My fiance and I are planning our honeymoon. We had set our sights on Pride of Aloha-- but, man, the reviews I've read are AWEFUL. We've liked Carnival cruises the best and have not enjoyed Royal Caribbean. NCL looks like bad news. Good food is important and it seems like NCL can't deliver.
KFB, it's true that NCL's Hawaii ships have been having problems since that division of NCL started up. The problems have been with the staff.
If you have your heart set on seeing Hawaii for your honeymoon, I think the NCL ships are the best way to do it. You're off the ship all day on one of the islands, and sail to the next island at night. It's a great way to see several of the islands in the course of a week, without having to pack, spend time at the airport, fly to another island, unpack, and do that again the next day or two.
As for food, it's hard to say whether any cruise line's food is "bad." Opinions about food are very personal. One person may think the food is great, while another person thinks the same food is terrible. It's hard for someone else to say whether or not you'll like the food. You said you like Carnival the best, but I know folks who would say Carnival's food is not as good as the other cruise lines' food, so it's always hard to take someone's word for it.
You didn't mention when your honeymoon will be. NCL is working on their staffing issues. There are folks who went on Pride of Aloha and had a great time. Perhaps that will be the case more and more often as NCL gets its problems worked out. I'm scheduled to sail Pride of Hawaii at the end of the year, and am giving NCL the benefit of the doubt. Very often, a cruise is what you make of it, how you roll with any punches that come up, and how good a time you have off the ship as well as on.
I don't think there's a cruise line out there that gets rave reviews on every sailing from every passenger onboard. One man's trash is another man's treasure!
Food is so opinionated.
If the food served is better than what I can get in my hometown, it's great. NCL delivers on great food, imho.
But don't expect 5 Star or even 4 Star restaurants aboard "any" cruise ship, much less aboard a NCL ship.
Here's a Pride of Aloha fare breakout for an inside guarantee cabin for a seven day cruise.
Taxes and Fees $186.48 $186.48 $372.96
Voyage Fares...$459.00 $459.00 $918.00
Guest Total....$645.48 $645.48 $1,290.96
Note, NCL only gains income on the Fares, not on taxes and fees, which they must pay for every passenger. So, taking the $918 and dividing it by seven day, NCL gross income from you is only $131.14 per day per cabin (assuming there's only two adults in the cabin). Individual NCL gross is only half that, or just $65.57. Golly, most motels off freeways charge more than $65 per night per room, and they don't have to feed you or pay high fuel prices to move the motel around from one place to another.
From that $67.57 per passenger per day, NCL pays the crew it's salary, pay for the financing of the ship, pay for the fuel, and pay for your food.
And some wonder why extras costs more, and why extras have so high a markup? I doubt NCL could make a profit with such low fares without high markup on extras.
At this point in time, fuel prices have soared 50% higher than last year, while fares have remained close to the same. Simple economics dictate cuts in other areas to pay for the higher fuel prices. Food is just one of the areas all the cruise lines are cutting....
Ron makes an excellent point. I was going to go to Hawaii to take pictures in July when I get back from my cruises for a website I am going to launch (HawaiiReviews.com, the template is there now) I needed to go to the major islands and spend a day taking general shots. There was no way I could do it cheaper than on the Pride of Aloha. Hotels in Hawaii are EXPENSIVE, neighbor island airfare is EXPENSIVE and the time I would waste packing and unpacking and getting to and from the hotels would require me to spend many more days to get the same results. I think the single fare in mid July was a tad over $1,200.00.
I think if folks look at the reality of pricing, they can adjust their expectations to be more in line with the experience.
I agree the food issue is personal, if you expect a good time in Hawai, cruise seems cheaper than fly in and out island plus hotel and food, I have been there and if you do not have high expectation for food and just a good time, you will enjoy more in honeymoon with your love one.
Remember you can't believe everything you read. I wrote a review once about our fabulous cruise and someone else wrote for the same cruise, same time how awful it was. Can't believe we could have been on the same ship. Your honeymoon will be what you make of it. Yes, it may not be perfect but it will be wonderful just the same. I am not sure when your honeymoon is but the new Pride of Hawaii will set sail soon. New ships are risky too. We went on the NCL Wind April 1 for an 11 day Hawaiian cruise. It was a smaller ship and older but the crew were both american and foreign. We had a GREAT time! Yes the food was not perfect, the weather definitely was not perfect but the crew was great. And as my husband so lovingly put it....As long as we're together!!! The Carnival Conquest is a great ship and the itinerary is good. I do believe the food on RCCL is much better than Carnival or NCL. So is the entertainment
Tom, when are you going to Hawaii in July? I am looking forward to your report. Will you also include a ship report? I have always been a firm believer that a cruise is what you make it out to be but with all the bad reviews of the Pride of Aloha it kind of scares me. So anything you have will be helpful.
Here's a suggestion, you might look into Princess. The Island Princess sails round trip from Los Angeles on some itineraries, then some itineraries go from Hawaii to Tahiti. We've been on NCL, RCL, HAL, Costa, Carnival, and Princess. To me, so far Princess has been the best. This, of course, is just my opinion. There are many here on this board that don't like Princess. But the ships are immaculate, the service is excellent, and I think the food is great. However you decide to go, you and your new hubby will ultimately make it a memorable experience. Congratulations and Happy Honeymoon!