1st Time Cruiser: Pride of America Cruise Review by Hawaii1st
Overall Member Rating
1st Time Cruiser
We went to Honolulu 2 days ahead of our sail date to help with the jet lag and also in case we encountered travel delays due to weather or other causes. I highly recommend this. On our first day in Honolulu we went to Pearl Harbor and toured the memorial. The cost of visiting the Missouri and some submarine was more than we wanted to spend. We stayed in the Ohana Waikiki Beachcomber which is right across the street from Waikiki beach. Our room was nice.
Embarkation on Saturday was a breeze and as soon as you walk on the ship you are greeted with champagne or mimosas. Lunch was available in the Aloha Cafe. Lots of food! I was overwhelmed. Our balcony stateroom was clean and More although small, it was ok for 2 people. The bathrooms are tiny!
Our first morning on Maui we had a scheduled excursion on a submarine in Lahaina(my husband insisted on this one). It was OK. After the sub ride we stayed in Lahaina, had lunch at a 50's style place that a young man on the sub recommended. We then wandered around the small village browsing in the shops until it was time to go to the "Old Lahaina Luau" which we booked on our own. This luau is a must see! It was outdoors, on the waterfront, beautiful setting,a small audiencenot commercial like the second luau we went to on Kauai. (Luau Kalamaku is overcrowded, long lines to the bar, very commercialfill up with as many people as they can)Don't waste your money. Because we had taken a tour bus to get to Lahaina we had no way to get back to the ship, a one way taxi ride to the ship was going to cost between 70 and 90 dollars! No public transportation runs late at night so we found Hertz and luckily were able to rent a small car for only 48 dollars! They were very accommodating. Rent a car ahead of time!
Day two in Maui we went on another excursion "The Best of Maui". We saw the Iao needle and a small botanical garden, we went to the Maui Ocean Center, this is an aquarium.
Next day in Hilo, HI we went to the Volcano National Park. We went to the visitor center at the top of the volcano, walked through Thurston Lava Tube (cool)then we went to Rainbow Falls which was beautiful but the minute we got there it started pouring so we took a quick pic then it was back on the bus.That night the captain sailed past where the volcano flows into the ocean, he got quite close...it was very cool!
The next day we did the "Rainforest & Waterfalls" tour. This time we were in small 10 passenger vans with a young girl as our guide. She drove us all over the island showing us the back roads of Hawaii, beautiful scenery,old lava flow sites, rainforest, botanical gardens, and waterfalls. Very nice.
The next day we were on Kauai and were signed up for "Luau and Plantation Train" This one I would skip. This is the previously mentioned Luau Kalamaku. Having already gone to the Old Lahaina Luau it gave us something to compare it with and the Old Lahaina Luau was far better.
The next day we did the "Wailua River & Fern Grotto". This is a short riverboat ride upriver at which point you get off the boat and walk to the place called the fern grotto. This one I could have skipped also.
On our last day when we got back to Oahu we had booked "The Grand Circle Island Tour" because we had a very late flight back home. This took us starting from the pier along the coast stopping at various scenic points all the way to the Dole Plantation. Some places the driver was not able to stop at due to the size of the bus.If I could do it over I would have rented a car and ventured out on our own instead of this tour. I have left out a lot because we saw so much I could write a book. If you want to see Hawaii, more than one island and you don't want to pack and unpack every other day and hop on planes every other day then this is a fantastic way to see 4 islands. The people of Hawaii were all extremely friendly and happy to have us there. The economy has hurt them and they go above and beyond to make you feel welcome. About the ship, as first time cruisers we have nothing to compare this with so with that said, I thought the food was adequate, the accommodations were equivalent to a Holiday Inn, all the staff were extremely friendly, I did have to ask for a few towels a couple of times though. Some other veteran cruisers were overheard complaining that this ship was not up to par with others they have been on. My husband and I both enjoyed ourselves and would cruise again. I hope my long winded speech was helpful to those considering this cruise. Less
Tiny bathroom, adequate space for 2 people, well designed, plenty of storage.