The BEST way to see Hawai'i!
Pride of America Cruise Review to Hawaii
Sail Date: April 25, 2009
Ship: Pride of America
Cabin Type: Oceanview
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 8 years ago
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!
Ports of Call
Don't Miss: The only TRUE, 100% Black Sand Beach (your ONLY CHANCE!)
Don't Miss: Rent a car and go to the gorge and then the waterfalls.
Don't Miss: The seahorse farm
Don't Miss: Rent a car and drive the Hana Highway - see the waterfalls and arboretums!
Don't Miss: NOTHING - stay on the ship!
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...