Year Started: 1966
Ships in Fleet: 13
Summary: With the recent introduction of new ships the third biggest cruise company in the world. Free-style cruising, elaborate dining options and surprisingly good entertainment.
Regions:Caribbean, Mediterranean Western, Transatlantic
Good for: Seniors. First-time Cruisers.
Regions:Bahamas, Caribbean, Eastern Seaboard
Good for: Families. Value for Money. Teens.
Good for: Value for Money. Group. Families.
Regions:Alaska, Bahamas, Caribbean
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
Good for: Group. Singles. Families.
Good for: Value for Money. Overall Service. Disabled Travelers.
Regions:Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean, Mediterranean Western
Good for: Teens. Seniors. Group.
Regions:Eastern Seaboard, Caribbean, Bermuda
Good for: Value for Money. Children`s Programs. Singles.
Regions:Alaska, Bahamas, Caribbean
Good for: First-time Cruisers. Value for Money. Teens.
Good for: Teens. Seniors. Families.
Regions:Caribbean, Inland Waterways, Mediterranean Western, Mexico
Good for: Value for Money. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Alaska, Caribbean, Inland Waterways, West Coast
Good for: Families. Value for Money. Teens.
I read all the reviews for Pride of America after we booked the cruise. I booked on PoA because I did not want to spend 2 days getting to and from Hawaii. It was great just going from island to island.
I was afraid as sail-date approached because of all the lousy reviews. This trip was a complete surprise for my husband's 50th birthday and we ended up loving it all...well mostly all. Overall I have to say the staff is either much improved or better trained. Either way we had few issues with them.
What sucked - The main dining room food was just OK. Nothing to write home about and not as good as our first Norwegian Cruise 7 years ago. (we don't cruise often) But the specialty restaurants were fine. Downside - the upcharge is way higher than last cruise and way higher than other cruise lines. And to have an upcharge and then get to Jefferson and find a second upcharge for a better menu was disappointing.
Our room was mostly clean. Not the meticulous clean I want in a hotel or cruise experience. I had asked aboutthe fan that ran constantly in our room but never quite got a definitive answer. We kept the bathroom door closed. Would have liked a better cover on that fan.
Service in the Liberty Dining room was painfully slow the second night. My husband said it was relaxing. I found it borderline annoying.
Obstructed view - definitely DO NOT pay extra for a balcony. Nothing to see as you cruise at night and in the day the piers are not attractive. But we got an obstructed view so we can tell night from day. And we saw daylight, a little ocean and occasionally (we were NOT warned) staff outside our window checking on the lifeboats. I was told the glass is one-way, but someone out there may be scarred for life if it wasn't.
The ports were unattractive and not always set in the best part of town. Getting anywhere required a cab or a long walk to a local bus, etc.
The Luau on Kauai was beautiful but the food sucked big time. Try to find a local tour company, not the NCL luau.
Had some confusion the first day with on-board credits. We waited in the really long first day line (not NCL's fault) but to expedite things they had a young lady come through the line and take down issues to get back to us later. She never got back to us which caused us some problems. My advice - double check before spending what you THINK is in your account.
What worked - Alan at the pool bar. I wanted to wrap him up and take him home. Some might say pushy with the drinks. I think it was perfect. I don't have to drive anywhere so I want to stay buzzed and he accomplished that. He also remembered details, came up with specialty drinks. Overall really fun guy and great service.
Spending more than a few hours in port - We really got a great chance to explore the islands.
The tours - we did our tours through Cruise One and Roberts Hawaii. Less expensive and for the most part, better. Only one disappointing tour guide - Leilani (or something like that) on Kauai.
Specialty restaurants - really great food and wonderful service. Just please make the pricing more reasonable!
Staff - everyone was pleasant and helpful. One crappy lunch with bad follow up service in the Cadillac Diner. Everything else worked.
The entertainment - really loved the music, especially the guy in the Napa Lounge and the Pink Champagne Bar.
Silas our cruise director - he was all over, everywhere just a bunch of fun with great programs.
The ship looks a little older but overall a nice looking ship. They are renovating it and I have read reports that the Aloha was better looking. I have no idea. I thought our ship was fine.
Clean - overall the restaurants, pool and public areas we all clean.
I would do this trip again. Hawaii is beautiful and this is a great way to island hop.
The Review picture of the Pride of America is an old picture of the Pride of Aloha... The Pride of Aloha was removed from the Hawaiian market years ago. Please feature the BUTT UGLY picture of the Pride of America that looks like a Roll on Roll off car carrier, not a cruise ship. What a shock to a passenger to come all the way to Hawaii and see this ship!!!
This was not our first cruise, so we knew what to expect. First of all, I've never been to a spa where after I had a massage ($170 ) I was told I couldn't use their shower unless I bought a day pass to the spa area! Food was just ok--a lot of repetition. Nothing special, and buffet was not good. Ate at Cagney's and it was very good, as was the Italian specialty restaurant. However, DO NOT waste your money on Ocean Blue! Very limited selections and while the appetizers were large, the entree was not. Scallops were over cooked (all 2 of them), and sea bass portion was tiny. All this for $49 per person! Husband ordered just plain vanilla ice cream for dessert and it had ice cubes in it. Had a "mini-suite" and it was indeed "mini." Went to the dinner show which was very good, but the food was bad. Also went to Fat Cat's the last night. While the entertainment was great, the kid ( around 4 years old) running back and forth in front of the stage was unnerving. I really thought someonein management would take care of the problem, but they didn't. Still can't understand while this was allowed in that particular environment. Unfortunately we were a day late into Bermuda due to the tropical storm, and first day in port it was raining. Not NCL's fault, but made for a bad time.
MINDSET before sailing: The contract was provided AFTER payment in full (NO Refunds) and stated that everything you were sold doesn't count. Only the contract details do. The ship is not guaranteed to be seaworthy. The staff is not guaranteed to be trained. The service charge is not a tip. It's like the service charge at a catering hall. It goes to management. No wonder the staff doesn't care. They are in a service profession without any accountability, ie. tips. If a ship is quarantined, we can be charged for having to remain on the ship. I especially liked the paragraphs that pointed out we can't sue but if we do, you are responsible for nothing and suits can be filed in Fl under Maritime law. We are not on a fishing boat. We are on a cruise that cost a whole lot of money and is supposed to provide us with the products and services we were told we would receive. The responsibility to create an enjoyable atmosphere and clean environment rests with you, no matter what the contract says. It was certainly a downer. It felt like we werebait and switch victims before we started.
The embarkation was simple because I walk with a cane so we bypassed the main line. There was no staff to greet and direct us upon boarding.
The steward was not a happy person and our room was not cleaned until the afternoon each day. Day 1: We had sour milk in our coffee maker's water reservoir and hadn't been set up for coffee with supplies. My brother's room had not been cleaned properly. Used tampons were in his bathroom garbage! There was no instruction to know you had to put your card in for electricity. What about charging stuff when you are out of your room? Shouldn't the steward greet each person to welcome us and explain the procedures and timing? We came back to our room at 12:30 and found our room still not made up. We had to leave again. Twice we stayed on the balcony while he worked on our room. We had to work around him. I don't think my cruise experience should work that way. My father's steward was friendly, efficient and answered questions which is how I was able to inform the other 6 rooms in our group how the electricity worked. Their stewards hadn't told them either.
Restaurants: We were very unhappy with the crowds in the Cafe - the noise, the poor food, no choices, no seasoning, waiting to find seats. The fried chicken still had hair on it and the Romainian guy in charge said that's the way it comes ?!? The buffet staff allowed things to run out then wouldn't let you know if someone was going to backfill it. The flavor of the food and desserts was not existent. Moderno's was delicious. Our large group enjoyed the opportunity to dine on excellent food together. I question the reservation policy since we were told we could only come at 5:30 and the group we were traveling with was told only 6:15, I think. The dining room remained half empty for most of our time there. This is certainly not run like a restaurant to reserve and turn tables. The only complaint was beverage refills. The sushi restaurant took forever for 4 sushi rolls and again slow or no beverage refills. The Uptown Grill had a nice staff but NO SALT for breakfast ?!? Why? We enjoyed the food and service in Savor 3x. Excellent.
The reservation system blocked out any opportunity to eat in the main dining rooms until 8:45 each night. The shows changed times when we departed NY throwing off our schedule. Most shows were already blocked out just like dining reservations. Nothing was "Freestyle" on this cruise. It was TOO CROWDED!! You couldn't enjoy anything on the outside decks. No room. The deck chair areas were barely passable. We couldn't get into the tiny pools. 4000 people and pools could probably hold 200.
Handicap accessibility was poor. The hallways were TOO NARROW !! It was a matter of taking turns in the doorway nooksfor people to walk through in different directions. Anyone with a stroller, walker, motorized scooter or wheelchair was at the mercy of the cleaning carts and the room service food that never got picked up. I watched a woman who HAD to escort her father so he could get around. His narrow scooter could not pass the carts. She had to pull the carts into the doorway nooks so he could squeeze past. She said her mother had a wider scooter and could not fit through. I donâ€™t know if her mother was on the cruise but that should be criminal if she was confined to her room. Personally, it was painful to have to walk sideways to pass the carts. I estimated the hallway width to be slightly over 3 feet which is the size of a hallway in my home and a bit less than 2 feet with the cart in place. It was an obstacle course. An obese woman with a cane barely got through. It had to be embarrassing.
CLEANLINESS: I had to point out to a young lady in a gown for pictures that she had to lift her gown to keep from getting dirty on the breakfast food that was on the floor, having been bumped off the plate that had been there for over 8 hours. I called down to have someone retrieve it and they took only that plate, leaving 3 others in the same hallway!
ROOMS: The rooms hold 4 people but the balconies only have room for 2 chairs. Smokers made it disgusting to try to be on our balcony and when we were enroute back to NY, we smelled marijuana.
RAID: Before the ship left Bermuda, our friend's 75 year old mother had her room raided by Bermuda police looking for marijuana!!
Really, A 75 year old is your suspect? She was too frail to have left the ship, yet they accused her of buying pot in port. They opened her safe and searched her room, forcing her and her 70 year old friend to sit while they did. She was told the next day that other rooms were searched also because of a complaint about smoke from her balcony's vicinity. My friends were incredulous when we came back to tell them the room is subject to unwarranted search, especially when we told them how many balconies were so close together, how small they were and the wind currents made it impossible to determine a particular path. Guess there's no Bill of Rights on the ship or in Bermuda.
There was too much "Big Brother" with our cards for my taste. You could tell when we were in our rooms, at a show or restaurant, at the activities, etc.
None of the entertainment was at the level we expect on a cruise. Rock of Ages is completely inappropriate on a family cruise. The day of the show was when they pointed out it was not kid friendly, yet kids were allowed in. Sex acts, beastiality and the language did not belong in a show on a family cruise. This info wasn't available when making the reservations. WHY?? There was no info about the shows to know about reserving them. Burn the Floor was the most impressive but of course we were blocked out of most of the others. The Magician was not "Amazing" and most of his humor went over the heads of my pre-teens and even our older teens in the group. The drinks we received at a quiet bar area during the day were tasty. The ones we received at the Theatre were not. They were watered down or had no liquor. A waiter in the Theatre was very accommodating and went to make me a Mexican coffee. He was the most accommodating person we encountered outside the Savor Restaurant. The timing for events we wanted to participate in always conflicted with other things so we didn't get to them. There was little to nothing on the days in port for those who couldn't or weren't going ashore. I remember a lot of Infomercial type offerings.
INFORMATION: The staff was content with not knowing answers, especially about our ONE port of call. We received a bus ferry Xerox copy without the information required to read it. When I went back, I was given the real flyer which showed there were multiple pages, including explanations and information that was not copied on the handouts at point of sale for the transportation passes. Any questions were blown off if you were not buying an excursion. There's only one port. Why isn't there a rack with flyers and brochures for the area?
Even though the NCL app was recommended for groups to communicate with each other on board, it required everyone pay a fee and it didn't work. How about making the voicemails in your room accessible from ship phones so everyone can call in to meet up without additional fees? Make it easier for families and large groups to choose cruising, not harder.
Nobody on the general staff smiled. These people must be miserable working for NCL. At least we had a reasonable time because we were with so many family and friends and knew we were going home again.
This cruise was the biggest disappointment I have ever had in cruising. The food quality was absolutely the worst I have ever had. The service in the two main dining rooms was abysmal to say the least from long wait for the food to plain inefficiency. The food on the buffet was not even up to MacDonalds quality and the food in the two main dining rooms was worst than poor. The food in Bogie's Steakhouse was passable. The entertainment was very good and my cabin steward Jason di an outstanding job. I have taken approximately 20 cruise throughout my life and this one was far and away the worst. Freestyle cruising is just another excuse to add extra charges and price gouge.
First time with NCL's, not my last. I loved our suite, sailing was uneventful, comfortable ship but hated the smokiness on deck 6, really ruins any attempt of playing the odds for me. Food was a b - b in the freestyle restaurants. I am over 60's and fit in with this crowd and was even on the younger side. My opinion, younger cruisers should go with another line. Staff was gracious and our butler Flor was great. Virginia was the concierge and she was very accommodating also. Ease on and off ship was nice, perk of being in a suite. No other way to go!!
Quebec City!!! Tres belle - tres bien!! We loved every minute of it...it was entertaining, comfortable balcony state room made it scenic, and the food was phenominal.
For those of you driving into Boston, parking while on the cruise is an issue. A cruise companion suggested a package deal on stay123.com - we picked the Best Western in Quincy, car remains there, and the free shuttle got us to the pier at about 12noon we were IN our cabin by 1230. We loved our family suite on the 10th deck. Spacious and the dual sinks were fabulous. Our butler Gary took great care of our needs, champagne on ice added to the luxe!
We had lunch at Cagneys, slow svc but good food. We were seated at 8pm for lobster dinner,which took about an hour to serve,lobster was fine. Waiter was a little weird, flaky, maybe high? For the rest of the trio we chose the Aqua dining room instead. When we got to the room at 2pm,our bags were waiting for us.
We ate at Bamboo and La Cucina - extra fees but worth it. We really enjoyed the "Neil Diamond"performance.
Room svc breakfast most days was outstanding! Lobster in Portland was great!ll van tour in Halifax with a local guide.
Quebec City took hours - we should have used the concierge. The Dawn docked far away from old town. There were 3 other ships in that day. We checked into our hotel and them explored the lower and upper town areas. What a beautiful city.
We flew back to Boston Logan and the same Best Western picked us up to get back to our car. The whole trip was seamless. We loved the cruise were impressed by the condition of the Dawn. The service was outstanding.
Let me start by saying: Alaska is wonderful. Breathtaking and unforgettable.
But then, there is is pressing question: What happened to the cruise industry in US? It used to be a nice experience cruising with interesting people, having the formal nights and enjoying gourmet food for a few days.
Well, this is ALL GONE! In order to survive on a very competitive market, cruise lines gave a big welcome to middle America, white trash clientele and therefore the cruising experience became a week on a floating Wallmart, where formal night means tank tops, bad hair and shorts. The casino is like a night out... on a cheesy hotel in Reno.
It's amazing how NCL managed to make food look and taste so unattractive and stale. Even the "specialty restaurants" have below average food. The worse of them all on Pearl: The Asian restaurant. Shameless cheap and horrible presentation. Panda Express is a gourmet place in comparison.
The buffet smells like a university cafeteria and the quality is horrendous.
The main dining rooms menus offer cheap food and terrible service. Even the special lunch menu at Cagney's for Haven passengers has few options, the portions are tiny(the smallest sea scallops I have ever seen) and it never changes during the seven days.
We were "lucky" enough to stay at the Haven - that in the
end was nothing more than a misleading advertisement. Yes, you have
a bigger cabin with great views, but you pay quite a lot for that.
Then you have a "butler" and a concierge to help you - the problem
is that you will see the concierge twice during the whole cruise
and the butler is inattentive and elusive.
There is an area in the Haven with a small pool, a jacuzzi and snacks for the VIP's guests. For upscale snacks NCL offers peanuts M&Ms, gummy bears and stale cookies. I'm not kidding!
Entertainment was a mixed bag with decent productions like What a Night and Broadway Night and a horrible "magician/comedian" and a troupe of comics that will make you cry or throw up.
But in the end it's the fellow passengers that make the experience... different. Have you ever spent a week at Wallmart, eating and mingling with the other shoppers? That's exactly how I felt.
"Au revoir" NCL! I'm not your target clientele any longer.
BEWARE. We booked with Norwegian for a cruise in January 2014 and two days after they changed the full itinerary (all of the ports of call were changed). When we called to discuss the issue of the full itinerary change, they kept telling me I booked the wrong cruise. I eventually spoke to a manager and showed proof of the cruise I originally booked and what it was changed to. We were then promised that our rates would be locked in by the manager, Kathy.
I received a phone call a few days later advising that our rates would not be locked in, and if we wanted to move to another ship with the itinerary that we originally booked, we would have to pay almost double the rates. They refused to do anything for us except possibly giving a total of a $300 on-board credit. $300 does not even come close to making up for the rate changes and all of the trouble we dealt with.
We have since cancelled our cruise. We booked the original itinerary, because we had never been to those ports of call. They then changed the wholeitinerary to ports of call that we had sailed to previously. I was told by three different people at Norwegian that I had booked the wrong cruise and didn't know what I was talking about. Then we were promised our rates would be locked in when speaking with a manager, and then they weren't. Basically, we were told we were stupid and then we were lied to.
I have no idea what sailing on Norwegian is like, and now I will never know. After this booking experience and complete itinerary change, myself and my family will never attempt to sail with Norwegian again. Very, very disappointing.
I so looked forward to this cruise. My trip of a life time. Beautiful ship VERY NICE crew. But the food was terrible only good place to eat was the Cadilac diner. And even that was not that good. I got fish and chips and it was RAW ! The buffet food all tasted alike. When we met people they all complained of the food. We all headed to Mc Donalds one day.
Our cabin was NOT very clean. As a matter of fact we had a dirty glass in our cabin when I put it out to be cleaned it was returned to our cabin still dirty. We found a laundry tag in our closet from JULY 2011 now our cruise was October 2012 also a nasty bobby pin in the shower my hair is short and I do not use bobby pins. There wasn't much to do at night after the show.
And don't waste your $ on a balcony. All you see are trucking yards when you dock.plus the man in the next cabin kept leaning over into our balcony looking into our balcony and roomand he smoked so all the smoke came into our cabin.
Oh and DO NOT book the hotel that they offer. If you get in on Friday night all the pre cruise stuff is over and after the cruise they make you wait till 3:00 in the afternoon NO earlier to get a room key. The lady that works at the hotel for NCL is RUDE. Now I am not hard to please but this was not a good cruise. And there were at least six other couples that we made friends with that felt the same way.
Will say that Tim Kaminski ( comedian ) was FANTASTIC !!!!!! Lots of fun games and the crew was great. Just wish they had more things to do at night for younger folks ( under 60)