Pride of Aloha Oct 10th -Oct 20th, 2007. There we six of us women traveling together, 3 had cruised before and 3 had not. First for traveling with NCL I had heard like many other that this was not a cruise to take, so I took the advice of my travel agent and check out the cruise critic site. I think it really helped to open my eyes to the fact that this would probably not be like the other cruises I had taken in the past. So I went with lower expectations.
Embarkation was very smooth and fast. We went to our room on the 8th floor and the first thing I noticed was a musty smell. I have a sensitive nose and my friend did not notice it. I went to use the bathroom and it had not been cleaned at all! I found our maid (Connie) and asked her if the rooms were cleaned and she said yes. I told her ours had not been touched, so she quickly got to cleaning it. Our friend's one door down had the same problem, so needless to say we did not start off on the right foot, and I was wondering what the rest of the cruise would be like. The other thing was we never had a Muster drill the entire cruise, which I thought was mandatory.
Don't stop here is does get better I promise!
We got our luggage about 3 hours after arriving, and found that there was plenty of room for the two of us. The suite cases fit under the bed and I had a really big case. There is a small dresser with drawers in the closet which was nice to have. I did take extra hangers but probably would have been ok without them.
Thanks to others who had said to take a power strip, I took your advice and was happy I did. There is only one outlet in the room.
The food at the buffet is not as bad as some people had written on previous reviews. It's not gourmet, but then I have never been to one that was. The lines to the buffet were aggravating, and we didn't know for several days that there was another buffet all the way at the end of the ship. If you walk all the way through the dining room you will find it. Sometimes we found it was faster to get through. We ate there most mornings as we were usually in a hurry to get off the ship.
We did eat at the Crossings for most of our dinners and Jeffery was wonderful. We asked to sit in his area most of the time. We ate at the Palace one time, but I preferred the Crossings ambience. we also ate at the Pacific Heights one night to celebrate my birthday and it was wonderful. We had room service every morning for coffee, and they were always prompt in getting it to us. Very friendly. Connie cleaned our room for the first few days, but then they moved her and we never saw who was doing the cleaning. They did a good job.
They had a very nice gift shop on the ship. Better than the other ships I have been on. It is big and has a nice variety of items. We went to the Blue Hawaii for several shows. Usually by evening I was tired from running all day and just wanted to kick back. Some of the other shows were packed especially if you didn't get there early.
They played bingo on Deck 11 where the pool is and I Won an NCL bag. It was nice to use as a carry on going home. If you want to get out and walk, deck 6 is the designated deck to walk on even with lanes. So it was nice to be outdoors and get exercise when the ship was moving.
Oahu: Thursday Oct 11th We were excited to go snorkeling at Hanauma bay. We got up early and decided to take the bus instead of renting a car. It took longer than we thought it would because we had to transfer buses and wait for bus 22 to pick us up. We didn't know it didn't start running until 9:00am. We finally got to the bay about 10:30. The weather was great, the water beautiful greens and blues. First there is about a 10 min movie about how Hanamua bay was created and about protecting the coral. There is a steep hill to go down but they have an open air bus you can take down for .50 and $1.00 up. We walked down and rode up. I rented snorkeling gear for $5.00 and headed to the beach. They do require some sort of deposit for the rental. I had to give them my ship card as I didn't have any credit cards or license on me. It does get quite crowded there and there are lines to get the gear, so I suggest going early. We saw lots of beautiful fish and even a turtle. The underwater cameras are really nice to have. I think this is a must see place on your list especially if you want to snorkel .We had a few hours there and then we needed to head back as we did not know how long it would take by bus to get back and the ship was leaving for Kahului Maui at 6:00 pm.
Kahului Maui: Friday Oct 12th: We arrived in Kahului Maui about 8:00am. We had decided to rent a car on this island from Alamo. I made the arrangements before we left home, which I suggest doing as I believe the cost was better than when we rented a car on another island. We drove up to the Haleakala crater, which is 10,000 feet above sea level, it was beautiful, windy and cold up there. The view was awesome! Be prepared and dress in layers. We were above the clouds which I had never experienced before. It is a long and windy road to get there, so if you get car sick be prepared. We spent the whole day traveling around. We spent the night here, so the next day we decided to hang out at the beach for the day.
Sat Oct 13th: Kahului Maui We went to kamaole beach, again we took the bus and it was not a long ride which was nice. All the bus drivers are very helpful if you ask how to get somewhere and what bus to take they will tell you. It was a nice beach but it was pretty windy here. We went to the ABC store across the street and got air mattresses to lie on in the water, a very relaxing day. We had been told that there were shuttles from town that would bring us back to the pier, but we found out while on the bus that the shuttles quit running at 2:00 pm on Sat, so we had to walk about 1 mile back to the ship. We were not the only ones who were walking back. I thought there could have been better communication about this. We left port at 6:00 pm and will be sailing on the ocean for the next day and ½. Went to watch karaoke tonight, which was fun.
Sunday Oct 14th We are on the open sea and it is nice to just relax. We slept in had coffee and just talked for a couple of hours before getting ready to up on deck and lay around. It was another beautiful day, but again it is windy. Went to the blue Hawaii tonight to see a comedian and he was pretty good. Then watched Karaoke again.
Monday Oct 15th Kauai We rented a car from Avis this time. We had not planned this before hand, so we waited out on the dock for the different rental shuttles to come along and ask what the prices were. This one said $39.95 for the day but when the day was over and after filling it up with gas, it was about $80.00. They gave us a package they said with a Garmin to help us find our way. Well we didn't even use it. I was not happy about the cost, but decided oh well I'm on vacation. We drove up to Waimea canyon which is very beautiful, and then we went on all the way to the top and it was just as spectacular if not better. The sky and the water were both so blue you could not tell where the water ended and the sky began. We saw some other sites and then walked along the beach front to get out and exercise. It felt like we had been in the car forever.
Tuesday Oct 16th Kauai The sunrise was absolutely beautiful this morning! My camera has a lens error, so now I am taking pictures with a throw away camera. They usually take pretty good ones, I just wont be about to get any close ups. I went into town to Hilo Hattie's for the first time. I ended up spending a bunch on myself. You could pick out an oyster and they opened it up to find a really pretty pearl which was a silver color. I decided I needed to have it made into a pendent, and then they said now you can have another oyster free. I pick another one and this time I got two black pearls! I really wanted those, so I had them made into stud earrings. I figured I better get out of there so I left and went back to the ship. The others were out running around somewhere. I was going to spend the rest of the day at the beach, but I decided to lay by the pool and read since the ship was leaving at 1:00 pm. It was very nice and relaxing. The pool was on the cold side but refreshing. After the ship took off we played bingo on deck and I won a NCL bag, which I used as a carry on going home. They also had a contest for the men. It was the sexiest legs contest. 6 men got up and strutted their stuff in front of judges and everyone. It was hilarious! The guy I thought should win, did. It got really windy on deck, so I went in and had a lomi lomi massage from Casey. She was really good. I was disappointed that they added an 18% cover charge which does not include the tip. So I only got one on this trip where I would have liked to have gotten two.
Wed Oct 17th Hilo, Hawaii (Big Island) We got into port about 1 hour late because of the winds last night. We took a shore excursion to Volcano's National Park. We saw sulfur and steam vents from the volcano. Our bus driver was the best. She told us about the island and the history as we went along the trip, and had lots of stories since she has lived there most of her life. It did rain on the way, but we wore light weight jackets which was fine. First we stopped by rainbow falls which was very pretty. We stopped at the Thurston lava tube which was pretty amazing to see. The lava tube was formed centuries ago when a channelized lava flow crusted over.
Thursday Oct 18th Lahaina, Maui This is one of our two tender ports. We shopped most of the day. We walked all the way to Hilo Hattie's and then took the shuttle back to the pier. We were so tired, we stopped by the beach next to the pier, put our bags down and went in the water to get refreshed. The water is so warm and wonderful, I never wanted to leave.
Fri Oct 19th Kona We took a shore excursion through NCL. It was called the beach blast, and let me tell you it was a blast. We took a bus ride about 45 min to a resort, where there were kayaks, water bikes. Boogie boards, noodles, snorkeling, and a glass bottom boat. We were there for about 3 hours. We spent most of our time snorkeling. It was wonderful and the best part was getting to see a turtle eating off of the coral. I watched him for sometime before he decided to surface, and that's when I got some really good pictures of him. The underwater cameras are great! The only thing I wish we would have done was to order sandwiches through room service and take along with us. The food they serve there is expensive and not good. The microwave hamburger I bought was $6.50. They only serve sandwiches, hamburgers, ice cream, chips and pop. My friend got the sandwich for the same price and it was only ½ of a sandwich.
Oct 20th Honolulu The worst part of the trip was getting off the ship. We got our bags fast and went outside in the heat to wait for a bus to take us to the airport. Well we waited and then found out we needed a voucher, which we did not have. So we found a $5.00 shuttle to take us there. It seemed as though once we were out the door, NCL didn't have anything to do with us as far as being helpful with information. The airport is a zoo too. We flew Hawaiian air, which does not have the easy fly program. I would have loved to have my bags taken to and from the ship without me having to haul them around. Next time I will make sure the airline I pick offers the easy fly program.
I would take this cruise again for the itinerary. It is a great way to see Hawaii. I have always taken 7 day cruises and didn't think I would want to take a 10 day. In doing the 10 day we were able to spend the night on three different islands, I didn't feel rushed, which was really nice. I will do a 10 day again.
Thanks to all of you who write reviews, it made my cruise go much smoother knowing what to expect.