country). There were over 1500 Aussies on board. Royal Caribbean really went all out with the fuss they ... Read More
This was our third cruise and first with Royal Caribbean. It was nice to be on this ship's maiden voyage to Australia (our home country). There were over 1500 Aussies on board. Royal Caribbean really went all out with the fuss they made of the Aussies, including quite a large selection of our alcohol beverages on board. Our embarkation in Honolulu was fast and efficient with very friendly staff. We were very happy with our aft balcony stateroom on Deck 10. That location could not be any better with lovely days spent relaxing on the balcony which was big enough to accommodate two chaise lounges and a table and two chairs. Our room steward, Mauritzio was super efficient and an absolute gentleman and the many towel animals he made for us were great, including the bat hanging from a coathanger from the ceiling. We had an outbreak of norovirus which was handled efficiently by the ship's staff. We were kept up to date on a daily basis by the Captain on the measures being taken to alleviate the spread of this illness. It meant that we were not allowed to self-serve food in the Windjammer Cafe for quite a substantial part of the cruise but there was always plenty of staff to assist in service to passengers there. Staff who were always friendly and smiling. In fact we were very impressed by the staff everywhere on the ship. It must be a logistical nightmare to cater to the needs of a couple of thousand passengers but they do it so well. Nothing was too much trouble and they even managed to stream some world cup rugby matches and find out the results of our big football grand finals in Australia. They even managed to get the big Bathurst car race televised as well with my husband enjoying his seat at the pool bar watching it on the big screen along with many others. This was very much appreciated. Our lovely young waiters in Cascades, Joanny and Lazly were the best. I miss them. We did not eat in Cascades every night though, preferring to just relax some nights and dine from the Windjammer. We did not go to any of the speciality restaurants. I did hear good reports of some of them from other passengers. We especially liked the dress code for the dining room with many nights being casual, rather than just smart casual and formal. Food was pretty good but I liked the many healthy choices, including having desserts that were sugar-free etc. We enjoyed many a lunchtime salad in the Park Cafe. We especially loved that area of the ship with The Colony Club, etc and we spent many hours in there playing bingo or pool on the self-levelling pool tables (what fun), dancing and listening to the wonderful Zig Zag Band or having drinks with new friends we made. Willy the barman was wonderful. So friendly and he could make a mean rum and coke (Bundy of course). A lovely area of the ship with great ambience. We also loved the solarium. Especially nice on the cooler days we had at sea. We found the ship lovely and so smooth to sail in especially compared to other ships we have been on. It was very easy to find our way around and the touch screens to find different areas were a great idea too. There is something for everyone with a rock-climbing wall, mini-golf etc. In fact, we were spoiled for choice. Our ports of call were great with Bora Bora and Moorea the favourites. What beautiful places. Bora Bora in particular is a paradise. We tendered at these two ports which was effortless and never a problem. We had two days in Auckland. The weather was awful but this cannot be helped and we had a great time nevertheless. Disembarkation in Sydney was smooth and efficient also and we appreciated the free shuttle buses Royal Caribbean provided for transportation to Sydney airport. All in all we had the most wonderful holiday of a lifetime and would do this cruise again that is for sure. We rate Royal Caribbean as perhaps on a par with Princess cruises. They are both excellent with particular mention to the service and staff on board. We would most definitely sail with Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
Our first time on the Radiance and our first embarkation out of Australia.We flew from Adelaide to Sydney mid day then boarded the plane at 6pm ,we flew Jetstar for the first time and went business class , very impressed considering it was ... Read More
Our first time on the Radiance and our first embarkation out of Australia.We flew from Adelaide to Sydney mid day then boarded the plane at 6pm ,we flew Jetstar for the first time and went business class , very impressed considering it was cheaper than Qantas economy's ,arrived 8.00am Honolulu time ,4am our time ,were picked up at the airport by Hawaiian taxi's excellent service and taken to our hotel Princess Kaulani ,the location of the hotel was excellent.We stayed there for 5 nights , we caught a taxi to the port ,although our boarding pass said 9pm boarding we went there at 10.30 am and no problems ,we had to wait about 3/4 hr as my husband needed a wheel chair other than that boarding was very easy .Our cabin was great we had a balcony room on 9th deck quite spacious,the bed near the balcony door then the lounge ,they had curtains across the middle of the cabin so if my husband was asleep i could pull the curtains and put the light on .The food in the dining room was excellent a lot better than our previous cruise on Rhapsody ,the variety was god and always hot ,the windjammer was very good but we did prefer the set up of the windjammer on Rhapsody .Our cabin steward was pretty ordinary all talk and no action ,but we learnt to ignore him and keep our do not disturb sign up otherwise he would just walk in ( mostly just to check the view from our balcony ,or use his computer .)We did not go to a lot of shows but what we saw were excellent .The main complaint was guest relations ,they were very unhelpfull.As has been mentioned we had a bad case of novovirus onboard the crew were amazing it was handled so well ,we were kept updated at all times 20 out of 10 for that .We did a day trip in Papeete (would never go there again )Auckland (wine tour ) and Bora Bora ,very happy with them all .All up we were very very happy with our cruise we will be back on the Radiance in March . Leaving the ship was no problem very early but that i am sure was because it was maiden voyage . Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
This is our 10th cruise and, like all our previous cruises, we ensure we take advantage of the departure port and get there several days in advance to enjoy the particular city prior to boarding. Honolulu was no exception and we thoroughly ... Read More
This is our 10th cruise and, like all our previous cruises, we ensure we take advantage of the departure port and get there several days in advance to enjoy the particular city prior to boarding. Honolulu was no exception and we thoroughly enjoyed our 6 day pre-cruise visit. RADIANCE is big and "strong" and amazing how it handled the big swells of the Pacific. Advanced stabilizers kept the ship on an even keel (excuse the pun) as she cut through the seas at an incredible 25 knots. However, after all the jazzed up reports of the makeover, I was disappointed. I was expecting more. Sure the added specialty dining rooms and outdoor movie screen were the main changes done, and they were spanking new of course, but I had wrongly assumed the staterooms had been overhauled as well (apart from the flat screen TV). Embarkation: Easy; boarding staff were friendly. Getting to the port was also a breeze. $6 on a shuttle bus with a friendly driver was a good start to our cruise. Stateroom: Not what I expected; drab and "tired" and musty smell. Sofa was worn and faded (this was the same through other staterooms that I visited) and I really didn't feel comfortable sitting on it, curtains old and "whoofy" odour. But our stateroom steward attended to the smell and deodorised the room within a few hours. I got over the initial bad impression and all well after this; my idea of a ship overhaul is obviously different to RCC International's! Bathroom small but sufficient storage in mirror cabinet to keep all toiletries. Shower oh so small, but this is the same on all cruise lines in this class cabin. A real plus is the amazing water pressure in the shower (reminded me of the Seinfeld episode with Kramer!) Storage for clothes was adequate. Bed? Excellent - very, very comfortable. Food: We honestly had no problems. Find it hard to believe other reviewers had issues. In fact, we enjoyed the food so much in the Cascades and Windjammer that we never got to try any of the specialty places. Our excellent table waiters Aleksander and David were outstanding and our dining companions were also fun. We did find however that breakfast or lunch in the Cascades to be a bit "pressured". Staff were polite but you could see they were under extreme pressure to provide the timely service. While the "cereal bar" for breakfast and "salad bar" for lunch were interesting, it did confuse many people. One could go to the central area and waiters there would serve you cereal, juice etc as an "entree" and the table waiter would take your order for the "main" course. I must admit the salad bar was amazing! Everything so fresh - no wilted leaves to be seen ever. So many ingredients - all types of salad leaves, peppers, corn, sprouts, seeds, salmon, chicken pieces, and various salad dressing - and even prawns! One could simply forgo the main course and just indulge in the salad bar. As previously touched on, dinner at Cascades was something we looked forward to each evening. Food was outstanding and Aleksander and David bent over backwards to please. A nice touch here is that they called us by our first names and not SIR or MADAM or MR x or Mrs x... made the dining experience more special. I must point out however, that table waiters and table companions are a key to a pleasant dining experience. If these don't "work for you" then you would need to change tables up front or head to the Windjammer or specialty restaurants. Solarium - adult pool area. Was disappointed the captain did not retract the glass roof on our sunny days as it was quite stifling in there although cosy on the dreary cold days. Park Cafe - brilliant - salad bar, hot roast beef rolls, pastries etc. RCC obviously didn't deem it important enough to replace the "greenery" in the Solarium. Tired, discoloured plastic vines and leaves really took away from the "jungle" ambiance. Other: Lot of nooks and crannies to relax eg. library (small but quiet), Starquest lounge (on highest deck and great forward view) so quiet and peaceful. Helicopter area far forward- do your impression of The Titanic scene here if you wish or just sit on the comfy benches and drift away- not a sound here except the wind and the waves. Golf course - loved it. Apparently this was part of the renovation and it showed - beautiful artificial turf and rockery that looked so real. Apart from really windy and rocky days, it played quite true. TV in stateroom: appalling programming; ad nauseum repeats. Entertainment: very good... Tango Buenos Aires a highlight. An early 7pm show for the 2nd sitting diners was a superb idea instead of a late 10:30... well done RCC Guest Relations: Nothing different here... it amazes me how politely rude, or rudely polite these people can be. OK, they basically deal with complaints 24/7 but that's their job.... a smile wouldn't hurt. 10 cruises and the same 10 experiences. Final note: very surprised that there were 1500+ Australians onboard but even more surprised that that there were 160 kids also! We knew it was school holiday time but we didn't expect Aussies to fly all the way over to Hawaii with their kids for a 17 day cruise. Live and learn. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
When we first saw the fly/cruise deal with Air New Zealand and the Rhapsody of the Seas on the internet we thought there must be a catch ! glad we booked when we did as there was no catch, price even (N.Z.$3250.00 each )included ... Read More
When we first saw the fly/cruise deal with Air New Zealand and the Rhapsody of the Seas on the internet we thought there must be a catch ! glad we booked when we did as there was no catch, price even (N.Z.$3250.00 each )included gratuities. We first flew to Hawaii for 7 nights in the Ohana West hotel, not a 5 star hotel but very nice, it is only a short walk to Waikiki beach, you could also board one of many free trams that stop right outside the front of the hotel, after 7 nights exploring Honolulu we boarded the beautiful Rhapsody of the seas, our boarding experience was quite smooth but I understand others had a 3 hour wait. This being our second cruise we knew to head straight up to the Windjammer restaurant for lunch and as for the rest of the cruise there was an abundance of food the selection was fabulous, the other main restaurant The Edelweiss is just stunningly beautiful, everything about this ship is graceful everywhere there are curves, sweeping gracious lines, the centrum with the incredible art piece rising through 5 stories just magnificent, back to the restaurant the service was 5 star the food 5 star the choice 5 star, thanks Cleo and Ireal for looking after us so well. I hired a Tuxedo on board, very pleased I did as the formal nights were very special, even the cabin attendants wore bow ties on formal nights. Our ports of call were Papeete, Moorea and Bora Bora in Tahiti, all very beautiful, would have to say though the shore excursions were half the price on shore than what we paid on the ship, and the snorkeling was not that great, after Tahiti we cruised back to Auckland New Zealand 14 nights altogether on this magnificent ship, would go on it again tomorrow if we could. Must mention we found as did others that the web sight was hard to navigate and it proved impossible to hire the tuxedo on line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2011
In September 2011 we flew to Honolulu from Brisbane for our first ever cruise. Having researched a number of cruise lines and destinations the Radiance inaugural voyage to Australia. The Radiance usually does the Alaska/ Hawaii cruisers. ... Read More
In September 2011 we flew to Honolulu from Brisbane for our first ever cruise. Having researched a number of cruise lines and destinations the Radiance inaugural voyage to Australia. The Radiance usually does the Alaska/ Hawaii cruisers. Sometime in July Radiance went into dry dock in Vancouver and underwent a major renovation - adding restaurants, a few single cabins and sprucing up other cabins/ main areas. The ship definitely sparkles! Our flight to Honolulu was fairly easy, despite the 5 hour lay over in Nadi, Fiji. We stayed in the airport and just relaxed/ people watched and enjoyed a rather delicious pizza. We flew Air Pacific - smallish plane but just comfortable enough for the journey. In Honolulu (we were there for 2.5 days) we stayed at Moana Surfrider - a hotel we can highly recommend! It was charming, luxurious and just went way beyond our expectations. For $365AUD for a Classic Ocean Banyon room it was worth paying more than what we would normally. It was a special occasion so we thought 'Why not!'. Excited by the cruise we triple checked our boarding passes and realised that despite the cruise guest booklet we had been emailed/ downloaded from the Royal Caribbean website stating the boarding time was 9pm (we thought that was odd) it was actually 1.30pm - though they were accepting passengers from 11am. We gave up any plans of a visit to Pearl Harbour - packed up and headed to the terminal. Boarding was a breeze! Even though we had a trainee learning the ropes to check us in it was smooth and uncomplicated. In no time we were on the ship - with our new favourite thing: the Sea Pass. Straight into our room to have a look around before we explored the ship. We had a balcony room on the 7th floor - room 7122. Perfect for us. Great size. Amazing storage and very comfortable bed. For the next 17 days we enjoyed every moment of our holiday. So much so it would be hard to pick a favourite activity. We tried every restaurant and not once let down. However some of the serving sizes are just completely overboard! Tip: if you go to Samba Grill - don't eat much that day - save yourself! The entertainment was a little cheesy but gave us a laugh. The bars were fun and we made some great friends that we enjoyed several nights out with. The pool deck can get crowded but eventually we always found a seat and enjoyed the pool that at times felt like a wave pool because of the swells in the ocean. Fun! We enjoyed a few shore excursions - taking advantage of a lot of advice to not book on the ship. There were so many options at the wharf in each port of call and usually 1/3 of the price! We highly recommend a helicopter ride over Bora Bora (about $450 for 15mins for 2 people) stunning!!! The staff on the Radiance were always on top of their game. Never once letting us down and not a grumpy one amongst all 900 of them (that we saw!). Most of the staff had never been to Australia before so they were excited about the new summer season cruising in Australia / New Zealand. We were sad to disembark in Sydney as we would have desperately loved to cruise all the way around to Perth. Maybe next time! Our photos and more in depth tips/ review can be seen on our blog. Please comment - we would love to hear your stories and answer questions. As first time cruisers we have found our passion! Just have to plan the next one :) cruiseonradiance.blogspot.com Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
Embarkation - went very smoothly - just be prepared to show your documents a few times and remember to fill out the health information sheet that you'll pass along the way. We arrived by taxi from the airport, but Robert's ... Read More
Embarkation - went very smoothly - just be prepared to show your documents a few times and remember to fill out the health information sheet that you'll pass along the way. We arrived by taxi from the airport, but Robert's Hawaii is an option. In fact, they have tours on all of the islands. We traveled with only 2 carry-on bags, so getting to our cabin was easy. After dropping our things there we headed to the buffet on Deck 11. You'll find your napkin and utensils in a rack on the tables. Shortly before leaving, we did the obligatory lifeboat muster drill - no life jackets required.Dining - There are lots of choices. We used room service for breakfast a couple of times. It provides a good wake up call and was very efficient. I always requested an additional pot of hot water, as I find the coffee very strong. There was also a coffee maker in our cabin. We only used the buffet once, except for breakfast - go to the lanai way at the back of the ship. It is not as crowded and has an omelet station. We did not use the specialty (pay) venues, but went to the Liberty (more dressy) or Skyline restaurants. They seemed so pleased to offer lobster one night, but please know that what you'll get is half a tail plus red snapper. I ordered the beef Wellington that night, and it was probably the best entrEe of the whole cruise. The service staff was very uneven. Some servers very good, most only average and a few were just awful. The Cadillac Diner is also a good choice. There is an extra charge for milkshakes. On embarkation morning we ate here about 8, and it had very few people.Stateroom - We had a midship balcony room. It is a bit small, but there is plenty of storage space. The last day I finally discovered the light in the back of the closet. The bathroom is tiny too - the corner mirror hides storage space. I was disappointed that our room was not made up until about 2 PM, but then I found out that our attendant had 19 rooms to do and no assistant.Ports - We did not make use of any cruise line sponsored excursions. We used Mahalo Tours for the Road to Hana on Maui and were very pleased with them. There were only 4 people on our tour, so it was very personal. We used Thrifty rental cars and found them to be very efficient with free shuttles from the ship to their locations. We also saw Enterprise, Alamo, and Hertz shuttles. All ports, except Kona, are in industrial areas. There are shuttles at all ports for Hilo Hatties, Kmart, and Walmart. In Kauai there are also shuttles to three different shopping areas. There is a very popular ship sponsored luau in Kauai. I heard that about 750 from the ship attended.Entertainment - We had a great comedian, Tim Kominski; a magician; a Hawaiian-style show; and The Second City. Most acts were average.Disembarkation - This was a snap. We had a rental car reserved for 9 AM, so took our time getting ready to leave and have breakfast and just walked off about 8:30. The Thrifty shuttle took us to our car.Impressions - This was our first (and probably last) time with NCL. It's not that it was a bad cruise, just not what we prefer. Perhaps it has something to do with the laid back nature of the Islands. I just never felt a connection with the ship/crew/staff. There were lots of activities centered around the pool area. The photographers were everywhere, but you can just wave them off, just as you can ignore the art auctions. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
There is only one cruise ship to the Hawaiian islands, The Pride of America. If you must go this is the only way. I was expecting attentive service, immaculate cleanliness, excellent meals and the kind of luxury I have come to expect with ... Read More
There is only one cruise ship to the Hawaiian islands, The Pride of America. If you must go this is the only way. I was expecting attentive service, immaculate cleanliness, excellent meals and the kind of luxury I have come to expect with previous cruises. This was not delivered. From the moment we boarded we were being pestered to sign up for extras. Everything imaginable came at an extra cost, even soft drinks. Our room was clean, but the overall impression of the ship was it needed refurbishment and a good cleaning. The food served was plentiful, but hardly appealing. I weigh 250 lbs. and didn't get this way because I don't like to eat. I basically ate omelets, salad, pizza and iced tea, because I disliked the dining room food. The first night in the Liberty dining room I tried the mahi mahi, it was severely overcooked so I returned it and tried the steak which was very tough and tasteless. Here in Hawaiian waters the only fish they served was frozen salmon, mahi mahi and tilapia. There are 10 or more bars on the ship. The ship will not let you bring liquor on board, they will confiscate it. They will sell it to you at a very inflated price. Some things they do are just in bad taste. They charge extra to take a Christmas cruise, all right. Then on the cruise they want you to pay 20 dollars extra for a Christmas brunch. On Christmas eve they sold a Pub crawl to the many bars on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
This was our 7th cruise, the third with NCL. I'll make this review short. Most everything was standard. The ship is in good shape, nothing spectacular. The cabin (penthouse suite) was good and clean. The butler was allright, ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise, the third with NCL. I'll make this review short. Most everything was standard. The ship is in good shape, nothing spectacular. The cabin (penthouse suite) was good and clean. The butler was allright, but ignored our "do not disturb" sign twice! The daily suite treats were a joke, as compared to other cruises. I can buy a bag of chips myself. The food and service in the main dining room was absolutely pathetic, lowest quality if compared to Princess and Celebrity. We were so disappointed. The servers were totally clueless and overworked. Badly trained to the point they didn't know what glass to remove for white wine. Only three courses. The food was very bland, boring, and cold at times. Some days there was a 40 min. wait for dinner. We just gave up, since the food was not worth it. NCL is obviously trying to make more $$$ by steering more passengers to the speciality restaurants. Money making was everywhere. For example, they had a Santa appearance for the kids on Christmas Eve. However, they made an announcement that private photographs by the parents are not allowed and we would need to buy photos from the ship ($20 per photo!). This really did it for me. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
NCL-Pride of America is the only Cruise ticket in town so they don't have to try harder. However, this will be the only and last NCL cruise we will ever take. For the most part the shows and accommodations were pretty good although ... Read More
NCL-Pride of America is the only Cruise ticket in town so they don't have to try harder. However, this will be the only and last NCL cruise we will ever take. For the most part the shows and accommodations were pretty good although the ship could use some redecorating and refurbishing but these are not my major complaints. The food in the main dining rooms are of low quality and just bad tasting. The ship has several other specialty dining rooms and you are charged and extra fee ($20.00/Person) to eat there and you must make a reservation. We did not try any of them for fear that the food would be just as bad as the main dining rooms. All the food comes out of the same kitchen. The cruise ship dining experience should be one of the highlights of the cruise and always has been in the past. Additionally, we were constantly harassed to purchase and spend on other things such as photos, art, beer tastings, wine tasting, pub crawls and even bottled water and soft drinks were extra charges even at meals. We no sooner got on board and we were approached by a bar maid to purchase 6 bottles of wine which were way over priced, which we would be able to drink on board. However, one would have to give 24 hours notice if you wanted one of them delivered to your cabin or the dining room. We thought this was "Free Style Cruising". They also charge $12.00/day/person as a gratuity and in addition add a gratuity each time you order a drink. I guess that this is not an incentive for providing excellent service. Each time you disembarked the ship you were harassed to have your picture taken and believe you were not asked. You were herded to the spot and told to stand in certain place for the photo. This was in such bad taste. By the way, these photos were $20.00/each. Everything on the ship was an additional $20.00. Get this one! We took the cruise which covered Christmas Eve. It was announced that they would be having a Christmas Eve Brunch for an additional-Yes you guessed it, $20.00/person. I believe that this was best of all since we were already paying extra for the Christmas Cruise. The very first day was a disaster. My husband and I brought a single bottle of wine on board. We boarded the ship at noon. At 6:00 pm we had not yet received our bags. We finally received a letter at our door instructing us to come to the 3rd floor mid ship to pick-up our suit case as they found liquor in the bag. There must have been 50 people waiting in line to get their suit cases. The ship has a RULE that you are not allowed to bring your own liquor on board. You must purchase it from them. We could have kept or bottle of wine if we agreed to pay a 15.00 corkage fee and let them keep it to be delivered to us at dinner or our cabin at a later time. This is so ridiculous and really promotes really bad feeling and relations. All in all, this was NOT a good experience and would not use NCL in the future for fear of the same experience. Also, the cruise line owns the onshore tour company that they promote. You can probably make a better deal with Roberts Tours which is another Hawaiian tour company. My husband and I Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
Background: Family of five from Australia, ages 4 to 75, mostly first time cruisers. Embarkation: This is a fairly straight forward operation, my advice is to get a porter if you have a large quantity of luggage,it will make your ... Read More
Background: Family of five from Australia, ages 4 to 75, mostly first time cruisers. Embarkation: This is a fairly straight forward operation, my advice is to get a porter if you have a large quantity of luggage,it will make your life so much easier. The queue seemed quite long but it moved at a good pace and about half an hour later we we boarding the ship. Tip: you have to fill in a declairation form, bring a pen. The welcome on board was excellent with crew members taking time to discuss things such as Kids Club etc. which we found very useful. Cabin: Starboard balcony deck 9. It has been said in many reviews (when I started planning this there were only 450 reviews on the PoA) the cabins are not large, however we had three people in ours and did not seem to have any space issues, all the luggage fitted in the cupboard and under the bed very well. Bathroom facilities were also very adequate, shower was good, the only point to note is the flushing of the toilets is some form of vacuum system which can be a little noisy a 3am when you dont know what it is. The balconey offered a private haven and a chance to view the sceanery and have a coffee with out having to get to dressed up and go to a public area. We chose Starboard as this is the best for the Volcano viewing, personal highlight for me. Food & Beverage: There is an excellent range of venues available, we chose Aloha Buffet, Cadallac Diner & Skyline. These were all surcharge free and catered to our needs very well. We bought a soda card, it comes with a really neat thermo cup, the value is subjective and from my point of view offered choice which was worth the spend, the card is also valid shipwide 24/7. Aloha Buffet: We ate here mostly as it has its own kids area, which my daughter insisted on going to every time we ate there or foe her meals before kids club. The array and quality of food was very good with enough variety to keep everyone in our party very content, and very very full. The reviews about the Prime Rib night are hilarious but true, it was an amazing sight to see people so taken by this cut of beef. Tip: If you can wait until 7.30pm do so, people have gone to the shows and its much quiter and guess what, ther is still prime rib available. Cadallac Diner: I really enjoyed eating here the staff were always great, the food was consistantly good, but the milkshakes were outstanding, especially the Kona coffee shake. I would recommend trying breakfast here at least once, the french toast was excellent and the bacon a great side. Skyline: This was a nice alternative to the buffet, I could not fault the service in any way, nothing seem to be too much trouble. The portions were not the largest I have ever seen but they did not need to be. The quality and choice of the food was again, very good. I do have one issue however and that is the coffee, whilst I "get" the dripfilter version served all over the ship and in the cabins, I am not a big fan. I was dissapointed in the John Adams coffee bar, it was not a good coffee. It comes from an automatic machine, which I have no problem with I have one at home, but here we are in Hawaii and they are using Lavazza, I would have thought Kona would be a better choice, anyway my one whinge over with and really it did not stop me having a brilliant cruise just thought I'd mention it. Kids Club: Our daughter could not get enough , here we are looking at some of the most breathtaking beautiful sceanery and all she wanted to know is when is Kids Club open. They made the trip fun and exciting for her and gave us a chance to relax a little and enjoy our time out. They did a great job and we felt relaxed knowing she was being well looked after. The Ship: This was our first cruise (so can not compare to any other) the layout did not seem overly complicated and there were plenty of maps. The overall state of the ship was very good, I often went for an early morning walk and saw the crew cleaning the public areas. The entertainment venues also seemed adequate, we only caught a couple of shows/activites (you are in Hawaii people, get out and use the shore time to the maximum) they were from what I understand standard type cruise entertain, not really my thing, but they did try with what they had. The cultural talks were fairly interesting and worthwile if you could make them. One for the ladies, attend the Lei making class on Tuesday the pick up orchids in Hilo. Australians please note you can NOT take Kukui Nuts back into Australia, its not worth buying the kits you will lose them at customs. Staff: The crew on this cruise were Fantastic, they made the trip so much better with help and advise when needed but also willing to have a chat and get to know their customer as well, I have always found that if you treat people how you wish to be treated things work out pretty good. These guys & girls spend 5 months straight or more doing this job, and in lots of cases in more than one role. So I think they an excellent service and I would like to thank them for making our trip so great. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
This was my first cruise ever. I travelled alone so my opinions are based upon myself only. This was also the Christmas cruise, 19 - 26 December which made it even more special. All through the cruise you were reminded that Christmas was ... Read More
This was my first cruise ever. I travelled alone so my opinions are based upon myself only. This was also the Christmas cruise, 19 - 26 December which made it even more special. All through the cruise you were reminded that Christmas was close. Staff members with Santa hats and Christmas music being played throughout the ship are just two examples. Saturday Day One I was met at the airport by the transfer agent, taken to the cruise ship terminal and proceeded with the in clearance. Check in was fast and I was on board getting my bearings. My first meal choice was roast beef which was very good as were all meals during the trip. The ship was under way at 8:00 PM. My Hawaiian adventure begun. Sunday Day Two I chose to eat breakfast at The Skyline Restaurant, one of the main restaurants. The menu provided a vast selection. Service was prompt. I got there early and had no trouble getting a seat. In fact, I was lucky enough to get a window seat. I watched the ship pull into Maui. The ship anchors here for an overnight. Lots of opportunity to sight see as well as shore excursions. I did not book any shore excursion as I had an extra three days in Honolulu and booked various excursions there. I took one of the free shuttles into town. It drops you off at one of the shopping plazas. Lots of great video of the scenery to and from the ship. This is an excellent opportunity to buy any forgotten items. I make this point because some of the people who took the shuttle were going for this very reason. Service so far is great. The staff are pleasant and it does not feel they have to make an effort to be courteous. Time to relax. Monday Day Three A very relaxing day. Still in Maui. The weather was hot and sunny. I made my way off ship to test my internet connection as I brought my laptop with me. The ship offers internet for a fee for use in the internet cafe, or if you bring your own computer, you can access the world wide web from any public area on board. The ship got under way at 1800 hrs for Hilo. I checked out the Second City comedy act. A great show, however; it was toned down because there were children in the audience. There were two shows that evening, but I attended the first show so I can not comment on the second show. Tuesday Day Four Arrived in Hilo, the youngest of the islands. Again took a shuttle to see the sights which includes the shopping plazas. After awhile, along the way, we got to see the Kilauea Volcano. Narration is provided on the loud speakers so you know a little bit of the history of this most impressive sight. Wednesday Day Five Kona Hawaii. The ship tendered off the coast. You need to take tenders into shore. Kona has everything right from the pier so no need for shuttles however they are available. Some more strolling and then back to the ship. Thursday Day Six Christmas Eve on the island of Kauai. It rained that day but not a downpour. First time it rained since the start of the cruise. Booked the Lazy J Steakhouse for dinner that night. It's one of four speciality restaurants on ship. You have to pay a surcharge to eat there. It was well worth it. I booked early to take advantage of the ship's activities later in the evening. This included a visit by Santa Claus. He was very well received by the children who were on board. Incidentally there were approximately three hundred children travelling with their families. Lots of Christmas activities could be done such as carolling or decorating ornaments. Friday - Day Seven Last full day. Ship sails at 1400 hrs to Honolulu for an 0800 hrs arrival. I got a disembarkation lecture the day before. Pretty easy as you have the option to carry your own luggage off the ship. Or alternatively, you may choose a time convenient to disembark and have your luggage taken care of by the porters. Overcast again today and a light mist falling. Still quite warm. A farewell barbecue was served at the Aloha Cafe Lanai. Cruised past the Napali Coast, very scenic and got some great video. Last supper on board was, amongst a vast array of other choices, turkey. Saturday - Disembarkation Walked off with my own luggage. No lines, no fuss. Taxis waiting to take you to airport or hotels. Checked in right away at the Aqua Aloha Surf. Not much to write about. It's a place to stay. Two blocks to the beach. Loads of tourists here and walking around is tricky. I can not say enough to compliment the service from all staff on board. It was a full ship and the entire staff performed with the utmost of professionalism . I overheard some of the staff comment that there were two thousand five hundred passengers. I read previous reviews of this ship, but I can happily say I did not experience any of the negative things that were mentioned. This is a great way to see the Hawaiian Islands and either after or before the cruise you may have an opportunity to see Honolulu and the surrounding area. So ended my first cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
Living on the west coast and traveling during the holidays, Hawaii was our choice. Somewhere warm and a direct flight to Honolulu on Hawaiian Air made it easy. We spent the night before our cruise at the newly renovated Outrigger Waikiki ... Read More
Living on the west coast and traveling during the holidays, Hawaii was our choice. Somewhere warm and a direct flight to Honolulu on Hawaiian Air made it easy. We spent the night before our cruise at the newly renovated Outrigger Waikiki Reef on the Beach. It has an open air feeling to it, is right on the beach, had breakfast buffet included, and friendly service. The accommodations were very nice as we had an oceanfront room. When we called for a taxi the next day to take us to the pier, they sent a limousine. My daughter was thrilled. The limo charges a flat fee that was comparable to a taxi. And because of the set price, he gets you there the shortest distance. So a very fun start. Embarkation was pretty smooth, considering our sailing was completely full,as usually they are at school break times. I worried how cramped our room would be as there were 4 of us (2 parents with 19 and 12 y/o). It was cozy, but better than expected. I thought our two kids would be squished onto a mini fold out couch, but they actually had a bed drop from the upper wall (murphy-type bed) that suited our daughter perfectly. We mainly ate at the Aloha Cafe, the buffet, and the kids sometimes went to the Cadillac Diner. We got dressed up and had dinner at the Liberty sit-down restaurant which was a disappointment. Portions were dainty, but the real downer was the service. We were trumped by two large parties our server had, and while waiting an eternity for dessert, we got up and left. The Freestyle buffet eating was what this ship did best, and maybe service would be better in the cover charge restaurants which we did not try. We really all enjoyed the entertainment on the ship, especially the magician/comedian, and other comedy acts. A good souvenir for the kids was the light up cups sold at the bars for $2.00. We enjoyed the lei making (both nut and flower) classes. I also enjoy staying in shape on vacation. They have a nice fitness center which I used mainly before dinner. There were some treadmills out of service at any one time, but usually the next day it looked like they tried to have them up and running. Ask for headphones in the spa if you don't see any in the basket.I enjoyed a couple of classes from the fitness instructor. The spinning class was too short at 45 minutes. The water aerobics was refreshing considering the humidity in Hawaii. On Christmas Eve, Santa made an appearance. He also was there Christmas morning for any children that might have missed him the night before. It was charming to see the Captain of the ship on stage read "The Night Before Christmas" with that authentic Norwegian accent. It was funny when he got a call notifying that Santa was on the ship, and the accompanying video of him stopping at the different locations around the ship sampling cookies etc. Santa's helpers had a typed listing of every kid on the ship and handed out wrapped age-appropriate gifts to each one. Very nice touch. Disembarkation was abit of a jammer, as we waited until the last call to get off because we were not in any hurry. Loved the ports of call and the fantastic weather. Loved the Hawaiian ambassadors on board and their narration and viewing of the volcano lava, and the Napali coastline. I would like to do this same cruise again. Read Less

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