My friend and I took the Pride of America cruise around the Hawaiian islands. We were disappointed with many aspects of the cruise.
I've never seen such an impersonal cattle drive posing as a cruise. So much for being pampered. And this cruise was not inexpensive by any means. Cheap in quality, yes, but not inexpensive.
Our airline arrangements were dismal. We had to backtrack from Phoenix to Denver to catch a flight to Honolulu, when Hawaiian Air has nonstops from Phoenix to Honolulu daily. After disembarking at the end of the cruise we had some 14 hours to kill until our plane left at 11 PM. Ridiculous.
We got to the ship about to starve to death, only to find all the restaurants closed for lifeboat drill. Good thing neither of us are diabetic.
Freestyle dining? More like free-for-all dining. If you weren't in line for a standard restaurant as soon as the doors opened, you had to wait an hour-plus for a table. Upon opening, there was a mad dash for a table. The food was good, not outstanding. We too had the experience of being told a specialty restaurant was "booked solid" when only half of the tables were occupied throughout the evening. We got into Lazy J when everyone else was at the luau and had an excellent meal. We had a very good meal at Little Italy; Cathy and Leo were excellent servers. We got a kick out of April, the singing pastry server, in the Skyline Room.
Shore excursions were extremely overpriced. We paid $49.00 to $189.00 each to be dragged around on a bus and look at flora and fauna through a bus window. No destination (such as a museum or historic site) in mind, just drive around on a bus. Lunch was a dry sandwich. One guide admitted the brownie dessert was from Costco. Talk about cheap. Two tours we went on stopped at a "Coffee Mill" and a "Winery" which were nothing but gift shops and a chance to use the restroom. No tours through the facilities. Plus, if you purchased a bottle of wine at the winery the ship assessed a $15.00 corkage fee to bring your wine aboard. Talk about a ripoff, when the wine was purchased on an overpriced shore excursion to begin with.
Remember the old '70s song which had the line, "I've been through the desert on a horse with no name"? With apologies to the band "America", we can say we've been through Hawaii on a bus with no brakes. I'm not kidding. The driver had to run two red lights. Her exceptional driving skills saved us from an accident. She also mentioned the "engine overheat" and "low oil pressure" lights were on. Great.
We never saw the cabin steward until Thursday night at 5:00 when he came by and asked if we wanted our room made up. A little late in the day for that. Our standing order for a bottle of water every night was ignored. Twice my friend observed housekeeping employees being reprimanded by supervisors, in the middle of the hallway.
On the good side, the singer in Pink's Champagne Lounge was great. We also enjoyed the comics and the juggler. Our room was clean but small. 4th of July fireworks off Lahaina were enjoyable as was the nighttime sail-by of the volcano. The zipline adventure in Kauai was awesome! I'd do that again any time. Guides Matt, Christy and BJ were exceptional. We liked being able to wait in our cabin to disembark, instead of being herded into a large public room. The ship itself was beautiful.
Popular opinion was if you had cruised before you were not impressed. First timers thought this cattle call was great.
We're looking into other cruise lines for our next adventure.