First Time Cruiser on NCL Pride of America Hawaii...
I wanted to share my experience on this message board about the NCL Pride of America cruise thru Hawaii since I found that this site's review of the Pride of America cruise to be spot on regarding customer service: http://www.cruisemates.com/articles/...cl/america.cfm.
My family and I sailed on the Pride of America Jan.3 - 10. This was the first cruise for my wife and me and we were really looking forward to the experience. We went with our 1 yr old son, my brother and my parents so there were 6 of us total. My parents have been on many cruises and cruise lines.
The Aloha Buffet was fine, we ate there on our first night. On our second night of the cruise and first night at a "sit-down" restaurant in the Skyline Lounge. Our server Tamara gave us the impression that she was irritated with us, this was shown when we asked for things such as appetizer with the meal ("she said she had to ask the manager"), saying we made a mess with the cutlery and in general bad body language conveying that we were somehow bothering her. When we asked for ketchup for my son's fries and she again sighed and rolled her eyes, the whole table said that we need to see the manager. We spoke with the Maitre d': Sonny and a director who happened to be there: Allan Munn. Sonny asked for our room number and promised us that our issues would be addressed. Nothing was done and it was not acknowledged.
We were really not expecting much from the service but even this really fell below our expectations. I don't think we were being unreasonable with any of our requests and we were there to enjoy the meal and not have a server choose to wreck our first formal dinner. I have other examples of just things that were "off" with the service such as the the looks on some of the bus people and servers with requests such as asking for a high-chair, or gravy for beef, asking the front desk for towels and an iron that were promised but never received. It's all these small things that left the impression with all of us.
This type of customer service is really a stark contrast to what we experienced when we were actually in the ports of Hawaii. The people of Hawaii seem to understand customer service much more than the crew of the Pride of America. I've read it on someone else's review of this ship before I came on board and it does seem true: the crew seem to be of the attitude that they are on vacation themselves and why are you bothering me. I only had two bright spots of customer service besides that it was really a bad experience overall. My parents said that this was way below the standard they had seen on other cruise lines, since this was my wife and mine first cruise we really can't compare this to any other cruise line but the service was below what you would expect from any restaurant and definitely way below what we saw when we dined out in Hawaii.
Like others have said read the reviews and make up your own mind, but from our experience we are a bit soured on going cruising again with NCL and would not recommend going on the Pride of America again.
Your experience on NCL America is not common on other NCL ships, I have cruised on 4 different NCL ships and on 3 I found the service very good and the staff friendly, the other was NCLA Hawaii cruise in 2004 on the Pride of Aloha our 2nd NCL cruise. The ship and everything was good but they were lacking on the service, so I agree with your post about the service on your ship but do not give up on NCL after one cruise or on cruising with any other line. Out side of the service how was the ship, islands and your stay in Hawaii.
I agree with Bentnail, that the NCL America ship is not to be compared to the regular fleet. It's been a source of discussion for a long time around the cruise boards. Because of the laws, the Pride of America ship is staffed mostly with an American crew. The hours are incredibly long and the work is hard. Unions are involved. Some of the American crew are great.The Pride of Aloha and Pride of Hawaii were pulled from the islands because the cost to run these ships became prohibitive.
The good news is that this cruise is port intensive and time on the ship is limited. We loved our cruise of Hawaii on the Pride of Hawaii, not because of the cruise experience but because there is no other effective way can you see 4 of the Hawaii islands easily (no unpacking, no flights to catch, no checking in to multiple hotels, and it's all inclusive...no worrying about food). We fell in love with Hawaii this way and have chosen to go back to Maui in December.
For anyone considering the NCL Pride of America, I would recommend this cruise. Keep in mind that you are there for Hawaii and not the "normal" cruise experience and you should be fine.
Past cruises: Disney, HAL(2), NCL(3), RCCL(2), Princess(3)
Thanks for the replies and that is great to hear that what we experienced was not typical of NCL cruises. I think I would try cruising again but my wife was really put off by it and will need some convincing to try cruising again at all.
And I agree that the cruise was a good way to see the islands of Hawaii and our family loved pretty much everything about Hawaii itself once we docked. But to put it into perspective if I look at the cruise as just a place to eat and to sleep, I think that we could have booked hotels and inter-island flights and choose to dine out at each island for not that much more plus been much happier with the service received compared to Pride of America.
Not to sound ungrateful for the crew members that I have no doubt work long hours doing hard work, but if they are not in the mood to give at least basic customer service courtesy then they have no right to work there. The poor service, for us at least, affected a vacation that cost quite a bit of time and money to save and plan for.