This was our fourth cruise and our first on Norwegian Cruise Lines. We were originally booked on the Pride of America on an upper deck with a balcony. All passengers booked on that ship were moved to the Pride of Aloha. We were put in a cabin on the fourth deck with a large porthole. We had some problems getting our refund for the different room charges from NCL. Had this been our first cruise we would never have taken another. There was very little to recommend the ship and the service. The itinerary of this cruise was perfect and was the reason most of the passengers booked it.
Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. When we arrived at our cabin, it had not been cleaned, there were no towels and the bed was unmade. There appeared to be a lot of confusion and frustration among the stewards. Our steward never introduced himself. By day three he was giving acceptable service, although the toilet never really smelled clean.
We then proceeded to the food court, the 'Hukilau café'. There we found long lines, lack of service, and bad food presented poorly. They were already out of food and beverages (we were among the first who boarded the ship). We tried this café one more time the next day and found the same conditions. Another day we tried the on deck Bar-b-que, located just outside the café: the food was cold (hamburgers, chicken, etc.) and the presentation was truly pathetic.
The ship boasted eight restaurants but in truth there was very little choice. After eliminating the café and anything associated with it (ice cream bar, etc.) that left three restaurants that had cover charges of about $12 to $15. We heard later that the view was great but the food was no better than anywhere else on the ship. The two open restaurants or dining rooms served exactly the same menu. The food was very average, the rolls always cold, the selection limited, and the service painfully slow. The waiter's uniforms were stained and dirty.
We used room service twice. The selection was very limited and food very average. However the service was excellent and the food arrived exactly when we requested it. Most amazing of all was that it was delivered with a smile. Most of the service people ignored you or were rude.
After trying a couple of the 'drinks of the day' we gave up on mixed drinks. There wasn't a bar tender on board that knew what he was doing. In addition, there were very few waiters roaming the deck by the pool or in the various lounge areas. You could sit in one of these areas for hours and no one would ask if you would like a drink. Clean up in these areas was exceptionally poor as well. Dirty glasses and plates sat for hours. This was particularly offensive in the pool area.
Shopping on board was very disappointing. There was a limited selection; most of that was very high end. Jewelry was mostly $500+ and watches were $200+. There was a pro shop and clothing store that only offered Tommy Bahama's clothes. You rarely saw any passengers in these stores after the first two days.
The excursions offered were many and varied. They were well managed and the highlight of the trip. The Luau on Maui was outstanding: food, entertainment, and location. The one day we had to use tenders the ship only appeared to be using two of them and we found the experience disorganized and unsafe.
There were some serious issues of safety raised. A woman ended up on crutches after the gangplank disconnected from the ship and she and her son fell about three feet. I also heard second hand rumors of another injury. There was a woman traveling with her eighty-year-old mother whose cabin toilet and sink backed up. When they reported the problem they were rudely told that they could use the bathrooms on deck eleven.
Many extended families were traveling together. They had issues we did not: their cabins were spread all over the ship and they couldn't get tables together at dinner.
The on board entertainment was good: very professional and enjoyable. The additional activities such an Hawaiian crafts and Hula lessons were always scheduled in such a way that they conflicted with shore excursions or early dinners. Eating early was the only way to get a table and decent service in the main dining rooms.
I would not recommend this cruise to anyone until NCL corrects it's many problems. The itinerary they offer is perfect. Many people would take it because of location and the seven-day length.