I am seldom moved to share my life experiences or adventures... ok, sometimes I am. With that said I can't help but share my experience on NCL's Pride of America. Sadly, if this ship is the Pride of America, this country is in trouble. While there were a number of things good about our ride on the Pride there were enough bad to keep me from wholeheartedly recommeding that you should bood a ride on what I consider to be the Greyhound bus of the Seven Seas.
The Good: The boat sponsored excursions, while pricier than what you might be able to put together on your own, were excellent. We did the volcano hiking adventure (no lava), Road to Hanna, The Crater and Turtle Arches Snorkle and the Pacific Paradise Luau. Only the Laua proved to be a pig in the poke... basically a cattle run of a zillion folks to a Hotel... entertaining but by no means in terms of food and entertainment worth the bucks. Super kudos to the folks who took us un the Road to Hanna and snrorkling trip. Worth the time an $$$!!! We did our own helicopter thing in Kuai... Island Helicopters... seriously consider these folks. Great flight, longer than the boat sponsored flights and you will see a lot more of the island.
The steak house and East Meets West get the thumbs up for on board dining. Good chow and worth the extra dollars. Avoid the Italian eatery at all costs unless you enjoy small, TV dinner size portions and don't mind enduring the borish snob from Guam who greets and seats you. One of the rudest, most obnoxious folks I have ever encountered on the hospitality industry. None of the other eateries were all that great... we did avoid the main dining rooms because of the everpresent stench of sewarage that seemed to linger near the entry and waiting area. More on that later. Embarkation was a breeze as was getting off at the end of the cruise.
The Bad: There just appeared to be a total lack of organization or desire to provide even basic services by most of the staff. To be fair there were a handful of stars who went about their appoingted tasks with dilligence and enthusiasm. I chatted with two or three of the staff and was surprised to find that they flet that they bit off a bit more than they could chew. They weren't expecting those ten hour seven day a week work cycles. Word on the ship was the ship was loosing staff at every port... people just basically going awol. Kind of confirmed that when one of the supervisors in the buffet area was breifing her staff early one AM. She was in some sort of a tizzy because she couln't account for eight folks who were supposed to be at work that morning.
Our room, during the entire seven days, was never really cleaned... we had to beg for clean towels until I figured I could snatch them from the pool areas. Trash never emptied, room never vacumed, linens never changed. Again, struck up a conversation with our room host and you could see she was totally slammed. That seemed to be a common chord throughout the week.
The Ugly: The toilets. Flush the little suckers was always a hit or miss proposition... especially during peak flush periods. Ours was out of commission for over ten hours one day. To add insult to injury it decided to pump out raw sewerage all ofer the bathroom floor... nice, huh. Several complaints on the phone and three trips to the non-service desk got us a guy with a wet vac who sopped most of the mess up and left. Called the desk again and had to pop a cork to have them send someone up to clean the bathroom properly. (I actually tried to get some of my money back and abandon ship at that point...) Desk/customer services really didn't care or know how to deal with some of the problems that were popping up. The blamed the toilet problem on a guest flusing a no no down the potty... that was the company line for all who shared our misery of hit or miss flushing... got ahold of an engineer who candidly told me one of the vacume pumps had failed.
Ships Photographers: WARNIKNG... you will hurt their feelings if you decline their offer to be photographed every time you step off the boat. I really appreciated the smart a$$ comment from the little fellow in Maui. He must have been having a bad day.
So... was this a miserable trip? Nope. The on board events were almost comical in many ways. We looked at it as free onboard entertainment. Kind of like The Three Stooges run a Cruise Ship. Yup, tried as they did, the boat and most of the crew could not deminish the absolute joy of visiting those islands. We will go back... already planning the trip... we will not, however, hand any more of our hard earned bucks over to the clowns at NCL. Wrote them a nice letter... really, no sarcasm or smart remarks... they haven't even bothered to reply. Reckon their complaint department must be pretty busy.
So... if you have real low expectations from a cruise line this is the boat for you... again, no matter how hard they tried they coul not ruin our trip to paradise