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Old September 6th, 2007, 03:52 PM
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Default NCL vs NCLA How do they compare? vs CCL?

I was looking at doing the 7 day Hawaii NCLA cruise but read that it was not up to the standard of NCL or CCL. Is this true?

I have only sailed Carnival but am curious as to how the NCLA Hawaii cruise compares? What I am wondering is that since it is port intensive are there still things to do on board at night? We are not dancing/party people and wondered if they have movies, shows, games, etc. What would I notice that was different from Carnival besides the dinning options?

Thanks so much for the help, Carla
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Old September 6th, 2007, 08:10 PM
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http://www.cruisemates.com/articles/.../ncl/aloha.cfm

I stringly suggest you read the CruiseMates ship reviews about NCLA for a clear picture of what to expect. They are fine ships, but a slightly different ambience. A great way to see Hwaii, and there are great bargains out there now on NCLA ships, the best I have ever seen. Part of the review is below, but each ship is different.

BTW: this is the final season for Pride of Hawaii - she is the best NCLA ship, and this is the last year she will be there.

About NCL-America:
As the first ship to sail under the NCL-America banner it is important to put this ship, and NCL-America as a subset of NCL Cruise Lines into the proper perspective, a discussion that merits hours, but we will shorten it.

NCL-America (ships: Pride of Aloha, Pride of America and Pride of Hawaii) has the exclusive right to offer 7-day inter-island Hawaii cruises without leaving the state. This required an act of Congress passed to circumvent two ancient (19th century) federal laws regulating passenger vessels. The new requirements for NCL-America cruise lines specify; U.S.flagged vessels crewed with U.S.-citizen (or green card) Coast-Guard certified people only.

Sounds simple, but outdated federal laws aren't the only reason cruise lines hire foreign national crewmembers; foreigners have a tradition of service, familiarity with ship-board life and a lower cost of living at home. For positions usually filled by Indonesians or Rumanians, NCL-A agreed to hire U.S. citizens and get them Coast Guard trained and certified, an expensive process in itself, before they even got onboard. Where do you find young Americans willing to work 7-days a week, sharing tiny rooms with one or two other people, for near minimum wages? Long story short, the first six months of service for this ship became an extended "weeding out" process, eliminating the people just along for the ride. while keeping responsible people who understand they have a job to do.

NCL admitted that they had problems finding the right people to crew the NCL-America ships, and went to great lengths to fix things, including building a mandatory training academy in Myrtle Beach, S.C. for all crewmembers. Things have improved greatly, but you still won't get top-notch Caribbean cruise-style service here, but if all you want is to lay on deck instead seeing glorious Hawaii (this ship is in port every day), you should go to the Caribbean, or take the 11-day Norwegian Wind Hawaii cruise, which has a foreign crew, but must side-step to distant Fanning Island (two days at sea each way) in order to conform -- but at least you can gamble on the way.

As of August, 2007, the latest developments with NCL America is that Pride of Hawaii will leave NCLA, and be re-flagged (Bahamian) to join the regular NCL fleet. This ship was the only purpose built free-style ship in Hawaii, but as of February 2008 it will be called Norwegian Jade and is scheduled to deploy to Europe after a short modifcation period to add a casino and re-paint the hull artwork.

Additional changes include modifications to the stiff crewing requirements which will allow NCLA to crew its ships with up to 25% foreign nationals. This will lower their crewing costs and add to crew stability on the Hawaii ships. The goal of these changes is to make the Hawaii product a better experience, but it is also expected that it will raise the cost of the cruise. Our recommendation is to book Pride of Hawaii while you still can, it is the most beautiful of the NCLA ships, and the price is still a bargain.
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Old September 7th, 2007, 10:43 AM
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Thank you. I had read your article prior to posting along with looking at the reviews.

I guess what i am trying to get a feel for is if its the quality if the service or the condition of the ship itself thats the problem people are having. Also is the problem is in a certain area like in the dinning rooms. Thanks, Carla
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Old September 7th, 2007, 12:22 PM
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The answer is "the crew" - the ships are in very good shape, especially the PO Hawaii first, PO America second and PO Aloha third (which reflects their relative age)

I have not been on these ships for two years, I hope and believe service conditions are better now than they were then. And I was not terribly unimpressed even back then, I enjoyed the trip as I believe most people do.

The areas that are most often cited as needing improvement are: service in the buffet area ( bussing tables so there are places to sit ). I have read some complaints about room stewards not doing a thorough job. Finally, while I had no complaints, others have said they were not thrilled with the shore excursions.

The most noticable thing about some of the the US crew, however, is just attitude. Normal cruise ship employees are venerable and respectful of their jobs and roles onboard. I found the some of these Americans to be a little less respectful of doing their jobs with an attitude of service. They tended to act like it was just a job they do so they can be like the regular guests on the ship. Kind of hard to explain.

In any case - some cruisers take service "attitude" very seriously and the US crew who don't play the service "roll" really bothers them. For me, I found the crew members who were enthusiastic to very enjoyable and professional. And I didn't let the ones who weren't bother me.

These cruises are GREAT values right now, and if you can get a good deal on Pride of Hawaii then you should go now before it leaves service.
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Old September 10th, 2007, 10:31 AM
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Thanks so much Paul

I guess my biggest concern would be how clean the rooms were. I read a few horror reviews of people with stained sheets, dirt in corners of room, other peoples leftover belonging left under bed...*shiver* That would be the only thing stopping me from going. Carla
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Old September 10th, 2007, 01:16 PM
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If you have any problems along those lines, go to the front desk immediately and say you want to speak to the head housekeeper, and if he doesn't help you say you want to take to the hotel director.

I have heard a few stories like this on NCLA, and it is inexcusable. The problem is management can't know if a room steward isn't doing a good job unless someone tells them.
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