Just wanted to write my review of the Pride of america ship. My wife and I took this cruise on may 19th. I booked this vacation as a surprise for my wife and before I read any reviews on it. After booking it I was online reading the reviews on this sight and I must say we were both very concerned about the bad reviews and were not sure of what to expect. We have been on three carnival cruises and were very happy with them. Now back to the cruise.
First of all I am happy to report that we DID NOT find any of the bad things in these reviews to be true. We flew into Honolulu a day early to try to get somewhat on Hawaiian time. We flew from the east coast so it was a long day. One note on flying to hawaii. We had to fly into Maui first then to Honolulu. There were no direct flights the day we flew in. We got to Honolulu and the airline lost all of our luggage. We did get it later that night at about midnight, but the guy at the claims desk at the airport told us that they always have problems with luggage arriving when people go to Maui before they go to Honolulu. So if at all possible ,make a direct flight to Honolulu. We stayed at Ala Moana hotel in Honolulu. Very reasonable price, $140.00 a night for a very nice room with a view of the city and ocean. Extremely nice hotel and remodeled recently. Probably the most comfortable bed I have slept in a hotel.
The boarding of the ship is very easy as everyone said. We got there at 12:30pm and only waited in line for 10 or 15 mins and we were on the ship. Our cabin was not ready, but we knew it wouldn't be that early. We went to the Aloha cafe and had lunch at the buffet and then explored the ship. As for the food: We did not eat at any of the cover charge restaurants so I can't speak of them. We ate mostly at the buffet, which I must say had good food and deserts. We did find the selection to be a little "boring" after 7 days but the food was good and we could always find something to eat. Every one is right about eating outside on the back of the ship. We always found a place to sit with no problems. There is another Aloha buffet outside, but we couldn't figure out what it was for except for a place where they prepared room service food because it was never open. We did eat at the diner one time, good wings but order more than one order of them because you only get 4 to an order. Burgers are good but they are the same ones as the buffet. breakfast buffet was great in the Aloha cafe, we ate that every day.
The ship was very nice and always very clean. Staff were always vacuuming and wiping things down all day. Our room was also very nice. It was a partial view room on deck 7. We did take others advice and use the little dial outside the door everytime we wanted something done and our room was always cleaned and we always had clean towels,toiletries and ice. We had a very nice and down to earth cabin steward. She was very professional, and as long as you talked to her nice and treated her like a "real" person, she was great to us. As for the personnel. Most of the employees were young, but they were all very nice to us. Everyone we came across for the most part would always say hi to us and even stop to ask us how our cruise was going. They were all extremely nice and did everything they could to help out. We did not see one employee do anything they shouldn't or act rude to anyone.
Now for the helpful hints. On the ship, we were very surprised to find how windy it is when you are sailing. It was very windy most of the time we were at sea. So windy in fact that the chairs on the decks were being blown around and the wind actually blew a drink over on me one time. It was like that mostly when we were close to an island, when you get out to sea a ways, it would calm down a bit, but still windy, so be ready for lots of bad hair days. If you want pictures 8x10s, be ready to pay big for them. $25.00 a piece. We figured that out after we decided to get 4 of them, but hey your on vacation so get the ones you want, they take nice pictures. Also, I believe it was on the second day you will get a piece of paper on your door that tells you that the ship has given you a $50.00 on board credit. This is true, they will credit you $50.00 towards what ever you charge on your credit, so thats basically$50.00 in your pocket. The only real problem I found with the food "service" is the lack of free drinks on board. The only drinks that are free all day is water or ice tea. I don't like Ice tea and water gets old quick, so before I got on the ship I bought some bottled drinks at a seven eleven and took them on with me. There is a refrigerator in all rooms. In the mornings they do have milk and juices. I found out that in the Aloha cafe on the back of the ship(outside) they have push button machines for ice tea and water, but there are two other buttons on the machine with no "i.d." tag by them. One is for orange juice and the other for cranberry orange juice. They seem to work all the time but they take name tags off in hopes that people won't use them.
We rented cars at all ports except Kona where there is enough to do at the port that you don't have to go anywhere. We used thrifty and are blue chip members which really helped out when you get the place to rent the car. Call the rental office before you get off the ship, or tell the shuttle driver when you get on the shuttle that you are a blue chip member and he will call the office to let them know your on your way and when you get there all you have to do is sign a piece of paper and off you go. Keep in mind that you probably will not get the car you reserved. We did not get the car we reserved on any of the islands, but we were upgraded to suvs. When waiting for the shuttles, which is the worst part, it can take a while, do not get on another shuttle bus expecting to go to a place where all the car rentals are. This is not the case, each car rental business has there own building not in the same place, so take the one your suppose to, we made that mistake and it took us longer to get where we were suppose to be. Renting a car I belive is the best way to go on this vacation. You can do what you want and when you want, and you can drive all over most of the islands in the time you are there. Always rent the cars for an hour or so earlier than when you need them so they will be there when you get there. We had to wait an hour on Hilo to get our car because they were all out when we got there. They all do an unbelievable amount of car rentals on the islands, it's amazing that they even have any cars available when you get there.
All in all, I belive taking this cruise is the best way to experience Hawaii. You get to see more than one island plus cruise on a ship at the same time. I think that as long as you go on this trip with a good attitude and treat the staff with a little respect and treat them like you would want to be treated than the cruise will be a very memorable experience. I really think that most of the negative reviews are from people who expect way to much from this type of cruise and who have there noses so high in the air that they would drown if it rained. I will have to admit that I'm sure there are some people who have had some bad experiences on this cruise but my advise is to ignore all the bad reviews because I think there false. We had a great time and the cruise was nothing short of great.