My wife and I just back to backed two seven day cruises on NCL, Pride of Hawaii(July 17 and July 24). With 14 cruises on all the major lines let me tell you that the Pride of Hawaii is one big, bold and beautiful ship; longer than 3 football fields and a mile high. Papa's Italian Kitchen serves some of the best Italian food this side of Rome with a staff to match; knowledgeable and friendly. The gym is well equiped with everything you need to keep fit.
Some good entertainment including Hawaii's Butch O'Sullivan. The ship is new and has so much to offer - - - - - -BUT - - - - - - don't be fooled, it is not freestyle cruising. You must make resevations early in the cruise or many restaurants are booked solid all week. Even the main Grand Pacific Dining Room required a reservation or a long wait in line; definitly not free style. - - - - - - -BUT - - - - - - more surcharges than ever at the restaurants, ten to fifteen dollars per person. Bring back thedays when you paid once for your cruise. - - - - - - -BUT - - - - - - the Aloha Nui Buffet is busy and the food served is very average. - - - - - -BUT - - - - - - -so many of the staff have not tweaked into service; marginal at best. - - - - - -BUT - - - - - - -management could not move us to an equivalent room as we were told that we would have to live with a high pitched squeak that required wearing ear plugs to sleep. - - - - - - -BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT - - - - - - - too many small things to take time posting.
It may just be growing pains for this new hip, I certainly hope so, as cruising the Hawaiian Islands is a wonderful experience. Other cruisers please post. What was you experience???
Great itinerary but! Best cruise if you want to maximize your time on the islands and off the ship. Time on the ship not so enjoyable. The thing that stands out most was the poor service from a less than enthusiastic american crew. Tipping is not tied to service and it shows. Had tip reduced by $20 per person to let the cruise line know how we felt. There was a line at the desk of others adjusting their tips as well.
Ship is great though the carpets were already looking dirty in places. Make your reservations early at any specialty resturant on the first day or you won't get in and will be turned away even though their are many tables avalible. Mexican food was bland. Steakhouse was good to excellent with the best service we had. Main dining was slow and inexperienced showed, must have recruited staff from Denney's. Didn't try the other specialty resturants. Buffet was ok, but don't expect help with you tray or refills on coffee, or even a clean table, just won't happen. Freestyle dinning sounds great but doesn't work on full ship.
Pool area wasleft in shambles and dirty, Even early in the morning when most ships have been cleaned overnight, chair were tipped over and the deck dangerously wet (guess that explains the muck tracked in on the carpets). Pool service was spotty to none. Crew unfreindly for most part and were allowed to eat in an already crowded buffet area with passangers. Boarding was a breeze (use the porter to get to the front of the line) but rooms not ready till 2 PM. We dissembarked at 7:30 AM carrying own luggage, no sweat, but no breakfast since line at buffet was too long, was tired of same buffet selections anyway and McDonald's sounded great at that point.
More time in Honolulu this way as well off the ship. Would have admit though not a bad value when compared to land based vacation in Hawaii where the average resort charges $250/night plus taxes and upward, We only paid about $260/night (party of 2) with taxes and got most meals included, (order room service sandwiches to take off the lunch on the islands). Unless I want to cruise Hawaii I will not be on NCL America anytime soon. This was my 8th cruise and 1st with NCL.Tip
We have cruised on over130 cruise ships thruout the world,just completed the 5th with NCL The ship was new , very large,clean and on time in and out of ports. The veranda cabins were very small,attendants inexperienced and responsible for too many cabins.Entertainment, pruduction shows, were disapointing, with canned music, passengers wearing shorts, T-shirts. We spotted 3 men in tuxcedo,3 or 4 in jackets, on the formal evening. Liquor,wines were over priced,and shore excursions around $100 average. NCL has gone down-hill over the years and had this been our 1st cruise, it would have been our last!!!!!
We were excited to be cruising in the waters around Hawaii. Add a completely new ship and our expectations were that NCL would pull out all the stops to overcome the continual stream of negative remarks regarding their cruises.
There were a few glitches such as lack of towels, overworked cruise members (because of crew shortage)etc. Overall I would rate the American crew as good. They tried hard.
Now to the food. If future cruisers can avoid the main dining room they should. The menu for that restaurant was a major disappointment. Lack of entries drove me to the items that are available every night. Bummer! The two beef entres were Hamburger Steak and Flank Steak. In my opinion these don't even belong on a cruise ship. All other Lines I have sailed with not only have main menu items of lamb, steak, prime rib, and lobster, they offer "available any night" items that include beef sirloin, good salads, perhaps prime rib etc. Pride of Hawaii did offer lobster one night. One of the side dishes they served with entrees was some kind of substitute for potatoes (I think). Could not eatit the first night and we were served the same terrible stuff three more times in the seven days aboard ship. Yuk!!!
After night number two in the main dining room we understood the long lines the first day for reserving the other restaurants. They had eight other restaurants, six of which charged additional fees. When we tried to make reservations on Day three, all of the other restaurants were booked for the entire cruise. So, if you choose this line, book the other restaurants early or suffer less than mediocre food the entire cruise.
This is a money maker for NCL. Apparently they serve main dining room quality food in these other restaurants but charge each diner an additional $15-$25 per night. What a back door policy to charge a cruiser more for what should be included in the basic price of the cruise. One example was the sushi restaurant. They charge extra-my favorite cruise line has a free sushi restaurant. I did hear that the Italian and Japanese steak House were good though.
Service in the main dining room was extremely slow. This appeared to be the fault of the galley and not the wait staff. My guess is that the specialty restaurants have priority on the galley and they fit the main dining room when all others have been served. As a result we waited 20-30 minutes between courses.
It took so long to dine that we were late for shows. No excuse for that as we dined at 6pm. In this case however the shows were not worth seeing so after three attempts to see them (we were late), we just gave up and passed on the remaining shows. Comments heard around the ship indicate we did not miss much.
Know that the poor food program is apparently a constant across the Line. This is a Corporate decision and I believe you will see the same terrible menu on all of their ships. Beware!
I have now completed fourteen cruises and this cruise ranked so far below the other thirteen that it is difficult to describe. I will not sail with this line again.
We did not take the tours so cannot comment on them. They seemed extremely expensive however. Arranged air from Phoenix-Hawaii-Phoenix on Hawaiian Air was great. Check in for the cruise was okay and disembarkation was a good process. Unfortunately, we did not arrange to go early or stay a few days in Honolulu after the cruise. There are some great places to visit in and around Honolulu, I wish we had done that.
A couple other thoughts. This ship does not have a casino. Since I don't gamble it was nice not to have to walk through a smoke filled casino. But, if you want to gamble this is not the ship. They cannot open a casino in U.S. waters and this ship was designed to sail only in the Hawaiian waters. Instead they added more shops aboard. Too bad they did not add to the dance floor space. It would have been more enjoyable. The ship itself is new. It was decorated very colorfully-perhaps gaudilly. Our cabin crew did a good job-but heard lots of complaints from other passengers. In fact, I have never heard so many complaints about various things on a cruise ship i.e. food, service, entertainment, cabin service, lack of responsiveness by some cabin crews etc. Some of this undoubtedly was because it was a new ship, and hopefully have been resolved by now.
To put my opinion bluntly, this was a most disappointing cruise. If you have cruised before be prepared for major disappointment. If this is your first cruise-know that almost any other cruise line is much better.
If any one ever has been an experianced cruise vacationer, one knows this had to be by far this worst cruise experiance ever encountered. It is expensive and not worth it! The worst food ever! They ran. out of things. The employees complacent..think they are on vacation themselves.I can go on and on.
I would advise anyone to cancel this cruise.It was just a plain hassle to get anything done. NCL is an abomination to the cruise industry. After being on Royal Carribean,Carnival, Princess Holland America, I had comparison..If you are visiting these islands, book a land vacation. The best part of it was getting off this ship!
I was on the maiden voyage of the Pride of Hawaii from Los Angeles to Hawaii in May. Overall, it was a wonderful experience with some glitches, as you would expect on the maiden voyage. The pluses were a beautiful new, well designed ship, the best itinerary of any cruise line in Hawaii with extended stays in Maui and Kauai, and the best food of any cruise that I have ever taken. However, my wife can't have sugar and they had only a terrible tasting sugar free cheesecake for dessert. It was the only cruise that we have taken that didn't have sugar free ice cream, which must have been an oversight on the first cruise.
Service was very inconsistent. It was so slow in the main dining room that it was difficult to eat early and get to the show at 7:30pm. Service was much better at the other restaurants. We had great cabin service, but our friends had terrible service. In talking to the crew members, many of them were also on their very first cruise and still learning their jobs. However, most of them were trying very hardand most were friendly.
Entertainment was below average with only about 3 good shows in 12 nights.
This was our first time on Norwegian and we very much liked their freestyle cruising.