Number of Cruises: 8
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Pride of Aloha
Sailing Date: December 17th, 2006
Norwegian Cruise Lines America
Pride of Aloha Cruise Review
If I would have paid a lot for this cruise I would have been mad. However, I went for it as an inexpensive way to see several islands. I had low expectations after reading many reviews so I felt I knew what to expect. We paid only around 500 each for a balcony booked at the last minute. We had buddy passes for the air so it was under a couple grand for a family of three. Our two and a half year old joined us. I have some comments on NCL kids program for this age if you have kids.
The islands were lovely and all different. We rented a car at the ports (except Kauai and Kona) which worked out fine. It would be difficult to see things with out them unless you took all tours from the boat which would be high cost and not an option with a toddler.
The was pretty. The room was tiny with stupid storage. Bathroom was fine. We did keep our suitcases under the bed. Very few drawers. Pack light! The couch is tiny and not suitable to sleep on for any one over 3 yrs old. My biggest beef about the room was the bed. It truly was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever slept on. I am not picky, or older with special health conditions- I literally woke up in pain after a few days of it. No egg crates were to be had. I’d bring a blow up bed for these beds if I were you. Balcony was a highlight. With a small child I would never cruise with out one. We hung out on it while she slept for naps and night. It was safe with railings and deadbolt on the door so no worries.
The Service: Just what you read about- very spotty. While no one was mean or nasty it was not up to par with other cruise lines. Still ran into a few really nice employees. Our cabin steward was genuine and did the best he could. My room was cleaned and made up at all times. Again it was missing key service (like never getting ice, missing towels etc but nothing horrible).
The Food: We did not starve, but the food was very lack-luster. Waiters are very slow. The freestyle idea could be great if it were done right, but it is simply not staffed or set up to do it right. Hints: a few better places to eat. We ate breakfast early at the back of the ship Café Lanai. (out doors ) Less lines, and quicker. Poached eggs were good and the waffles were fine. They had all normal stuff, muffins, milk. Chocolate milk, bananas, cereal, yogurt etc for the little ones. She was fine with the options. At the same place at night you can order from Longboards, good fish and chips, soups etc. Main restaurants were just ok and it takes forever. Specialty ones are a tad better but not to die for. Still very slow service. We ate lunch a lot on shore so it was fine.
Maintenance of the ship: Annoying; things were always closed, out of service, etc. It was clean enough; no one got the dreaded virus. Hand cleaners all over the place.
Best tips and highlights:
Tip: I used Frommer’s Hawaii 2007 and the restaurant/beach guides were right on. Try Dukes in Kauai on the beach next to the Marriott. Walking distance from the ship. Great fish tacos. Not expensive.
Tip: Blue Hawaii helicopter rides well worth it and top notch. We did Kauai. Free shuttle from ship to shopping strip they are in.
Tip: Shuttles: Any port you don’t have a car they have free shuttles to shops. Kmart/Walmart/Hilo Hatties. Kmart sells alcohol at normal prices. If you want to be slick buy a water bottle, or an iced tea bottle, and empty it out and fill with the appropriate color liquor of your choice. It will get right on board no problem.
Kids program: At first I was so happy that they took 2-3 yr olds. Turns out they
really are not well set up for this age group. They were always taking them
around the ship. Doing activities that are not suitable for teeny toddlers. I
did not feel comfortable with them wandering all over with my little one. Taking
them to the evening shows in the theatre??? It was weird. I think when I left
they just put them in front of a T.V.. The hours were really stupid as well. So
it was not at all what I had hoped for. No private baby sitting as an
alternative. The splash pool worked for little ones - when it finally opened
after being shut down for 3 days! FYI-The water was cold in December, so if
going at this time of year don’t expect a lot of swimming.
So in summary we had fun. Saw great stuff. Did it for a low price. The cruise was a means of transportation. No I would not go again. I probably would not go all the way to Hawaii either. It is a really long way and costly. Comparing with the many breathtaking islands in the Caribbean I choose the Caribbean. I think the water is prettier, the beaches better and it’s 2-3 hours vs. 10. A no brainier for me. Consider southern Caribbean from San Juan…a great trip. Also if you want a nice cruise only go on ships in the 5 star or above category. It is like night and day. I always use http://www.vacationstogo.com and get great deals. Happy cruising!