April 2015 - 7 Night Hawaii (Honolulu Roundtrip) Cruise on Pride of America
First time visit to Hawaii, this was a perfect way to see 4 islands and get to know them without moving from hotel to hotel and flying. We had a cabin on deck 8, port side with large balcony. Port side is important if you want to see Oahu from your balcony as well as the Napali coast of Kauai. The cabin was smaller than on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth, bathroom same size. However it is all laid-out well with enough storage. Unfortunately our cabin had a door connecting us to the next cabin. Upon arrival we had to call to have it locked. The rest of the week we could hear everything next door: make sure you don't get one of those cabins if you want quiet and privacy. Cabin was clean, mirror was not, drawers had crumbs and dust. Bathroom was clean. Room service fast and efficient. After trying the buffet for lunch the day of arrival we were not impressed and only used it for breakfast. All other meal we took at the specialty restaurants which were all excellent. Make sure you get the "ultimate dining plan": it eliminates the cover charges at the specialty restaurants (for example $30 per person at Cagney's steakhouse), it's a great deal and the specialty restaurants all were outstanding. (interestingly, we did not like the specialty restaurants on the Queen Elizabeth and ate every meal at the buffet which was excellent, much better than on the Pride. If you like quantity go for the buffet on the Pride, if you like quality of food and service, go for the specialty restaurants. Exception was the breakfast buffet which was excellent with a selection worth a 5 star hotel. The excellent sushi counter /bar was almost better than some we visited in Japan a week earlier. There is no cover charge for the sushi counter, however you pay for each item, but with their prices it is still a bargain. Speaking of prices, I found the drink and wine prices very reasonable, especially the "drink of the day" carries a bargain price. Entertainment was very good, excellent variety and quality performers. We did not take any shore arrangements, we rented a car in each port and made our own itineraries, I recommend that unless you don't want to drive. All staff we encountered was friendly, helpful and cheerful, which is amazing when you realize the hours and days they work and that they get the same questions every week again. My wife has a gluten free diet; from day one, from the chef of the buffet to the chefs and staff of the specialty restaurants, everyone went out of their way to accommodate and help her. Especially the gluten free rolls from "Moderna" (the Brazilian restaurant) she asked for and received at every venue we went to, my wife liked very much. Highlight was the cruise along the Napali coast of Kauai with an excellent narative (reason to move from our balcony to the upper deck). Check-in and out of the cruise was very well organized with plenty of agents at check-in. I recommend you take all your luggage off the ship yourself at the end, you can leave at any time that way. This cruise is for families with young or older children, couples young and old and even singles, even though it is not an over the top "party-party" ship and there is no gambling. It has something for everybody, we were impressed how well NCL put this itinerary together with the right time in each port to see the sights. We live on the mainland's East coast but will certainly come back for another cruise with NCL there is so much more we'd like to do on the islands.