Number of Cruises: 9
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Pride of America
Sailing Date: August 26th, 2006
Pride of America Cruise Review
Number of cruises: 9
Sail date: August 26tht, 2006
Oh, it's hard to find a place to start this review. The Hawaiian islands are beautiful and this was my third trip. See them soon, but see them from a hotel.
This cruise was horrendous in almost every way. We arrived on board to a dirty bathroom. I actually cleaned it myself with the brush that was in the bathroom. Good thing I am a mom and not easily grossed out. The room was tidy, but no extras, like ice or water or sodas were available to purchase. Not ideal for tired and hungry travelers.
Our first clue that this was not like other cruises was our trip to get our soda cards issued. We went to the closest bar and waited 10 minutes to be glanced at by the bartender. Then he told us he would do our soda cards when everyone was waited on. 15 minutes later, he tells us that he has no idea where the stickers are. He sends us to another bar that definitely has them. Of course, we waited 10 minutes here only to have it close for the evacuation drill. The unhelpful bartender tells us that we need to get receipts from the Reception Desk anyway.
Long and pointless drill. Basically they were just fulfilling a requirement, but they did it sooo slowly that people were really getting angry.
The rest of the night was spent trying to get our soda cards and having dinner at the buffet. The buffet opened right on time, but the main ingredient was missing: FOOD!!! The only thing on the buffet for like 20 minutes was a tray of overdone flank steak. I walked around looking for anything. I finally ended up with a bowl of soup and some pasta. Nothing was on the buffet for about 25 minutes and then it ran out almost immediately. The crew acted as if we dropped by unexpectedly for dinner!! The same was true every single day for breakfast. I waited every morning for hash browns and got them only once! The omelet man did two omelets at a time and the line was frequently longer than 20 minutes. I never waited in that line...Occasionally there was fresh pineapple on the fruit bar, but most of the fruit was canned. I don't even serve canned fruit at home! I never did see a macadamia nut on board.
I turned 40 on this cruise on our second night on board. We tried to get into dinner at the dining room and were told we needed reservations. We tried every restaurant on board and the earliest we could eat was 9pm. With 2 young kids dressed and ready to eat at 6pm, this wasn't great news.
My mom was so upset that she was near tears. We had planned this cruise for a long time. We finally did get seated for dinner on my birthday in the main (free) dining room. The menu was fair, but I really didn't like anything on it. I had the lobster, which was good, but which I didn't really want! The manager of the steakhouse took pity on us and got us reservations at the steak house the following night because many were booked into a luau. There were 6 other tables served the whole time we were there (1 1/2 hours). Why was this restaurant not taking reservations??? It should have been full. This was true of every restaurant we ate at. Huge waits, but the dining rooms were half empty. I was stunned.
We managed to eat in two specialty restaurants. The Lazy J steakhouse and the tepanyaki restaurant at 9pm, my 8-year old fell asleep at the table before she got her food). The food at the steakhouse was excellent as was the server. I read a bad review of the steak, but mine was tender and really good. Luck of the draw perhaps! The teppanyaki was also very good, though there isn't much fancy cooking. I could have done what our chef did! The service here was good as well!
I also received good service from the hostess of the Cadillac Diner. Aside from the few people I have listed here, the staff and crew were rude, unhelpful and downright clueless. At one point I asked an officer if there was going to be silverware brought out soon (I walked the dining room twice to find some; food was now cold). He went to get some and brought out ONE SET!! There were like 6 more people waiting by that time!
Had a delicious breakfast at the diner one morning, but the waitress was so rude, I could not believe it. When I asked for coffee, she actually rolled her eyes at me! I was toying with the idea of getting it myself I had waited so long.
One afternoon, the buffet had closed and I wanted something to snack on because dinner wasn't until 9 that night! I went to the grill and there was a huge line to place an order with a really obnoxious crew member! There had been fruit at one point, but not when I got in line. The choices were all heavy and greasy and I am not exaggerating when I say I waited 20 minutes for a mediocre cheeseburger. The obnoxious staff member actually wrote down the time I ordered and I was served 14 minutes after I ordered, five minutes in line to order. He actually had the audacity to say "Better than at McDonald's" when he handed me my plate. I was irate to say the least. This cruise was not a budget cruise!! I expected common courtesy at least!
The entertainment on the cruise was laughable. There were a few good acts, but after 10 pm, there was nothing to do at all. It was awful! We were bored stiff on ship nights.
There was one show put on by the crew that culminated in them all spitting water at each other. My 3 daughters attended this show. My 20 year old was disgusted and offended. My 8 and 10 year old thought it was funny. Who are these shows directed at? Yuck!
The cruise director, Shona Blair, could not have had less charisma if she was trying. She had a really annoying voice quality and was absolutely uninteresting and unfunny. This did not keep her from telling joke after stupid joke! If I heard her say "I have to be totally honest..." one more time during a show, I was gonnna scream!! It was tedious being around her voice!
The child centers were well run, it seemed and my kids had a lot of fun there. However, there were huge chunks of time when the kids wanted an activity other than the pool and they were closed! I was really disappointed that the kids were bored a lot while on board.
The pools were small and there were not nearly enough deck chairs. In addition there were never any towels available. By the last day of the cruise there was someone handing out towels, one per passenger. And I couldn't get my kids' towels for them. They had to be present to claim their own towels. It was ridiculous! Can't they just wash them and re-circulate them?
I didn't use the spa because frankly, I have a wonderful spa at home where they are really great to me. I knew I would get crummy service on this ship so I didn't even try.
I also didn't use the photographer because I just wasn't spending another dime with this company!
My first attempt to use my soda card was almost funny. I came up to one side of the bar with my pasta and soup and asked for a soda. I was told to walk to the other side of the bar (all of three feet away). I did and was then given a 6 oz cup of soda. It was literally three swallows of soda. Then I waited in line for another one!! It was almost funny, like I said.
The bottom line really is: if you can cancel this cruise, do it!! You will be disappointed! If it's too late to cancel, book your reservations for dining as soon as you board the ship. You will be staying in the equivalent of a lousy hotel so just book yourself a rental car and book your excursions through the provider and not the cruise line. Enjoy the beauty of the islands and spend as little time on board as possible. But, if you can cancel, do it!
I wouldn't take another NCL cruise if they gave it to me. It was the pits!