There are not enough superlatives out there to describe the service we received from the crew and staff of the Pride of America. They were just phenomenal!
Just wanted to throw that out there first before getting to the meat and potatoes of my review since I don't think these hard working men and women get enough credit for all that they do for us, the cruising public. Especially since we were traveling with a wheelchair for my wife. Someone was always there to lend a hand; either with toting bags or helping us in getting her wheelchair over the numerous ramps around the ship or while disembarking at the various ports.
This port intensive cruise around the Hawaiian Islands is just enough to wet your whistle for more. And believe me, both my wife and I want to go back as soon as possible.
We booked our pre-cruise hotel in Waikiki with Norwegian and stayed at the Marriott Resort and Spa for four days prior to the cruise. This allowed us to have priority embarkation, which made for a very easy trip through security and quick boarding. Of course, it didn't hurt that we were suite passengers (Cabin 10000. More on the cabin later.
I arranged a Cruise Critics Meet and Greet with the Activities Director of the POA and she provided us ample space at Pink's Champagne Bar for our little get together. Only problem was that it was originally suppose to be in the S/S America Library, so there may have been some confusion with those who expressed an interest in attending, thus cutting the number of attendees in half. This was a last minute change by the Activities Director with no real reason given. However, all that did attend had a good time and we got to meet some of the officers assigned to the ship.
Suite 10000, located at the very front of the ship, is spacious and laid out in such a way that four people would be comfortable sharing it for a short period of time. Since it was just my wife and I, it was plenty big enough. There is a separate bedroom with a king sized bed, a bathroom complete with shower AND a separate jacuzzi tube, double sink, make-up table with stool and hair dryer, and plenty of storage space for clothes. Suit cases can be stowed under the bed. The area outside of the bedroom and bathroom consists of a living room (with pull out sleeper sofa), dining area, bar, and desk. We took advantage of Norwegians pre-conciegre service to request specific pillows, beverages, and fruit to be provided in the cabin. And true to their word, all of our requests were fulfilled. The only issue we had with the cabin was that once underway, there was a distinct whistling sound coming from between the door leading out to the balcony and the door frame. We reported this to the staff and someone came around almost immediately to look at the problem. It may have taken a day, but they did fix it. No more whistling for the rest of the cruise.
We dined at three of POAs specialty restaurants; the Lazy J Steakhouse, Little Italy, and Teppanyaki. All three had good quality food and service. We also utilized the Lazy J for breakfast and lunch a few times and have no complaints. The buffets on board were all excellent with a wide variety of cuisines to fit just about anyone's tastes. What I liked was the breakfast buffet fruits, especially the pineapple. It was fresh, juicy and delicious. The best I have ever had. We never ate in the main dining rooms, so I can not give an opinion on the food and service from these restaurants.
There is plenty of entertainment and things to do while on board the ship. My wife and I attended an art auction, the newly wed/not so newly wed game, Tim Kaminski's comedy shows, as well as the farewell show. My wife also attended the hula and lei making classes. There was never a dull moment.
Disembarkation was just about as easy as embarkation. We booked the Pearl Harbor and Honolulu City Tour, so all of our checked baggage traveled with us with a final drop off at the airport.
All in all, this cruise offers excellent value and a great escape from the concrete jungles of the world. We are looking forward to spending more time in Hawaii since we just got a taste of it during this cruise.