Norwegian Cruise Line Pride of Hawaii by Ken Hawaii March 12, 2007
Having taken several cruises over the past few years, including NCL we looked into the new ships NCL has for Hawaii cruising. We read several reviews which had negative comments about the POH and the other NCL Hawaii ships. With that in mind we went in with lower expectations and thought we'd use the ship as our floating hotel room.
When we arrived in Honolulu at the dock the wait line was a good hour to check in. Baggage handlers were very busy so it took while for them to get to us.
We got on board ship, did a quick tour and then went to our room. I have to say that this huge ship is very impressive and state of the art. The decoration is beautiful with all the modern ammenities. As far as all this goes, it's one of the best ships we've ever been on.
When we got to our room, at first site everything looked very nice. The problem was in the details. Dusty shelves, carpet needed vacuuming, toilet obviously not cleaned from previous guests and bathroom generally not cleaned well.
As we got into the cruise, room service diminished. First it was no bath mat, then no towels. After a few days the top bed sheet disappeared. We had left notes then asked then called and finally got someone to bring us towels. The carpet never got vacuumed while we were there despite our asking that it be done. I would expect at this price point that we would at least have the equivalent of a Best Western grade of service. Not even close!
The freestyle restaurant reservation system is a high tech mess. The many flat screen monitors showing reservation status are for the most part inaccurate. If you don't reserve at least the day ahead for one of the 10 restaurants you might not get in when you want or have to wait long times. The service in the Alazar is disorganized and slow. The service in the Jade room is better and in Cagneys on par with a good land restaurant.
The food in all the restaurants and buffet is generally quite good. Once again the big problem in most of them is poor service. As I said before the ship is very nice. We particularly liked the upper sun/pool deck. It has swimming pools, hot tubs, big water slide, a gazebo for the band and two bars and a snack bar. The band music was smoking hot and it was a great party atmosphere. Booze is expensive but they do have frequent 2for specials and happy hours. They have all the fancy umbrella drinks and aren't stingy with the pour. The better restaurants have extensive wine lists too.
Would we go again? Well, If they work out the bugs with the American crews these would be great cruises. We heard many first timers who really enjoyed it...but they had nothing to compare it to. Our biggest gripe was the stateroom cleanliness and service. Hopefully NCL will listen to the many complaints and take action.