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NCL cruise

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NCL cruise

We are booked on a NCL cruise (Pride of America) RT from Honolulu in February. Now we are getting second thoughts, because of the horror stories we have heard regarding the size of the cabins, serice, and food. Any opinions would be appreciated.

wylie, tx.
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1. Re: NCL cruise

I can't comment on Pride of America, but we sailed on Pride of Aloha back in May. It had lots of reviews that were negative. However, we had a blast! Just expect that not everything will go as expected. Relax and have a great time. You will be in Hawaii!! Remember, some folks have a real beef, but some just have unrealistic expectations. Also, most folks will report bad experiences, but not many will report good ones.

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2. Re: NCL cruise

Have you been on other cruises? Does this compare to Celebrity or Princess? What are advantages to a Hawaiian cruise vs. a traditional vacation. Do you feel that you get a good feel for the island in 1 day or overnight?

wylie, tx.
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3. Re: NCL cruise

We have crusied on NCL and Royal Caribbean before. This cruise was comparable to those. We probably enjoyed it more than the Royal Caribbean one.

We stayed a couple of days pre cruise & a couple post cruise on Oahu. With the crusie & the days before & after, we felt we had seen a lot of the islands. However, you could stay a month and still not see everything. However, we got a good idea what we would like to do if we get to go back.

Hawaii is pretty expensive. We felt the cruise was a cost effective way to see it.

Elmhurst, Illinois
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4. Re: NCL cruise

We are sailing on the Pride of America on 12/17. We have also read the negative reviews. Recently, we have read more posiive experiences. We would be very happy to share our experiences wih you after we return.

Seattle, WA
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5. Re: NCL cruise

We were a bit nervous about cruising on NCL's Pride of America after reading some of the comments from other passengers. Fortunately for us, we did not read the comments until after we had booked our trip. We had a wonderful trip. The ship is beautiful and the crew seems to take great pride in her. Our trip was not without its small problems, but the crew went over and above to rectify them and left us feeling that we were important to them.

My two biggest complaints were with the dining rooms. The food in the main dining rooms was very good. However, during the dinner service every night we faced a 30-40 minute wait to be seated. Once seated the service was very good. We also discovered you could cut the wait by agreeing to be seated at a table with other passengers, which we found very enjoyable. My other complaint was the buffet - it was not an acceptable alternative to eating in the dining rooms. The food was terrible - bland and unimaginative. This was a big surprise to us since we cruised with NCL to Alaska on the Norwegian Spirit last summer and found the buffet to be a great alternative to having to dress up for dinner.

The cabins though small were nicely decorated and the bed comfortable. Our cabin steward did a great job of keeping things tidy and making sure we had everything we needed. We went with a balcony - which was great for having a fairly private place to relax and enjoy the weather and scenery.

The itinerary was wonderful. Two days on each island was a great way to see Hawaii. One tip I'd pass along from a travel book was to rent cars while in port. Especially on Maui and Kaui. All of the ports were fairly close to airports and all had car rental shuttles. We really appreciated the ability to move around on our own, at our own pace and at a significant savings over the shore excursion prices.

The only shore excursion we did through the ship was in Hilo to the Volcanoes National Park... while we had a great time and saw a lot, we were a bit envious of those that rented cars and got to see areas where there was lava flowing.. something our tour did not include.

Oh a don't miss for those that like to snorkel... while in Kona head to "turtle beach." You can catch a shuttle at the end of the pier for $5 each way... ($20 round trip if you need to rent gear). It was amazing.. we saw several turtles and a very colorful array of fish.. we tried out a couple of those underwater cameras... and they were also worth the price.. we have some really cool pics.

I would recommend this trip for people that want to be on the go a lot. There are no real sea days and a lot to see in each port.

pzp
Kauai, Hawaii
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for Kauai, Kapaa
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6. Re: NCL cruise

I know you're already booked, so this may be too late, but personally, I'd recommend against trying to see HI via cruise ship. Even if there's not much sailing time and two days in port. Two days is not nearly enough even to hit the highlights of any island, and you're not going to have 2 full days in any case.

Choose and island or two and spend at least 4 full days on each, maybe even as few as 3 full days would do for your first trip. Plan on seeing the other islands on your next trip. Belive me, you WILL come back.

Toronto, Canada
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7. Re: NCL cruise

We cruised on NCL Wind Aug. 24-Sept. 3. It was great. We especially liked the freestyle dining.

We also read lots of comments in cruise critic

messages.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php…

Learned a lot there. We went on our excursions by renting cars at each port.

Some of the negative comments are from people who were ignorant, or expect 5 or 6 star. When we arrived our cabin, one older man was yelling at a cabin steward that their luggage didn't arrive right away and his wife needed the medicine. He said if they don't get the luggage to the room right away, they are leaving the ship.

Cruising is a great first time experience seeing Hawaii. You don't have to be packing/unpacking and going thru airport security with waiting/flying. The best part of cruising in Hawaii is you are in Hawaii.

USA
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8. Re: NCL cruise

This is my plan for next new years. I know it is going to be expensive, but what better way to see all the Islands than by cruise.

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: NCL cruise

We are booked on an NCL cruise (Pride of America) RT from Honolulu in March. I see that several people are going in February. I would love to hear your opinions of your trip...after you return...being as you are going two months after reading some of these negative posts...and hopefully the cruise line has improved. Any suggestions that you have...as far as what to see or do will be appreciated. This will be our first cruise.

Elmhurst, Illinois
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10. Re: NCL cruise

We cruised on the Pride of America 12/17-12/24. We absolutely LOVED Hawaii. I am very sad to say that the cruise was an unpleasant experience. We booked the trip last March before the ship first sailed. We had read a lot of the negative reviews and had hoped that they would have worked out the kinks. Unfortunately, I think they are relying on the great itinerary and are not concerned about providing good service.

A big problem involved the NCL employees. First of all, they were extremely understaffed which is a management issue. We made reservations the first night on board for four nights in the specialty restaurants (highly recommend). We arrived for our 6pm reservations for sushi on the second night and were told the chef was sick (no phone call to let us know in advance) so we were seated for chinese. We asked if we could reschedule for a different night and were told that he would be sick for the week. (We found out later he got off the ship.) At the end of the meal we saw people seated at the sushi bar. When we called to request a different night, we were told they were not taking reservations for sushi. We were told that if we wanted, we could go there each night and wait to see if something might become available. Later in the week we had Tepanyaki. We enjoyed ourselves and the meal was very good. There were four tables for service but only one was in operation. Poor planning for a full cruise.

A second problem was the poor service provided by the majority of the staff members. Having been on other cruises where you have experienced great service, POA leaves a lot to be desired. I am not sure if it is because of the young staff who do not understand that people are spending a lot of money for this experience, or the tipping structure that NCL has in place, but there seemed to be no motivation to provide good service.

Having shared the negative - let me tell you about the positive. Hawaii is so beautiful. We started our stay at the Marriott Waikiki. Excellent start to our trip. Great location and the beds are amazing. We had some great meals in Waikiki and really enjoyed our dinner at The Shorebird. The staff at the Marriott was great and we loved our room overlooking the ocean and the Waikiki strip - well worth the upgrade. There is a check-in counter for NCL at the Marriott. No wait and you get a special line to pick up your cards at the pier. This made the Marriott stay a big plus and it helped us adjust a little to the time difference.

Positives about the ship. Our room was very nice. We had a balcony room on deck 11. The room was a nice size for the ship and the balcony was very large. Lillian did a great job with the room. We also loved spending some of our evenings in the bar on deck 13. Mark plays guitar in the evening and you can make requests and sing along. Derek and Casey provided wonderful service - we had great fun with them. We really enjoyed our conversations with Amira in the Gold Rush Saloon.

Tours - highly recommend Kona Captain Zodiac snorkeling tour. It is a smaller boat with very personalized service. You get to see beautiful coral and a ton of fish. The captain does a great job with his presentation. We were very lucky to see three whales.

On Kauai - we did a helicopter tour with Interisland Tours. Fantastic experience. We got to see the beauty of Kauai. Absolutely incredible. Halfway through the trip we stopped at a private waterfall. We had lunch and swam.

In Maui - we did the Molikini Crater snorkeling tour. Older boat and the snorkeling at the crater wasn't that great. The coral was not impressive and there wasn't a lot of fish.

We rented a car on several of the islands. Really enjoyed seeing the different sides of the islands by car. In Maui, you can park overnight for free. In Kauai, there is a $10 charge for overnight parking. Not very impressed with Alamo in Kauai. There was a long wait for the shuttle both ways and they charge a $15 fee for returning the car early (never heard of that at any car rental agency). Otherwise, the rental shuttles for all other companies (Dollar, Budget, Hertz and Thrifty) were great).

Embarkation and debarkation were a breeze.

We rented a beachfront home on the north shore of Oahu for the week after our cruise. We absolutely loved our time here. If you spend any time on Oahu, please go see the north shore. In the winter with the waves, it is absolutely stunning.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send us an email - wtgordo@hotmail.com.