My new husband and I sailed on the May 6th Pride of Aloha cruise with 2 days pre-cruise in Oahu. I booked the cruise, hotel and airfare through NCL and felt it went pretty smooth considering. After my final payment, the cruise price dropped almost $300 per person and I was a little upset at first because I knew I could not get any money back. I ended up calling customer service and politely asked if I could get an upgrade or OBC. The lady I spoke with was very nice and after a little bit of holding, I was given a 9 category upgrade! I went from an inside to picture window cabin.
We flew from Sacramento, CA to San Francisco and then on to Honolulu. The flight was uneventful. When we arrived in Honolulu, they was a NCL greeter waiting for us and she escorted us to baggage claim an on to the shuttle to take us to the Waikiki Beach Marriott. We were able to check-in for the cruise at the NCL office at the hotel and had to wait about an hour until our room was ready. We went and had lunch and returned to pick up our room keys. The hotel was very nice and our room was pretty, but we were given a horrible location. The room was on the 4th floor and faced another hotel, where they played loud music and the garage trucks picked up the trash right outside of our room at about 5:30 am. Needless to say, we did not get that much sleep there. Thank god for jet lag and already getting up early.
On Sunday, we checked out of the hotel and were shuttled to the port. Since we checked in at the hotel, we went straight thru security and picked up our cruise cards. Even though there were a lot of people checking in, we were on the boat in about 10 minutes. Very easy embarkation. When we boarded, we were greeted and then we made reservations for the specialty restaurants. They had a table set up to do that right when we boarded. We booked Kahili the first night and we did not want to go to the sail away BBQ and since we had purchased the Honeymoon package, we booked at Le Bistro for Tuesday night. We had lunch at the buffet and then went to our room.
The cabin was nice and did not seem too small. This was my first cruise so I did not have too much to compare it to. We had a big picture window, which was a nice bonus. What I did notice was that our cabin did not have the small sitting area that is shown in the pictures. Instead we had a big open space, which worked perfectly for storing our suitcases. The bathroom and closet has plenty of storage space and I did bring a lot of stuff. The shower was a little tight, but it did the job.
After looking around the cabin, we took a tour of the ship and then had the muster drill. After that we went to dinner at the Italian restaurant. The food was good, but I don't think the staff was prepared for guests as it was the first night. We were the only people in the restaurant for the first hour we were there.
Monday and Tuesday-Kauai
We rented a car from Thrifty and used the Blue Chip program. This program was great in all the other ports, but did not mean a thing in Kauai. Once we got our car, we drove up to Waimea Canyon, had lunch and then drove up to Princeville. I thought the whole island was beautiful. On Tuesday, we had booked a plane tour of the island with Airventures. Donna was great and shuttled us back and forth to the airport. I would highly recommend this flight. That night, the air conditioning went out in our room and we never fully got it back for the rest of the cruise. It did make it very hard to sleep at night.
We again rented a car from Thrifty and drove to some waterfalls and then back to Volcanoes National Park. We made sandwiches at the buffet and had a picnic lunch at the park. I really enjoyed it there, but felt very rushed, because we had to be back to the ship before 5:30. If I ever go back, I definitely want to hike across the crater.
This is a tender port, so we decided not to be rushed by renting a car and instead just walked around Kona. It is a really pretty port town and we were able to find a shave ice shop that had inexpensive internet access. We were able to check our email, which was good. We also sat on the beach that is close to the pier, but it is not that great. That night we had dinner at Le Bistro and it was excellent.
Friday and Saturday-Maui
On Friday, we rented from Thrifty again and drove to the Iao Needle and then south and around to Lahaina. We passed thru Lahaina at first and continued up North and saw some pretty waterfalls and ocean views. We then came back and walked around Lahaina until we had to go to the Old Lahaina Luau. The luau was fantastic! I would definitely do it again. After the luau, we rushed back to the ship because we knew that the parking would be limited and it was. Both the close parking lot and the overflow lots were full. People were parking in "NO Parking" zones, but we decided not to risk it. We parked in a Safeway parking lot that was done the street and walked back to the ship.
The next morning, we retrieved the car and did the Road to Hana. We wanted to drive all the way around, but the road was closed, so we had to double back. I did not enjoy the ride back, because I was feeling a little sick from all of the curves by then.
Boo hoo, the cruise is now over. Our flight left at 1 pm, so we went straight to the airport and hung around.
Overall, I thought the cruise was pretty good. Since it was my first cruise, I did not have any expectations and I think that is what made it more enjoyable. I guess if I cruise again, I will be pleasantly surprised if it is any better than this cruise.