Like everyone we read alot of reviews about this ship, most of them unfortunately bad, yet we had a fantastic time. This was my husband and my first major holiday in about 10 years (we are self-employed) and our first cruise and first visit to Hawaii. We chose to cruise as we believed it to be the best way to see all the Islands. We also choose freestyle cruising as we liked the idea of choosing what we wanted to do, when we wanted to do it....
We flew from Sydney Australia, to Honolulu. A good flight, yet very long. We arrived on the same day as sailing, and if I had my time again I would arrive a day earlier to recover.
Embarkation was fantastic. We arrived at the port at about 12.30pm, and got straight onto the ship. We attended a sort lecture about the cruise and as our cabin was not as yet ready we went to lunch. A lovely buffet lunch. This was served by the crew, but that was fine by us. We purchased two soda cards, this, for us was a fantastic deal, we are not big 'drinkers'and got our monies worth with the soda cards. $52.50 + tip each. During lunch it was announced that our cabin was ready, so we made our way down to our cabin. 8th floor, midship, porthole window.
unfortunately when we got to our cabin there was no airconditioning, and this was not fixed till the last night. I do believe it was being worked on. We were well treated by all the staff during this problem, really they couldn't help enough. Our cabin was lovely. I had read they were small, but we didn't find this. A large (but very hard) bed, a small lounge, table and chair, TV, fridge, ensuite bathroom; which was big enough and lots of shelving. There was also a wardrobe with draws and a safe. Our bags arrived a couple of hours later so I unpacked. Plenty of room for all our stuff (way too much) and the suitcases fitted nicely under the bed.
We decided to eat at the Kahili restaurant, the Italian speciality restaurant. It was half price on the first night (as were all of the speciality restaurants). The meal was beautiful and the service fantastic. We then went up to deck 11 to watch the sailing away. beautiful. We were really tired by now (having been awake 30 hours) and headed back to our room for a lovely sleep.
Day 1: Nawiliwili, Kauai. We had breakfast at the buffet on deck 11, and watched as we arrived in port. We had pre organized Thrifty hire cars in every port. We got off the ship and straight onto a Thrifty shuttle. We were not Blue Chip customers, yet had no problems with lines here or anywhere else.
We are (as you can probably tell) from Australia and driving in the US is driving on the 'wrong' side of the road. It was very easy, and we had no problems.
We drove to Smiths Motor Boat Service and took a tour of the Fern Grotto - $20.00 per person. It was an excellent tour, very relaxing, informal, entertaining and informative. After this we drove to Wailua Falls, beautiful. We then drove onto the Kilaue lighthouse, it was closed due to the memorial holiday. We then drove onto Princeville and Hanalei. It was very busy due to the public holiday. We then headed back to Lihue. We had lunch and investigated some shops. It was getting late so we took the car back, and caught the shuttle back to the ship.
This evening we ate at the buffet. The staff were still serving us, no problem, we ate around 6.00pm, there were no lines or wait for tables. Tonight we went to comedy show; Chris Alpine. This was a great show. Then it was off to bed.
Day 2: This morning we were still in port. So after a quite breakfast in the buffet, we walked to the local shops. This afternoon we sat on the pool deck, watched all the local entertainment as we sailed away. A lovely relaxing afternoon. We took advantage of the "Helmet of Beer" $20.00 + tip, for 6 local beers, excellent value. This evening we dined at the Palace main dining room. We had no wait for a table for two. Unfortunately the food and service was very poor. We were much happier at the buffet. We were then entertained in the Stardust theatre with "On Broadway", an excellent show.
Day 3: This morning we arrived in Hilo, Hawaii. Again we hire a car through Thrifty, straight off the ship and onto a shuttle. This morning we did the Volcanos National Park. This was a fantastic journey. $10.00per car. We drove the crater rim drive and keep missing the tour busses. We also stopped at the Larva tube, really worth seeing. We then headed onto Akaka falls, a lovely walk to beautiful falls. Again it was getting late so back to Thrifty, onto a shuttle and back to the boat. We again ate at the Buffet, no lines, no wait for a table. This evening was the volcano larva viewing. An incredible sight. Unfortunately none of my photos turned out.
Day 4: Kona, Hawaii. Today was our 'lay' day. We had decided not to do much at all. We got a tender to port and walked around the local shops. Just lovely. We also took advantage of the free local shopping shuttles. Tonight we went to the stardust Theatre for "On the Radio' show. Again excellent.
Day 5: Maui. This was by far our favorite Island. Again we hired from Thrifty, this time for two days. Firstly we did the Road to Hana. What can I say, very windy and very busy. Apparently the best bit is past Hana, but we did not know this, stopped and Hanna and wondered why we bothered at all. Very beautiful scenery. We stopped at Ke'anae on the way back (this was half way) and it was beautiful. We had a great smoothie and Banana Bread here. Worth the stop. We headed back to town and shopping at K Mart. This was a great place to shop. Good prices for everything.
We got back to the car park around 4.00pm. We got one of the last car parks in the lot closest to the ship. The next morning when we went back to the car is was full as was all other available space. Tonight we again dined at the buffet and attended the "Majic of John Shryock" this was a good show. We then went to the Blue Hawaii Lounge for the Comedy of Sam Fedele, an excellent show.
Day 6: Still in Maui. This morning we went to the Ioa Valley, a beautiful spot. We then drove to Lahaina, this is a beautiful town. Don't forget to pay for parking if needed. We had a lovely morning here wondering around the town. We then headed back to Kahului and shopped till we dropped. Took the car back to Thrifty and caught the shuttle back to the ship. This evening we dinned again at the Kahilli restaurant and again the food was excellent and the service wonderful. Worth the extra money.....
This evening was the "Crew Talent Show" This was fantastic. An amazing amount of Talent on board the ship. We then went to the Blue Hawaii and watched Sam Fedele, a great show. As this was our last night we packed, paid our account and had a last drink on deck.
We choose to 'walk off' the ship, luggage and all. We were one of the first off the ship. We got a taxi straight away and we were off to our post cruise hotel in Waikiki.
We had a fantastic cruise. The ship was beautiful, clean and well appointed. The shops on board were good and not really that expensive. The crew were wonderful. Except for our one bad waitress, all the other wait staff were very helpful. The soda card was great, we had no trouble at any bar or restaurant in getting a soda or a refill. Tom the cruise director and his staff were fantastic. They really make the cruise entertainment. Our room steward was lovely. She always had time for a quick chat when ever we ran into her. We had towel animals, turn downs everynight and mints.
The only bad thing was no air conditioning.....but....well....these things sometimes happen. We would love to cruise Pride of Aloha again and we would love to see Hawaii again, I am sure there is heeps we missed.
Hope anyone who goes on this cruise has as good a time as we did.