I will be on that cruise leaving from Miami this June.
I am very excited.
I have done a lot of cruising, but never on NCL. There seems to be so much gossip in reference to this cruise line on the message boards. I think I will pretend I did not see them, and continue to look forward to a very enjoyable 13 days.
I know you will have a good time on your Panama Canal cruise aboard POAm. A friend of mine from my cruise to Hawaii on POAl will be aboard as well. She has started a thread on another CCruise site. If you have not seen it and are interested please email me.
There will probably be a few problems since you will be on voyage #1 but you will be going to great places and you will experiece the canal.
I really feel the anytime you go in to something with a good attitude it will be a good time for you.
I remember some of the people that are compaining on this thread being very negative before there cruise even started. I knew they would come back after the cruise saying how bad it was.
Likewise, some will never admit their was a problem on one of their sacred ships. It is a very bizarre occurance on each cruise line. There are some travelers that will never admit there was a problem no matter how bad things were. Sounds a lot like politics today. Deny, deny, deny. I guess the CEO of NCL was also making things up when he admitted there was a problems with the ship as pointed out in yesterday's thread.
Yes, the 4000 people on the 2 charters made everything up. As well as everyone that sailed the ship in it's first 4 months. In fact, the lawsuit is just a figment of of everyone's imagination. The 50 or so traveler reviews on various websites were all made up too. Robert Blake was innocent!
Princess just had a ship get into pier 6 hours late yesterday. The cruise line is paying lodging, meals, and airfare for those that missed their flight. That is the way a reputable company does business.
Of course travel agents are aware of the glitches that have occured because this ship has an American crew. The Philippinos and Indonesians are the best in service, Americans have no experience in this area. So, it is extremely difficult to find Americans willing to work on a cruise ship. Initially, NCL thought local Hawaiians would staff the ship, but it didn't pan out well -- Hawaiians want to be with their families.
So, it is -- and will continue to be -- a huge problem to staff ships with Americans. Add to that, a second vessel about to start cruising in Hawaii, which will also need Americans.
For me, this is one of the very best itineraries on earth and NCL is the only company with ships sailing this itinerary. So, everything is a trade off.
i agree everything is a trade off. I just think it is nice if customers are aware beforehand what they are trading off to get other benefits.
As long as people go into this cruise knowing that there is a good chance that they will be giving up something in service and shipboard experience in order to cruise the itinerary of their, choice then I am happy for them to make their decision to book this ship.
In a similar way, I think it is important for people to realize that given the difficulties(as you pointed out ) in staffing these American flagged ships, it is quite likely that you will see declines in service on both the PO America and the PO Aloha a little before, during and for some time after the launch of PO America.
As you posted on another thread:
"Here's my rule: when a ship is brand new (all new crew is the same thing) it's best to wait three or four months to take it."
In this case I suspect some of the experienced crew from the Aloha will be moved to the America so service will be affected on that ship too.
Again if someone realizes this and chooses to book one of those sailings that's fine with me. Just as long as they know what is happening and are willing to deal with the consequences.
By now most of you have read my posts and see I try to be fair and honest. For those that haven't read my posts I am an NCL employee who posts my opinions of the company on my own computer, on my own time ( so no one can say the company made me say it) Lets set some things straight.
1, Did NCL screw up with the early launch of the Aloha? In most opinions Yes
2. Has NCL "made it right" with the afeected passengers? NCL offered the "industry standard" compensation package.
3. Was that compensation adequate? Probably not in the eyes of those affected and never will be.
4. Is NCL doing everything possible to ensure mistakes like that never happen again? My "insiders" info and my personal opinion is yes, but time will tell if we are.
Ok that said, how about we all agree to drop this thread, stop all of the bickering, name calling, and arguing. It has been a year and things have improved tremendously. Those people who had a horrible experience on the Aloha are still pissed off and always will be.
NCL is not the only cruise line that gets bad press or bad reviews on these or any other board. So lets all agree that its a good thing to post your experiences good and bad, and to give your opinions as long as they are relevent to what is happening today. That shouldn't be to much of a problem for the regular posters as from what I know of them, regardless of their opinions, they are honest and intelligent people.
"Those people who had a horrible experience on the Aloha are still pissed off and always will be."
I think you are right about that, or at least right about the fact that they will not be happy until they recieve adequate compensation from NCL.
I know you don't want to hear this again but I still don't think that a credit for 20% of the POA cruise price that can only be used if you spend more money with NCL is adequate compensation. I don't think that is the industry standard for a cruise that was as bad as many of the early POA cruisers reported.
If NCL had given them a 20% refund, cash in their pocket, it would have been better. I'm sorry, but when the cruise line has screwed up and provided much less than these people paid for ,I don't think those people should have to spend yet again to get something back. Some of those people may have had to save for quite a while for that cruise . Then NCL tells them, " no compensation for you till you can save up for yet another cruise on this line?"
Another thing that bothers me is when people say things like "It's over now just get over it and let it go. Nothing can be done about it."
As I see things it isn't over. Everyday NCL is in business they could fix this, they still could compensate these passengers. I doubt that they will, but that is because every single day, NCL continues to choose not to fix it.
As far as the improvement in the service etc. on recent cruises, I am sure that is good news for future POA cruisers, but it does nothing for those who had the bad cruises.
I think it is quite possible that some of the early PO America voyages may be pretty rocky too. I think anyone who is on this board thinking of booking on the POAmerica should be warned about this and should also be allowed to hear about how NCL deals with the situation when it does screw up and deliver sub-standard cruises. Then they can make an informed decision about whether to book this cruise or not.
It has been several months since I did exit interviews of Pride Of Aloha passengers, but I continue to receive emails from passengers. I cannot confirm the authenticity of these passengers, but the mirror comments from my last set of exit interviews. Some are positive, but I still get negative comments. Below are two that arrived recently.
Susan writes: "just returned from "pride" they need to change the name! ther is no pride on this ship. it took over two hours every night to get our dinner in the so called free style dining. I believe it had to be a problem with the kitchen not the waiters. We heard many people complaining about this. most of the food staff on the buffet line were very unfriendly. It felt as though they were doing us a favor and seemed very unhappy. ther is alot more I could add but I'm tired from the ship from hell"
Tammy writes: "Me and my husband were on Pride of Aloha for our honeymoon. This was our first experience taking a cruise. We were not impressed with the quality of the food offered nor the quality of the service staff on the boat. The soda card offer on the boat was not consistent and had different rules at every bar/restaurant. The cabin steward staff was always late and did not go over and above to please us even after we had tipped him at the beginning of the week. There was not alot activities on the boat to do especially for younger people. Two out of five jacuzzis were actually working on the boat throughout the cruise. The comments in your article online seems to directly mimic our cruise experience on Pride of Aloha. We loved the Hawaiian islands and had some awesome shore excursions. If we had read these reviews prior to our honeymoon we would not have booked a cruise with Norweigan. We hope our comments help others make a quality decision in the future."
My major concern is that, as in August of 2004, it appears that first time cruisers are still being exposed to a cruise experience that isn't representative of the industry as a hole.
Sighs deeply......seems like the same 'ole people continue to hash out a bad cruise from August 2004. I'm not even believing that BruceMurray even went on a a cruise...he has waaaaay too much of an agenda....
Hopefully these 2 sour grapes can get on with their lives....who wants to hear about something from nearly a year ago?
Sorry for the delay in responding, I've been off-island and way from my computer.
I'm suprised that you are aware of REFUNDs. I have yet to hear of anyone getting all or any portion of their original purchase price back. I've heard of recent refunds that other cruise companies have given out because of problems, but none for NCL and Pride Of Aloha. They did give what they called a "refund" of the daily service fee, by not adding this charge to passengers cabin bills. I don't see this as a refund, they just didn't collect the money to start with.
I'll check with my NCL media contact.
I guess I should have been more specific. My "screwed up" statement was a quote from another post in this thread dated 3/4 from author AMERICAN PRIDE who represented himself as being with NCL.
Yes, NCL management did respond in public FIVE months after the issues began to surface on the POA. It took 20 cruises/weeks for them to make a statement. A statement that is now being used against them in the Blue World Travel lawsuit.
I AM with the company. I AM assigned currently to the Pride of America as an officer. I have been with this company a while. The only reason I dont post my email address is because of the recent rash of employees of corporations blogging on the internet. And while I dont think I'll get fired becaause I do try to stay fair and positive. I just dont want to take that chance. But like I stated earlier its time to get on with our lives.
Bruce appears to be a journalist who supports all kinds of tourist businesses in Hawaii. If you go to his web site you will see he is supported by many land-based Hawaii resorts with whom NCL competes directly for tourist dollars. Many of these businesses feel that the overwhelming presence of NCL in the islands is hurting the land-based tourist operations.
If Bruce does have such an agenda, what he may not realize is that NCL also brings many people to Hawaii who would never go there otherwise. This was verified by many polls taken by the old American Hawaii lines who showed that their cruises were reponsible for bringing 100s or thousands of tourists to Hawaii every year for the cruise experience.
Pride of Aloha has about nine restaurants. It does not run the way traditional cruise ships do where there is one main dining room with little waiting. Frankly, from what I have heard, if you want the best service, no wait and better food, you should go to one of the specialty restaurants. That is the idea - it isn't meant to be like the typical cruise experience.
But I will be better able to tell you after I see the ship myself - sailing May 15th voyage.
Considering Hawaii travel is the highest it's ever been, no land hotels have to compete with cruise ships. Just returned from Hawaii last week. Unemployment is the lowest it's been in 14 years (2.8%, much better than the national average). Local economy is booming and that is reflected in hotel rates.
The hotel we stayed at last week has gone up $150/nt compared to when we stayed there 2 years ago. That is not just our hotel (the Ihilani west Oahu) but all other hotels on all islands as well. The 4 Seasons Big Island has gone up a whopping $350/nt since Sept 11 and it is sold out for most of 2005. So I don't think Bruce has any financial gain/loss motives when making comments about one cruise ship. I would think all Hawaii residents want all forms of Hawaii travel to be prosperous, after all that means jobs for everyone, including their friends and neighbors.
BTW, my spouse's best friend which lives on Honolulu had a lot of comments about the Pride of Aloha, which I won't go into at the risk of being flamed, but he is a resident and knows quite about the ship since it is reported a lot on local news.
Ok everyone - I skimmed over this thread. If I missed anything, I appologize. I am a former NCl employee who was aboard the Pride of Aloha during her transformation from the Norwegian Sky to the POA. I was aboard when she went through the Panama Canal and when she went into and out of drydock in San Francisco. I was at all the innaguration events and what not. I remember when NCL admitted that they made mistakes and I remember the letters that were given to all the passengers appologizing and explaining what was going on. I was there when the original POA Captian and Hotel Director were fired. Personally I do not agree with the reasons why these two individuals were terminated. I happened to like the original Captain. He did a great job and if given the opportunity to serve under his command again, I would do it without hessitation. My personal opinion of the Hotel Director differs quite dramatically however but that is besides the point. The point is that NCL did what it felt was appropriate to satisfy the passengers that were dissappointed. I remember all the service charges were refunded to passengers and this in turn directly affected the crew because their income was based on the service charges. Americans are not used to working 12 or more hours per day 7 days a week and it takes a long time to acclimate yourself to this lifestyle. Also the hierarchy on the ship is similar to the ways of the military. Also please keep in mind that most of the crew, staff and officers are thousands of miles from their friends and family. You are forced to create a new support system with people who you have known for a very short amount of time. The training is extremly rigerous. When you take these and many other factors into consideration there is a tendency to have a very low morale and this affects your work habits which affect the passengers "dream" vacation.