This was our tenth cruise and, by far, the least satisfactory. Needless to say, the itinerary is a dream come true -seven days and in a port every day without any sea days. The sights in the Hawaiian Islands cannot be beat. However, the service and food quality left much to be desired. One of the things we have liked most about cruising is the quality of the food and the service. On the Pride, both were lacking. On the first night we ate in one of the main restaurants. I had a steak which was thin, poorly done and flavorless. We had the fortune to have the restaurant manager stop at our table. I asked what was the best meal that would be served that week. The manager said that in the main restaurants, it was “essentially cafeteria on a plate” and that for really good food, you needed to go to the specialty restaurants. I thought that a terrible indictment from someone in that position, but it proved to be so accurate. At another point, at breakfast they served eggs Benedict on spinach or on Canadian bacon. I asked if I could have one on both and was told by the server that it was not possible “because things are pre-fabricated.” Trays of already made eggs were stored in the cabinet below and brought out as needed.
Service was unbelievable. Once seated, someone would come to your table and take your order. Nothing much seemed to happen afterward. Nobody seemed to be responsible. One night it was an hour later before our food was served. It had sat for a long period of time and was cold. Three of the four at our table ate very little of their dinner and the waiter never questioned it. It was as if nobody cared! We finally abandoned the main restaurants and ate in the specialty ones at additional cost because to do otherwise was going to ruin our vacation. Service was so bad that I reduced our tip amount by half.
Excursions available were rather pricy. For instance a helicopter tour in Kawai cost $289 through the cruise line. However, it was only $210 (30% less) booked directly through the same contractor. We found a fantastic alternative – Roberts Hawaii. They are the largest transportation provider in Hawaii and specialize in providing tours that replicate those offered by the various cruise ships docking in the islands. For instance, we booked four tours with Roberts for 40% less – at a total cost of $194 per person compared to $321 through the ship. Robert's tours were very well done and first class in every respect.
The ship was clean and fairly new. There were quite a few entertainment options available. The shows at night were reasonably good. Although it made no difference to us, there was no casino. Gambling is not legal in Hawaii.
The food and the service on this cruise ship were terrible; however, the itinerary cannot be beat. How else can one see most of the Hawaiian Islands with no days at sea? As a result, the Pride of America is only a viable option if one books with the expectation that service and food will not be what one normally expects on a cruise. A solution however, would be to just purchase the cruise line’s Specialty Dinning package for $129 at the onset of the cruise.