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Old October 3rd, 2007, 11:14 AM
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Default NCLA Issues

Having just finished 10 days on Pride of Aloha, I have comments on a number of topics. First: the "professional" reviewers need to rework their reviews; you can no longer see the lava from the sea, there is no longer "folkloric" entertainment in the Starlight lounge, there are no longer coffee pots in the staterooms, there is no longer an optional formal night and the ship is showing definate signs of poor maintenance (our shower was cracked and the silver was coming off of the mirror).

Now for NCLA: the staff, especially in the dining rooms (note the plural) was poorly trained. Too many times they did not know what utensil to provide for the next course so provided the wrong one. Too many times the waite staff was curt verging on unfriendly. The kitchen was disorganized; at least twice the menu was wrong and verbal correction needed to be given by the waite staff. There was a host and hostess at both of the main dining rooms but they did not always work together; you would tell one one thing but the other would do something else (not what you asked). The food was so so with little variety and too much repetition. The buffet was only OK but very busy with not enough seating. I've read a lot of good reviews about the "special" dining rooms; one should not have to pay extra, considering the initial cruise investment, to have good food and service. The one bright spot was our cabin stewardess; she kept the cabin neat and clean and provided towel animals most nights.

We attended the captains reception for repeat cruisers. The "grand" prize door prize was a bottle of wine and dinner in one of the specialty restaurants. On the last Princess cruise we took, the grand prize was a cruise.

The shore excursions were very over priced. We found out the hard way that we could book the same excursion directly with Roberts or Grey Line for less than half what NCLA charged. On our last excursion we actually shared a bus with fellow passengers who paid more per person than what we paid for a couple.

Paraphrasing another reviewer, it seems NCLA is nickle and diming us to death to make up for their red ink.

Don't get me wrong; Hawaii was WONDERFUL. It was the cruise that was lacking.
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Old October 8th, 2007, 08:54 PM
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Interesting about the door prize for the repeat cruisers gathering. Holland America and Royal Caribbean offer no door prizes.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 03:26 PM
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Sorry to read that your cruise wasn't what you was expecting for it to be. As far as the poor maintenance goes on the POAloha it's due to it being a much older ship but it still should have been fixed.
The reason why other reviewers probably discussing about the lava flow from the volcano because at the time there was flow but the last few months it's been inactive. The captain's secretary should have announced that over the PA.
As far as the shore excursion goes, on the NCLA channel that can be watched in your stateroom, states that their excursion are pricey compared to other companies because their's are insured and hire professionals.
I concur with you when you state that NCLA is nickle and diming when it comes to them charging extra for special dining (ex.sushi bar or teppanyaki)
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Old October 18th, 2007, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: NCLA Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by ron43
Having just finished 10 days on Pride of Aloha, I have comments on a number of topics. First: the "professional" reviewers need to rework their reviews; you can no longer see the lava from the sea, there is no longer "folkloric" entertainment in the Starlight lounge, there are no longer coffee pots in the staterooms, there is no longer an optional formal night and the ship is showing definate signs of poor maintenance (our shower was cracked and the silver was coming off of the mirror).

Now for NCLA: the staff, especially in the dining rooms (note the plural) was poorly trained. Too many times they did not know what utensil to provide for the next course so provided the wrong one. Too many times the waite staff was curt verging on unfriendly. The kitchen was disorganized; at least twice the menu was wrong and verbal correction needed to be given by the waite staff. There was a host and hostess at both of the main dining rooms but they did not always work together; you would tell one one thing but the other would do something else (not what you asked). The food was so so with little variety and too much repetition. The buffet was only OK but very busy with not enough seating. I've read a lot of good reviews about the "special" dining rooms; one should not have to pay extra, considering the initial cruise investment, to have good food and service. The one bright spot was our cabin stewardess; she kept the cabin neat and clean and provided towel animals most nights.

We attended the captains reception for repeat cruisers. The "grand" prize door prize was a bottle of wine and dinner in one of the specialty restaurants. On the last Princess cruise we took, the grand prize was a cruise.

The shore excursions were very over priced. We found out the hard way that we could book the same excursion directly with Roberts or Grey Line for less than half what NCLA charged. On our last excursion we actually shared a bus with fellow passengers who paid more per person than what we paid for a couple.

Paraphrasing another reviewer, it seems NCLA is nickle and diming us to death to make up for their red ink.

Don't get me wrong; Hawaii was WONDERFUL. It was the cruise that was lacking.
I don't know what Princess offered, as I wasn't there, but most lines no longer offer a free cruise at the repeat passenger party. In fact Celebrity, last time we sailed offered no prizes, just a few cocktails. RCI certainly didn't offer a cruise. I guess Princess is just more generous.

Nickel and diming? Are you talking about shore excursions, or something else? We just got off the Star last week, we were not nickel and dimed in anyway different that all cruise lines. Bingo was outrageous, that is why we never play. I assume you have cruised several times, if so, you know the ship excursions will always run about double what the price would be if you booked privately, plus individual tours are ussually more personalized and more fun.

As for the rest of your appraisal I won't comment, as I can only speculate and that isn't fair to anyone. I did notice you have only posted a few times, I guess you didn't read or ask questions prior to your sailing. I am always amazed how people find these boards when they want to blast but not other times. I do hope your next cruise is better and remember NCLA and NCL are not the same, but please do clarify what you mean by nickel and diming to death.

Nita
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Old October 19th, 2007, 09:05 AM
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As to the age of Pride of Aloha - it was launced as Norwegian Sky in 1999 and refitted as PO Aloha in 2004 so it's not that old. Yes NCLA is not exactly the same as NCL but, I believe, NCL is the parent company so has a lot to say about how NCLA is run. As for nickle and diming, there were often not chocolates on the pillows with turn down, there were not individual soaps, shampoos and conditioners but dispensers (that kept falling apart, I might add) and the unlimited softdrink option was over twice what it was on my last Princess cruise ($75 for the 10 days). Then there were the very overpriced refreshments in the cabin taking up much needed room.
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Old October 19th, 2007, 09:12 AM
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One reason why they have dispensers instead of individual soaps, shampoos and conditioners is that it´s better for the environment.

I agree that the overpriced refreshments in the cabin take up much room but that´s normally not a problem because they take it away if you ask them.
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Old October 19th, 2007, 10:02 AM
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Ron, I think you're correct that as much as it might pain certain people to admit...NCL and NCLA are indeed affilliated. There have been so many poor reviews of the NCLA branded ships I don't know why anyone would even bother to try to defend NCL or NCLA for that matter. Since I can go to NCL.com and book either cruise line, they are indeed affilliated. It is simply NCL's brand for their American flagged ships in my opinion.

Regarding the nickel and diming..NCLA has had to cut prices on these cruises to entice people to book them. I am sure partially because of the poor reputation these American flagged ships have earned. So it makes sense that they have to make up that money somewhere, probably in ovepriced shore excursions. Althoough to be completly objective, I have never found any ship excursions to be a bargain.

I have often thought of booking one of these Hawaii cruises, but truthfully when I do, I will likely book one that leaves and returns from California or Ensenada, simply because the NCLA business model strikes me as an experiment that was a very costly mistake.
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Old October 19th, 2007, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ron43
As to the age of Pride of Aloha - it was launced as Norwegian Sky in 1999 and refitted as PO Aloha in 2004 so it's not that old. Yes NCLA is not exactly the same as NCL but, I believe, NCL is the parent company so has a lot to say about how NCLA is run. As for nickle and diming, there were often not chocolates on the pillows with turn down, there were not individual soaps, shampoos and conditioners but dispensers (that kept falling apart, I might add) and the unlimited softdrink option was over twice what it was on my last Princess cruise ($75 for the 10 days). Then there were the very overpriced refreshments in the cabin taking up much needed room.
I know these things do bother some, but not most of us: the soap and shampoo dispensers were adopted by NCL about 2 years ago, Unless you wanted to pick up the soaps and shampoos and take them home, what difference does this make? Yes, I am sure it is a cost cutting policy. We got chocolates every night on our Star cruise 2 weeks ago, I don't know about NCLA. I agree about the cost of soft drink cards, these prices have shot up like crazy the past year, could be the case with other lines as well. I don't drink soft drinks so have no idea. Now, the mini bars? Certainly, if you are a frequent traveler you know the prices are very similar to what is charged in the hotel mini bars. if you don't travel often you may not realize this, but beleive me, all mini bars are out of line. You could have asked your cabin steward to remove everything, giving you room for whatever you wanted to put in your refridge. I don't consider any of this, except the soda cards as nickel and diming anyone, these are extra charges you can accept or not, it is up to you.

You are correct, Star is the parent company and yes, I am sure has a lot to say about the operations of NCLA, but comparing the two lines is like comparing Hilton Corp hotels with thier franchise ones.

It is obvious you were very unhappy with NCLA and most likely wont' return. That is why we have so many cruise line choices. I do hope you enjoy the rest of your cruising days on whatever line suits you best.

Nita
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Old November 13th, 2007, 08:28 PM
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Default Re: NCLA Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by ron43
Having just finished 10 days on Pride of Aloha, I have comments on a number of topics. First: the "professional" reviewers need to rework their reviews; you can no longer see the lava from the sea, there is no longer "folkloric" entertainment in the Starlight lounge, there are no longer coffee pots in the staterooms, there is no longer an optional formal night and the ship is showing definate signs of poor maintenance (our shower was cracked and the silver was coming off of the mirror).

Now for NCLA: the staff, especially in the dining rooms (note the plural) was poorly trained. Too many times they did not know what utensil to provide for the next course so provided the wrong one. Too many times the waite staff was curt verging on unfriendly. The kitchen was disorganized; at least twice the menu was wrong and verbal correction needed to be given by the waite staff. There was a host and hostess at both of the main dining rooms but they did not always work together; you would tell one one thing but the other would do something else (not what you asked). The food was so so with little variety and too much repetition. The buffet was only OK but very busy with not enough seating. I've read a lot of good reviews about the "special" dining rooms; one should not have to pay extra, considering the initial cruise investment, to have good food and service. The one bright spot was our cabin stewardess; she kept the cabin neat and clean and provided towel animals most nights.

We attended the captains reception for repeat cruisers. The "grand" prize door prize was a bottle of wine and dinner in one of the specialty restaurants. On the last Princess cruise we took, the grand prize was a cruise.

The shore excursions were very over priced. We found out the hard way that we could book the same excursion directly with Roberts or Grey Line for less than half what NCLA charged. On our last excursion we actually shared a bus with fellow passengers who paid more per person than what we paid for a couple.

Paraphrasing another reviewer, it seems NCLA is nickle and diming us to death to make up for their red ink.

Don't get me wrong; Hawaii was WONDERFUL. It was the cruise that was lacking.
So Ron, how are things in Painesville/Mentor? I am just getting ready to do my first 5 month tour with NCL in Hawaii. I am a very good server ( 53 years old) and provide excellent experiences. I am concerned that some of my fellow crew members will not be motivated. Is it really that bad?
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