A friend and I cruised the Pride of America Hawaii cruise on 04/12/14. It was my friends 1st time in Hawaii and I had resided in Hawaii years ago. It was a awesome cruise! The itinerary and the amount of time at the ports were great, but 7 days is not enough time to visit Hawaii. Maybe in the future they can make this cruise a 10-12 day cruise, because I definitely be on it again.
We stayed 2 nights prior to the cruise at the Marriott Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa and enjoyed our stay. We made these reservations on our own and not through NCL and received a great rate. The hotel couldn't have been better. The room, overlooking the ocean, the service throughout the hotel, checking in/checking out as we returned on the 19th after the cruise for 1 night. Great location!
Checking in at the pier was quick and painless. When we arrived on ship our room was ready and within 1 1/2 hour our luggage was waiting outside our cabin.
The POA was a great ship. Just the right size. There were people from all ages and from all over the world. We met some great people with all types of cruise experiences.
I'm on Cruise Critic Roll Call, which was a great way to get an idea on what experiences prior cruisers had on the cruise I was considering. Once on board we attended the Cruise Critic Meeting which was a private meeting with some of the officers of the ship. It was great meeting them and knowing that they are interested in feedback and knowing how they are doing and what they can do better for there guests on their floating hotel.
Officers were courteous and professional. No matter the day, the time, they were out and about talking, looking around. That to me speaks volume. From the Captain down the line they were there. You could speak to them at any time. This floating hotel had an unbelievable staff taking care if it and the guests on board making it an enjoyable experience.
Crew couldn't be any better. There service was exceptional throughout the 7 day cruise. The waiters and bartenders were courteous and professional. I only had one complaint the day waiters at the pool area could be more attentive. One female server passed me 3 times and my empty glass was on the side and she didn't stop to pick up the glass or asked if I wanted a refill. But she was the only one that I had that happen with.
We had a balcony cabin (9512) and it was great. The service was again exceptional. The cabin steward couldn't have been better each day. Very attentive to our needs. Even my sprained ankle felt special. We had a problem with the shower draining and she reported it and within 30 minutes it was fixed. Problem over!
Food throughout the restaurants were exceptional with one exception. The Cadillac Diner service was slow and definitely not in the same category as any other restaurant on the ship. We went for a late lunch and even though there were only maybe 4 people in the restaurant the restaurant service was below par. The mozzerella sticks were salty and that is a simple appetizer. The overall food was barely eatable. I did not understand how the food at the diner was not of the same quality as the rest of the ship as the restaurant is really cute and a shame that more people don't enjoy it. Now we tried Cagneys, La Cucina and Teppenyaki Restaurants and they were exceptional. The main dining rooms were also exceptional in both food and service. Never felt rushed at any time.
On my 3rd night I started getting sea sick, and the staff couldn't have tended to my uneasiness any better. I was given remedies from several people such as Ginger Ale and green apple and it worked. I also took some sea sickness pills and from then on I was fine for the duration of the cruise. Yippee!
Entertainment aboard was also enjoyable. The cruise director and her staff were great. They were visible each day and at all times throughout. They were unbelievable and an energetic group that I have ever encountered. I got exhausted just watching them, but they seem to always make me smile.
The photographers were great, but a couple of their sale persons in the shop could be a little nicer. I know they are dealing with a great deal of people but a little more courtesy could go a long way. I had no problems but I witnessed people who did. They have great packages on board and we were happy for the memories.
I have to say that cleanliness of the entire ship was above board. The fact that they had antibacterial stations everywhere and even people standing around that were spraying peoples hands was great. With so many people on board and getting off and on the ship it was a peace of mind knowing they were doing everything they could to eliminate any possible virus outbreaks.
I also had to use the medical unit for a sprain ankle one day and the service again was exceptional. They took an ex ray and lucky for me it was not bad enough that a day with my foot up wouldn't cure.
The cruise throughout was again exceptional. We did 3 excursions from NCL and it was great. I do have to say that NCL could lower their prices on the excursions a bit. Which was why we did more excursions booking on our own than through NCL. Getting on and off the ship was simple and never a wait. Security was great.
Disembarkation was quicker than expected. Finding our luggage among long rows of many bags took just a few minutes, everything was well organized even getting a cab at the pier. We were at the hotel by 9am and looking forward to enjoying our last day in Hawaii.
I know throughout I have said exceptional, great and awesome. But it was. As a matter of fact I am hoping to go again on POA to do the things I didn't have time to do this round. I recommend this cruise for not only the Hawaii experience, as every island has something unique to offer but the experience aboard ship. They say in Hawaiian "Ohana" means family.