We are not world travelers. In fact, I consider Nags Head to be an exotic vacation destination, but Nancy and I have taken a few cruises, the last three with Norwegian. We have been most satisfied.
In reality, Norwegian Cruise Lines has nothing to do with Norway. It’s an American cruise line headquartered in Miami. It’s the third-largest cruise line in the world in terms of passengers
The ship we have boarded on our last three visits to Hawaii is the Pride of America. In ocean liner terms, the Pride is a small ship, a bit short of 1,000 feet. A full house includes 2,186 passengers and nearly1,000 crew members.
When Covid showed reared its ugly head, stiff regulations shut Norwegian down for just over two years. They had to completely restaff.
When Chick-fil-A has a hard time finding two dozen employees to piece together a thousand Chicken Sandwiches in a day, imagine what it’s like filling 1,000 skilled positions – wine stewards, cruise directors, mechanics, bar tenders, chefs, pursers, travel managers and the like?
“Help wanted: Completely devoted workers to fill highly skilled and demanding positions. Must be willing to leave home and family for three or four months at a time, work seven days aa week, and to be ever pleasant and grateful for a demanding clientele.”
Many of the staff we spoke with on the trip had only been on the ship for a few weeks and they come from around the world, but each had one thing in common. They were friendly. They all go out of their way to make guests feel welcomed and at home. They have the good sense that the customers pay their salaries and understand the importance of genuine customer service.
We have found the food aboard the Pride of America to be consistently good. The breakfasts are outstanding. I especially like the wide assortment of fresh fruits – papayas, mangoes, coconuts, pineapples, bananas, and melons recently plucked from the fields of Hawaii.
The ship has lots of dining choices, some free and some with an upcharge. Most often, we dine at the Aloha Cafe with an awesome buffet selection and a carving board of roast beef, pork, turkey, and other meats. The Jefferson, serving French American Cuisine, ranks with New York City’s finest.
Our cabin is compact, but comfortable. One of my favorite parts of the entire cruise is to sit out on our deck and watch the aqua bubbles flow by – to see sunsets and sunrises, to sip hot coffee brewed in our room, and to enjoy a glass of wine as the ship departs for another port.
Thanks, Norwegian, for making this happen.