I just got back from a seven day cruise in Hawaii. The ship was Norwegian Cruise Line‘s Pride of America. I should have done more research before I bought tickets because the cruise sucked.
Lets talk about the dining experience first. Most cruises have two set dinning times; one early, one late. This ship has ‘freestyle dinning’ which means eat any time. In theory this is good because you can just walk in any time and eat. This supposedly gives more freedom to the passengers so they can spend more time on the island if they like. But what happens when you have a lack of staff? You get two hour wait times before you can get seated for dinner! Thats crazy ridiculous! After the second night we figured out the only way to get a seat is to reserve when you want to eat. But wasnt freestyle dinning supposed to eliminate this? BAH! Okay, so what time did we have our reservations every night? 8pm! And when we were seated, there was nobody in the restraunt. The service was slow, and the food wasnt anything special. For dessert I usually ice cream. By the time it came out it was half melted already. So thats this one restraunt, what about the others? There are two main restraunts, and the only difference is the decor. The menu and slow service are the same. There is one buffet restraunt, and one small diner. We ended up eating at the buffet restraunt often because it served pretty much the same food, and you didnt have to wait for slow waiters to service you. The diner was the late night snack place. But it wasnt that good either. There was also four other sit down restraunts, but they were all for additional cost.
So what about the onboard activities? Of the few they had, most of them was for an additional cost. There was a lei making activity, where they SHOW you how to make one. If you wanted to actually make a nice one, you had to purchase a kit from them. Most of the exercise classes were for additional cost as well. There was only one free exercise class the whole week I was there.
How about night activities? There was one small dance club, and one small theatre. The acts they brought in to perform in the theatre ranged from horrible to decent. Barry John was a good juggler/comedian. He was the best act out of everyone. Patty Ross was another comedian, but she was horrible. There was a couple crew performed shows, which were pretty bad. I don’t even want to mention what they did, its not worth thinking about how horrible it was.
Okay, so the cruise was shitty, but how was Hawaii? Hawaii was great. We didn’t get rained on at all which was a pleasant surprise. The weather forecast said it was going to rain at each destination we hit. I wanted to do all sorts of crazy excursions, but by the time I tried to sign up, everything was sold out. So I mainly relaxed, shopped, and attempted to get a tan.
Overall, I had a decent time. I ate the two things I wanted to in Hawaii. Spam musubi and McDonald’s saimin. I even found a great restraunt in Honolulu; the Side Street Inn.
I usually take a lot of pictures when I travel, but not this time. You can find my pictures here.
We sailed on the NCL Pride of Aloha in June 07.
We found that if you went to the sit down restaurants right at 5:30 P.M. you got in right away.
We had an excellent cruise director who had so many programs going that the guy was running from one to the other.
Our ship had excellent evening programs, very enjoyable.
I never found that there was a shortage of staff. I also found them to be hard working and largely unappreciated by the passengers.
I was watching one crew member polishing brass, I said, “Boy, you sure work hard!” She stood up, turned around and said, “That’s the first compliment I have had in 3 months”.
Basically I think that you are just an unappreciative whiner!!!!!
Yes, I have been on a cruise with a scheduled dining time.
Yes, I’ll travel NCL again.
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