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  #1 (permalink)  
Old May 11th, 2005, 03:39 PM
Bruce MurrayOnHawaii.com
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Default Pride Of Aloha Crew Moved to Pride Of America

Aloha from Honolulu,

I've received, vie email, comments from several passengers who have confirmed that crew have been moved from the Pride Of Aloha onto the new Pride Of America. Passengers have reported to that this staffing change has been given as an excuse for reduced levels of service on the Pride Of Aloha.

I was at a luncheon last week and a woman told me that her "significant other" was in Germany with the new Pride Of America. She told me that the best employees had been sent to Germany leaving the Pride Of Aloha poorly staffed.

Plan on doing another set of interviews with exiting passengers later this month.

It should be noted that I also have interviewed passengers of other ships as they arrive here in Honolulu Harbor. But they usually have the same response. "We had a great cruise".

Bruce Murray, Editor/Publisher
CruiseLines.US
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Old May 11th, 2005, 04:23 PM
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Default Re: Pride Of Aloha Crew Moved to Pride Of America

Bruce - thank you for the update. As I noted in the other thread it is VERY common to send staff from a working ship to a new ship. That is the reason why some inaugurals go smoothly, and why the Pride of Aloha did not.

Pride of Aloha did not have an opportunity to use existing staff from other ships because they all had to hire an all US crew, and at the time NCL did not have any all US-crewed ships.

I will be on the next cruise of Pride of Aloha - so I will be exiting at the pier on May 22. I would like very much to meet in person if possible. Please email me if you agree.

Also - thank you for the caveat of adding that most people say "We had a great cruise." We don't want to censor negative opinion, but we don't want people to get the impression that is the only opinion out there, either.

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Old May 12th, 2005, 01:51 PM
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Default Re: Pride Of Aloha Crew Moved to Pride Of America

Paul...
I've said the same thing time and time again until I'm tired of typing it. As I happen to be one of the officers on the Pride of America and have been here in Germany for a long time I believe I know what I'm talking about. Have we taken crew from the Aloha...YES Have we taken crew from other ships...YES.Heck...even I was transferred from the international fleet to the America. And here's a secret I'll share with you if you promise not to tell Bruce....Aw heck he'll never believe it anyway.....WE EVEN STOLE SOME CREW FROM HAL & RCCI!!Even with the "body snatching" the Aloha is still adequately staffed. I get really angry with people like this so called "cruise expert" who wont even give these kids a chance to prove that they can provide a quality product. When he scans in a copy of his cruise documents showing he has spent some time on either the Aloha or the POA when we get there, then maybe he will gain a little credibility. At least Dalwhitt and some of the other bashers out there have some personal experience to go by.
nuff said...... soap box put away
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Old May 12th, 2005, 02:01 PM
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Default Re: Pride Of Aloha Crew Moved to Pride Of America

Just FYI, Bruce Murray sailed on a one night POA cruise last summer.

http://www.murrayonhawaii.com/pride_of_aloha.html
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Old May 13th, 2005, 02:01 PM
Bruce MurrayOnHawaii.com
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Default Re: Pride Of Aloha Crew Moved to Pride Of America

Complaint emails from my websites that run stories about the POA have been up dramatcially recently. They had dropped off last December, but now they are back to a steady stream of emails. Not as bad as last summer, but it is sad to get emails from these sad passengers.

I understand a local news crew may be down at the dock this Sunday interviewing departing passengers. It's MAY SWEEPS month and if it bleeds it leads. I'll be off island this weekend, but hope to get down to the pier the week after to get interviews.

I suggest, if possible, everyone take a one day cruise on the POA. That way they can come to their own conclusions before spending 7 days onboard.

After hearing the comments from the NCL employee, I'm glad to hear that everything is going well. I'm looking forward to posting passengers positive comments.

Bruce
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Old May 25th, 2005, 01:29 PM
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Default Re: Re: Pride Of Aloha Crew Moved to Pride Of America

Having just returned from the Pride of Aloha I have a lot of comments and will be writing an article soon.

I can tell you this, based on what I had read here, it was not nearly as bad as many people here would have you believe - as if it is some kind of a nightmare or cruise from H. E. -double hockey sticks.

Are there glitches? yes. Are they enough to ruin your vacation - only if you are a curmudgeon with nothing better to do than walk around looking for things to complain about.

The food, which people have said here was inedible is anything but - the food is very good, even excellent at times, and I am talking about the main dining room with no surcharge. I will swear to this on a bible, and will have pictures of the fresh lobster I had in there to prove it. We never waited more than 5 minutes for a table, even at peak dining times - but we were willing to share a table. Our wait staff was average to very good in the main restaurant, but an A+ in the specialty restaurants as was the food.

Even the buffet food is very good with a big variety of fresh fruits, carved meats, hamburgers, hot dogs, hot entrees, seafood salads, a big salad bar, etc. There are dedicated stations for getting waffles, omelettes and even freshly cut fruit a la minute.

Seating in the buffet area is a problem (or I should say that staff could be more efficient when cleaning tables - something they are working on). The hotel manager confirmed that more tables are on order and will reach the ship soon. Many now are four-tops with only two people sitting at them. One simple option is to simply ask a couple if you may join them -- we were always cordially accepted.

The rooms are comfortable, but housekeeping could be better (I would say this was our biggest complaint). Some things take time and this is an all-US crew who doesn't have years of housekeeping experience behind it. Efficiency being the keyword, not everyone can change a bed dressing in 3 minutes - it takes some practice. Things were forgotten or not cleaned properly. Once again, a little disappointing but not enough to ruin your vacation. We left note for our housekeeper or called the front desk when we needed something and it was taken care of.

Entertainment is good. I am not a big fan of many cruise line production shows, but these were as good as you will see on most ships. I enjoyed the close-up magician and the local Polynesian acts a lot.

The main thing about this cruise is time in port. You are in port every day including two overnights. This was the most action-filled one-week cruise I have ever taken. My wife & I both said it felt like were away for 2 weeks instead of one - we did so much. The shorex staff is very good and tour options are extensive. Or you can go on your own if you want as every pier is filled with local merchants and tour offerings.

All in all, I believe I can see this ship exactly as it is and I can say that it is a fine vacation for most people, especially active people who want to see Hawaii. It is not for someone who has been on many luxury cruises and is only interested in being on a ship for the food and service. You are in port every day and often at night, and the ship is run accordingly.

I do know there were big problems when the ship was first re-flagged as NCLA (NCL has never denied this) but that the crew is has been weeded out and is improving every week. The original crew was hired and put on board with very little training, and they had little idea of what they were in for. In addition, according to eye-witnesses on board, the first group of passengers were not kind to this new crew at all and the situation escalated to something close to a passenger/crew rebellion. Certainly not a good situation. I was not there so I won't make any further comments.

NCLA now has a crew training center at Piney Point MD where applicants spend 3 weeks learning their jobs before they get on board. Some 10% of applicants are weeded out before they even get to the ship. In addition, there are disciplinary procedures on board to deal with crew members including dismissal. Firings do occur after a seaman's union authorized procedure.

I doubt if the moving of some crew to Pride of America will have as much impact as some people want you to believe because their replacements are already on board and learning their jobs. As a former crew member, I can tell you 2 months is about what it takes to get oriented to ship life and a new job. That means by July you shouldn't notice a difference.

I can honestly say, the vast majority of people we saw were having an excellent time and we heard very little complaining. They were experiencing Hawaii and the ship is a convenient and comfortable way to do that. The first-time cruisers we met were all having a fabulous time, said they loved the ship and cruising and would do it again in a heartbeat. The only real complainers we heard were a couple who had been on several cruises and knew exactly how to nit-pick a cruise ship. Their complaints were on target (mostly about housekeeping), but of the type that would never occur to a first-time cruiser.

I have said it before and will say it again, this ship is not for people going solely for the cruise experience (meaning you do not care about the destination, you just want to be on a ship). There are better deals out there closer to home.

I also believe this ship will get better, and as NCLA grows and expands it pool of employees it will become a very good ship. It has a good start already: good food, very nice decor, a great itinerary and a management who is dedicated to making their staff better. They really do care what people think (comment cards are taken very seriously), and they realize they have a duty to bring the ship up to the standards of even the most experienced cruisers. That is their goal.

So, in conclusion, I think anyone reading this can see this isn't rocket science. I will say that to judge this ship today based on its rocky start is not a fair thing to do, it has changed and its comment card rankings are as high now as they have ever been, even with the partial crew move to Pride of America (which the Hotel Manager told me was actually only around 10% of the existing crew) -- they have not gone down.

Use this ship to see Hawaii, make it your base for an active vacation and you will not be disappointed. And the real key to make it a great vacation is to take a little responsibility for yourself - make sure you get a tour form and book excursions early. If your room steward forgets to give you a daily program pick one up.

If you have an inconvenience on board tell the staff, they will try to help you, or make the best of it like we did (share a table, for example). Everyone is friendly, the "problems" are in most cases simply minor inconveniences, and the solutions are not hard to find. Don't walk around looking for things that are wrong, not say or do anything about them, and let that ruin your vacation. And don't spend your whole vacation beefing about problems - trying to get refunds, or whatever. That isn't a vacation.

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Old May 30th, 2005, 01:35 PM
Tim Rubacky
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Default Re: Re: Pride Of Aloha Crew Moved to Pride Of America

Paul,

Glad to hear that things have impoved on the Aloha - I knew they would and I can't wait to get back to Hawaii on NCL. When I sailed on her first voyage last year, there were things that needed improvement but I didn't see anything nearly as bad as the complaints some people were voicing.

Food and service in the dining rooms was good to very good (Every dinner I had was excellent) as a whole, with the biggest challenge being some of the snotty mid-level managers. The buffet was dismal but the pizza was REALLY good.

Every staff member that I interacted with was eager to serve, help or please even if there was a lack of training. A good attitude and 'can do' outlook seemed pervasive throughout.

I echo American Pride's comments that these kids need to be given a chance. I also think that a lot of travel agents over-sold this cruise as I encoutnered a lot of passengers who were accustomed to sailing HAL, Celebrity and Crystal. I have to wonder what the agents were thinking.

Overall, I had the time of my life on that vacation and I can't think of a better way to see Hawaii. All those islands in one week, all the overnight stays and the great excurions and tours they offer combined to make it a phenomanal trip. And like you, I did more in one week than I would normally do in two or three. I needed two days at home just to rest up afterwards.

I take my hat off to all the officers, staff and ebtire NCL organization for making these U.S. flag operations happen and successful. They've got a whole lot to be proud of , despite what the pundits and so called 'experts' say.

Tim
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Old May 31st, 2005, 12:21 AM
American Pride
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Default Re: Pride Of Aloha Crew Moved to Pride Of America

Thanks guys! It's good to see some objective views out there. Things are improving. Somethings not as quickly as others, but we are moving as fast as we can. After working with these kids since we started bringing them onboard the Pride of America I am convinced that we have an uneatable product and a great way to see the islands. I also agree with Pauls statements about getting used to ships life and crew movements. It's hard to understand these things until you've actually done them yourself. No travel agent, reporter or labor expert can ever expect to understand this unique lifestyle. Thats not a slam to anybody just the truth.
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Old June 3rd, 2005, 08:18 AM
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Default Re: Pride Of Aloha Crew Moved to Pride Of America

For the CruiseMates Captain, was this a NCL sponsored cruise?

The 3 above posts sound like they were written by NCL officially.
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Old June 3rd, 2005, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: Re: Pride Of Aloha Crew Moved to Pride Of America

This is funny. Allow me to point out all the ironies.

1) A 1000 word press release can be written for about $250, that's a lot less than the price of a cruise and it would be a whole lot more positive than what I had to say above. My article will be online very soon, and it will be as balanced as what I say above, but contain more information.

2) Tim above, who is an long-time and good friend ( Hi Tim!!! ) actually works for a competing cruise line to NCL, and is not affiliated with NCL in any way. I guess that is proof that it is possible to work in this industry and write unbiased reports of cruise experiences no matter what you do professionally

3) American Pride DOES work for NCL and has never denied it.

4) Your IP address above shows that your post came from the domain name for Princess cruise lines. Just a coincidence, I guess? But there is only one Princess.com, just one, only one. Unless of course that princess.com domain identifier above was caused by sunspots.

Is anybody here NOT working in the cruise industry? Must be a slow season for cruise sales if all we have in here are cruise people talking to each other.

Tim, I love ya, babe. Good to see you.

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