My wife and I went on this cruise for our honeymoon and I was very disappointed!
The staff was rude (there were a few exceptions.)
The boat was not very clean, especially the bathrooms. All of the public bathrooms smelled terrible.
Dirty glasses were left in our room everyday.
Most importantly, the food was terrible! You had to dress up in a collared shirt and dress pants (and also pay a cover charge) just to eat in the restaurants. Then they serve you steak and fries.
The food was cold and tasted like it was cooked hours before.
This was my first and last cruise.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give this cruise a 2.
The food really needs to improve.
About Us 55/60 year old semi/retired professionals. 33rd cruise, 9th on NCL, 1st on NCLA. Travelled with 2 other couples. None of us too fussy.
Flew in 2 days early and stayed at the Holiday Inn Waikiki. Somewhat older hotel but comfortable, safe and had a very friendly staff. Had Priority Points but the room rate was about $130.
We rented a mini-van (Plymouth/Dodge products) with Thrifty and were very satisfied. Be sure to reserve early and register as a Blue Chip member. It will save you time (you get to go to the special line and save lots of time). There is no cost and it saves you the cost of an additional driver if you want one. You rent at the off-site airport location. Shuttle bus comes every 15 minutes or so. You must return to the same site and they will shuttle you to the pier.
Check in went quite smoothly, especially the Latitutdes line since most of the cruisers were not members. We were onboard by 12:20 p.m. Rooms were not ready until 2:00 but we settled in at the buffet and had a relaxing meal.
The Ship/Cabins Wewere in a BE forward cabin, #8530. These cabins have huge balconies. Room for 2 loungers, 2 side chairs and a table. The room had a refrigerator stocked to the brim as a minibar, a vanity area with 1 electrical outlet (only one in the cabin), ample storage area, hair dryer, TV. The bathroom is pretty usual although the shower is configured with a shower curtain that does not blow around. Shampoo and bath gel are in dispensers.
Common Areas The ship is done in various American motifs. There is a central staircase in the atrium but not of the "wow" variety on some ships. The stairwells are filled with huge photos of American landmarks and the overall look of the ship is clean. Note -- ladies, make your guy take you into the mens' bathrooms. There are some very funny cartoon murals above each of the urinals.
The shop area is quite large but I didn't spend much time there. The gift shop manager was delightful and could not have been more helpful.
The library is a very nice place to while away the hours.
The internet cafe is small and often times quite crowded, but I usually use an onshore place to do my email checks because it is more economical.
The bars are all quite nice, our favorite was the Lanai and Napa Valley Wine Bar. The only smoking bar is the Waikiki at the rear of the ship.
The theatre was one place we never visited except for the Latitudes party. We crashed after dinner each night.
There is no casino.
The pool area has one sizeable pool with 2 spas. There is also a small pool for adults only at the Waikiki Bar.
Restaurants There are 2 main dining rooms, one is for more traditional attire, and the Skyline allows decent jeans but no ballcaps, tshirts, etc. The decor is avante guard, New Yorkish motif. My only complaint on the cruise was service in the dining room. It seemed no one was in charge. We seldom saw the same person twice (within a meal) although a lot of people were rushing about our table. The food was good and I had no complaints, although the dessert menu seemed a bit skimpy some nights.
Food is a very subjective topic but I found it to be fine -- not fabulous but certainly okay.
Buffet was set up in a fairly easy to navigate way, but there are no trays so you will need to make multiple trips. Seating seemed a bit skimpier on this ship than most, but it was not as bad as the Pearl. Breakfast was essentially the same each day with minor changes.
There is an outdoor buffet that was closed the same hours as the buffet, so from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. nothing but the Cadillac diner was open, and it was always packed. So if you're coming back aboard hungry you'd better grad a snack ashore.
Little Italy is a no surcharge specialty restaurant. Service was better than the dining room but it did not begin to compare to LasRamblas on the Sun. Food was good but not great. No specialty Italian wines.
We did not eat in any of the other restaurants, but one couple with us ate at the steak house and loved it.
Ports We missed our Hilo port because we had mechanical problems and left Honolulu late. The Coast Guard would not then allow us to dock in Hilo. The captain took us through a whale sanctuary area and we saw lots of whales. A great day. As it turned out the VNP was closed due to volcano activity so not as many people were disappointed as there might have been. We received $25 per person rebate for the missed port.
We rented a car in each port and did tours on our own. Wonderful days, beautiful sights on our own schedule. We did a helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian in Kuaii and it was fabulous. It was our last day and a great way to spend it.
This and That -- Cruise Rewards A good program if you plan on cruising NCL within the next 2-1/2 years. On this ship they gave you a bottle of wine when you sign up in addition to the OBC.
Latitudes Party Well done, nice giveaways, but no time for dancing afterwards. Quality drinks.
Captain's Party Extremely well done. Great appetizers, white glove service, champagne served and open bar. Only 20-30 people there, so it was quite nice and lots of dept. heads circulating, asking for input and answering questions. Although our 4 travelling companions did not qualify, the invitation openly said to bring others in your party. Nice touch.
Spa This was run by Mandera. Too expensive by my standards and the spa staff was snooty, as they are on all ships. They did have a nice drawing, at which they served champagne, and gave away a lot of gifts, although most of them were the body composition analysis, which disappointed everyone who got that (myself included).
The gym was well equipped with plenty of equipment.
Entertainment I really can't comment too much because we spent our evenings on the balcony. The days we were in Maui, a local band was onboard to provide pool side entertainment and they were terrific. The PoAm show band was also very good the one night we went dancing and when they played at the parties.
Tendering We only tendered in Kona and it was quick and efficient.
Security Screening when getting back on the ship was done by a contract security company in the terminal rather than onboard by security personnel. These folks were pretty no nonsense and in some ports you even had to take your shoes off and be wanded. They even confiscated sea shells people had picked up on the beach.
EasyFly A great program where for about $20 per person/bag you have your bags checked straight through to your final destination and receive your boarding passes. This is only available for certain airlines. I don't remember the whole list but I know American and Continental were on it. We had no problems.
Disembarkation The usual color method or FreeStyle disembarking (carry all your luggage off yourself). EasyFly guests are like FreeStyle so we were off by 8:00 a.m. We took a cab to Pearl Harbor and spent the morning there. Then another cab back to the airport to await our flight home.
Crew It is almost entirely US, and to address the much criticized Americans I can say that it was not bad, although it was different. They were friendly and efficient (except in the dining room) and we found the crew to be helpful, friendly and sincere in their desire to provide a quality product.
Volcano Viewing The lava was flowing abundantly so we had a great view. The flow was first visible on the starboard side, then the captain turned the ship and we scampered up to our balcony for a private viewing. It was fabulous. The ship's deck lights were extinguished for a better view of the red river of lava.
In closing, I will say that I went on this cruise expecting awful food and service and was pleasantly surprised. I would gladly do it again.
Six of us took this 7 day cruise and having heard such mixed reviews we didn't have high expectations. The cruise was excellent, other than the rain, and the entertainment was among the best we have experienced.
The spa was a bit overpriced and the shops on board were comparable to what we would pay anywhere at home.
The snorkling was beautiful. There was lots of free or inexpensive local transportation on each island.
For the record, you can bring your flower lei back home!
I read the last review regarding the Pride of America and can't believe they were on the same ship as we were.
To make a long story short, I agree with nothing he says as far as what we experienced.
This is my 3rd cruise & the 4 people in our party felt the cruise was excellent in every way.
We had no complaints and heard nothing but positive comments from everyone we talked to.
We would definitely recommend this cruise in a heartbeat!
I just read the review of someone who apparently was on the Dec 1st cruise I was on. As far as the room being dirty, no doubt you got there before they had time to clean it. The people leaving the same day we board don't have to be out of the room til 10am and being that there are over 1000 rooms, they obviously get some cleaned earlier than others. That happened with us & once they cleaned the room, it was spotless!
I'm amazed that you would be annoyed by the captain's announcements, as most people appreciated hearing his news & messages and also realize there areother passengers besides just English-speaking ones that they need to inform.
Yes, the buffet is crowded but you have 12 restaurants to choose from. We went in the theater 3 different times & never smelled a thing. We did smell something like paint in the Skyline one night because someone knocked over the antibacterial soap dispenser on a stand. It was immediately cleaned up & the smell went away in a few minutes.
Need you say more?
Yes, you need a lot bigger complaints than what you have. What you failed to mention is that we were in Hawaii during a storm & even had to leave the port in Maui one night to keep the ship from ramming against the pier. We were supposed to be there overnight so about 400 people were still gone from the ship by about 6pm when we had leave. They contacted or waited for all the passengers, putting them up in 4 star hotels, took them shopping for clothes needed, gave them food vouchers & faxed prescriptions to the hospital for delivery to the hotel. We talked to some of those people who were more than grateful for their excellent treatment!
I have been on cruises 2 times before with Royal Caribean and Carnival Cruise Lines and they were excellent.
My friends and I thought that we would try NCL. It was terrible!
Upon our arrival, our cabin was filthy. There was hair on the sink, and there was still coffee in the pot. There was a stain on the couch. Drawers were not clean. It was very disappointing.
The buffet is overcrowded. The selections were repetitive throughout the week.
The Skyline restaurant was ok the first night and had bad service the 2nd time we went. The 3rd time we had dinner at Skyline it smelled like paint.
Upon entering the theater for entertainment, it smelled like a sewer. It was a horrible smell.
The captain's early a.m. announcement was also annoying. It was then followed by another announcement with different translations.
Need I say more? We will not ever recommend NCL to anyone.
We have cruised 13 times, all with other cruise lines before this cruise, which was our first NCL. I initially was very excited about it being a United States flagged ship with most employees being United States citizens. After my week long experience, I am actually embarrassed as a US citizen. The help (cabin stewards, waiters, reception) on this ship can not compare at all to the foreign help they have on the other cruises we have been on.
When we first entered our balcony cabin, first it was double booked, we had no wash clothes, the carpet was filthy, the tables in the cabin were dirty with glass stains on them. The fridge in the cabin was nice to have except we had two large half drank water bottles in our fridge from the last passengers. The lock on our door was not working unless we jimmied the door up, we did call maintenance, no one ever came and repaired it.
The ship had an awful sewer odor in the common hallways and on the swim deck area while we were in port, all day. The shows were disappointing, withthe exception of the comedian. The drinks at the bars were weak and over priced, as was all of the excursions they offer thru the ship. There is absolutely no night life on this ship, and it seemed that everything was closing down at around 9:00 p.m.
If you tend to get motion sickness, this ship has a lot of movement at night when traveling to the next port. Buffet area was chaotic, they do not offer punch or lemonade with meals. Only thing offered at no charge is water, milk, tea.
I do think Hawaii is beautiful, but honestly, I believe the Caribbean to be just as beautiful for the money involved.
I would NOT recommend this ship or cruise to any of my friends or relatives.
If you want a great cruise, with traditional cruising experiences, do not take the Pride of America to Hawaii. Except for being upgraded to a wonderful suite, the ship/crew/food were a disappointment. There are a lot of omissions in the brochure, such as availability of dining areas, tipping, on board activities, entertainment and before/after sailing excursions.
This was my 7th cruise, first on NCL, and I would not recommend it to my friends or family.
Hawaii was beautiful, but I would tell my people, if they have the time/money to choose another line for their trip.
We went on the Pride of America to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, along with our 3 grade school children. Having read several negative reviews I had some concerns regarding the cruise. We had been on 6 cruises before but had never experienced "free style" cruising.
I am pleased to say that the trip was wonderful. There were no major problems such as I had read in other reader reviews.
Minor problems -- We had a suite with five guests but could never seem to get more than 4 sets of towels. The staff were friendly, cordial and appropriate. The were not fawning, coying and sucking up for a tip, they just seemed to be regular folk doing their jobs. I appreciated that the staff were Americans at work.
The food in the specialty restaurants was excellent. The restaurants with the additional costs were all worth the money. The Italian restaurant did not have any extra cost and had an excellent osso buco with creamy risotto. The Cadillac Diner was good for a quick meal. The main dining room was ok for breakfast. we only had one dinner in the main dining roomand it was mediocre. Other passengers did say that other nights had better food in the main dining room than on the one night we chose to go there. Reservations were easy to make, as you could only make reservations for the next 48 hours, so no one could fill the restaurants by day one of the cruise, as had been mentioned as a past complaint.
The shore excursions were so-so, but given that we were on the Hawaiian islands, we struck out on our own for the most part, with the exception of going to Volcano National Park, which we thought would be best experienced with a tour guide, as well as the sunrise at Haleakala, which we thought would be best driven at 3:00am by someone who does that on a regular basis. Both tours were acceptable and informative. The river boat ride on Kuai, which went to the fern grotto was pretty boring, nothing of note, and I would recommend skipping this unless you are exhausted and just want a rest. Most passengers seemed to be on the verge of taking a nap, even during the corny entertainment.
We rented cars on the islands, and were able to sightsee. The car rental places have shuttles which pick you up at the pier, and there is parking at the pier for the overnight island stays. We did not do the luau , having been to a luau when we were in hawaii in the past, but if you haven't ever been to a luau it might be something to consider. We stayed a few days on Oahu before the cruise, and went to the "Magic of Polynesia" show. This was an excellent magic show, I would highly recommend it for the show. We paid extra for the deluxe package and seating was excellent. The food, on the other hand, was inedible. Fortunately the show made up for the food. I would pay for the deluxe package just for the premium seating, and eat dinner elsewhere either before or after the show.
All in all, we loved the cruise, the ship and the islands, and would recommend the Pride of America to family and friends.
From the beginning the keys didn't work. They replaced them 5(!) times. Every time a new set of cards was issued I suggested maybe something wrong with the door, not with the keys. But it did not sound reasonable for the guys in red jackets. 5 hours later they sent somebody to reprogram the lock on the door and we got in. Than safe didn't work. The same person didn't do safes - we had to call for another specialist. We decided to do it in a morning. By the way, on Monday(!), at 4 PM, 2 days later, technician showed up at our door - he's got the call to fix our lock.
Paradise Luau we bought on the ship for $100 dollars per person was hysterically pathetic. And it is not question of "in-door/outdoor". It's level of it. Performance – mediocre middle school level. Band of three “hanging loose musicians” was pathetic. Fat and absolutely amateur dancers – even more. “Singer” definitely needed to face Simon Cowell at least once in his lifetime. And it is singer in the event that charges $100 per person! It's a robbery! Foodon that luau - Salvation Army in Manhattan on Christmas time can compete with them and win. Distribution of the food, food itself. Try to go to any Russian Night club in New York and see what kind of food, service and what kind of show you'll get for $100 per person. Or go see Broadway show...After we complained, we were given $20 dollars per person back. It would be more appropriate to keep $20 and reimburse $80, at most. More than $20 that abomination did not worth. It's taking to consideration the fact that I did not charge for my time... We did go luaus before. The one, for example, in SeaWorld in Orlando was real treat. The band, the dancers, the interior, the food - everything was WOW!
That luau people in association with some tour operators from Norwegian managed to organize a scheme producing $35,000 in a few hours feeding the crowd second rated stuff. Somebody complains? OK. Give them back a couple of dollars to shut them up. It is such a smart idea! Small business expense.
Entertainment: On the other boats we went to, they hire professional performers to make outstanding Broadway caliber shows TWISE a week and rest of the time performers work in different positions as a crew members around the ship. On the Pride of America - you hire crew members to fold towels and collect chars on decks, who rest of the time, perform on stage. See the difference? I am sure that your way maybe slightly cheaper. But probably not much. I do not want to put down effort of the guys. Some of them very talented. But it is amateur vs. professional. No good.
Reservation in "West meets East" was hard to get. So we had to accept only something called regular menu or something like that. Sushi, Hibachi etc. were booked. Not available. But we were surprised, that when we had our dinner the place was almost EMPTY. Hibachi place not available for us due to "all booked" – was empty. Sushi bar - was empty, the sushi guys for hour or two were hanging around without clients, but for some reason we could not have anything from sushi menu except 2 rolls per table of 6 of us. Sushi bar was "all booked".
Isn't it strange? It is. But all the guys that served us were very nice.
We were missing midnight buffet – it's part of our usual cruses and it is piece of culinary art. The absence of casino has something to do with legal issues but that thing was also missed. Food and especially service on the boat – way out of league for normal cruise lines. Room service – no good. Service crew – bunch of rookies.
Mandatory tips – NOT TIPS! Increase the price if you want to!
No good. Do I go back? Not soon. Do I recommend it to a friend? No.
Why there are no other cruise lines based in Hawaii? If you want to go on Princess, Carnival or Royal Caribbean – you have to get 12-14 days cruise and spend 5 days in see traveling from Mexico, California or Canada. And not everyone will "survive" 5 days in the ocean.
Hawaii is probably the most beautiful place to visit in the US. To cruise the islands not only lets you see four of the largest islands but four very different life styles of the islanders. We cruised in Oct which is their low season. This means less people on the ship, shorter lines, and a more relaxing time.
The Pride of America is a beautiful ship. It is a Free Style ship. This means cruise as you want (eat as you want, eat were you want, no set time to eat). This is not the way this actually works. We found you needed reservations at most of the specialty restaurants or you couldn’t get in. Even when we tried to get reservations they were not available. The reservation desk was only open until 5:00pm. The specialty restaurants carry a cover charge of any where from $10.00 to $20.00 per person, this can add up. The other restaurants that do not carry a cover charge are very busy and the wait was up to 2 hours.
If this is Free Style give me a set dinning time.
The cruise itinerary was wonderful.We saw everything from beautiful waterfalls to active volcanos. Everything that Hawaii is supposed to be. You can just lay back and do nothing but enjoy the scenery or hike up Diamond Head it really is your choice. A must see is the Thurston Lave Tube. This was a once in a life time cruise. It is a shame that Norwegian’s Free Style is the only way to do this cruise in a week.