Pride of America Cruise Review by Loveabeach: Pride of America
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Pride of America
We recently had the pleasure of cruising with NCL in Hawaii. Our accommodation was small but adequate, however a balcony is a must! On the starboard side you can view the lava flowing into the ocean from the comfort of your balcony. Don't forget your binoculars- it is a spectacular sight. On the port side you can do the same for the cruise past the Na Pali coast.
We booked mainly private excursions to have the benefit of comfort and more customised experiences. In Maui we used Valley isle tours for The road to Hana excursion, Laurence from C-Big Island tours took us out to the Volcanoes National Park in Hilo and Jay Dorrance of Tread Lightly took us on a personalised tour of the North shore of Kauai. From the ship,we booked the Captain Zodiac Rafting & Snorkelling tour which was loads of fun. I did my homework and believe we got the best out of each of our tours. There are taxis and shuttle buses at every port if you want to do your own thing, but by booking a tour, you More will see the best that each island has to offer. There are free shuttles to take you to the shops and in some ports to the beach. We loved every minute of our time in Hawaii.
The food on the ship is okay, but not special although we did not eat at the specialty restaurants which cost a bit extra. We mainly ate at the quieter Liberty restaurant rather than the busier Skyline and ate breakfast at the Aloha cafe. The entertainment was quite good and we attended 4 nights choosing the Comedy night, Oh What a Night, Hollywood Legends and the final night which was a mixture of comedy and a tribute to Frankie Vallie. The best aspect of this cruise is spending two days on each island so if you miss something the first day, you get another chance on the second day. Staff on the ship were friendly and helpful, but embarkation can be a long tiring experience, so try and get there early. Disembarkation was a quick easy process, but organise private transport back to Honolulu as the buses take forever to leave,waiting for the slow ones to get off the ship. We left the ship at 8am and didn't get back to our hotel until 9.50am. Less
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Cabin review: BA
Port and Shore Excursions
Volcano National Park & Hilo Waterfall Tour
Laurence of c-big island took us on a private tour of the Volcanoes National Park. It was a wonderful tour and highly recommended. We visited the steam vents, the Kilauea Caldera where you can view the steam plume shooting up out of the Halama'uma'u crater. We also watched a short film at the visitors centre showing footage of the volcanic eruption of Kilauea Iki, and afterwards we walked through the Thurston Lava tube (Nahuku). We also visited Rainbow Falls and the Macadamia farm where we stocked up on goodies to bring home. A great way to do this tour.
We stayed in Waikiki for several days prior to our cruise and spent most of our time relaxing on banana lounges under an umbrella on the beach. Our trip out to Pearl Harbour, the Arizona memorial and Battleship Missouri was a highlight but if you can do it independently you will have more time at the museum which we felt was a bit short on our tour. Cruising on a catamaran is also a nice relaxing way to spend an hour.
We organised this private tour with Jay Dorrance of Tread LIghtly and we could not have been happier. Travelling with Jay was like travelling with an old friend, he was so accommodating and went out of his way to ensure we had a special day. He took us to some of his favourite places, including a Hindu Monastery, Opaeka'a Falls, north to the lookout over Hanalei Bay, out to Lumahai beach, then back to swim and relax at his secret little beach at Anini. Afterwards we stopped to view the lighthouse at Kilauea, before stopping at a favourite eatery for a grass fed Kauai beef burger. Finally, we stopped at Gilligans Island for a photo shoot before heading back to the ship. It was an 8 hour day, so worth every cent. I highly recommend it.
We booked the Captain Zodiac rafting and snorkelling tours. They were a fun loving highly professional company, ensuring everyone felt at ease with the activities on the day and giving extra time and attention to those that required it. We spent an about an hour snorkelling Kealakelu Bay near the Captain Cook memorial. It was such a happy, fun thing to do, made more enjoyable by the staff on the raft. On the way back we saw a pod of Bottle Nose Dolphins and a couple of them took to surfing in our wake. We also spotted Spinner dolphins leaping out of the water, which is an amazing sight. Afterwards we lunched at Quinn's- Almost by the Sea which boasts the best fish and chips on the island (they weren't wrong) and strolling around the shops. I highly recommend doing this excursion.
Road to Hana
We booked 'The Road To Hana' with Valley Isle Tours. It is 52 miles, has 617 curves and 56 one lane bridges so you want to have a comfortable ride and this company has very comfortable 12 seater vehicles with wide comfy seats and good headrests as well as huge windows so you can enjoy the scenery. We travelled through the rainforest region and visited a black sand beach with a lava tube, and saw many beautiful waterfalls with lots of stops to take photos. You get the opportunity to swim at the base of one of the waterfalls, but due to recent rain it was deemed unsafe and therefore closed, much to our disappointment. The other side of the mountain was dry and volcanic in comparison, but gave us a great snapshot of the island.