Just got back from a 7 day cruise on the Pride of America.
Departed August 28 and returned Sept. 4th.
NCL lost/misplaced a piece of my luggage. After complaining several times and going to the Head of Security it shows up 3 days later. Gratefully, I stopped at the Reception Desk to thank them for getting it to me. They were surprized to know it was returned and had no clue as to who found it. I got it back so all was well. In short, the right hand did not know what the left hand was doing.
Other than that my experience was mostly positive. My wife and I loved the islands. The sights and experiences were breath taking. Onboard, the food was just so, so. Sometimes very good and other times metiocre. I actually like the Free Style concept. However, the service level was poor. Too much time between courses at the East Meets West specialty restaurant. On the other hand, our waitress was really nice and a pleasure to talk with. Our cabin was cleaned well and timely each day. Although friends of ours said their cabin was not cleaned timely and their room steward did a lousy job.
NCL really needs to come up with better onboard activities. Kind of lacking in my opinion. Not enough variety.
The Shore excursions were too expensive for us. By comparison we did better on our own. There will be Excursion services, private individuals, and small businesses at each port that will give you a much better deal than NCL. Save yourself some time and money by striking out on your own. We made friends with another couple and split the cost of renting a car and followed the tour buses for about a quarter of the expense that NCL charged. Car rental ranged from 19.95 and up at Alamo. Our cost was $29.88 including taxes for a full size GM product for a 24 hour rental. We purchased gas (about $20.) and had to pay a nearby lot $10. for in and out overnite parking. For about $60. we had the run of Maui. Complete freedom to shop, explore, and go where we pleased. On another island we used a Limo service to take us around in style. They provided cold drinks, and vodka. That cost us $45. a head, NCL charge was $49. a head to ride on a bus with a preset schedule and stops. Our limo guy took us to the same sights the bus went plus took us places at our request.
I spoke a lot with different crew members from porters to cooks. Consensus: NCL works their butts off. Many said they work 12 - 20 hours a day. Their schedule is to work 5 months then off for 5 weeks. I think this accounts for some of the inconsistent service levels.
O.K. would I do it again? Yes I would. The good far out weighed the bad.
The crew comments on PoA about working hours is not a surprise to me. ALL of the cruise lines work their staff hours longer than most Americans would even consider. Part of the inconsistency, is also due in part that PoA is fully US staffed. From what I have seen in the workplace, we don't have the same work ethic we used to, in many younger people.