CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Norwegian Cruise Line Pride of Hawaii by Albert Sheppard Hawaii August 14, 2006

The Pride of Hawaii is a great new ship and represents a wonderfully efficient way to see much of the Hawaiian Islands in minimal time with the added advantage of not having to pack and unpack at a variety of hotels, airports, etc. But, this comes at a price that exceeds what you pay for the cruise ticket and shore excursions. NCL who owns the ship supposedly stands for Norwegian Cruise Lines—may I suggest it possibly stands for "No one Cares Less." My wife and I took the cruise of August 14-21 from Honolulu with a penthouse suite that included butler service.

In the course of the week the two butlers we had (getting a mid-week change) failed to execute even minimal requests such as getting diet Cokes for the refrig or putting decaf coffee instead of regular in the coffee machine. He did not even get my complete laundry returned until two phone calls, but he was certainly ever present the night he expected a tip, even to the point of tracking us down at the Japanese specialty restaurant for no apparent reason other than to be sure we left or gave him his tip.

Food service and quality made the pathetic butler service seem to be a joy. Room service breakfasts were cold as was dinner food in main dining and three of the premium specialty restaurants. We got good service and food at Mexican Paiolo and Japanese Teppanyaki Jasmine. In the others service was both slow and even incompetent with incorrect items being brought, and many items would still not have been tasty even if they had been hot and timely. In the French Bistro it was one hour thirty five minutes before we got our second course. Upon giving a major complaint to the head waiter we did get our main course about 15 minutes later, but even then, it was not up to most main dining cruise quality let alone an extra fee specialty restaurant.

Entertainment was also mediocre. The two production shows were acceptable but used no sets and limited costumes. The magician was so bad that even our grandkids saw the flowers under the cloth from which they were to "magically" appear. The comedian was about what most ship comedians produce and was entertaining. Three nights they had abbreviated performances or the newly wed game.

For a new ship it was not clean. Our cabin did not get vacuumed for days and never dusted. You could spell your name in the dust on the silk flower arrangement and the ship is only three months old. Coffee cups and glasses did not get replaced at turn down time so even with a nice coffeemaker there were not cups by which to use it upon arising some mornings.

The itinerary is wonderful. We enjoyed seeing so many different parts of Hawaii in such a short time. The shore excursions, while pricey, offered lots of variety for all tastes and were well run.

I think our bottom line would be this: with so much airport hassle and the logistics of changing hotels, packing and unpacking, then finding the right tours, etc. I would say go ahead and sail with "No one Cares Less" just being aware that food and service are going to be several levels below what you get on the mainstream lines like Princess, HAL and RCCL.

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