Pride of Aloha - Hawaii: Norwegian Sky Cruise Review by Bob of New Jersey
Overall Member Rating
Pride of Aloha - Hawaii
First, forget what they call "Free Style Dining". A better term would be "Serve Yourself at the Buffet OR Pay $10 per person per night for dinner access IF (and it's a big IF) you can get a reservation at a specialty restaurant".
What about the Main dining Room you ask? Two dinning rooms are on-board but you actually had to wait for a table while the places were quite empty. And once you were seated, the service was very poor and slow---dinner took two hours twice. Why? I believe the reasons are: (1) the lack of sufficient numbers of wait staff and (2) the lack of incentive of the wait staff because their tips are guaranteed.
Cabin service was minimal. We never saw or met our cabin attendant until she knocked to get us out on departure morning. Our cabin did not appear to be More vacuumed all week. Bath mat was forgotten on several days. Dirty dishes in room were not removed. But the bed was made, bathroom cleaned and fresh towels in place as expected. If we were allowed the option, we would have given our attendant the minimum tip (but the dining waiters the ZERO tip.)
However, NCL has this system whereby they automatically charge you $10 per day per traveler for service. A big mistake because their staff is not encouraged to SERVE to earn their tips. They are just there.
In my opinion the hardest workers on the ship were the buffet workers because they appeared to be overworked and understaffed. The bulk of the cruisers seemed to go to the buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner rather than put up with the insane scheduling and lack of service in the often less than full dining rooms.
Believe it or not though, wait staff and porters in the buffet had no carts to clean away dirty dishes from tables. They had to hand-carry them to the kitchen area. Combined with what appeared to be understaffing, clean and ready to use tables were often hard to find easily.
Trays were always wet, coffee cups sometimes were hard to find.
As to their "specialty restaurants"---forget it if you have a group of more than six because there were very few options to accommodate multiple groups. I personally resented paying $10 per night per person for dinner to get the great service you get in the Main Dining Room of every other cruise line I've been on-(Princess, Royal C, Celebrity and even Carnival).
The menus were generally limited to a small assortment of entrees and the menu was the same each night at the specialty restaurants unless they were out of something. The quality in all the restaurants was good, better in the specialty ones and poorer on the buffet. In the specialty places the entrée portions were small.
Then there are the tours. We thought these were generally very, very expensive and while the four we went on were enjoyable, their cost exceeded their value to us. If you are smart, you will consider renting cars in each port and touring on your own. Some of our party did this and were quite happy they did.
Because it is Hawaii in the good ole U.S.A. driving around is quite easy and pleasant.
So, if you take this cruise, be prepared to drop an extra $140 a week for two and to make your dinner reservations the moment you get on the ship if you like good service and don't want to be shut-out. Less
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