Norwegian Sky Cruise Review by wongsters: Pride of Aloha - Hawaii
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Pride of Aloha - Hawaii
Just some notes addressing some concerns seen in previous reviews, observations, and some helpful advice:
Bed situation for an inside stateroom for four:
Yes, the way the room is set-up, when the single "sofa" bed is opened up, it blocks the path to the exit door and more importantly the bathroom. This can be remedied by rearranging the beds. One of the "head" stewards said it was okay to arrange the furniture anyway we wanted it. By putting the "single sofa bed" 90 degrees under the bunk bed along the farthest wall, and moving the queen bed forward, it makes out for a "workable" solution. After you move things around, areas that are not normally cleaned are exposed, so don be surprised if you find things "hiding" under there.
An electrical power strip is a must if you have a need for more than one outlet in the room (battery chargers, electronic equipment, etc.)
The free self-programmable electronic safe in the room is great, although we felt More safe with our cabin steward not stealing anything.
The cabin is small but "acceptable". Always clean. We only used it to sleep in...too busy doing other things outside of the cabin. Our cabin steward "Nel" was great!!! One of the stations on the TV has a view out of the bow of the ship, so you can always see what is outside (even if you have an inside stateroom like we did).
Cut the cabin steward some slack when you just get on board...the room may not be perfect when you get there initially, but remember he or she only had 3 hours to make up ALL of the rooms assigned to them. Someone was in your cabin at 10:00 a.m., and you just arrived at 1:00 p.m...think about it...
The mandatory $10 fee per person per day was waived. Tip as you go and /or tip at the end...cash on hand, envelops, charge to account.
Specialty restaurants were $10 not $15 per person during our trip.
Crossings and Palace are just fine! Service is great. One of the waiters, Walter Mason, was great. Everyone who waited on us (party of 8) was great.
If you are NOT planning any shore excursions, you are limited to things to see and do at the ports. But the BEST port for "non-shore excursion people" was at Nawililwili, Kauai. It was the first port we stopped at. Too bad we didn't know how good it was until we had something to compare it to after the next stops at Hilo, Kona, and Maui. Nawiliwili's port is small, and located in a quiet "cove". At Nawiliwili, there are FREE shuttles to several shopping "strip" malls, and of course Hilo Hatties (also Wal-Mart close by). One of the shuttles goes to the Anchor Cove Shopping Mall...and a FREE, very nice beach, right there. You can see the beach from the ship. You can rent beach stuff (boogie boards, etc.) there. This will be the only free, large, close, and clean beach on the trip...take advantage of it. (You can get towels from the ship). As you continue island hopping, the ports get larger, more industrialize, less things to see and do there. At Maui, all transportation to anywhere costs money. Hilo was okay, and had free shuttles. You tender in at Kona. There is a nice, touristy shopping area right there (boy, was it HOT at Kona !!!)
We went on a shore excursion at Kona; it was the Beach Blast. It was not on any brochures as it "recently" was started. If you want to know ANYTHING about the ports, what is there, what you can do, what the shore excursions are like, etc.... you have to speak with Brandon at the Shore Excursion desk...there are other people at the desk, but Brandon is the guy with ALL of the knowledge and help; he is GREAT!!! He is worth the wait to speak with ...just pass on the other people. Brandon hooked us up with the Beach Blast. I told him a little about the people in our party (we had teens and grand-parents) and some of the excursions we "thought" we would go on, but he pointed us to the Beach Blast. It has something for everyone, and at a very good value. It has a great beach, glass bottom boat, kayaking, water bicycles, snorkeling, beach lounge chairs, etc., etc.. and even a hoagie style lunch...Everything all included !!! The beach is just like in the Corona Beer TV commercials...salt and pepper sand, palm trees, ocean breeze, and blue, clear water. It also wasn't crowded...just like Brandon said.
When getting on to the Pride of Aloha, at Honolulu and at ANYTIME, they will not allow any OPENED food items. You can bring all sorts of food items (sodas, etc.), but make sure they are not open. Wal-Mart or K mart by shuttle at every port of call (I think)....even a Costco in Maui.
In Maui, there is Swap Meet (flea market) within walking distance from the ship on Saturdays...some nice, unique stuff there.
On board the ship there are plenty of things to do. My family enjoyed the 3 lei making classes. The shows are great. Entertainment to participate in or just observe, all of the time.
Overall, the Pride of Aloha is just fine! Our experience was great. I am only writing this review because I think they have gotten a bum rap in other reviews. The good things you have seen in other reviews are the same experience we had. Perhaps some of the people had a bad experience, but it seems like the crew is very accommodating to ANY concern or problem.
The only issue we had, and it isn't directly related to the ship itself, was the disembarkation...(Aloha Towers to the Airport)...after you get your luggage (no problem there)...getting on to the bus to the airport was VERY Chaotic. Now you have a ton of people wanting to go to the same place at the same time...the people working to get you onto the bus don control the situation, and you have people (knowingly or not knowingly) cutting in front of you. THEY don CONTROL THE LINES, AND IT CAUSES STRESS...THIS PART SUCKS. There is a line outside for the bus, and one on the inside of the terminal...they hold the people on the inside until the line gets shorter on the outside....but no one is monitoring the line on the outside, so people just leave the terminal and jump into that line...this was upsetting a lot of people...this needs to get fixed!
We are considering going on a Hawaii cruise again with the Pride of Hawaii in the future. One of the major considerations is that you don have to waste time in a "foreign country" to meet some kind of law / requirement. This saves 3 to 4 days out at sea, but my Mom missed a casino. Less
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