4 Norwegian Sky British Columbia Cruise Reviews

Just returned from our 5 night Pacific Coastal cruise on the Pride of Aloha. This was our first cruise (probably not the best choice for a first cruise). We arrived early and the check in process went fairly well. Once we crossed the ... Read More
Just returned from our 5 night Pacific Coastal cruise on the Pride of Aloha. This was our first cruise (probably not the best choice for a first cruise). We arrived early and the check in process went fairly well. Once we crossed the gangway and entered the ship we were left to ourselves to try and find our rooms (my wife, two daughters, and my sister all had three adjoining rooms on the Oslo deck, 6a). There was no one to direct us. After about ten minutes of wandering we found our rooms. Though small, the rooms were okay. We didn't have any problems with storage. There were plenty of wooden hangers in the closet. However, the beds were like folding cots, since this was our first cruise we didn't know if this was the norm. We hadn't eaten since breakfast and went to look for something to eat. We found the buffet on deck 11. There were no other restaurants open and no place else to get something to eat. So there were several hundred passengers trying to get in to get something to eat. We waited in line for about 30 minutes before we got in. The choices were not great. By the time we got to wanting any desert, we were told they were out of this and out of that. We hadn't started to move yet and we were questioning what the rest of the cruise was going to be like. Our biggest complaint had to do with all the dining and getting something to eat. There are six restaurants on this ship. You had to pay an additional fee ($12.50 to $15.00 per person) in three of them for dinner. For us that would have been an additional $75.00 each day for dinner. I had already paid enough for the cruise I didn't feel I should have to pay more for a good meal. "Freestyle" dining may have some advantages but not when you have to wait over an hour just to get into a restaurant and then another hour and a half to two hours to eat. That's what happened to us. None of the dinner buffets ever had any carved meat (except for the first lunch before we left port). It was mainly pizza and spaghetti at the buffet. We didn't experience any of these problems with breakfast. The buffet was okay and we never had to wait for breakfast in the Crossing's restaurant. Room Service is another story. The selection is next to none and when we did order room service they were usually out of half of everything we ordered. There were no midnight buffets we had heard so much about in cruising. There were times during the day you had a heck of a time trying to find someplace or something to eat if you wanted it. When we did eat in the Palace & Crossing Restaurants the food was good. We got to try some foods we had never had before The mostly new staff was trying. You could tell they were inexperienced but were trying. We never had anyone be rude with us, slow yes. Misunderstand, yes. But not rude. My eight year old daughter loved the Kid's Program. She went each night and had a lot of fun. The timing of the start and finish of the evening Kid's Program did interfere with dining and other activities. The program was from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM. But we worked around it so she could go. My teenager attended several of the teen programs and she seemed to enjoy them. We caught two shows, a comedian who was very good and some sort of musical that was a bit unusual. There were only four cocktail waitresses at the first show. By the time one of them took our order and brought it back there was only about 5 minutes left in the show. All in all, did we enjoy the cruise? Yes. Did our first cruise live up to our expectations? No. We had heard so much about midnight buffets, lots of activities, being pampered and waited on, large public areas and beautiful decorated ships. You get some of this on the Pride of Aloha but not all. NCL still has a way to go with this new venture and ship. I'm not sure we will go back on this ship. I'd like to try another cruise line and see the difference. My sister has been on a Carnival cruise within the last six months and she stated that the Carnival Cruise ship was much more impressive, larger public areas, there was never a delay in dining and always someplace to get something to eat, and the service was much better. I completed the comment card I was given by NCL. I hope they strive to improve there dining and service otherwise I'm sure they will lose passengers. Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
We recently returned from a 5 day cruise on the NCL's Pride of Aloha. I must report how disappointing this beautiful ship was. We have travelled on 10+ cruises and this one was the poorest. First things first, this ship is in a ... Read More
We recently returned from a 5 day cruise on the NCL's Pride of Aloha. I must report how disappointing this beautiful ship was. We have travelled on 10+ cruises and this one was the poorest. First things first, this ship is in a transitional stage, NCL having changed out the entire international staff with an all American staff. Good news....probably the friendliest and "trying hard" staff on the water; bad news, very little to no training and no leadership or management sighted anywhere! Embarkation process in LA was very good. Very fast, efficient and friendly. Boarding the ship at 1:00 p.m., we immediately noticed that most cabins were not cleaned, including our own! The cabins never got totally made up until almost 10:00 p.m. Luggage was not delivered for 6 hours after boarding. We met our cabin steward about 9:00 p.m.; only saw him again once on the whole cruise. Never could get appropriate amount of washcloths or towels as the laundry couldn't keep up or they didn't have enough ( found this with cloth napkins in the restaurants as well, some days cloth and some days paper! )Room was tight ( outside cabin booked for three persons, bad design). Rooms were not completed yet, missing pull curtain. Carpeting was still being laid throughout the voyage. Again, the public spaces and restaurants were very beautiful, particularly the Kahlili dining room. Clocks aboard ship, from the front desk to the public spaces, never worked. Food service aboard was extremely poor. Freestyle cruising is nice, but has some drawbacks, particularly long lines and waits to get seated in the main rooms. Waits up to 1.5 hours to get a table. Once seated, lack of trained help, no managers, no wine stewards, led to 4 course, 2.5 hour meals. Food in main rooms okay, but very limited selections. Dined in two of the alternative restaurants. Did not mind paying the extra fee ( $12.50 to $15.00 per person ), but the food and service was so poor, it should have been waived! Again, no maitre'ds, managers, wine stewards, led to long waits for food and service, and MANY unhappy patrons. The buffet has problems that cannot be fixed without an overhaul. I was surprised that NCL did not rework the design here. It is very uncomfortable, with people bumping into each other to get food and drinks. Probably the worst selection of buffet foods afloat! No carvings, awful salads, only two kinds of breads served in EVERY dining room every day. Desserts, all pre bought ( not made aboard ship ) were good. DO NOT ORDER CREME BRULEE in the dining rooms! The bars and lounges were really nice, but the service was awful. VERY friendly young people having to tell you they are out of many products on their NCL printed list, and lack of glassware ( had to serve wine in plastic glasses on some days). Many bars were closed during the voyage for travel agent previews and NCL club members. The production shows were some of the most amateurish on the water! Running Wild, a dance show, had singers that couldn't sing, bad choreography ( the highlight was a gymnast doing a routine on a straddle horse...come on!! ) Some of the singers in the lounges were VERY good! We have a teenage son and he has enjoyed going on many past cruises due to great programs. Sadly, the Pride ( at this time ), does not. The extent of the teen program was to send kids running down the hallways of the ship on scavenger hunts ). No computers or video equipment in the teen's room. Most teens on the ship hung out for hours in the hot tubs, both day and night! The fitness facility was very good, but sadly, under used. Debarkation in San Francisco was extremely good. It was very nice not to be herded into lounges waiting to get off. You could disembark from your room! VERY GOOD! A word on gratuity...this ship does not give gratuities to their employees. They feel they are paid a "fair American wage" and do not get tipped ( unless you want to go above and beyond ). Every person is charged $10.00 per day person for a "resort fee". This money, as we were told by the cruise director, is used to pay the employee health benefits!! Come on NCL, give them the money and pay for shared benefit programs like the rest of the business world! Everything being said here, I can hope that this ship will get better. They need to get more crew, more managers and probably, a corporate team on board, to help train. We were not surprised to see Cruise Critic's news that the next voyage after ours had ben cancelled due to "crew exhaustion". I'm sure NCL needed to rethink this one!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
My family of four sailed on the inaugural Pride of Aloha sailing from San Francisco to Los Angeles on June 7 through June 11. The ship stopped in Monterey, Santa Barbara, and San Diego. My philosophy is that every cruise is a good cruise, ... Read More
My family of four sailed on the inaugural Pride of Aloha sailing from San Francisco to Los Angeles on June 7 through June 11. The ship stopped in Monterey, Santa Barbara, and San Diego. My philosophy is that every cruise is a good cruise, but some are better than others. This was the worst cruise I have experienced. I've cruised eight times on most of the different cruise lines. It was still better than being at work. The ship just came out of dry dock where it was refurbished with a Hawaiian atmosphere and now is a United States flagged vessel. Embarkation was terrible. The ship was supposed to begin boarding at 2:30 PM but didn't start boarding until after 3:00PM. We stood on the sidewalk in the sun and wind for almost 3 hours until getting inside the pier to register and board. No one at NCL seemed to know what was going on. Passengers were calling out groups so we would know it was our time to register. The only bright spot was our inside cabin was upgraded to a balcony because the inside cabin was not finished. The carpet was still being laid in many cabins throughout the cruise. Once on ship we headed for the Hukelau Cafe since we were starving. While we were eating the muster drill went off on time even though there were still hundreds of passengers still on the dock registering. The ship sailed about three hours late. The excuse used for the entire cruise was that the ship had come out of dry dock and things were being worked out. The main problem with the Pride of Aloha is the service. All of the employees are United States citizens and do not give the excellent service I have experienced on all my other cruises. They have no incentive to provide excellent service because you do not tip them personally. There is a $10 per person resort charge per day. I tried to lower my service charge but was told I could not do this because it is a resort charge not a service charge. The employees will receive the same tip no matter how well they serve the passengers. Dinner took at least 2 hours each night. The only area that I was pleased was the cabin girl. She kept the small cabin clean and tidy like I've experienced on other cruises. Food was average. Entertainment was good. Tenders were unsafe. The first day in Monterey the employees on the tenders looked like pirates. In Santa Barbara NCL had them wear a uniform but the results were the same. Inexperienced tender employees rammed into a parked boat in the harbor of Santa Barbara. They didn't know how to tie the tender up to the ship properly so it was dangerous to get on and off the tender. I hope NCL can get their act together and make this idea work. They have a marketing advantage with the Hawaiian cruise market and a US flagged vessel. I hate to say it but the US employees are not hard workers and do not give the service that one would expect on a cruise. There was a lot of goofing around and talking that I've not seen before. I would not cruise again on The Pride of Aloha unless I see that the service has improved. Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
Although not told prior to this cruise, it was the last sailing of the Norwegian Sky. After reaching Vancouver it was to be torn apart while travelling back to dry dock in San Francisco. There it would be refurbished and put back into ... Read More
Although not told prior to this cruise, it was the last sailing of the Norwegian Sky. After reaching Vancouver it was to be torn apart while travelling back to dry dock in San Francisco. There it would be refurbished and put back into action as the "Pride of Aloha" and sail with a completely American Crew around the Hawaiian Islands. At each port including the San Juan, competent international crew were dropped off and untrained American crew were brought aboard. This caused many problems. Some of which I will tell you about. Our cabin was not clean when we boarded, towels on the floor, half full glasses of liquid, pop tins, soap rings, etc in the bathroom. We asked 3 times, and a uniformed staff member asked once to have the room cleaned to no avail. The towels were changed and the trash removed upon turn-down somewhere around 10:00 pm. If we got towels on the rack during the cruise we were lucky, sometimes we had to call to have the room made up and the towels were just left on the counter. For our Freestyle dining experience, it was "Eat when NCL wanted you to, where NCL wanted you to". We stood in line every night to put our name on a list for a table then sat around and waited for our name to be called. Every time when we went into the dining room there were tables available, but no staff to serve them. When we did get a table, the staff was inexperienced or experienced and overworked (more tables than they could handle or training other staff). Every night we heard trays of dishes hit the floor. The Breakfast Buffet ran out of bacon, skim milk, All-bran cereal, and prunes (just a few), but all were available in the dining room. This shortage came at the Panama Canal only a few days into the cruise and the stocks were brought on board until Los Angeles. Because the Pride of Aloha was not going to be sailing in international waters, there would be no casino. So a day before we reached LA, a lot of slot machines and some tables were taken out of the Casino. There was still 6 days of cruising left. Between San Francisco and Vancouver all of the pools and hot tubs were closed 'for maintenance' they said. We asked why now, when the ship is going in to dry dock! But they wouldn't open them. On the good side, for the most part the staff were friendly, except the ones that were getting off who didn't really care to make your stay great, and the ones getting off who didn't know enough to make your stay great. If this were our first cruise, it would be our last. We certainly weren't the only ones with this feeling, everyone we talked to said the same thing. There were lineups at the Purser's desk to take the automatic tipping off. This was our first experience with Norwegian and it surely will be our last. Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
Norwegian Sky Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.6
Dining 4.0 3.5
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.7
Family 3.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.5 3.9
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

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