Pride of America Cruise Review by Ross F: Fantastic Cruise
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We were originally booked on the Pride of Aloha - but this cruise ship was taken out of service. As a consequence my wife and I and 2 of our friends were booked on the Pride of America - the Staterooms we were allocated were on the 4th level and were quite large.
We received a $200 credit on onboard spending as well as having the Service Charge ($20 per person per day) waived because of the transfer from Pride of Aloha.
We pre-booked all Shore Excursions through Expedia Travel at our Hotel in Waikiki - except the Fern Grotto and Wailua River Cruise which we booked on board.
We also took advantage of the Gold Diners Package (4 pre-booked exclusive restaurants with a bottle of wine each night) We chose the Jeffersons' Bistro, Little Italy, East Meets West and Lazy J Steakhouse. Jefferson's was by far the best and we re-booked it for another night.
Little Italy was overrated, Lazy J's was good and East Meets Wests was adequate. We had other Dinners More at Skyline and Liberty. Skyline was good, but Liberty was disappointing with slow service and food quality.
We NEVER dined at the Aloha - and quite frankly felt a little ill while walking through there and seeing the oversized Americans with triple loads of every food covering their plate. - We ate Breakfast at the Waikiki Bar at the rear of the ship. We never ate lunch on the boat as we were doing shore excursions every day.
The staff were great - and I could not recommend their friendliness enough. We had pre-dinner cocktails every night at either the Nappa Wine Bar or Pinks Champagne Lounge - The Drink waiter at Pinks (James I think)was first class. Maybe because we were Australian, I'm not sure, but we were well received by all staff and they were more than happy to chat away with us.
The cruise itself was smooth, disembarking was easy as was re-embarking. We hired a car on Maui and Kauai - and I would recommend this option to anyone - as we saw all we could see of the above islands. We took the helicopter trip over the active volcano on the Big Island (from Hilo) and afterwards hired a local cabby to show us the sights, including the Tsunami Museum and waterfall.
We carried surfboards and surfed on Maui and Kauai - surfboards were not a problem on this cruise although one of mine received a dinged nose and tail somehow whilst they we loading onto the ship.
Kona was a delightful little town and we did the Snorkel Adventure out to Captain Cooks Monument (don't book this one through NCL) We booked through Expedia and were snorkeling for twice as long and were treated to a great speedboat ride out and back (NCL were long gone back to the boat)
On board facilities were great - I used the gymnasium quite regularly and the spa and pool at the rear of the boat was good - The pool and spas at the front of the boat were crowded most of the time. We didn't go to any night shows - so can't comment on their quality or worth.
Disembarkation at Honolulu was painless and quite quick - we then had another week on Waikiki - to unwind and surf the many good breaks on Oahu.
If you are doing this Cruise it's best to travel with friends - sharing meals, drinks, shore excursions, taxis, etc. We had 8 nights before the cruise and 6 nights after the cruise in Waikiki and found this to be one of our best holidays yet.
This Cruise - comes highly recommended by my wife both friends and I. Less
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