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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 01-08-2007, 12:44 PM
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I'm hoping to get some feedback from people who have taken the Hawaiian islands cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line's "Pride of America." I just made reservations for the 7-day cruise in early May and I thought I was getting a good deal, but after reading some reviews on other forums it appears that I may be headed for disaster.

For every "decent" review I have read for this particular cruise there are three scathing reviews that usually include the words "We will NEVER cruise with NCL again." The list of complaints is long, with rude/apathetic staff and filthy accommodations topping the list (apparently you're lucky if they clean your room twice on the 7-day cruise). Other complaints include: Long waits for dining, dissatisfaction with the "freestyle cruising" concept, toilets that don't work and smells of sewage/diesel fuel on certain areas of the ship, running out of food, tiny pools, having to pay extra to eat at the "specialty" restaurants and not getting your money's worth; the list just seems to go on and on, and it also seems that those people who do complain to NCL get the brush-off.

Now, I have never been on a cruise so I don't know what to expect, but my wife has been on a few cruises with other cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Holland America, and based on what I've read so far I'm VERY concerned that this particular cruise that I have booked is one of the absolute worst out there. I'm more concerned about my wife because she wanted to cruise the islands and I want this to be a good experience for her, so the questions: Is this cruise really as awful as everyone claims it is? Is the staff really that rude and lackadaisical? Are the rooms really that dirty and that poorly maintained? Is the food really so sub-standard compared to other cruise lines? Have I just made a big mistake? Should I cut my losses now by canceling the reservation and paying the $100.00 or so before I really regret laying out over $2,500.00 for air fare and 7 nights at sea on a boat that sounds like the pleasure cruise equivalent of a garbage scow?

If you have taken this cruise I would really appreciate it if you would share your experience with me and give me an overall appraisal of how this cruise stacks up against other cruises and other cruise lines.

Thanks in advance to all who respond.
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Old 01-08-2007, 04:48 PM
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I cant really say anything about the ship you are talking about because I have never sailed it. I can tell you that some of the things you read here aren't always true, just coming from someone who had a bad time. I had read terrible reviews from people about HAL's Ryndam and it scared me to death. They said that hundreds of people were getting sick and that there were terrible sewage problems in the cabins we were going to be in. Well, we had a great cruise and not one stitch of trouble with sewage, bad water or anyone getting sick. I have learned that I will try things myself before I believe 1 or 2 peoples bad reviews. If you have a concern, have your travel agent call the company, or you can call them directly. We did and they told us there was 1 isolated incident of a broken sewage pipe and that it had been fixed. Shoot that can happen in your hotel or even in your own home, doesnt ruin it for everyone. Have a great time and relax.
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Old 01-08-2007, 04:49 PM
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Also, the Pride of America is only a couple years old. Live with Regis and Kelly did a show from that ship when it went from Boston to Florida and it looked really nice.
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Old 01-08-2007, 05:07 PM
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Hello sarge927 and welcome to cruise-chat;
I have never cruised NCL so I can offer no insight into the line or the ship; but it looks to me like you are setting yourself up for disaster. You sound like your mind as already made up that you're going to have a miserable time and you just want us to confirm it. You have practically written a critique of your cruise before ever taking it.
What you've done is given all those with an axe to grind with NCL an opportunity to rant--and rant they will; just like you have.
I don't think any number of good comments at this point are going to change your mind.
And if your wife has experience with RCL and HAL, she's probably not going to be swept off her feet either.
My advice: eat the $100 now before this gets any worse.
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Old 01-08-2007, 06:02 PM
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I have read so many reviews about ships that I have sailed on which were bad mouthing everything from the food to the waiters to the entertainment to, well, you get my message. After sailing, I have come to the conclusion to find out for yourself. I am always apathetic about people who just demand way too much and just like to complain. I have always felt you need to try it yourself and come to you own conclusions. But, then again, as fmattox stated, you seem to have that mindset that you will be overanxious to find fault on this cruise. If you go on with a positive attitude that "Hey, I'm on vacation, and I'm going to have a good time" then you will. Don't let the responses of a few people draw your conclusions. Everyone will have some type of complaint. Sure, I have found faults with some of the cruises I have been on, but still had a good time. Hopefully, all the bad press about this cruise will probably come out now from those few who just like to complain. Find out for yourself. Living the experience is half the fun! You're on vacation! Enjoy!!!
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Old 01-08-2007, 07:46 PM
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I HAVE cruise NCL (why didn't you post this in the NCL section?) and will say that its not a bad experience. Its different than Carnival, but that is what competition is all about. Offering something for everyone. Go with an open mind, ignore most of the "bad things" you read about because they are typically written by someone with a bug up their backside. There can be problems on any cruiseline. I had friends that did a Celebrity cruise through the canal and their toliet backed up a couple of times. in the first couple of days. The cruise staff cleaned it up and found them a new cabin AND gave them some "perks". Some people would have let it ruin their cruise, but they didn't and still had the time of their lives...

You can read my Dream Review in the NCL section if you like. Its an older ship. I have NOTHING bad to say about the staff or the cruise line. We had a great cruise for the price, but the bottom line is that we didn't care for the freestyle concept. I won't say we will never cruise NCL again, but I have other lines I'd like to check out before I'll repeat.
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Old 01-18-2007, 12:00 PM
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Hi, Sarge,
Ten friends and I took the 7 day Hawaiian cruise from December 16-23 on NCL's Pride of America. We've all been on previous cruises; this was my 4th cruise and 4th cruise line. We all agreed that the itinerary was great with the right stops for the right duration. The ship was beautiful and clean, the rooms were clean and the stewards friendly and efficient. The big disappointment was in the main dining room which was noisy and chaotic. Most of the servers seemed to be either inexperienced or poorly trained. Many went beyond friendly to overly familiar and flip. Service was very slow with a lot of mistakes, portions were small and the food wasn't very good. I was surprised that it bothered me so much because I'm not a big eater but pleasant dining should be part of the cruise experience. After a few bad experiences each, we all moved to the Aloha Buffet where the food was basic but not bad. If you've already paid for the cruise, enjoy it but don't expect a great dining experience. The ship and especially Hawaii will still be beautiful. Aloha!
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Old 01-18-2007, 12:46 PM
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I am afraid that it comes down to how badly you want this particular itinerary. I too had posted regarding the Pride of America from my son and his new bride's perspective. (Look under NCL postings) (I personally had a great experience on an NCL Caribbean cruise.)

If you can go out to dinner, (where do you live?) and have a good time being served by Americans then you shouldn't have a particularly bad time on this cruise. The staff are Americans and you won't get the kind of service you might expect from a more international staff on another ship sailing under a flag other than the good old USA.

This is a good way to see the different islands of Hawaii and if the Hawaiian islands are important to you, take the cruise and focus on your tours ashore but if the cruise experience is a major part of what you want to accomplish, I would suggest you re-book another itinerary.

Whatever you decide on try to clear your mind of pre-conceived notions and make it your purpose to have a grand time. That puts the responsibility on you and I am sure you will do great.

Chef Ken
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Old 01-18-2007, 02:00 PM
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Sarge, I am not a fan of NCL but am seriously planing to do this cruise summer, 08. I have been to Hawaii before (fly) however, to me there is no better way to see all the islands than to do a cruise around them. It sad that NCL has the only summer market cruising around the Islands. I do not have the time to do a 15 nighter from the mainland. I will mention that two of my favorite on line agencies CVC and Only fun vacations will not book NCL anymore. When I asked why they responded that there were just too many complaints so they began steering their clients elsewhere. I will agree with a previous poster and say go and enjoy the beauty of Hawaii!
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Old 01-24-2007, 12:49 PM
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I just returned from the January 13th sailing of the Pride of America and after over 33 years of cruising, I have to admit that this was the cruise from hell. It is simply not practical to list all the issues, so I'll "highlight" a few. 1) Food was consistently cold, and even when we finally got a hot meal after five days, it was average at best. 2) NCL didn't book the air until the last moment resulting in horrible lay-overs. 3) The wait staff was amateurish at best ... and I'm being polite ... you just can't imagine it being much worse. 4) You couldn't get a reservation in the extra-cost restaurants even though the tables were consistently 60% empty and the staff didn't seem to have a problem just walking in and getting a table or two. 5) It took three hours to have dinner, even though we told them we were in a rush. 5) Calling reception (the front-desk on board) I had the phone ring 152 times and they still didn't answer. 6) Our expensive balcony stateroom faced rusted metal walls that totally blocked any view at every port. 7) Dirty silverware constantly. 8) Absurd tender times, it once took me almost two hours to go from the port to the ship and back, after I forgot my camera. 8) Lousy port of Hilo - what a waste of time. 9) Rude staff. 10) Kept running of of food. 11) I was overcharged for my cabin and they refused to refund the money. 12) Really, really angry employees who kept telling us that this was their last cruise. So many that I lost count.
13) Closing the buffets early or not restocking the food so that when you got there, you only had the "leftovers"....nasty! 14) no Hawaiian food. It is a Hawaiian cruise after all. 15) Nasty, and I mean really nasty food at the outside pool areas. Truly gross "hamburgers" floating in ugly, greasy water for hours. Even after I complained three times to the head of all the restaurants (Daniel Stock), no change. 16) $47 for a five minute call to reserve a car even though the ship was docked. 17) "Specialty" restaurants are far, far too expensive for the quality. 18) Crazy expensive for internet access. 19) Wines are absurdly expensive, even compared to expensive off-ship places. 20) Alcoholic drinks appeared to be "watered-down"... we started asking for the alcohol to be brought to us "straight up" in a jigger to stop it.
Although this just scratches the surface of the problems, you can get an idea. The food and staffing issues are so severe, that frankly I don't see any resolution unless the entire crew was replaced. The only bright spot on board was the cabin steward who did a great job. (but, she's quitting too)
Please bear in mind I own a travel agency. And as a result, my agency will not be booking NCL any longer. The list I presented here really can't convey how lousy the cruise was or how much I feel cheated. I just hope I can save someone from making the same mistake.
 
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