We flew out of LAX July 29th for a 7 night cruise on the Pride of Aloha. Our flight was at and of course LAX was crowded. We did have some employees direct us on checking baggage etc. so after the initial confusion we were issued boarding passes and waiting for our flight. The flight was fine, flight attendants very good and we were served a decent breakfast.
On arriving in Honolulu we found the reps from Pride of Aloha who directed us on gathering luggage and what to do. They were quite helpful and loaded our baggage onto a separate truck. We boarded the bus which was to take us to the ship.We had a tour guide who was great although I don't remember his name. We were dropped off at the ship which was very festive looking.This was our first cruise so we had never seen a cruise ship before and were amazed at the size.
Embarkation was easy. It took about a half hour or so and was very organized. We got on the ship a bit after 1 so our room was not ready. We just hung out and I got a soda card for my daughter. It was like 55 or 58 dollars! I really did not want to get it because I thought it was too much money and I did not want my daughter to drink a lot of soda but I gave in anyways. It was not worth it at all so I don't recommend it. Plus, when you go into the ports you can buy soda and they let you bring it on the ship which is a lot cheaper. She really did not use the soda card much so we did not get our money's worth on that at all. After a while we were able to go up to our room. We had a balcony room on the 10th deck. This was one of the better rooms available. The rooms are quite small but were clean and I HIGHLY recommend the balcony if you can afford it. It enables you to have a great view of the ocean and more room since the rooms are so small. We had a small couch but ended up using that to put stuff on. There were hangers in the closet and a few drawers but we mostly stored our clothes in our suitcases which we left under the beds.We brought plastic trash bags from home which I put in the closet behind the dresser to store dirty clothes. Like I said, the cabins are small.Bathrooms are small with just a shower stall but it sufficed.I highly, highly recommend bringing a power strip since there is only 1 electrical outlet. This came in quite handy for cell phone chargers, hair curlers( a necessity for me!!) etc.
We had no problems with servicing of the room except for Saturday. We had come back to the room and our beds were not made all the way and we had no clean towels. I called twice for towels and never got them. I really needed to take a shower after being at the beach all day but could not because I didn't have towels!!Finally I heard a maid in the hall and she was very nice and hooked us up with towels. Other than that when we came back at night our rooms were nicely made up, fresh towels etc. One person even arranged our various pairs of thong shoes up against the wall( they had been strewn about the room in our rush to leave in the mornings. I thought this was a nice touch. I didn't leave extra tips for maids because I never knew who they were or who to give $ to. I always tipped extra in free and specialty dining rooms and for bar drinks( grats. are not included for bar drinks, I wasn't sure about food servers so I just tipped them).
As far as dining. We ate during the day sometimes in Hukilau buffet. Food was decent. They always had Caesar and regular salad, some hot items, fresh fruit, deli stuff. Sometimes things like mussels, different grilled fish etc. Mostly we would just stop in for a quick salad, snack as we don't always eat much during the day. The did have one thing I loved . It was an olive salad with kalamata olives. It was great.My daughter liked the Caesar salad and ice cream the best.
We ate at the Crossings and the Palace for dinner. These are the free restaurants. They were great! Great food, excellent and gracious service. At the Palace we had Zara Morris as our server the first time we ate there and then requested her after that. She was absolutely wonderful! I am a restaurant manager and have been in the business for many years so I know what I am talking about when it comes to food service. I wish I had 20 just like her working for me, she was that good. We had eaten there the night that we passed by the volcano and had almost missed it. She very graciously got us our desserts to take with us so we wouldn't miss the volcano. If you go ask for her..she is awesome! When we ate at the Crossings the last night( saturday) we had a server named Kevin Galloway and his asst. Jeremy. They also were great and Kevin packed my daughter's dessert to go as the rest of us were too full for dessert. He was a great server; polite, gracious and extremely professional. His asst. Jeremy was very nice and polite too. In the Blue Hawaii we had a cocktail server Cynthia who was wonderful too. My sister had talked to her and she said this was her first cruise( working). She was so great I thought she had been a long time employee. She also worked on the pool deck during the day and all over the place.( believe me, these people work very hard!!) Everytime she saw us anywhere in the ship she recognized us and said HI.She was awesome!We also had a server in the Blue Hawaii Rebecca who was awesome too. I had read many reviews on previous posts about service and honestly I got some of the best service I have ever received on this ship.
We ate in two of the specialty restaurants; Kahili-excellent food and service, we went after so it was only $5 each! We went to PacificHeights too( after 9 -$5). We didn't like it at all and really did not
eat our food. I don't really think the food was bad but maybe just not our tastes. We do like all different types of food though so I am not sure what it was.I would not recommend it for that reason.
The crew was great and very entertaining especially cruise director Fith and his assts. They had a lot of fun parties with dancing on the pool deck. We went to Blue Hawaii night club for dancing and that was a lot of fun. All ages welcome. 80's night was a blast with the kids dressed up 80's style and one of the guys in a long Mullet wig( like the band Loverboy) dancing around with all the guests. He was hilarious. The Blue Hawaii is a lot of fun. We didn't do any of the ship excursions. We just rented cars and did stuff on our own. In Kona we did not rent a car, we took a tour bus just off the ship to Turtle Beach, great snorkeling and sea turtle viewing. There is a little bar right off the beach where you can sit and have a drink and relax. In hilo we went to Volcano park, that was great. On Maui we drove to Lahaina, it was nice. If I did this cruise again I would probably do the shore excursions. It costs more but you don't have much time really in the ports( you'd be surprised how fast time goes by)and if you are not sure what you are going to do you waste what precious time you have.
All in all, I recommend this cruise. I am a first time cruiser so I don't have any thing to compare it to but we enjoyed the ship, the crew, the service, food etc. My daughter enjoyed the kid's club and met a lot of nice kids while in the pool etc.A lot of people have criticized this ship but we really liked the Pride of Aloha and would do it again. If you go, be sure to have Zara Morris serve you in the Palace.Enjoy your cruise and don't worry..you'll have a great time on this cruise.