Pride of America Cruise Review by grammajude: Pride of America - Hawaii
Overall Member Rating
Pride of America - Hawaii
I sailed on the POA the beginning of November. I had only cruised once before and that was 20 years ago on a 7 day cruise in the Caribbean. This time, I had the opportunity to take this cruise as a member of a 61 person group and jumped at the chance. I found my experience on the POA to be awesome and well worth the money. I had a single, oceanview cabin that was small, but accommodated all of my "stuff" well. The bed was very comfortable and I slept very well. I didn't meet my room steward and there were several nights that my bed wasn't turned down, but that was small potatoes in comparison to all that was done right.
Dining was more than satisfactory. We ate breakfast every day in the Aloha Cafe buffet - taking our food outside to the deck to watch the sun rise - what an incredible experience! We only ate in the main dining rooms for 3 dinners and they were fine. Twice we ate in the specialty restaurants - once in Teppanyaki - the Japanese restaurant where the chef More prepares your food at the grill on the table - quite a show and the food was delicious. We also ate in the Lazy J Steakhouse once - the food and service were wonderful. Both of these restaurants charge a cover charge, but it was worth it! We also ate lunch one day at the Cadillac Diner - service was fast and the food hot and delicious! I have read previous reviews where some have commented that reservations for the restaurants were difficult to get, but we experienced no problems - in fact, we just showed up at the Cadillac Diner with no reservation and were seated immediately.
We overbooked ourselves on the shore excursions, but we reckoned that we may never come to Hawaii again and wanted to see as much as possible. These were all run very smoothly. Kudos to Polynesian Adventure Tours (a local division of Grey Line) - they, and their very friendly and knowledgeable drivers - gave us a once in a lifetime experience on every tour. One of my favorite tours (and driver) was in Hilo where we took the Volcanoes and Rainbow Falls tour. We had LeRoy as our driver and he made everything amazingly fresh - remember, he does this 5 days a week! It was clear and sunny when we reached Kiluea's crater in the morning, but it became overcast during lunch and rained hard during the afternoon. The rain never dampened our spirits, we had LeRoy and he made the afternoon part of the tour very interesting. This was also the only rain we experienced during the cruise - it appeared to have rained during the night once or twice, but was dry and sunny when we arose.
We went to the Luau - along with most of the ship - and although a little tacky - was something I am so glad I attended. The music, the dancers and the story they told were awesome. The plantation on which the luau is held is beautiful but a little ways from the ship and it didn't seem that there were enough buses for everyone at the end of the luau. There was a wait, but we all did make it back to the ship.
We didn't attend much of the ship's entertainment, save for "Tony and Tina's Wedding", the Big Band show and the 50's sock hop. All of these were well done by crew members and we really enjoyed them (and dancing to their music!)
Embarkation and disembarkation were handled VERY smoothly with no problems. My memory from 20 years ago was that it was very unorganized, chaotic and took a long time. This was great; they have it down to a science.
If there was any downer associated with the trip, it was the trip to Hawaii and back and NCL was not responsible for that. We had a flight from Chicago to Honolulu and back that was VERY long and tiring. We had a connecting flight to get back home, but that was short. We were a part of a large group and I wish we had had the opportunity to stay in Honolulu for a day or two before the cruise to get acclimated to the time change. I would recommend that to anyone coming to Hawaii for the cruise - you'll be better rested plus you will have the opportunity to explore Honolulu on your own.
In short, I really enjoyed this cruise and would recommend it to anyone. It was an incredible way to visit 4 islands and have time to experience the awesome Hawaii way of life. The staff were very, very friendly and helpful and made this experience even more memorable. Less
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