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Age: 75

Occupation:Retired police officer

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Pride of Aloha

Sailing Date: April 9th, 2006

Itinerary: Hawaii

Norwegian Cruise Lines
Pride Of Aloha Cruise Review

Ben Albertson

I have tried to keep an open mind and not be influenced by other reviews but this was my second and probably last cruise. This was my first cruise with NCL and it addition to the fact I wanted to go to Hawaii the alleged Free Cruising appealed to me.

I was excited at my first sighting of the Pride of Aloha with its large white hull and beautiful bright painted flowers on the forward part of the bow. There was some confusion as we boarded but that is understandable. Since I had flown from San Francisco and eaten and early breakfast I was hungry and headed for the buffet at the Hukilau Café. This was a mistake I continued to make several times. The line was rather long and an employee advised there was a much shorter line out on the rear aft deck so I got off line and went to the rear outside deck as suggested. I was very disappointed to find the only fare there was a type of cook out food consisting of hamburgers, hot dogs French fries and salads. By this time I was “trapped’ since the line I had just gotten off was now double the size.

The next day when dinning at the Hukilau Café I was advised I had to wash my hands at a kind of spray was devise located an many areas of the ship before I was given any silverware or napkins and although it was a buffet the server stood behind the counter and rather than help yourself to pointed and told him what food you wanted and he in turn walked with you placing the selected portions until you reached the end of the line and then they handed you the dish. Trays were not permitted requiring you to get on line again if you forgot anything and trying to juggle more than one plate was not an option. By this time many of the table were full or occupied by people who were still sitting there but had finished eating, forcing you to go the rear open deck or Hamburger Heaven I had nicknamed it. After the second day the practice of someone filling you plate was abandon and we were now able to help ourselves. When asked why were not allowed to help ourselves oinin the beginning and now were able to I was told it was to make us aware of proper sanitary practices to avoid spreading diseases while on board ship.

Two other problems with the Hukilau Café were there were two lines feeding the serving area from two sides. On more than one occasion I found that the selection of food was sometimes slightly different, depending on which side of the line you were on. One evening there was a carving station with beef and instead of having it at the merging point of both lines like they do in many of the gambling resorts so both lines would have an equal opportunity to avail them selves of main course.

To further complicate matters both side had the beverage service area was next to the line waiting for food as well as the ice cream service are making very crowded conditions and some people standing in line for ice cream appeared to be in the food line. It would appear that the entire staff was new or almost new which added to the confusion.

My hint with the possible exception of you needing a quick breakfast is to STAY AWAY FROM THIS AREA

The next problem area was the showers in the cabins. It might have been somewhat easier for smaller people but I being a large person 245# found it next to impossible to take a comfortable shower. The area is round about the size of a Hula Hoop and surrounded by a hard surfaced area and a shower curtain with about a one inch lip. I never did manage to complete a shower without water getting into the bathroom area. I would guess that is common place since there is a large drain near the bathroom entrance.

One of the points not mentioned until I was on board ship was the automatic addition to my bill of $10 per day per person for “gratuities”. I am somewhat against mandatory tipping since I feel that good service and not bad service should be rewarded and the choice should be up to me and not NCL. In reading the some of the other ratings they mention a complex procedure to remove the mandatory tipping but I just let it go. I was also informed much of this “tipping” never reaches the intended service people or very little does.

Casual dress was supposed to be one of the positive things as mentioned in the ships brochure. But I was told long trousers were required but I then observed this was often overlooked and some men were served even though wearing shorts. I wish they could make up their minds.

The brochure reads as follows: Wear what you want. Dress according to your mood. It is your vacation. “Resort casual” attire is as dressy as you’ll ever have to get for dinner. But if it’s elegance you’re dreaming of, we invite you to indulge. Many of our restaurants offer formal options. If you prefer more casual dress, that’s fine, too. How you dress is up to you.

On the positive side I found all of the service people and staff on the ship very polite, well mannered and neat. I found the ship generally clean and the entertainment very good. After my disaster with the buffet dining previously mentioned buffet, I dined in the two dinning rooms, The Crossing and The Palace that did not have an extra charge and found the staff to be excellent and the food very good. I did refuse to eat in the restaurants that imposed an extra fee to dine
Anyone wishing to Email me and ask questions are urged to do so.


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