Pride of America Cruise Review to Hawaii

Contributor Level: Deck Hand

Experience
2-3 cruises

Review
1

Helpful Votes
7

4 out of 5

The BEST way to see Hawai'i!

Sail Date: April 25, 2009

Reviewed: 6 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Oceanview

The Pride of America was incredibly clean --from stateroom to dining room and between-- in spite of its back-to-back schedule and being the last of three in the lineup.
The staff were predominantly friendly and eager to please, providing some great tips for our off-shore visits. The few exceptions were annoying, but minor and easy dismissed.
Freestyle dining is FANTASTIC! On other cruises, if you eat early, you lose out on shore time. Eat late and you miss the on-board entertainment. However, miss dinner and the options are often sub-par. The Cadillac Diner on this ship was a perfect (no up-charge) alternative to the usual buffet, with menu-based table service, expansive hours, accommodating staff and a fun atmosphere - even offering on deck dining! The buffet (Aloha Cafe) had a great and quality selection. The food not only looked good, but tasted great as well. We found the included food options so good that the up-charge restaurants were unnecessary, although some of the menu items looked very promising if that's your preference. With a baby due in about four months, we preferred to be as casual and spontaneous as possible (no wasting an hour or two just to get ready for a long, drawn-out dinner). One of the bar staffers noted my wife's pregnancy, and offered us the "Teen Passport" which was an EXCELLENT value for both us and NCL. Without it, we'd have avoided *all* up-charge drinks. Instead, they got a nice first-day charge for two booklets, and we enjoyed delicious smoothies and other non-alcoholic beverages, such as an occasional soda or milkshake, during the whole cruise. THIS SHOULD BE OPENED TO ALL CRUISERS, NOT JUST TEENS (and the occasional pregnant woman). Most barstaff rolled with it, but one or two obnoxious staffers hassled us about being over 18, which was inappropriate, especially given their ignorance of my wife's condition and my solidarity.
There were plenty of cozy and quiet spots, but always something to do and people to meet as well.
The future cruise deposit program is a fantastic idea, and a win-win for anyone planning to cruise again, within 2 (I hear now FOUR) years! We nabbed one and may even come back to see more of Hawai'i on this ship again.
Due to the pregnancy we also avoided booking excursions up-front, but we priced them out off-ship and found the ship prices to be VERY reasonable and competitive. We were actually sorry to miss a couple of the ship's excursions - next time!
;^)

Pros: Spared us multiple hotels, airports, etc.; allowed us to see Ni'ihau; All-American; Teen Passport booklet for non-alcoholic drinks

Cons: Lahaina port is a mess (more tenders or better scheduling) - fortunately, they don't go there every week...

Recommends Pride of America? Yes!

Hilo, Hawaii
This is also the place for the volcano tours, but these are supposedly best in Dec./Jan. With my wife being pregnant, we opted to save them for our NEXT visit...
Don't Miss: The only TRUE, 100% Black Sand Beach (your ONLY CHANCE!)
Kahului, Maui

Don't Miss: Rent a car and drive the Hana Highway - see the waterfalls and arboretums!
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
THIS is the port that meets your expectations of Hawai'i. It's low-key and very relaxing overall. The prices are very reasonable compared to all other ports! DO NOT MISS the Hawaiian shaved ice place off the main street (called "Scandinavian Shaved Ice" but...). We got a fabulous batch for less than 1/4 of any other port prices and a huge portion!
Don't Miss: The seahorse farm
Nawiliwili, Kauai
You have a full day and a half here, so it's a perfect place to rent a convertible and see the sights. We loved the Kilauea lighthouse, but the falls and other highly-touted spots are also wonderful. On this, as with all of the islands, the drives are short and the distances very reasonable, even if the maps may make the drives seem longer, especially if you're used to the mainland states.
Don't Miss: Rent a car and go to the gorge and then the waterfalls.
Lahaina, Maui
You'll WASTE most of the day waiting for the tender. It's RIDICULOUS. Everything here is too touristy and expensive. After the disappointment, we had to wait about 2 hours (no exaggeration!) to get back on the ship. Even if you like this port, your plans to go ashore twice will not be realized...
Don't Miss: NOTHING - stay on the ship!


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