After much research with Pride of Aloha, I was a bit concerned, this being my first cruise. I thought, well maybe ignorance is bliss since I have nothing to compare it to. In all honesty, I found this ship and trip very enjoyable. I went with the mindset that I am here for the Hawaiian islands and the ship came next. I thought of it as my floating hotel.
We flew 2 days early to Honolulu to acclimate the time difference from the east coast and am glad we have done so. Embarkation was a breeze as we preregistered at the Marriott. Disembarkation was smooth as they gave you a $19.95 fly easy to receive your boarding pass while on the ship and check in 2 pieces of luggage from ship to airport. If we didn't choose this option I was told that you can lock your luggage at pier 10 for $5.00 per bag. If you have a late flight out this is handy.
The ship: Although it did smell musty in some areas it was a clean ship. My room had a urine smell to it but the steward, Nora was attentive to clean and fix it up a couple of hours that it was reported. Ariel at the reception desk was willing to change rooms if the smell endured. The staff was more than helpful and I was grateful for that. Our steward, Nora, was great, she cleaned up the room nicely with fresh towels. Like other posted bring a power outlet if you have multiple items that have to be charged. Their are only 2 outlets. Extra hangers won't hurt either.
The restaurants: We went to all 3 of the specialty restaurants and were worth it, the Italian was my favorite. All the waiters were right on top of things and always willing to bring seconds if requested. The Crossings and the Palace( free dining rooms) were very good as well. Food was very tasty and quite delicious, again service was attentive and very good. Only ate breakfast at the buffet and that was good as well. We ate at the Longboards bar the last night and had a really good cheeseburger, wings, with fish & chips. I used to be in the service industry, mainly because I like to work with people, but I know that while there are good and not so good servers, I came across many smiling faces from the crew willing to help you and serve you well. The public is not always an easy one to work with, you truly have to like to work with people, because you can't always please everyone. I saw some unnecessary verbal abuse from guest to the staff and some of the guests definitely needed to sit in the time out chair. You make alone can make or break a cruise. It's up to you. If you go in the mindset to make some allowances for things that really are not that important to get upset about you will do fine. If you're looking for the Ritz Carlton kind of cruise than take that type of cruise. You'll be much happier that way.
I personally really liked the ship and of course the Hawaiian Islands. The value is a great way to see the Island as your are docked most of the time. Which I prefer anyway, as I am a high energy person that likes to be on the run a lot on land seeing places. I wasn't much on the ship or my room. I didn't even get to see any of the shows, which I wouldn't mind doing but by time we ate and had cocktails it was late and had to get to bed for another busy day ahead.
We rented a car and did some ships excursions. IT was all good, but I think the next time I will do more excursions on my own, as the cost can add up. The Napali Explorer was one of my favorites. We went on a boat and snorkeled there. The horseback ride in Wiapio valley on the big island was a blast and the waterfall adventure and hike in Kona was awesome. I want to move here!
I am already considering doing this trip again on this ship starting from Maui and fly 2 days early so I cans see Lanai. If you do decide to come on this ship you will have a great time if you allow yourself to and not get caught up in the nit picking things that can be fixed anyway.
The staff works 5 months without any day off and share a cabin with 3 others. I know it's their choice but I think they handle it quite well, as they try to please, so if you come across a staff member that you don't think is up to par, keep this thought in mind, if you treat them kindly, they will likely return that back to you. If they are having a bad day show then some "ALOHA SPIRIT" and you might find they will be eager to please you.