This is the seventh cruise that I have been on, the first on NCL. The Pride of America is a very nice ship; the crew is friendly and works hard. After reading all the negative reviews about this cruise I had low expectations, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The ship was in great shape.
Embarkation was slow, but we were on the ship by 1:55 and made it to the Skyline dining room in time for lunch. My chicken dish was really good and the service was fine. While we were eating they announced that the cabins on decks 7 and 8 were ready, so right after lunch we headed upstairs. Our luggage was waiting for us in the hall outside our cabin. The first impression of the balcony cabin was how small it seemed, but we unpacked and got everything away.
We headed to the aft pool on deck 12 and got a lounge chair right by the really tiny pool. We found that during the week we spent a lot of time on the aft decks 11-12, since our room was in the aft of the ship as well. There was a nice bar on deck 11 aft and we ate breakfast most mornings in Moderno, a supplemental breakfast buffet, also aft. As we were not traveling with kids this was a great location. In fact I never got in the Main Pool all week.
Overall, the cruise was a success. We got to see Maui, the Big Island and Kauai without packing and repacking. We rented cars in three of the four ports and it was a very easy thing to do, since all the rental companies provided shuttles each way. We only did one excursion thru NCL, a zodiac snorkel trip in Kona. This was much rougher than I expected and by the time we were finishing snorkeling it was raining really hard. It was an even rougher ride on the way back.
We loved Pink’s bar, the bartender there made great Cosmos! The service was fine overall; I do not remember ever having a complaint. The food was adequate, not fabulous, but nothing was awful either. We ate only one dinner at a specialty restaurant, Moderno. We would not recommend paying extra for it, the food was no better than the Main Dining Rooms.
Entertainment was better than I expected, we especially loved the Four Seasons tribute group. They were fun and we enjoyed their show. I fell asleep during the comedian, but others said he was funny. Every night they had someone at the piano at Pink’s bar, always a nice part of the evening.
Hawaii itself was fabulous. At every port, everyone we dealt with was super. People were really nice and not once did we encounter rude or obnoxious people. As this was my first time in Hawaii, I was glad to see a lot and experience several islands.
On the last morning, debarkation was the easiest of any ship that I remember. We had breakfast in the dining room and walked off the ship at 8:30AM into a line of waiting taxis.
I feel that we got our money’s worth and would not hesitate to use NCL in the future.