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Captain Merky 08-14-2006 04:49 PM

Is anyone else doing the 7-day Hawaii cruise on The Pride of America leaving Honolulu on 9th September 2006?

S Blaine 08-18-2006 06:30 AM

Good luck on your cruise. We sailed in May on the Pride of America and couldn't have been more upset. There is no such thing as "freestyle dining" on this ship. 2-3 hour diners were the norm, and the service was horrible. Cold food and miscooked food was guaranteed. After many talks with management, they admitted that the ship has routinely saled with only 50% of the needed food staff. This was my 6th NCL cruise and I'll never sail with them again.
I have file a lawsuit against NCL. I would love to hear your comments after you sail.

kim lilley 08-18-2006 01:14 PM


This was my 6th NCL cruise and I'll never sail with them again.
I have file a lawsuit against NCL. I would love to hear your comments after you sail
It took you 6 trips with NCL to finally decide not to sail with them. Sorry to be ignorant, but just curious, are you suing them because of bad service? That's too bad that you had such a bad time. I went on the Pride of Aloha, and although not perfect they were very accomadating to my requests, ie, cleaning room and even to change to another room due to foul odor. The dinners were good, and yes, it is true that dinner can take up to 2 hours, I found, for me anyway, a good way to relax and unwind after a busy day in the Hawaiian Islands. Call me crazy, but I plan to do this trip again on the American flagged ship because you can spend so much time on the islands that the other cruise lines can not do without having to sail out to sea to a foreign port. Unless of course you want to be out to sea more days. It's a personal peference. I'd rather be on land more doing and seeing things then be on the ship alot. The ship was just my floating hotel and a good one at that. I went with the mindset I am here for the Islands first and the ship next. As long as my room was clean and food good, with cocktail hour I was a happy girl,and all of the above were. The staff were friendly as well. I found if I treated them as I wanted to be treated they went out of their way to help me. Too bad it took 6 trips with NCl to make your final decsion that it was such a bad ship. I hope I am fortuante enough that I don't feel that way when I come backwith NCL for the Hawaiian Islands next year.

Captain Merky 08-19-2006 12:13 AM

Thanks Kim for your timely reply. I was beginning to worry that we had made a bad choice to go on this cruise!

Your message had a great resonance with our reasons for opting for this cruise. We really want to see and discover the islands and from my research, the best way seemed to be by cruising. We have planned shore excursions on every island and have gone with NCL offers. They may be more expensive than ones we could have organised ourselves, but we are not charged with the responsibility of getting back to the ship in time for sailing. To us, this seemed to be a fair guarantee of being able to relax and enjoy the experience.

Our plan was to treat the ship as a floating hotel (just as you mentioned) and we are combining the cruise with 6 days in Vancouver where I am told we can do all the fine dining we would want on a holiday.

I am more excited about this holiday than I have ever been, and this forum has been invaluable in giving us a clue as to what to expect. I will certainly post my findings when we're back.

kim lilley 08-19-2006 12:53 PM

Hi Captain Merky,
I am glad to offer my experience on the ship. WHen you think of the cost it would be if you independently booked hotel, airfare between 4 islands and food, this is quite a deal. A burger on my own was $9.00. That being said I didn't sweat the small stuff. Having never cruised before, and maybe ignorance is bliss, I can't compare to other ships service or food. The buffet I heard was like a plain all you can eat deal for lunch, but I was off the ship during lunch, so it did not matter. However, breakfast at the buffet had a lot of variety and a great omelette and waffle bar made on front of you. I found if I ate at 6:30 to & 7:00 am no problem getting a seat, after that it gets quite busy.
Having never cruised I was also nervous of missing the ship. I did a compromise, when at port overnight, we rented a car the first day and did things on our own and the second day we did the excursions so we too could relax and not worry about missing the ship. I did so much research on what to do so I could utilize my time well on such a short visit. I became a thrifty car member( for free) you can go online and sign up with them, or call them. I pre-rented all my cars before hand. The car rentals have free shuttles to the airport ( 5 to 10 minute drive). Just be sure to check what time the last free shuttle is back to the port. If you have a chance check out the Napali explorer in Kaui. It was breathtaking. THey take you out on a motorized rubber boat ( hold 30 people) and you snorkle there as well. If you have a bad back or prone to sea sickness, then avoid it. We went horseback riding in Wiapo valley in Hilo and then took our rental car for a quick stop by the Tropical Hawiian gardens. This is what you picture a true Hawaiian garden to look like, very natural and kept up nicely without looking to Disney like. They cancelled the helicopter ride because of bad weather. Again, I did extensive research and on the island of Kaui, only 2 companies never crashed. Will Squires ( the one I booked with) and Air Kaui. I am a nervous flyer, so I did my homework. I know you can't control everything, but it's nice to know they never had a crash in 22 years of business and I called them to ask them ethical questions about safety of going up. They were ethical and did cancel due to bad weather which I appreciated. Wasn't meant to be at that time, but will try them again next year. Maui, we did the road to Hana, very beautiful, was not too impressed with our guide called Meryl the Pearl. Wasn't too bad but had a rough side to him, regardless, the beauty takes your focus off him and on the islands. Very long however, 8.5 hours. If your a good driver and used to skinny and windy roads, there are about 615 hairpin turn and lots of one way bridges where only one car at a time can pass. If you decide to drive yourself you can pick up a cd from k-mart that guides and narrates the drive. Several people I spoke to said it wasn't a bad drive. Just pay close attention to the road. So many pretty waterfalls and mountains overlooking the ocean. It will take your breath away. If you have time I did research again, and booked my own luau with the "Old LAhaina LUau". It's traditioanl hawaiian. They sell out 3 to 6 months in advance. They were voted no 1 by the travelers channel, been on Emerils live and Macy day parade. No fire dancers however being that is Samoan and this is strictly traditional Hawwaiian. If your looking ro Polynesain revue of all the islands then book the luau somewhere else. Theay are online. Google was a great research engine. No matter what you do you can't go wrong, It's Hawaii, and you will fall in love with the Islands.
Please don't think the ship is without fault, but to me it was all minor, maybe I was lucky, but I went on thinking whatever was not right could be fixed. They even reimbursed for one of the land excursions with less than 24 hour cancelation notice when I told them one of my members was not feeling well enough to go on it.
I witnessed some verbal abuse of some cruisers to the crew that was uneccassary and was embarrassed for the cruisers verbal abuse and felt bad for the crew members. That's why I found if I was polite and asked nicley for things they really went out of their way to help. I know it is thier choice, but they work 5 months in a row with very little time off, and share a room with 3 others. So I was lenient with them if they looked tired and may have appeared indifferent. But really, the majority of the crew had smiles and were fun to talk with. It's hard to work with the public because you can't please everyone. Although there may be some indifferent crew members, you will find alot of them pleasant, even under stress.
Oh yeah, one word of waring dinner is a 2 hour experince, Prebook all your reservations this way you will not wait in line. But after a busy day in port I welcomed the down time to eat. I reminds me of being in Europe witha 5 curse dinner, with the pleasusre of good food, and good conversation instead of rushing through your meal. For solverniers (spelt wrong, sorry) Free shuttle at all port to K-mart or wal-mart are the cheapest ones you can get, Hilo hatties, ABC, and Longs' drugstore are not bad prices either for Kona coffe, and Macamedemia nuts. I am so excited for you for visiting HAwaii. I am currently working on booking my next trip with NCL for the Hawaiian Islands to do the things I didn't do the first time around. Let me know if you liked the Pride of America. Ad like your self I too was sceptical of cruising NCL because of the bad reviews, but I feel you have your priorities in order ad you will have a blast. Sorry so lengthy, I get excited talking about Hawaii.

Captain Merky 08-19-2006 03:00 PM

Hi Kim,

You're a gem! Such a comprehensive message laden with tips and friendly advice.

OK, so here is our plan. We're not keen drivers and having never driven in the US, (we're from the UK) we felt we would much rather take in the sights than navigate our way round unfamiliar islands. So we've put our fate in the hands of NCL tours. Our itinerary is as follows: KILAUEA LAVA VIEWING ADVENTURE HIKE, WAIMEA CANYON, WAILUA RIVER & FERN GROTTO, HEAVEN & EARTH HELICOPTER EXPEDITION, HALEAKALA CRATER, BEST OF WEST MAUI and HIGHLIGHTS OF OAHU, the last of which is yet to be confirmed. We have already booked The Old Lahaina Luau (great minds think alike!) but it is quite a challenge to get there without driving. My message on that topic only had one response saying that it was pretty near impossible getting there by any form of public transport. You'd think that Old Lahaina would have some kind of shuttle service from the port.... but I guess NCL have blocked that as they operate their own luau. I just didn't fancy turning up to one of these events with potentially hundreds of other passengers from the ship! We also plan to have a day on the beach in Kona on our own if we can get ourselves there! We've gone for a bit of adventure/sightseeing as that's the kind of stuff we enjoy. I seriously doubt that we'll ever be on board the ship for lunch but it's good to know that breakfast is well catered.

We will be sure to make reservations for dinner as you're not the first person I've seen saying this and it probably takes some of the guess work out of getting a table. But I know that even with reservations, there can be waits. I'm in no hurry - we're on holiday after all!

My first mate also wishes to thank you for your time and trouble in responding to us.

kim lilley 08-19-2006 06:10 PM

Hi Merky and first mate,

Where in the UK are you from? I graduated high school in Knightsbridge in London and lived in Putney Hill. I really loved living in London. Been back to visit and I never get bored over there. Your itinerary sounds wonderful. Let me know how you enjoyed your excursions, it will give me insight of what I may want to look into next year. The only excursion I did that was the same as yours was the Haleleakala crater. It looks so surreal. I tried to talk my friends into taking the bikeride down the crater but no bites. I will do that next time.
You will love the Old Lahaina luau. The ambiance is surperb. Sorry about my spelling, I type to fast and should really look for my mistakes. I can understand your thoughts about driving on unknown territory and there's something to be said about things being taken care for you! If you taxi roundtrip from the port to the luau, I heard it is very costly, maybe $100.00 range? They have Maui on your own as part of NCL excursion, at least that will get you there one way. I looked online before I went and I found the "Maui Bus" run by Roberts Hawaii. tele# 808 871 4838, or or public.transit@co.maui, It states the bus service does not stop at the Kahului airport but from K-mart(rte 1 & 2) and from Wal-mart (Rte B,C & 2) it approx. 2 miles from airport. Judging from the map it looks like you want to take rte B from Kahhului to Lahaina. There is free shuttle from port to either k-mart or wal-mart or perhaps both. It will drop you off to the wharf cinema ctr. in lahaina. I am not sure in relation to the luau where it is located, but people can help you find it. At least it will save you cab fare one way. Lahaina is a bustling whaling village area with lovely shops and restuarants. I believe they also may have a free trolly that will take you a little more north to Ka'anapali beach which is a pretty beach. The times deport between 5:40am to 5:33 pm so you can go early and enjoy your day in Lahaina before the Luau.
If you have a chance taxi to Iao valley in Maui. I'ts a site not to be missed. It's a very short distance, maybe 6 miles from the port. If you have any questions you can e-mail me at
Again have a wonderful vacation!

Captain Merky 10-01-2006 12:11 AM


Originally posted by S Blaine:
Good luck on your cruise. We sailed in May on the Pride of America and couldn't have been more upset. There is no such thing as "freestyle dining" on this ship. 2-3 hour diners were the norm, and the service was horrible. Cold food and miscooked food was guaranteed. After many talks with management, they admitted that the ship has routinely saled with only 50% of the needed food staff. This was my 6th NCL cruise and I'll never sail with them again.
I have file a lawsuit against NCL. I would love to hear your comments after you sail.
Sorry yours was such a bad experience. We had a magnificent time! The food we had was always very good - not exceptional, I would admit, but I would not expect that from such a cruise. We were able to complete most of our 3 course dinners in just over an hour! Breakfast in the Cadillac Diner was the only slow service we had and even that was not a problem.

I have posted a lengthy review of our trip under a new thread if you're interested.

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