My husband and I sailed on the Pride of Aloha 4/15/07 and had a wonderful week in spite of a few shortcomings on the ship. We made our own travel arrangements flying Hawaiian the same day as sailing. We found a shuttle to the pier for only $5 per person (go out to the center island and wait there outside baggage claim). For some reason returning from pier to airport was $9 each. Embarkation was a breeze at the time we arrived around 1 p.m. We carried on our own 22" rollaboard bags so no wait for luggage.
Our outside cabin was a little compact, but OK except we really wanted more drawer space. There were just 3 very small ones. Closet space was just fine. There was a refrigerator where we put bottled water we bought on shore. The mattress was very, very firm. Our room steward did a good job making up the room each day and bringing fresh ice.
The Hukilau Cafe which has the buffet was just OK, because frequently there were bottlenecks when you walk in, and there was often a lack of tables once you got your tray of food. The best thing was to go all the way to the back to what they call the Lanai, which also had buffet lines and fewer people. We enjoyed the food in the two dining rooms, Crossings and Palace. The menus had a lot of imaginative, unusual things which we enjoyed trying instead of just your basics. We had fish or seafood 5 nights and found it delicious. Service in the dining rooms was generally good, except one waitress who was unfriendly and one night when we left after an hour and a half without desert coming. We never felt the need to try the 3 specialty restaurants. Freestyle dining worked well for us. We ate at 5:30 and always were able to get a table for two as we prefer with hardly any waiting.
We found good service from the bartenders and bar waiters and took advantage of the 2 for 1 happy hour that "Captain Cook's" had most evenings. The bar waiters were very nice there.
We just took two shore excursions since we had been to Hawaii before. We thought the prices were a bit high compared to renting a car. The first ($45) was East Kauai and Hanalei Valley overlook and the driver, Juan, a native Hawaiian, was very interesting. We saw beautiful waterfalls and a guava plantation. The second ($49) was Volcano National Park which included a stop at the macadamia farm and shop. It was enjoyable but we got soaked. We rented a car on Maui and drove to Ka'anapali Beach and Wailea on our own (pretty cost effective but there was lots of traffic). We enjoyed being on our own.
We attended a lot of the shows onboard and enjoyed both comedians and the magician. The singers and dancers doing musical numbers were very good--we could hardly believe they could dance so well when the ship was rocking! Get to the Stardust Lounge early because seating is somewhat limited.
We missed having a Captain's Welcome Reception with free drinks and appetizers that most cruises had. We dressed up Tuesday night as we thought it was "formal" but since it was optional formal most people didn't dress up except a few who went for portraits in the atrium. Next time I wouldn't bother to bring dress clothes. This was the most casual cruise we have been on. I could have used a shawl because it was chilly for me in the public rooms. Bring your shorts, Hawaiian clothes, sandals, swimsuits, and jackets (for volcano).
The disembarkation was handled well, we thought, and we got off pretty easily. This was our first Norwegian cruise and we enjoyed it but found Princess, Holland America and Royal Caribbean a little better as far as service and what they give you. However, the itinerary can't be beat and we would go again!