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Background on us: This was our 31st cruise. The Pride of America is the largest ship we've ever sailed. Most of our other cruises have been on ships carrying fewer than 250 passengers. These cruise lines include Windstar, SeaDream, Paul Gauguin, Silversea, Viking, Ponant, and many river cruise companies. (Your survey didn't ask about any of these.) We prefer smaller, more intimate and inclusive cruise experiences. We hate being "nickel and dimed". This cruise was a family vacation, (our first in over 25 years), with our two adult sons and daughter-in-law. None of them had ever been to Hawaii. This NCL cruise itinerary appeared to be the best way to let them experience both the islands and cruising. Following are a few comments: THE CABIN: Our accommodations (10024) were the nicest we've ever enjoyed on a cruise ship. Our cabin was clean, well-equipped and well cared for. Ours was the "go-to" cabin for family conversation, libations and scenery watching. The bath and dressing area are a little cramped but perfectly adequate. Clothes storage is also adequate. NCL provides bath gel and shampoo dispensers in the shower, (like many cruise lines these days), but I really like that you also provide large bars of soap. Our cabin steward, Reme, was delightful and did a great job. (We loved her "towel critters".) NCL treats its suite passengers very, very well. Our butler, Greg, was also terrific. He made it clear from the moment we first entered our cabin that he was there to cater to our every need, and he lived up to it. Whether it was a dinner reservation, a lost key, a need for more glasses or pool towels, room service, water or anything else, Greg's phone was the only number I needed to call, and he was always there ready to help. The huge balcony was perfect for breakfast, lounging and scenery-watching. About the only negative: We were surprised how much the cabin creaked and squeaked when the ship was sailing. DINING: This was a mixed bag. We enjoyed a number of outstanding meals, but, unfortunately, suffered through a number of sub-par meals also. Surprisingly, we (and our children) felt that, for the most part, the specialty restaurants weren't worth the up-charge. Cagney's might be the exception. We enjoyed one excellent dinner there, as well as several excellent breakfasts (a much-appreciated perk for suite-guests). Martha, especially, was wonderful, and always made us feel valued and welcome. Moderno was disappointing. We love the "Fogo de Chão" theme, but most of the meats were dry, overcooked and not particularly tasty. Jefferson's was uneven. My veal medallions and escargot were terrific, but my wife's duck concoction, (shredded duck?) was pretty bad. Our first time in La Cucina was so non-memorable that we cancelled a second reservation and had a delightful dinner in Skyline instead. By the way, Miriam, our server at Skyline, was terrific! We gave her a good-natured hard time and she rolled with all the jokes and silliness. A post-dinner hug was enjoyed by all. We ate breakfast once at Aloha Cafe. I remember the food being okay, but the venue was noisy and crowded, and seating was at a premium. We were thankful for breakfast at Cagney's thereafter. A disappointment was that we never saw local, Hawaiian items such as mahi-mahi (my favorite fish) or Kona coffee ice cream on any menu. One waiter told us that the restaurants and menus are uniform across all NCL ships, which did nothing to lessen the disappointment. BARS: My wife and I are not big drinkers, but we did join our kids a few times. The first time was in Pink's, and we were astounded to wait an hour and fifteen minutes before a waiter showed up to take our order. Service was better at Gold Rush. EXCURSIONS: About what we expected . . . crowded, expensive and subject to the quality of the vendor. Our Whale Watching Zodiac tour was actually pretty good. Capt Ryan was low-key and funny, and we saw a lot of whale action. The Snorkeling Molikini tour was disappointing. The snorkeling wasn't very interesting, and our bus drivers need better training. One wouldn't get off his cell phone while he was driving, (even when I questioned him about it), and the other knowingly abandoned four passengers back at the Whale Research Center. MISCELLANEOUS: I hate NCL'S Water Policy! I don't appreciate making bottled water a separate profit center for NCL. The in-cabin water is obscenely priced; NCL sells water "packages" at inflated prices; and you denies passengers the right to bring more than a token bottle on board with them. As a suite-guest, our butler kept us supplied, but pity the rest of the passengers. (nickel & dime) I also hate the NCL wine policy. I understand that alcohol is a separate profit center for NCL, and we willingly paid the inflated restaurant prices for wine at dinner. But we also like to sit on our balcony and sip wine in the evening. NCL will have no part of that. Bring wine on board for in-cabin consumption and they call security and treat you like a felon. "$15 corkage fee or we'll keep the bottle until the end of the cruise!" It left a very bad taste in my mouth (the policy, not the wine). (nickel & dime) I understand that the photography department is yet another profit center for NCL, and those folks are just trying to earn a living. But we usually find the photographers intrusive and annoying, and invariably eschew their offers. Most cruise lines ask passengers to fill out a survey on the last night of the cruise. That's the last thing I want to be doing on my last night at sea! I like that NCL emailed its post-cruise survey to us two days after we got home. I can give the survey more thought and can also save my comments for future reference. I do wish, however, that the electronic survey form responded more quickly. Whenever I clicked the next-page arrow, it seemed to churn forever before accepting my response and moving on. I almost gave up. It also doesn’t seem to provide the option of going back to review responses. Kudos to NCL for including the final-night cruise along the Na Pali coast. SPECTACULAR!!!! We were all agog at the incredible rainbow. (Does that happen regularly or did we just get lucky?) In summary, we enjoyed our cruise on the Pride of America more than we expected to. The itinerary was great; the ship is very nice; and we liked being with our adult children for a week. But the experience reinforced our preference for much smaller ships. We prefer less crowded, less noisy, and few young children. My wife and I simply are not part of NCL’s target demographics.

Unique Itinerary on a BIG ship

Pride of America Cruise Review by jam48

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2019
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Penthouse with Large Balcony
Background on us: This was our 31st cruise. The Pride of America is the largest ship we've ever sailed. Most of our other cruises have been on ships carrying fewer than 250 passengers. These cruise lines include Windstar, SeaDream, Paul Gauguin, Silversea, Viking, Ponant, and many river cruise companies. (Your survey didn't ask about any of these.) We prefer smaller, more intimate and inclusive cruise experiences. We hate being "nickel and dimed".

This cruise was a family vacation, (our first in over 25 years), with our two adult sons and daughter-in-law. None of them had ever been to Hawaii. This NCL cruise itinerary appeared to be the best way to let them experience both the islands and cruising. Following are a few comments:

THE CABIN:

Our accommodations (10024) were the nicest we've ever enjoyed on a cruise ship. Our cabin was clean, well-equipped and well cared for. Ours was the "go-to" cabin for family conversation, libations and scenery watching. The bath and dressing area are a little cramped but perfectly adequate. Clothes storage is also adequate. NCL provides bath gel and shampoo dispensers in the shower, (like many cruise lines these days), but I really like that you also provide large bars of soap. Our cabin steward, Reme, was delightful and did a great job. (We loved her "towel critters".) NCL treats its suite passengers very, very well. Our butler, Greg, was also terrific. He made it clear from the moment we first entered our cabin that he was there to cater to our every need, and he lived up to it. Whether it was a dinner reservation, a lost key, a need for more glasses or pool towels, room service, water or anything else, Greg's phone was the only number I needed to call, and he was always there ready to help. The huge balcony was perfect for breakfast, lounging and scenery-watching. About the only negative: We were surprised how much the cabin creaked and squeaked when the ship was sailing.

DINING:

This was a mixed bag. We enjoyed a number of outstanding meals, but, unfortunately, suffered through a number of sub-par meals also. Surprisingly, we (and our children) felt that, for the most part, the specialty restaurants weren't worth the up-charge.

Cagney's might be the exception. We enjoyed one excellent dinner there, as well as several excellent breakfasts (a much-appreciated perk for suite-guests). Martha, especially, was wonderful, and always made us feel valued and welcome.

Moderno was disappointing. We love the "Fogo de Chão" theme, but most of the meats were dry, overcooked and not particularly tasty.

Jefferson's was uneven. My veal medallions and escargot were terrific, but my wife's duck concoction, (shredded duck?) was pretty bad.

Our first time in La Cucina was so non-memorable that we cancelled a second reservation and had a delightful dinner in Skyline instead. By the way, Miriam, our server at Skyline, was terrific! We gave her a good-natured hard time and she rolled with all the jokes and silliness. A post-dinner hug was enjoyed by all.

We ate breakfast once at Aloha Cafe. I remember the food being okay, but the venue was noisy and crowded, and seating was at a premium. We were thankful for breakfast at Cagney's thereafter.

A disappointment was that we never saw local, Hawaiian items such as mahi-mahi (my favorite fish) or Kona coffee ice cream on any menu. One waiter told us that the restaurants and menus are uniform across all NCL ships, which did nothing to lessen the disappointment.

BARS:

My wife and I are not big drinkers, but we did join our kids a few times. The first time was in Pink's, and we were astounded to wait an hour and fifteen minutes before a waiter showed up to take our order. Service was better at Gold Rush.

EXCURSIONS:

About what we expected . . . crowded, expensive and subject to the quality of the vendor. Our Whale Watching Zodiac tour was actually pretty good. Capt Ryan was low-key and funny, and we saw a lot of whale action. The Snorkeling Molikini tour was disappointing. The snorkeling wasn't very interesting, and our bus drivers need better training. One wouldn't get off his cell phone while he was driving, (even when I questioned him about it), and the other knowingly abandoned four passengers back at the Whale Research Center.

MISCELLANEOUS:

I hate NCL'S Water Policy! I don't appreciate making bottled water a separate profit center for NCL. The in-cabin water is obscenely priced; NCL sells water "packages" at inflated prices; and you denies passengers the right to bring more than a token bottle on board with them. As a suite-guest, our butler kept us supplied, but pity the rest of the passengers. (nickel & dime)

I also hate the NCL wine policy. I understand that alcohol is a separate profit center for NCL, and we willingly paid the inflated restaurant prices for wine at dinner. But we also like to sit on our balcony and sip wine in the evening. NCL will have no part of that. Bring wine on board for in-cabin consumption and they call security and treat you like a felon. "$15 corkage fee or we'll keep the bottle until the end of the cruise!" It left a very bad taste in my mouth (the policy, not the wine). (nickel & dime)

I understand that the photography department is yet another profit center for NCL, and those folks are just trying to earn a living. But we usually find the photographers intrusive and annoying, and invariably eschew their offers.

Most cruise lines ask passengers to fill out a survey on the last night of the cruise. That's the last thing I want to be doing on my last night at sea! I like that NCL emailed its post-cruise survey to us two days after we got home. I can give the survey more thought and can also save my comments for future reference. I do wish, however, that the electronic survey form responded more quickly. Whenever I clicked the next-page arrow, it seemed to churn forever before accepting my response and moving on. I almost gave up. It also doesn’t seem to provide the option of going back to review responses.

Kudos to NCL for including the final-night cruise along the Na Pali coast. SPECTACULAR!!!! We were all agog at the incredible rainbow. (Does that happen regularly or did we just get lucky?)

In summary, we enjoyed our cruise on the Pride of America more than we expected to. The itinerary was great; the ship is very nice; and we liked being with our adult children for a week. But the experience reinforced our preference for much smaller ships. We prefer less crowded, less noisy, and few young children. My wife and I simply are not part of NCL’s target demographics.
jam48’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Penthouse with Large Balcony
Cabin SE 10024
These were easily the nicest accommodations we've ever enjoyed on a cruise ship. The cabin itself was over 400 square feet and the balcony another 180 or so. It was clean, well-equipped and well cared for. We were traveling with our two adult sons and daughter-in-law, and ours was the go-to cabin for conversation, libations and scenery watching. The bath and dressing area are a little cramped but adequate. Clothes storage is also adequate. NCL provides bath gel and shampoo dispensers in the shower, (like many cruise lines these days), but I really like that they also provide large bars of soap in the bath. Our cabin steward, Reme, was delightful and did a great job. NCL treats its suite passengers very, very well. Our butler, Greg, was terrific. He made it clear from the moment we first entered our cabin that he was there to cater to our every need, and he lived up to it. Whether it was a dinner reservation, a lost key, need more glasses or pool towels, room service, or anything else, Greg's phone was the only number I needed to call, and he was always there ready to help.
Deck 13 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins

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