Better Than Expected Vacation: Pride of America Cruise Review by GMuzza
Overall Member Rating
Better Than Expected Vacation
I would agree with others who have wondered if this experience really counts as as "cruise." It is perhaps better categorized as a cost-effective way to visit the Hawaiian Islands on a floating 4-star hotel with excellent food and very comfortable accommodations.
I was surprised to see that our balcony (we were in stateroom 10184, Aft-Facing Large Balcony) was almost the same size as the stateroom itself. You could easily place a king-sized bed and two night tables out there. I would have preferred if some of that over-sized balcony had been allocated to the cabin area itself: it was a little cramped, but still comfortable. I More don't know if the TV stations were closed-circuit or televised live via satellite but, either way, it was nice to watch television at night before falling asleep, even if it was an old analog 19" unit.
Overall, the food was much better than I expected after having read some terribly negative reviews: In fact, the steak that I was served at the Jefferson Bistro on our first night was so tender I could (and did) literally cut it with my fork! We ate breakfast at the Aloha Cafe every morning and my wife and I were both very happy with both the quality and quantity of the food. Interestingly enough, the only "miss" during the week was with the steak served at the Lazy J Steakhouse: After eating there, I changed my second reservation at the Lazy J to the Jefferson Bistro. The other specialty restaurants we ate at was the Teppanyaki and the neighboring Sabu Sabu (or Chinese hot pot). It was not authentic (we lived in mainland China for seven years) but it was good enough.We were too tired to attend any of the shows except for the first evening, so I can't really comment on them or the SPA, which we didn't use.
I rented a car at Thrifty Car Rental for every port with the exception of Hilo and Kona. There were plenty of freelance (and discounted) island tour guides waiting for guests as we disembarked at Kona and for $50.00 each, we had a great tour of the volcano and other local sites. Driving the Road to Hana was challenging and fun and I'm glad I did it once but I wouldn't do it again (and it's not a road you can travel at night).
If you have never been to Hawaii before, I believe that doing so on the Pride of America is very pleasant way to explore the Aloha State's main islands. Be prepared for the fact that as this cruise is port intensive, the experience is a lot more tiring than the more traditional cruise that has one to two days at sea. Less