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Hortensia Montel

Age: 50

Occupation:Legal Assistant

Number of Cruises: 18

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Pride of America

Sailing Date: November 24th, 2007

Itinerary: Hawaii

Let me start by saying that ALL aspects of this cruise were EXCELLENT. Having said that I must admit that I was somewhat concerned about this ship and it’s crew after reading the multitude of bad reviews. Frankly, I don’t know what ship these grouches were on, but it certainly wasn’t NCL’s Pride of America that I sailed on. Furthermore, this was my 18th cruise and I am an avid traveler, so I have lots of cruising experience enough to know the difference between good and bad. I am also the kind of person that tries to find good in every trip I take, so EVEN if I had found something negative about NCL’s Pride of America (which I didn’t) I would have tried to find the good things. The fact is that people only talk and write about bad things, but if things are good, they seem to forget to mention it. All these folks are grouches and party-poopers - they don’t know a good thing even if it bit them in the face. NCL’s Pride of America, is a VERY GOOD thing!

The Staff:

I do not exaggerate when I say that not one crew member or staff personnel was rude. In fact, it was a pleasure, beyond all other cruises I have taken, to speak with the crew. Every one of these young men and women had a story, or a reason to be there and they worked very hard, were extremely pleasant and helpful, and a joy to be around. From our cabin steward, room service attendants, shore excursion desk agents, front desk reps, and finally the absolute most wonderful dining room staff I have EVER had the pleasure to deal with on ANY cruise, by far. That includes the Maitre’ D, the host/hostess, the head waiter, the assistant waiter, all of them….in dining rooms, as well as specialty restaurants. In fact. we had such a good time with one group in particular, we dined with them almost every night at the Liberty Dining Room -- and what a pleasure it was when we would run into them during the day at the other eating spots, and they would actually call us by our names, and yes, like the reviews said, “hey, how ya doing!” It felt wonderful and we loved them, shared e-mail addresses, took pictures and have already shared that with them! Thank you Dave Priest, Gaetano Castellano and A.J.! Three fine young men from different cities in our wonderful nation, all with big dreams and working hard. I can’t emphasize this enough. We also met a young man, an employee with the security surveillance team who was extremely helpful to us in pointing out some of the local spots around the different islands. An absolute pleasure of a young man. The photographers, the gift shop attendants, I could go on and on and on and frankly am still amazed, and we often repeated it during the cruise, what were those other cruisers thinking when they wrote their reviews. We were in one of the Jacuzzis late one afternoon and an older gentlemen from Kentucky was complaining about the dinner the previous night because the pepper shaker was empty!!!!!!!!!!! For goodness sake! I would certainly hate to live with these folks.

As to cabin stewards not being attentive????? Seconds after embarkation I walked into my cabin and found the connecting door to the other cabin (unrelated to me) was opened and not 10 minutes after I called, an attendant was there to lock the door. When I met our cabin steward I asked him for two special requests: (1) fresh towels every evening and (2) ice in our bucket twice a day. I did not have to repeat it twice. The minute we would turn that dial on the outside of the door to “make up room” or “turn down cabin” it was done! One day, WE forgot to turn the dial and left it at “do not disturb” and when we returned from the tour naturally cabin was not made up. Whose mistake was that? Certainly not his. I called the front desk, told them what had happened and left for lunch - when we returned from lunch, cabin was perfectly made.


Many of the cruises I have taken have sailed from Miami or Fort Lauderdale and I am embarrassed to say that if anyone has seen our unattractive ports they would then understand my totally pleasant surprise when I saw the Aloha Marketplace located right next to where our ship was docked and where we would embark from! Embarkation took a while, but only because ship was full capacity and there were 2000+ guests sailing. We were there around 2:00pm, but I suspect had we come in a little later, it would have been a lot quicker. Not a big deal, I think it took about 35-45 minutes from beginning of line to getting on ship!

By far, the prettiest ship I have ever been on. Beautiful decorations, beautiful dining rooms, restaurants, decks, atriums, gift shop boulevards, all gorgeously decorated in Americana décor. An absolute beauty! Also, very easy to learn and get around.

The Food:

With the exception of a Macadamia Nut Soup, which was not to my liking (and not because it was bad, just not my palate), all the dishes we ate were splendid. At the dining rooms, both Liberty and Skyline, at the steakhouse restaurant, which is the only specialty restaurant we dined at, at Cadillac’s Diner (yummy) and at the Aloha Café and Deck. All meals were wonderful, perfectly seasoned and well done. And yes, I have to repeat it…..the fact the dining room/restaurants’ staff was so enjoyable made all dining experiences unforgettable.

What can I say, this was Hawaii. This trip should be on everyone’s list! There aren’t many words that can describe the beauty that I witnessed in the 8 days I was in Hawaii (one at a hotel and 7 on the cruise). It was a long flight from Miami and back, but very much worth the 11 hours it took us to get there. I would repeat it in a heart beat, tomorrow, in fact, if I could.


Again, they scored big time! The easiest disembarkation I have ever done. Our color tags were called at 8:00am, we were on a cab. I kid you not, having picked up our luggage at 8:15am and at the airport at 8:45 (way too early, but that was our choice!)

In General:

All in all, I would rate them a perfect score...100. Kudos to NCL for a great, great cruise!

Anyone who is considering taking this cruise and has questions, doubts or wants information, can feel free to write me at

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