We are first time cruisers and our vacation itineraries are usually action packed. This was a perfect introductory cruise for us as we were able to see and do a lot each day while enjoying the luxuries of being on a cruise ship.
5 out of 5
Used the tags mailed to us by NCL, so luggage drop-off was easy. We had a suite, so were ushered into a VIP waiting area with some refreshments, A representative escorted us on board to Cagney's for lunch. By the time we were finished eating, our cabin was ready. Our luggage arrived a short time later.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
We ate in Teppanyaki, La Cucina, Moderno's, Cagneys, the Skyline MDR, Cadillac, the Aloha buffet and ordered from room service. Food was plentiful and good and service in the specialty restaurants was top notch. The buffet was OK for breakfast or the afternoon snack (my daughter just wanted the cookies lol.) Room service breakfast was more limited in options, but perfect for the few mornings we wanted an early start. We were able to have breakfast and lunch in Cagneys because we were in a suite...fabulous! We needed breakfast before 6:30 some days, otherwise we would have had breakfast there every day. I have been to churrascerias in Brazil and in NYC...Moderno's meat was probably the best of any I've been to. The appetizer buffet wasn't as extensive as the others I've been to, but that's probably for the best as I usually fill up on that and then can't enjoy the meat. For all of the places we ate, there was no dress code, however most people we dressed nicer than what they'd spent the day touring the islands in. The first night we were wearing the tees and shorts we'd hiked up diamond head in...we'd cleaned up, but not had all our luggage so couldn't change. We were the only people dressed like that, so would recommend more of a dress-casual look if you want to feel comfortable (except the buffet...anything goes there it seems)
3 out of 5
Hubby used the gym which was adequate for his needs. We used the hot tubs a couple of times...the first time was good because hardly anyone was on the ship (our excursion had been cancelled so we were back early.) The second time they were over run by rowdy, unsupervised children, so we didn't last long. We did the kukui nut lei making activity which was fun, plus we got a great souvenir out of it.
4 out of 5
We went to see one show...lights camera music...but honestly most nights we were so exhausted from exploring the islands that we couldn't stay up for them.
2 out of 5
My 17 year old tried to go to the teen lounge on multiple occasions, but it was either closed or full of what she called 'old people.' It would have been nice if this was more engaging so she could hang out there when she didn't want to go to a show or the pool with us.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Our butler, Georgia was wonderful. Such a lovely and thoughtful lady! She bought us some treats every afternoon and made sure we had everything we needed to have a great vacation. Roderick, our steward, was also great. loved the creative towel animals he left for us.
4 out of 5
The ship was very clean. I understand it's The Pride of America, hence the Americana theme, but since this ship only sails in Hawaii, it needs to be a little more tropical
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
This room was awesome for us. We had a master bedroom with king size bed, TV and plenty of closet/drawer space for all our things. There was a sitting area with a sofa and TV and then a smaller br with pullout and TV that was perfect for our daughter. We were on the aft (back) of the ship with huge wraparound balcony. The balcony had 3 chaise lounges, a table and 4 chairs. We ate breakfast out there a few mornings and it was in a perfect position for the Na Pali coast sail by.
We spent 3 nights before and found Honolulu to be a safe, walkable city (we are from the NYC area.) Waikiki is nice to walk at sunrise before the crowds get there, but if you want a beach day, go while in Kauai or Kona or go to the other side of Oahu. On the day of embarkation, we hikied up Diamond Head early in the morning, sampled international foods at the farmer's market, toured Iolani Palace (reserved in advance.)
Our Molokini crater excursion was canceled due to high winds so we hung out on the beach near the ship for the morning (meh) and then took the Haleakala sunset excursion which was awesome. I understand the sunrise is much more crowded, so I am glad we did it this way. On day 2 we took the best of Maui excursion to Iao Valley state park (amazing), Maui Tropical Plantation (Interesting) and the aquarium (fun, with a surprisingly good lunch). Our bus driver Henry for that one made it a really great excursion as he was so funny.
Took Roberts excursion to Hawaii Volcanoes and Big Island Candy. The guide maximized our time in the park which was what we were hoping for. Back by 12, we ubered to Rainbow Falls. The guide waited for us while we took some pictures and then drove us to Richardson's black sand beach. Nice little lagoon to swim in...wish we had snorkel stuff with us. Ubered back to the ship
Did the NCL Historic Kona excursion. Wish they'd allowed us more than 45 minutes at the City of Refuge (beautiful and so interesting) and less than 45 minutes at the coffee place. The painted church was nice with a breif talk given by a volunteer. Back in town, we ubered to Kaloko Honokohau National Park. Hughly recommend...small visitor center with walking trail past petroglyphs to a beautiful beach where you can swim, snorkel and where turtles like to hang out. Then back for a quick walk through Kailua Kona before getting back on the tender
We did the tubing with Kauai Back Country Adventures. What a blast! John from Kauai Island Shuttle took us to the tubing place, then picked us up and took us on a tour of the North Shore. The next day, he took us out to Waimea Canyon and other sites on that side. He accomodated what we wanted to see, it was just us, and the two days cost slightly less than what taking the two excursions through NCL would have cost.
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