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  #1 (permalink)  
Old June 18th, 2004, 02:37 PM
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Default Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free & Which Are

Wld someone please post the names of the free restaurants and the pay ones on the POA for me. Also I wld really appreciate it if u wld please comment on the calibur of food and overall impression of the refurbishing, the ambience etc. in the restaurants - which one(s) did u prefer and why - best times (least busy) to go to dinner, etc - any waiter or busboy u specifically liked? Many thanks in advance. Happy cruisin'! :0)
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Old June 18th, 2004, 11:14 PM
JW
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Default NCL13June group at Yahoo.com

I just completed a week cruise on Aloha that left LA 13 June. Free food, you ask? Only in the main dining, the buffet, extremely limited room service, and so-so pizza (cheese, peporoni, or vegie) fresh from the freezer "24 hours a day" - not.

I have eaten better food in military chow halls. The only difference between the main dining and the buffet is the choice of oatmeal, which is actually grits.

Very basic food. Lobster night was Tuesday. Did you miss that? That is because the lagostino mini tail [that was the same size as the shrimp] in your linguini was their version of lobster night.

Bringing kids and looking forward to Planet Kids? It is a fantasy, a rather bare large room with red walls. They will take great care of your kids during the day for $8.50 an hour.

There is no kid, or teen, day program. Not even activities, save an afternoon craft that quickly runs out of supplies.

The kid's program is provided from 7PM to 10PM. That is all, save one day when they meet the kids at 6:30 for dinner. whippee

Brace yourself for the 3 hour dining experience [with your kids and other peoples' crying bored hungry kids]

If you experienced this lovely cruise, please sign up at the NCL13June group at yahoo.com.
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Old June 19th, 2004, 12:45 AM
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Default Re: NCL13June group at Yahoo.com

Eh gads - THAT BAD - heard it wasn't as 'success' - an understatement if even 1/2 of what u say is true...Did u like anything - color scheme, mattresses anything?? Glad I could afford u the opportunity to 'vent' , I wld want to also!! Happier future cruises..:0(
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Old June 20th, 2004, 01:41 AM
Jennifer M.
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Default Re: Re: NCL13June group at Yahoo.com

I did like the desserts. Though they were standard, they were good. There was carrot cake on Wednesday that was devine. The little carrot on top was made of marzipan I believe!

The tender service to the shore was great! The guys running that operation were organized and fast.

They did have butter pecan icecream - that was cool.

The staff was incredibly nice.
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Old June 20th, 2004, 02:50 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: NCL13June group at Yahoo.com

Thanks Jennifer for replying with a bit of positive news - hope 'the powers that are' get the staffing problems, food, etc up to par soon - shame if this didn't 'make a go of it' the itinerary is fabulous. Seems to me there is a big market for this but that US laws could make it impossible to please passengers (and crew) and it may fold just as others have..possibly for the same reason(s). Seems the adage 'those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it'! Can't understand why the US Govt. wouldn't want the cruiselines to succeed (have to hire 75% US crews - can't gamble onboard the ships - yah this is a bright one... this is a major money maker for cruiselines (helps them keep fares lower and so stay in business) and no BINGO please!!!...How does that affect anyone ashore its only cruise pax that can use it anyway ) The laws could be amended to allow it only on the ship & only when sailing right? Never mind staffing with that percentage of American citizens either - 51% wld be a majority and if they can't get the job done then they shld be allowed to hire those that can anyway . They could be required to hire 75% and if within 6 months staffing still isn't up to par they shld be allowed to increase foreign staffing.This is the only important consideration anyway : those cruise pax spend 'tons' of cash in the islands - don't they need it - seems to me there is always some excuse to raise taxes there!! Just a little 'musing' on my part - what do you all think?? :0/
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old June 20th, 2004, 10:16 PM
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free & Which

Pride of Aloha Restaurants are as follows;
Free: 2 Main Dining Rooms - Palace (Deck 5 midship) and Crossings (Deck 5 at the
stern) and Buffet: Hukilau Cafe (Deck 11 at the stern)
I found the Crossings to be less crowded and had better views especially the window tables at the stern . I got especially good service from Eric. He is an experienced cruise ship waiter. (One of my other waiters on another night was new, a former Stockbroker)

$12-$15 pp : Royal Palm Bistro (Deck 12 at stern), Pacific Heights (Deck 11 mid) and
Kahili (Deck 5 midship) I didn't try any of the alternate restaurants.

Don't skip the Main Dining Room on the night they have the "Prssidential Menu" it was awesome. This is my first experience with NCL's Freestyle and I am really hooked. There is so much less stress when you can go to dinner when you prefer rather than having to meet the cruiseline's schedule. I also liked the Optional Formal Dress Code policy. I prefer to dress business casual when I'm on a sun and surf vacation and NCL seems to understand that.

Heres a synopsis of my cruise:
I took the first cruise after refurbishment, on Jun 6th out of San Francisco. Advertised check in time was 2:30pm so I arrived at 1:15pm. On 6 previous cruises on other lines, I was always welcomed aboard immediately when I checked in about an hour early. NCLA was having problems but they wouldn't admit it, or even tell customers what was going on. There were about 1000 people standing on the sidewalk in the sun outside pier 35 by 2pm. No one was allowed into the terminal because it is so small. No restrooms were available either. An NCLA rep came down the line and gave everyone a checkin priority ticket and told us to "go away" and come back by 5pm. No mention of what was going on, she knew nothing. Fortunately the pier is a short distance to Fisherman's Wharf so I took my wheeled carry-on suticase and went sightseeing for a few hours. There was to be no welcome aboard lunch, since we couldn't board, so I got a snack at the Wharf. I headed to the ship at about 4:30pm and they had begun check-in. My checkin group had already been called so they let me right in. After another 35mins in line I got to the check in rep who was still smiling irrespective of most customer's moods . I asked her why we were delayed and she said their new wireless computer network had been down for hours. She didn't know why no one told the customers and was not real happy that no one was advised. She told me my stateroom number had changed and gave me the new number. I finally got aboard around 5pm and was pleasantly surprised to find that I had been upgraded from an inside cabin to an outside balcony stateroom. There was no time to grab a bite, I had to go directly to the emergency drill. By the time that was over it was dinner time. I went to one of the two main dining rooms "Palace". Since I was eating early (6pm) and many behind me in line were still getting settled, there was no crowd. Service was friendly, and attentive but very slow. Many of the staff are brand new and I met several who had not ever even been on a ship before! They all had one thing in common though, a great attitude. The menu had good variety and the food was excellent, I had prime rib.
Our sailing was delayed 2 1/2 hours due to fueling issues. We left at 8:30pm which turned out to be incredible good fortune for the sightseers among us. Had we left at 6pm the sun would have been right in our eyes as we sailed beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, but now it was twilight. The lights of the city and the wharf had come on and the Bridge was lit up in all it's glory. What a stroke of luck. As we passed beneath the span everyone spontaneously broke out in applause. I will never forget that moment.
As the cruise progressed it was evident that many of the crew were new to their craft. Every clock on the ship seemed to display a different time and it took them 3 days to syncronize them. There were lots of minor glitches and some passengers complained continuously, but I overlooked the small stuff and had a great time. There were refurbishing crews aboard that worked overnight as passengers slept, laying carpet, deck tiles, painting and varnishing. The Pride of Aloha was still a work in progress.
We had to tender ashore at two stops, Monterey and Santa Barbara, using the lifeboats. It was comforting to see that the crew of those boats knew exactly what they were doing in the 5 to 7 foot seas that we had to plow through to get to the shore.
I like the ship even though it's not fancy. it's a comfortable size at 77000 tons. The decor is similar to one of Carnival's better motifs. I really liked the size of the stateroom (170sq ft). I think this ship will do well in the Interisland Hawaii market once the crew gets accustomed to working as team. I look forward to doing that crusise someday.
It was a great feeling to see the US Flag flying as we were underway, thats are rare sight on most cruise ships.
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Old June 21st, 2004, 02:29 AM
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Default Re: Re: Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free & W

Oh Chuck what a great review - well thought out and articulate not to mention most informative. Many thanks for taking your valuable time to respond to my question.. I wish for u many happy cruises!! :0)
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old June 21st, 2004, 08:44 AM
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free & Which

Finally a review that doesn't make me feel that I made a mistake booking with NCL


Thank you so much. I am now having hope that my Hawaii vacation will be a good one.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old June 21st, 2004, 11:56 AM
Mike Fast
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free & Which

I appreciated the review too. Thanx. We are booked on the Pride of Aloha in May of '05, and hopefully they will have all the kinks worked out by then. I have been on two NCL ships before, and even though it is not my favorite line, I always managed to make the best of it and enjoy the time on board.
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Old June 21st, 2004, 02:23 PM
Vmalcolm
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free & Which

I'm scheduled to cruise on the Pride of Aloha in October and hope everything is straightened out by then.

I do have to say that two things half tempt me to cancel the cruise portion and just do a land vacation. The first is the "resort fee." What I read when I was first made aware of this....believe on the NCL website but it could have been the 2004 brochure....was that this was a mandatory fee in lieu of tipping to pay for the staff's leave. This is a benefit to the U.S. staff that is not given to the foreign flagged ship's staff from what I understand. Now to find out it is not a gratuity.....that's $140 more than I was planning on paying.

Secondly, I had an early announcement about he dining facilities and only one was asterisked as having an extra fee, believe it was the Pan Pacific (or something along those lines). Now all the dining rooms are additional, except the traditional dining room and the buffet. I know I will be able to get all the food I want (and a heck of a lot I don't need!!!) from these dining options. It's just not the point. It wasn't what I signed on for months ago.

I only have until July to make my final payment so I'm reserving my decision till the last moment. I love to cruise and thought this would be the ideal way to see all of the major islands as I've never been to Hawaii before. Maybe just visiting two islands and flying between them will be a better option.
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Old June 21st, 2004, 11:26 PM
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Default Re: Re: Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free & W

Gee - glad u brought this up! I was reviewing posts on the C.C. boards and was under the impression that it actually is a 'gratuity' although they do not call it that and it was quoted directly from NCL....and is supposed to be distributed to all the crew 'cause they all earn it whether or not US citizens (have to be qualified to work in the US) and all get paid the same, with equal shore leave etc. Also, u can tip more if u wish but are not obliged to do so. Called NCL myself and having spent 10 minutes waiting, then sent to 2 different people, got told the above...true or false - who knows??? I sure hope someone can clarify this for us 'cause I am having second thoughts here too!!! Happy cruisin'!
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Old June 23rd, 2004, 11:50 AM
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free & Which

You called NCL and talked to someone after just 10 minutes? Good for you ,you must have hit them on a good day!
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Old June 23rd, 2004, 02:03 PM
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free & Which


According to my travel agent, the resort fee is in lieu of a gratuity. Anything else is optional but not necessary.
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old June 23rd, 2004, 02:23 PM
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free & Which

We are scheduled on the Pride of Aloha in November and hope things are running smoother by then. Glad to hear that someone actually found some good points about the cruise. I guess I kind of look at it this way - how could you possibly not enjoy a trip cruising the Hawaiian Islands! I hope we are not disappointed and plan to try to make the best of every minute we have both on the ship and land portions of our trip. This is how we are celebrating our daughter's 21st birthday and want it to be a GOOD one to remember.
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Old June 23rd, 2004, 06:12 PM
margu1241
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Default Re: Re: Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free & W

I will be on pride of aloha in july. My main problem with the dining options is that there are not as many as there were planned to be on America. Now, I am hearing the food and service are dissapointing. I will give the dining a try, but am willing to spend more $$$ to eat my meals off the ship if that is what I need to do to preserve my vacation. I hope that they are able to work the kinks out in the next three weeks before I go.
Patty
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Old June 23rd, 2004, 06:20 PM
JohnInSeattle
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Default Re: Re: Re: Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free &am

I was also on the June 7th inaugural coastal cruise on the POA.
If it weren't for the great guys I met onboard who made it a FUN time, I would have been very unhappy with the experience.
The American crew's attititude about service was piss poor.
The food was mediocre to good.
My personal opinion is that the ships renovations look cheap and tacky with only ONE exception - that being the Outrigger Lounge which is lovely. They should have carried this decor throughout the entire ship.
If I had taken this ship through the Hawaiian islands I would have left feeling as if I got a cheap imitation of the real thing.
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Old June 23rd, 2004, 09:05 PM
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free & Which

Johninseattle,
Thanks for your honesty. While I do not want to cause stress for those who are already booked on upcoming POA cruises I also feel some responsibility to those who are booking right now, to warn them what they might be getting into. For those who are booked , I hope I am wrong and you have a great cruise. How bad could a week in Hawaii be?
For those who have not booked yet, run, do not walk to another cruise line, and book your dream Hawaiiain vacation with a line that actually cares if their customers have a good vacation or not.
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Old June 23rd, 2004, 11:38 PM
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free & Which


Gardencat,

I am booked on the August 8 cruise, but I can guarantee that this will be my last one. I'll take my money where it is appreciated. As long as people accept anything, NCL will continue to rip off people.
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Old June 24th, 2004, 03:43 PM
Nancy G
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free & Which

I am booked on the July 4th cruise and now I am very nervous. I will try to be positive but hope they will get their acts together. This cruise is for our 30th anniversary and I wanted it to be special - the itinerary truly appealed to me. I will hope for the best and post my thoughts when I return.

Nancy
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Old June 24th, 2004, 09:49 PM
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Default Re: Re: Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free & W

Nancy

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. I'm sure you'll have a great anniversary in any case Hawaii really is beautiful!

Please do post and lets us know all about your trip when you return.
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Old July 2nd, 2004, 11:44 AM
hcat
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Default Re: Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free & Which

We are holding off on a Hawaii cruise to see if this gets better. How was the actual cruise part going to the various islands? Was disembarkation /tendering handled well & how were the shore excursions & ports. ? We usually cruise Cleb & Royal so could you compare. To us, wheile we love the ships & everything else, Royal's food is a barely acceptable level--would this be even lower??? Thanks
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Old July 3rd, 2004, 02:20 AM
tez
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Default Re: Re: Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free & W

NCLA likes to leave theie crew in the dark. It must be poicy because I am sure some one on the ship sould know to inform the guests. high turnover cause slow service, and there is a division between old crew and the new ones who come on board
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Old July 5th, 2004, 08:06 AM
diane18fan
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Default Re: Re: Pride of Aloha - Which Dining Rooms are Free & W

Chuck , I really enjoyed reading your review and breathed a sigh of relief after I was done. My husband and I are sailing on the Pride of Aloha on March 5, 2005. This is a dream come true for us to go on a 2 week Hawaiian Vacation. We'll be spending one week on the big island and then cruising on the second week. I have read so many negative comments lately on the Pride that I was afraid we had made a mistake. Thanks for making me feel more confident in our decision. Everything can't be perfect and one must make the best of each situation. I would love to hear from anyone who sails on the Pride in the the future. I am really interested in what guest have to say about shore excursions.
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