Pride of America - 11/10/12: Pride of America Cruise Review by clotito
Overall Member Rating
Pride of America - 11/10/12
Flew in Thursday night from Newark non-stop on United, checked for seat change before we left so we knew where empty seats close to us were. Flight didn't offer much but we found extra seats and made due. Anticipating great vacation - didn't sleep much but flight went fast.Pre-booked airport transfer online through Hawaii 23 shuttle - great service - very affordable. Stayed two nights at Hyatt Waikiki, used Hyatt points - nice hotel - concierge level - great views.
Day 1 - Rented FLH Harley at Marriott 2 blocks down. Circled Oahu first stopping at Hanauma Bay for a bit of snorkeling. $1 to park bike, short film and we were on our way. Best snorkeling ever. Had lunch at great restaurant - Buzz's Lanikiain near Kailua. Then up 83 to north shore to watch some of surf tourney at Banzai pipeline at Ehukai Beach, very cool. Then off to our own private beach at Waimea Bay for some body surfing and More sunbathing. Then headed back Waikiki for shower and 8pm dinner at Hula Grill, little shopping and off to bed.
Day 2 - Up again at 7am for complimentary breakfast, 7:40 out on bike back to Hanauma Bay this time no file - right to snorkeling with a turtle, awesome. Rode more than 200 miles total both days before returning bike and picking up some nice shirts at the Harley shop. Back to hotel for late check-out 1pm and $15 taxi to POA. Would have been nice for time to shower for welcome photo, but oh well. Boarding went fast - took our 7 bags at taxi drop off. Showered on board - unpacked and made drill on time. Caught the barbecue poolside before we were going to make 5 drink bar hop but after finding out beer was first and the rest was their choice of beverage opted out and went to the Waikiki bar (aft) for drinks instead - great view of lights of Honolulu as we left.
FYI - rented cars through Thrifty at all islands - great experiences - definitely sign up to be a Blue Chip member-we were able to use credit card points to book these cars - well worth it.
Day 3 - Arrived in Maui - Took taxi to airport for car rental-didn't' want to wait an hour for shuttle to arrive at 8:30. Drove to Kannapali beach area above Lahaina-found secluded beach to snorkel by Honolua Bay-short walk from road-well worth it. Then went to public beach and were able to shower and dress for evening luau at Old Lahaina Luau-very well done, food, show, drinks were great. Drove back to port (free parking, but long dark walk).
Day 4 - Up early for drive to Pacific Whale Foundation PWF-30 minute drive. Excursion to Malokini Crater (booked privately)-very windy inland-calmed as we got out of harbor. Water was cook-they had wetsuits if needed. We just used our rash guard shirts and were fine. 2nd stop was at turtle bay and swam with turtles. PWF-they supplied breakfast and lunch as part of tour, nicely done. Back to ship-early dinner at Lazy j Steakhouse (1st of 3 speciality restaurant package we booked prior to sailing).
Day 5-arrived in Hilo (big island) - Thrifty car (shuttle was there when we arrived) headed north to rainbow falls (no water-disappointing) then continued north to Akaka falls and then on-to a pre-booked zipline tour (privately) through Skyline Eco Adventures - great company -our guides David and Mahi were great. Just us and another couple - felt like a private tour. After tour - drove south to Volcanos national park and did quick tour of the Jagger Museum, steam vents and crater. Back of park drive closed due to gases from recent lava flows. Headed back - came upon the Mauna Loa Visitors center - stopped and bought nuts/candies - then returned car and back to ship. Had dinner in Skyline main dinning room (dress code).
Day 6- arrived in Kona (big island) - only island that there is a tender to get to shore. Can't reserve a time - just need to arrive in Pink Champagne bar by 6:30 am if you are looking for 7am (first tender) off the ship. We didn't have any problems making this. Had privately arranged for charter fishing boat out of Kona (were right at the harbor when we arrived). Bite Me charter boat - you can read review in Trip Advisor. Didn't rent car in Kona - had heard it was hard to do. After fishing trip walked around town and did a little shopping. Had reservation that night for 2nd speciality restaurant - Jefferson's bistro. Very nice meal - but in addition to the fee for the speciality restaurant - there were fees for the special meals on the menu $$$.
Day 7 - arrived in Kauai - took taxi to airport-thrifty car rental $12. Drove south to Port Allen airport to prebooked (privately) doors off helicopter tour with Inter-Island Helicopters. Our pilot was Cameron - he was very knowledgeable. Seemed very windy-but he assured us it was common and it ended up being a fantastic trip. The middle of Kauai is not assessable by any way other than by air - we saw so much more of the island we would never have been able to see any other way. Napali coast was magnificent! Well worth the money for this excursion. Following trip went to the end of the runway to the Salt Pond beach park to snorkel (protected). Drove hwy 56 north all the way to the end - stopped at beach to snorkel (rough). We had been told to visit the tunnels to snorkel but they were closed (too rough). On way back to ship - stopped at Snorkel Bob's and rented some snorkel gear for the 2 days in Kauai. Drove back to ship -had dinner at the Liberty main dining room. Parked in lot near Anchor Cove (reserved spot for $20) very close walk to ship.
Day 8 - Went to Poipu Beach park for morning snorkel - saw lots of fish and turtles. Then went over to spot near the beach house and snorkeled there. Had packed lunch from ship. Returned car, back to ship for early departure. Had researched that the Port side balcony room would provide the best views that afternoon as the ship sailed around the Napali coast - this is a must do if booking this cruise on the pride of america - this 3 hour sail by and views from our balcony were amazing and highly recommended. Last night on ship-3rd speciality restaurant-Little Italy. Arranged for last time departure for Saturday morning -9am. Off-boarding was extremely organized and painless. Took thrifty shuttle to airport for final car-headed for Pearl Harbor for pre-arranged ticket time of 11am. A must see if on the island of Oahu. Drove to north shore for final afternoon-came upon the Vans Hawaiian Surf Tournament-got some amazing shots. Returned car and headed to airport for overnight flight back to Newark.
Final comments - great cruise-do your research and make the most of your time in Hawaii! So many amazing, once in a lifetime moments! Less
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