January 2016 - Pride of America to Hawaii
This was our first cruise, and while we knew up front that it wasn't going to be cheap, the costs that added up were beyond our expectations. But let me first say a few things about the things that worked.
1. Our cabin, although small, worked just fine and I really appreciated how quiet it was, how well everything worked, the generous amount of sturdy storage, and a bathroom that worked well, too. Our cabin steward was outstanding.
2. The food program was generally very excellent and only at one meal did our servers get all the orders mixed up, and were very confused by everything. At all the other meals, we had more than enough to eat, were served by friendly and competent servers, and we ate tasty, well-prepared food.
3. The entertainment progdram was fine - we enjoyed several of the shows, but found that there were not many options if we didn't want to hang around the bars and drink all night. And the price of drinks was excessive. And I resent having a generous tip taken out of every drink order and then being asked (subtly, of course) to provide yet an additional tip.
4. Charging $29.95 for Internet access a day is simply outrageous gouging. Everyone needs and uses internet these days....it's like having toilet paper....we take it for granted. If you're going to do that, build it into the overall charge....don't nickel and dime (or ten-dollar) us to death. As it turned out, we found we ddin't need it after all....we were close enough to coverage on all of the islands that there were few times that we were outside of phone and Internet service. But, it would have helped to have it seamlessly.
5. I know, you're probably going to say that it was in the fine print of our contract, but it was quite a surprise to find a $13.50 gratuity surcharge tacked on to our accounts when the cruise was almost over. Come on folks...pay your staff a living wage and let us tip as the service requires. So, we don't see the cooks and the dishwashers, etc.........they're not involved in customer service. Then it's YOUR responsibility to pay them enough without asking us to do it at the last minute.
6. And please, shut off the music sometimes! By the third day, when I'd get up early...way before sunrise, to walk around deck 6, I could not escape the ukuleles! As a matter of fact, there were few places in the ship where one could go to get a little pease and quiet other than our cabin.....and in some places, the music was so loud and raucous, we simply turned around and left.
7. So.....my wife and I...who've traveled and lived in many I parts of the world, will probably NOT be taking another cruise with you again.......it was a real education, but Norwegian is just a big money making machine....and we can do far better designing a vacation ourselves and saving a ton of money in the process.