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Bill

Age: 50

Occupation:Technician

Number of Cruises: 5

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Pride of America

Sailing Date: 04-11-2009

Itinerary: Hawaii

Contrary to some reviews we found the staff to be very friendly and courteous. We saw no rudeness whatsoever directed at customers although we did hear some grumbling about supervisors. The American staff was not as subservient as on other cruises with international staff but they were very open and honest and gave good information about activities in port. Embarkation/Debarkation went smoothly and quickly. We had a large party(10) and made reservations for the main dining room (Skyline) for dinners. While most of the servers were very good we had different ones each night, even though we were at the same table and the same time. I suppose this is the nature of freestyle, but when there are consistent servers it gets a bit more personalized.

Food in Skyline was mediocre. One night we had dinner in Little Italy, food was better. The Aloha Buffet food was mostly very good, but traffic management was poor, silver ware and dishes were frequently hard to find. Drink stations frequently were empty / out of order.

We had an inside stateroom, our steward did a great job of keeping things squared away but did not make a nuisance of himself.

With this itinerary the days were spent ashore. Nighttime entertainment was OK. The Second City show was somewhat disappointing especially the late one in the Mardi Gras.

We booked one excursion through NCL the Zipline / Eco Challenge in Kuai. Very good excursion highly recommend. In Maui, we rented a car, went out the Hana road to the bamboo forest and waterfalls and went to the Old Lahaina Luau. Highly recommend both.

For this itinerary, island hopping there really is no other choice. We had mixed feelings about freestyle, it was nice not to have to worry about packing suits etc., it did lack some of the personalized service. However, it was somewhat refreshing to have an American staff that didn't act like they would be shot if they accidentally did the wrong thing. We were much more pleased with the food on previous cruises on RCCL. Most of our party had cruised before on RCCL Vision Class ships and the consensus was that while they were a bit smaller, the RCCL ships "seemed" to have less side to side roll. Of course this is subjective since both were not compared at the same time and place. Overall, it was a good experience and a great way to see several islands. The American staff exceeded expectations, however better organization in the buffet and better food quality in the main dining room would have made this a great experience.

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