Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Pride of Aloha
Sailing Date: May 22nd, 2005
I wanted to get my review in while it's still fresh in my mind. My husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary and his birthday on this cruise. I have been very curious about this ship and the itinerary ever since they launched it in 2004. I have also read many reviews and kept track of the progress NCL America is making with this product. I think they have a good start and will continue to improve over time as they launch the new Pride of America this year and Pride of Hawaii in 2006. My main complaint about the Aloha is the quality of the staterooms. Not only are they really tiny but they smell bad and are not kept very clean. Our inside stateroom was 121 square feet and flooded the first night. NCL did take action to move us but it took almost 2 days and we had to sleep breathing moldy and mildewy air during that time. Honestly I think they are overwhelmed with bookings and the demand is getting so high that they have no turn around time to make improvements. Unless you get a balcony stateroom or a suite, I would seriously wait until these next 2 ships launch and book your trip then. The public areas were very nice, especially the Kumu Cultural Center. The decor is very Hawaiian and loud but fun and upbeat. I have really nothing bad to say about the food. We were served promptly and never really had a wait for the main dining room. My favorite foods on the cruise were the Cheese and Pear Blintzes at breakfast in the Palace Restaurant, the Spinach salad and chocolate fondue dessert at the Royal Palm Bistro.
The specialty restaurants are really good. If you want an intimate and less noisy dining experience go for these. I was disappointed in the Napali Coast sailing because they closed the deck for viewing due to high winds. We watched from the LongBoard Sports Bar and while the Cruise Director was on the PA system explaining some of the things about the coast, we had to listen to rock music videos. They didn't even have the decency to turn that off during the sail. The shows are pretty good. We saw "Runnin' Wild" on the last night, and it's definitely not for kids.
The menus are not as diverse as other ships but this is partly due to the Freestyle Dining concept. They just can't offer everything to everyone unfortunately. We did lots of activities on our own, the Shore Excursion Desk was totally packed every day. We did do the Haleakala Crater sunrise excursion for $59 apiece and that was worth the money. Don't get roped into buying all their excursions. You'll be worn out. Instead do a little research on your own and discover Hawaii for yourself, not from the seats of a huge tour bus. You'll be much happier and come away with a deeper appreciation for the culture.