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Pride of America Cruise Review by kwbound: An Exhaustive Review of Our Exhausting Hawaiian Vacation


kwbound
2 Reviews
Member Since 2009
1,443 Posts

Member Rating

Cabin 3.0
Dining 2.0
Embarkation 3.0
Enrichment Activities Not Rated
Entertainment Not Rated
Family & Children Not Rated
Fitness & Recreation Not Rated
Public Rooms 3.0
Rates 3.0
Service 2.0
Shore Excursions Not Rated
Value for Money 4.0

Compare Prices on Pride of America Hawaii Cruises

An Exhaustive Review of Our Exhausting Hawaiian Vacation

Sail Date: October 2010
Destination: Hawaii
Embarkation: Honolulu

This review is a condensed version of my complete review which is posted on the Hawaii boards and can be accessed here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1298051. That thread contains many more details than this review including the maximum number of allowed photos and links to my web albums, a comparison of our original daily itineraries versus what we actually did, GPS coordinates, prices, questions and comments. It is as complete as I could make it and if you like a LOT of details, I suggest reading the review there. However, for the condensed version (really it is!) please continue below.

DISCLAIMER

The views expressed in this review will be presented in as honest a fashion as possible. Some of them may not all be positive, but they will all be accurate from my perspective. None will be presented with malice. I know others who have taken this trip, maybe the same trip, will have had different experiences and I would love to read about theirs also. More

BACKGROUND

Travelers - Me, DH and our dear friends who will be referenced in this review as DFH and DFW. DFH had some mobility issues due to a recent foot surgery. We are mid-40s to mid-50s and have taken many trips together. We all travel really well together because we all want to see, do and experience as much as possible and we are all up for most any adventure. We are all interested in anything historical, but we all also appreciate a fun time at a Senor Frogs.

Date - Oct 8 -17, 2010

Staterooms 4557 & 4555 - Inside deck 4

Booking info - After researching all the options I booked the trip through the local branch of a well known travel club. I was very happy with the cost. Booking through them I was able to get the cruise, 1 pre-cruise night in Waikiki, transfers from the airport to the hotel (we didn't use those), an airport lei greeting, and transport from Waikiki to the pier for several hundred dollars less than I could find the cruise alone through any other agency or through NCL directly.

Day One - Houston to Honolulu to North Shore to Waikiki

We flew CO from IAH to Honolulu. Flight left IAH at 9:35am and arrived HNL a few minutes ahead of schedule at about 12:47pm. The flight was smooth and we had a wonderful and entertaining captain. Food was airplane/convenience store food. But my boy scout DH and carried on a goody bags full of different snacks so we were good.

When we disembarked the airplane there was a lovely woman waiting to greet us with our leis. It was a wonderful welcome to the islands.

Next we were off to claim our baggage and pick up our Thrifty rental car. I reserved Thrifty cars in Oahu, Hilo, Maui and Kauai. The Thrifty airport location is offsite, but we were on the shuttle and at the location in just a short time. We had a nice Jeep Laredo which provided good vision all around and plenty of room for luggage. We kept the vehicle for 1 day + 2 hours and total cost was $137.66. That included an extra $30 drop off fee because we chose to return the car to their Waikiki lot.

TIP: I booked all the cars using corporate discount code HT14004118, which I got off a website for Hawaiian tourist, and is available for anyone to use. Using that code I was able to get the best prices I could find, and also no extra charge for an additional driver. Also, I joined Thrifty's Blue Chip program. There is no cost and it is a huge time saver. We never had to wait in line and our paperwork was waiting when we got there.

TIP: DH brought his GPS along. He made sure all of our necessary POIs were in the GPS before we left home. You can also rent GPS systems from the car rental companies. The GPS was a huge help on all of the islands. I highly recommend that you use a GPS if you are renting cars.

In no time at all we were in the rental car and headed to the North Shore. It is a lovely drive, as were all the drives on all the islands. You drive through mountains which give way to rolling open fields of pineapples and other crops we couldn't identify and then you see the Pacific up ahead. We passed the Dole Plantation visitor center. The parking lot was packed but with our limited time we decided not to stop. We were headed to Matsumoto's Shaved Ice in Haleiwa.

In my ongoing quest to be a traveler and not just a tourist, and to try an experience places I visit as a local does, I ordered the Hawaiian flavored shaved ice WITH ice cream AND beans. BLECH!!! The shaved ice part was delish, but those beans...yuck. I was expecting some sort of sweet tasting bean, or maybe salty would have been a nice contrast. But to me they were just like regular black beans and I can't imagine who would have ever thought of adding them to ice cream and shaved ice. I had to toss it once I got down to the beans. Everyone else just ordered regular shaved ices and enjoyed them. They are good, better than snow cones, but we all agreed that they weren't ALL that. So if you go to Hawaii and don't manage to get a shaved ice, don't feel like you missed all that much. They are inexpensive though, I will give them that.

I had two goals for this trip: 1-to see/swim with sea turtles and 2-to have some authentic local Hawaiian cuisine. I have wanted to swim with turtles for a couple of years so I was really looking forward to seeing turtles at Turtle Beach.

Unfortunately when we arrived at Turtle Beach there were no turtles actually on the beach. There were two in the surf and it looked like they were trying to get on the beach, but there were so many people standing on the small area of sand that was available for them to crawl ashore, that I think they just decided not to mess with it. They were huge too. They looked like VW bugs swimming around in the surf. I was hoping some of the turtle volunteer ladies would make the people move off the sand and onto the rocks to give the Honu a clear passage, but they didn't. The ladies did say that a big one had been sunning on the sand a little earlier in the day. It was a lovely beach.

TIP: For each island I ordered Franko's Guide Maps from www.frankosmaps.com. These proved invaluable. They also sell them in all the ABC stores and gift shops. In addition to using them as just maps, and therefore allowing me to keep check on the GPS and make sure it was not leading us astray, they have TONS of information on all the sites, estimated drive times between points, phone #s, websites, etc. They were very helpful in planning the itinerary and the order we would do things.

After leaving Turtle Beach we continued up the North Shore, making the curve at the Turtle Bay resort and south down the windward side of the island. From Kaneohe we took the Likelike Hwy back to Honolulu, picking up H1 to Waikiki. We checked in for 1 night at the Ohana Beachcomber Hotel. The hotel is not right on the beach, but it is in a great location on Kalakaua Ave, on the same block as the International Marketplace and right across the street from the Royal Hawaiian shopping center. Our package included 1 night, standard view room, which was on the second floor of the hotel, but the 3rd floor of the building. The view from our balcony wasn't the greatest, but we weren't there long anyway.

There was a little confusion on our reservation, and the hotel thought both couples were celebrating anniversaries when it was actually just our friends. When we checked in the desk clerk told us there was a little gift for us in our room in honor of our celebration. We explained that it was not our anniversary and he said he hoped we enjoyed it anyway. In each room there was a nice box of chocolates/macadamia nut candy with a lovely note from the hotel. Even though the view wasn't the greatest, the room was very nice, spacious and comfortable, with a large closet, safe, fridge, coffee maker with Hawaiian coffee, large bathroom with nice amenities. I would recommend the hotel for sure.

The hotel had a Jimmy Buffett restaurant and bar. We enjoyed drinks from the bar on the pool deck, overlooking the street before we headed across the street for dinner at the Hula Grill.

I had made reservations online months ago for dinner at the Hula Grill, requesting a table on the railing and noting that we were celebrating friend's anniversary. I had looked up the sunset time for that day and made the reservation for 30 minutes prior. However, the week before we left we realized that we would be pushing it to get back to Waikiki in time to make that ressie time, so we pushed it back 45 min to 6:30. We got there a little early and watched the sunset from the bar. It was still beautiful from there. The restaurant has a wonderful ambiance and a creative drink menu. For drinks we had Sunset Martinis, Hula Mai Tais, and Lava Flows (pina colada with strawberry puree). For dinner DH and I shared an appetizer platter and some cerviche. I am used to Mexican cerviche which is made with cilantro, jalapenos, onions and lime juice. This was a very mild cerviche made with coconut. It was good, but a little too mild for my taste. After dinner, they surprised us with a dessert in honor of the anniversary and it was VERY good, and huge.

DFW and I have a tradition of trying to get Henna or airbrushed tattoos whenever we go on vacation. We prefer Henna because they last longer. While doing research I found a temporary tattoo stand in the International Marketplace and had emailed them. After dinner we went over for my tattoo. I had picked it out online weeks ago - Hibiscus and Honu. It was less than $25 and I loved it. It lasted throughout the vacation and didn't fade until we had been home several days.

Day 2 - Arizona Memorial, Kualoa Ranch Movie Tour, ONO Hawaiian Foods, Boarding the Pride of America

We were able stick pretty much to schedule today. In spite of the previous long day (23 hours!) we didn't have any trouble getting up because our bodies were still on Texas time. BFs were out early finding breakfast but DH and I had some breakfast bars from his snack bag. We had gotten some SF Red Bulls (my caffeine of choice) and Dr. Peppers from an ABC store at the International Market the previous night, so we were good to go. We knew that the car would be unattended for long periods of time on this day and we didn't want to leave our luggage and things in it, so we called the bellman at 6:30am to come get our luggage and store it. We picked up the car from valet at 6:45am and headed to the Arizona Memorial. We were parked and at the ticket window by 7:30am. There was plenty of convenient parking when we arrived and they had uniformed security officers on bikes patrolling the lots. There was a separate lot for tour busses and there were probably already at least a dozen busses in that lot. I got a little worried that we had not arrived early enough and that our tickets would be for later in the day and throw our schedule off, but we were given tickets for the shuttle to the memorial at 8:30am. We went and stored our purses at baggage check and then went to watch the movie. There is construction going on at the site so the movie is being shown in a large 3-sided tent. Don't miss the movie. You are told to meet for your assigned shuttle at Contemplation Circle, which is behind the walled off construction area. Make sure you arrive at the circle 15-20 minutes prior to your assigned time to hear the park ranger's talk. It was very interesting and very moving. We elected not to tour the Bowfin submarine or the Battleship Missouri, as we had all toured subs and battleships at other places. This trip was really just to pay our respects to the men and women killed on Pearl Harbor day. I think that everyone who visits Oahu should make a point of visiting the Arizona Memorial.:

By 9:30am we were back in the Arizona parking lot and heading out. We had not prearranged the Kualoa Ranch movie tour because we weren't sure what time we would be finished at Pearl Harbor, and we didn't know exactly how long it would take us to get there. I called them and they said they had space available on their 10:40am and 10:50am tours and we should have plenty of time to get there.

Coming back from the North Shore the day before we had seen a Macadamia Nut Outlet Store and Visitor Center down the street from Kualoa Ranch. We had plenty of time before the movie tour so we decided to stop in. It was just meant to be a time killer but all really enjoyed it. The shop had all sorts of locally produced food items, not just macadamia nuts. They have sauces, jams/jellies, coffees, etc and gave away samples of everything. Several artists and craftsmen were selling paintings and various other crafts. We bought several plumeria plant cuttings, some nuts, a Christmas ornament, and some Hawaiian BBQ sauce for our son, which would unfortunately not make it back to the mainland, but that comes later in the story. They have some gorgeous tropical plant/flower arrangements. I had never seen a macadamia nut in its unshelled form, but there was a tree there that the nuts were dropping off of. You would take a nut, put it on a tree stump and smash it with a rock to shell it. They were really hard. They also had some coffee trees, so if you aren't planning to visit one of the coffee farms on the islands this would be a chance to at least see the plants. If you have a few minutes when you are on that side of Oahu and are interested in locally produced souvenirs, I would definitely recommend that you stop in.

Kualoa Ranch Movie Tour - We were all looking forward to this tour because we all love movies and enjoy going to movie studio theme parks. But we all agreed that we actually enjoyed the tour more than we even expected to. We purchased our tickets and were sent to check in for our tour. You check in where the tour vehicles are parked and board one of two busses - one is for English speaking tourists and one is for Japanese speaking tourists. Before you board a photographer takes your photo in front of your bus with the mountains in the background. They are $15 and are available at the end of the tour. We were happy with ours and did purchase it.

Our driver/tour guide was Cowboy. He said no one could pronounce his actual name so he goes by Cowboy. He said he was a 52 yr old native Hawaiian and we all agreed he was the youngest looking 52 yr old we've ever seen. He did an excellent job entertaining and informing. What we enjoyed so much about the tour was not only the movie stuff, which we expected, but we learned a lot about the history of the ranch and Oahu, and that was a nice surprise. During WWII the ranch was used by the military. The bunkers are still there. You are allowed to go into a portion the largest one, which is actually 5 stories inside the mountain. It was used as one of the Dharma hatches during the filming of LOST. Now it contains scenes and memorabilia from movies/shows shot at the ranch. It also contains relics left from WWII, including the metal grating that was once part of a military runway. There is an actual photo of the runway hanging above the grating, which you are allowed to walk on. Where the runway once was, at the base of the mountains near the beach is now where Hwy 83 runs along the coast. We just thought the addition of the historical facts made this a great tour, and a good follow-up to the Arizona Memorial visit. We took a lot of good pictures at the ranch.

Our plan now was to head back to Waikiki, taking the highway south down the windward side of the island and going back to Waikiki via the Nuuanu Pali Hwy, stopping at the Nuuanu Pali lookout in route. This is the one time the GPS let us down. It tried to take us all the way back to Honolulu and then back up the Pali Hwy to the lookout, which would have definitely been the long way. On those cross island highways there aren't a lot of places to get off and turn around. By the time we realized the problem, it was too late to alter routes conveniently so we decided to skip the lookout and head directly to ONO Hawaiian Food for lunch.

ONO wasn't a must-do on our itinerary, but it was something I was really hoping to do. Once we put in the new POI, the GPS took us straight to the restaurant. Parking was an issue. We drove around a few blocks before finding a small pay lot a couple of blocks away. I think it was behind a pizza place. While looking for a parking spot, we spotted a running store, which we were happy to see and planned to visit after lunch. ONOs is small, very small, like 8 small tables small. Customers are asked to wait in line outside to the right of the door. There was one party in front of us. A local mother and daughter who said they love ONO and drove from the other side of the island to have lunch there. We probably waited about 10 minutes, maybe less before a table became available. I don't know the owners' names but they were super sweet. I'm assuming they are the family that owns the restaurant. If they were employees, then the owners have to be very happy with them. Our waitress was an older lady who was so sweet and eager to answer questions and explain the dishes. For the 4 of us we ordered 2 of the largest combos which came with kuala pork, pork laulau, lomi lomi salmon, some sort of jerky like beef, rice or poi, and halupia (a coconut pudding like dessert). (I don't have the menu in front of me, so I'm probably misspelling these dishes.) In addition to the combos we also ordered some Portuguese sausage, beef stew and butterfish luau. Altogether the lunch was less than $50 for the 4 of us. We all said we'd prefer rice over poi. She told us to order the rice, but she was going to bring us some poi to try. She did. She also brought a bowl of sliced raw sweet white onions which she salted liberally with sea salt and told us to dip in the poi. It was actually not half bad with the onion. She also made us some sort of chili sauce at the table for dipping anything in. It was pretty spicy. We all loved it, so she came and made us another batch. DH ordered a beer, but ONO doesn't have a liquor license to sell alcohol, so she told him to run across the street to the convenience store and buy some and bring it back. So that's what he did. The clerk at the store asked him if he was eating at ONO, so it must be pretty common. We all enjoyed the food very much, even DH who is not a very adventurous diner AT ALL. My favorite was the pork lau lau. The food was very much like true Southern soul food - greens, pork and pepper sauce. I was happy that I was able to accomplish one of my goals - eating true, authentic Hawaiian food.

When we finished lunch we told them how much we enjoyed it, and left the remaining beers for the young man serving as cashier and informal photographer. We left BF's to explore the interesting looking store next to the restaurant while DH and I went back to the running store and to pick up the car from the parking lot. At the store we both got running shirts that say "HAWAII" across the front and have a big pineapple on them. We got the car, picked up BFs and headed back to the hotel. We dropped them off in front of the hotel to pick up the luggage while we dropped the car off at the Thrifty drop off location a few blocks away. This is where I made an error in planning. I didn't think that this particular Thrifty location would shuttle to the pier, but they would. It would have been easier to pick up our luggage and had Thrifty shuttle us all to the pier, or even return the car back and the airport location and be shuttled to the pier from there. Anyway, it was not that big a deal, since transfers from Waikiki to the pier were included in our package. We got our luggage from the hotel bellman, our shuttle taxi van picked us up and it was about a 20 min drive to the pier.

ADDITIONAL DISCLAIMER: As I review the POA, there will be some positive observations, but regrettably quite a few neutral and even negative opinions. This was our 7th cruise, and we have taken many more land vacations to different places. Before each trip I do a LOT of research. It is my hobby. I have also traveled quite a bit for work. So I consider myself a pretty savvy traveler, with reasonable expectations based on personal history and research. And I would definitely not consider anyone in our party as overly demanding or difficult to please. I went on this trip to Hawaii with high expectations, which were almost all met. But based on research I went on the POA with lowered expectations for the cruise portion of the trip, and I wasn't wrong. If NCL is your favorite line, or the POA your favorite ship, please do not take anything I say from here on out as a personal affront. As I said, these were my experiences. Your mileage may vary. Our previous cruises have been on Carnival's Ecstasy (3 times), Carnival's Conquest (twice) and RCCL's Enchantment of the Seas (once). Any comparisons made will be against experiences on those ships.

I think it was about 3pm when we got to the pier. I thought the ship would be docked across from the Aloha Tower, but it wasn't. Another cruise ship was in that place. The driver dropped us off at the edge of a parking lot. There was a short line of people being screened by security underneath some sun awnings. The luggage drop off situation seemed weird to me. It was a while before we saw a luggage porter, and then we only saw one and he was the only one we ever saw. I don't know how this porter decided whose luggage he wanted to take but he went past us with his cart to some people in line several parties behind us, loaded up their luggage and took off with a cart that was 2/3 empty. He could have probably taken all the luggage of everyone in line at that time on that cart. I don't know what the deal was. So we schlepped our luggage across the parking lot, through another checkpoint and the length of the terminal to the luggage drop off point. It was no big deal. I'm perfectly capable of schlepping my own luggage, for great distances if need be. However, on vacation we bring plenty of tipping money and I rather spend that and let someone else schlep my luggage for me. The weather this day was super pleasant. If it had been raining, or super hot I wouldn't have been as ok with the self-schlepping.

So we drop off our luggage and go through yet another checkpoint. Then we have our photos taken against a blank screen with young people dressed as native Hawaiians. Then we finally get in line to actually check in. It didn't take long as I think most people were probably already on the ship. Even with all the schlepping from the time we got out of the taxi until the time we stepped on board the ship was probably less than 20 minutes - Not too bad. We walk across the gangway and step on the ship, one of our favorite parts of cruising - stepping on the ship for the first time. But something is wrong. Where is someone trying to sell me a welcome aboard drink? I'm confused. This is the first time I've stepped on a ship without immediately being offered a drink. About some things I'm a creature of habit...I need my welcome aboard drink!

Oh well, let's switch gears. You enter the ship on deck 5. We were one deck down so we walk down to check out our rooms. Weird thing #3 - There is no Freestyle Daily in our room and none in our BF's room. No Freestyle Daily, no fliers advertising spa services, no excursions brochure, no ship map...no nothing. What is going on here? Didn't they know we were coming? How are we going to know where to spend our money if they don't tell us? So I go back up to the guest services desk, where I expect to find displays of Dailies available for the taking...nope, none, nada. None at the excursion desk either, or at the desk where they are taking ressies for dining packages. The line at guests' services is super long, so I go ask the woman swiping key cards of boarding passengers where I can get one. She says she thinks they are out. What?? What episode of Twilight Zone is this? Didn't they know how many passengers were boarding? She asks the guy across the way if he has any left and he says he has a few he has hidden away but he would give me one. Huh? I told him I needed two because our friends didn't get one either. He gave me a look like I was trying to scam him out of the Dailys for some nefarious purpose, but he gave me two copies, and two copies of the ship's map. I have no idea why there was a shortage of Dailys, why he was stashing some away and who he planned on sharing them with. I'm just reporting what happened. I eventually got Daily's for every day, although I had to go in search the next day too.

Our cabin was small, the smallest one we've had, but there is enough storage and it is serviceable for the time we spent in it. I'm the type that unpacks, puts everything away, stores the luggage and tries to keep the room as neat as possible. I had my over the door organizer, which I hung on the bathroom door and that helped a lot because in the bathroom there is only a small counter and no shelves. I know in the shower there was a shower gel dispenser, and shampoo. I'm not sure about conditioner because I never use the provided shampoo or conditioner. The only other amenity in the bathroom was a small bottle of lotion. There were no robes provided in these inside staterooms. There were plenty of hangers. Too many in fact. I didn't need them all and at night when the ship was rocking they would rattle against each other. When I figured out what the noise was I took all the empty hangers down and put them on the top shelf which solved the problem.

So we set down with our maps and Dailys to figure out where to go to obtain a bon voyage beverage, and where to go to sign up for the pub crawl. Ding, ding, ding...an announcement...the muster drill will begin in 30 minutes. All bars are now closing in preparation for the drill and will reopen immediately following the drill. Seriously?? We dissolve in laughter about their attempts to prevent us from drinking, knowing that eventually we will prevail!

Muster drill was painless. We didn't have to take our life jackets, thank goodness. Our station was on deck 6 at the Cadillac Diner's outdoor section, so we had tables to set at. Our table mates were a lovely couple from Scotland and it had taken them 29 hours to get to Hawaii. So we will not be complaining about our mere 8 hour trip. Our muster leaders were friendly and welcoming but as usual we were glad when it was done and we were free - like kids out of school for summer free.

We go off to explore the ship, find a drink and sign up for the pub crawl. First stop, the Key West Bar for their featured drink, a berry mojito. Here we meet Surly Bartender #1 (SB1). DF's order a beer and a berry mojito. SB1 delivers the beer and the ticket for both drinks, which DFH signs. SB1 takes the ticket and immediately starts taking someone else's order. DFW and I give each other a look which SB1 catches. She says, with 'tude mind you, "Did you need something else?" DFW politely explains that she hasn't received the drink they just paid for. At which point SB1 becomes flustered and stammers something about thinking someone else was going to make it...I guess the same someone else who was going to print enough Dailys. Anyway, the berry mojitos were very good. Unfortunately that was the only bar we could find them at all week and that bar closed at 6pm every day as did some of the other outdoor bars. Which was another thing we found strange. We did visit the bar several times during the trip though and SB1 did warm up a little by the end of the trip. We actually closed it down one evening, we were partying so hard. (That was a joke - remember, it closes at 6pm. )

We head off to the Gold Rush Saloon to sign up for the pub crawl and to meet Surly Bartender #2 (SB2). We go up to the bar and I tell SB2 (who I didn't know was SB2 at the time) that we want to sign up for the pub crawl. He looks at me a second or 2, takes my card and goes to the other end of the bar where he seems to be having a serious discussion with the other bartender. He comes back hands me my receipt and tells me to take it to a girl setting up on the other side of the bar and she will get us squared away. DFW steps forward and says she want to sign up for the pub crawl too. SB2 tells her it would make his life easier if she would go down to the other end of the bar and sign up with the other bartender. Say what? We've never been on a cruise where our job was to make life easier for the ship's employees. We just had to laugh. Did someone call ahead about us or something? They seem to be doing everything they can to keep us from spending money on alcohol. Not a good business plan NCL! What makes it doubly annoying is that SB1&2 are young enough to be our children and I kind of wanted to give them a little shake and tell them to straighten up in front of company! We finally do get signed up and paid for and actually had a very good time on the pub crawl. The cost was $20/pp and you visited 5 bars and got 5 (small/weak) drinks. At each stop there were games and silliness. There were probably at least 100 people on the crawl, maybe more. And I'm pretty sure that some of those people had not encountered the same drink buying difficulties we encountered before the crawl started. The crawl ended near the pool where a very good band was playing and people were dancing and having a good time. I would say that the average age on this cruise is definitely over 50, probably over 55. I think a lot of the people below that age participated in the crawl. We met several honeymooners and people celebrating birthdays. It was a fun start to the cruise in spite of SB2's attitude. If anyone reading this was on the crawl, my name pub crawl name was Elvira. DH was Boopsie. DFW was Spanky and DFH was Spanked.

Next we headed off to the Skyline dining room for dinner. We were seated right away. Our head waiter was ok, but her assistant seemed a bit overwhelmed. The food however was horrible. This was the worst food we had all week. DH's first entrEe was some sort of short ribs/pasta dish. The waiter told him when she delivered it that if he didn't like it she would get him something else. I don't think she would think he wouldn't like it unless she had already been getting complaints about it. It was truly horrible. Like bad, bad Hamburger Helper, but with no hamburger and needing lots more help. So she next she brought him a steak that was tough as shoe leather. Poor DH wound up eating stuff from his snack bag back in the room for his dinner.

Reading the ship's review thus far, I realize it does sound really negative. And I honestly have not exaggerated anything. But in spite of our complaints, the bartenders' 'tudes and the bad dining room food, at the end of the evening we were all still in a good mood, laughing, glad to be where we were and looking forward to the next day. We were just disappointed that so many of the negative reviews were turning out to be true. If you will stick with my review, I promise there are good things coming up.

One last thing about this day - when we got back to the rooms, DFH was missing a piece of luggage and there was a note in the room summoning him to the naughty room. He went down and they asked him what was in his bottle of mouthwash (his 32 oz bottle of mouthwash). He said, well the bottle says mouthwash. They laughed, handed it to him and told him to enjoying swishing his mouthwash. He said there were tons of liquor bottles down there that they had confiscated. I can neither confirm nor deny if the bottle actually contained mouthwash. We teased him the rest of the week about his gingivitis.

Day 3 - Hilo, The Big Island, Volcanoes National Park and Richardson's Beach Park

We went to the Aloha Cafe for the breakfast buffet. I found POA's breakfast buffet to be better than any on previous cruises. They had two types of eggs Benedict available every morning - one with spinach and one with ham. I love eggs Benedict but I've always had to go to the dining room to find it before, which I never have time to do except on sea days. They seemed to have a wide variety of breakfast food available. I can't imagine that anyone would not be able to find something they could eat. There were omelet stations, fruit stations, waffles, pastries, etc. Each morning we would take our breakfast out on the Aloha Deck at the very back of the ship and enjoy breakfast outdoors. We never had a problem finding a table. Each morning prior to disembarkation, one of the Hawaiian Ambassadors would speak on the Aloha Deck about the island we were on that day, history and suggested activities. We were sometimes gone before they started their talks, but I enjoyed and appreciated the ones I heard.

We had brought with us sandwich bags and zip locks to make picnic lunches from the buffet and a double sided collapsible cooler. They provide items on the buffet for this: white or wheat bread, croissants, condiment packages, lunch meats (ham or bologna), peanut butter and jellies, etc. About the lunch meats - they did not look good at all, especially the bologna which I probably wouldn't eat if it looked like the best in the world. However one of their hot breakfast items was sliced breakfast ham with a pineapple glaze. We used this ham for our sandwiches. We also made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and took some muffins and pastries. We gathered our ingredients together and took them back to the room to assemble our picnic lunches.

We were getting ready to leave and I called guest services to request that during the day our ice bucket be filled and that the fridge be emptied of the hospitality items, knowing that we were going to bring some bottled water and sodas back on. On this ship, at least in this room, you can't call housekeeping directly. You call guest services and they relay the info. The operator told me that she would send someone, but we would have to be in the room and it might take 30 minutes. Again - Huh? Why would we need to be in the room? Weren't they going to come in and clean it? We wouldn't be there then. DH suggested that we leave the ice bucket setting outside the door and not worry about the fridge until we got back, which is what we did.

We were in line to disembark the ship when they opened the doors. There was a Thrifty shuttle waiting. The driver already had all the Blue Chip members' paperwork ready, as well as a Hilo brochure and map. Yea Thrifty. We had reserved a Jeep Wrangler with a convertible soft top for today, with the intention of removing the top if the weather was nice. Total cost for the day was $67. There were a couple of problems. The first problem was that the weather was never good enough to make taking the top off feasible. The second problem was that it was a two door. We always travel with the DHs in the front seat and the DWs in the back seat. Climbing in the back seat through the front door was a little bit of a challenge. I'm sure it gave some people some chuckles watching the DH's push our fannies up and through the door. DFH actually thought it was funny enough to take some video of DFW climbing in. That video will not be posted here and had better not wind up on YouTube!

TIP: As you are leaving Hilo to go to VNP, you will pass a shopping center with a Wal-Mart, a gas station/convenience store and a Hilo Hattie's across the street. We stopped here for ice, waters and soft drinks. It is near the airport and a convenient place to fill the car up with gas before returning it.

It rained on us off and on during the drive to VNP, and for the remainder of the day for that matter. But it was still a lovely drive and didn't seem to take very long at all to get to the park's entrance. When we arrived at the Visitors' Center, one of the rangers had just started a talk outside next to a 3D model of the park. It was a very interesting talk and he answered questions following the talk. We looked around inside the visitors' center for a while and then walked across the road, past the Volcano House Lodge which is closed for remodeling and to the short trail to the Caldera Overlook. This was my favorite place and favorite view in the park. I think a lot of people assume that because the Lodge is closed, all the trails around it are closed and that it not the case. While we were at that spot the sun was shining. It was so quiet and peaceful.

Next we visited the Jagger Museum for a bit. There is another overlook there which is closer to the Halema'uma'u Crater. By now the day had gotten cloudy and the area really took on a hazy appearance.

We left the museum and headed to the Thurston Lava Tube, but there was no parking anywhere near the tube so we headed down the Chain of Craters Rd. We were only planning on driving halfway down Chain of Craters, but we wound up going all the way to the coast where we took pictures of the sea arch.

Once again we headed to the Thurston Lava Tube. This is a very, very popular stop, with limited parking, a great deal of which is taking up by tour busses. There is another lot about ~1/2 mile away that you can park at and either walk along the road or take a trail back to Thurston, but that was too far a walk for DFH, plus it was raining. So we drove back and forth a few times until we were able to snag a parking place near an entrance to the tube. The lava tube is definitely in the rain forest and it is beautiful. You have to walk down a pretty steep path to get to the tube, and it can be slippery. We had brought flash lights so we could go in the unimproved section of the tube. I was not loving that part of the tube. It was SUPER dark. It seemed like the darkness just soaked up the light from the flashlights. And I certainly didn't want to be at the back of our group. I've seen too many movies - I know what happens to the poor sucker in the back! At one point we all turned out our flashlights. That was the darkest dark I've ever experienced.

After we left the lava tube we headed back to Hilo and to Richardson Beach Park. This is a nice little black sand beach that is close to the pier, but not close enough to walk. It is supposed to have the best snorkeling on that side of the island, but the weather was not good and the surf was too high for us to venture out in it when we were there. To the right of the beach area there are a lot of lava rocks and little tidal pools that were fun to climb on and around. If the weather was nicer and the water calmer, it would have been a nice little beach to spend a little time at. But I wouldn't put it on the must-do list, especially if you are going to see other black sand beaches. It was convenient to the ship and the rental car return though and easy to visit on the way back from VNP.

I left something out about the beginning of the day. This morning (our first morning on the ship) DH killed a roach crawling down the wall from behind the folded up bunk. I know, anywhere regardless of how clean, could have a random bug...warm, tropical climate, bugs thrive, etc, etc. I live in Texas and DH owns a pest control company so I'm pretty familiar with insects. However, in all the cruises and land vacations that we've taken, all to warm areas, this is the first time I recall encountering a roach in our room. It didn't upset me enough to even report it, because I knew the ship was full. There wouldn't have been anywhere else to put us. The only other thing they could have done would have been send someone to spray the room, and I didn't want to be in that closed up space after chemicals had been sprayed. I didn't even report it when we came back at the end of the day and found another roach. This one was dead. (For a photo see complete review on Hawaii boards). I'm sure I would have seen him if he had been there in the morning. I don't know what killed him, maybe grieving over his buddy DH killed that morning. I didn't report the bugs, because I didn't want the hassle. However, I did list the problem in the post-cruise survey NCL asked me to complete. And coupled with the poor housekeeping we received, I did think it warranted mentioning in the review.

When we returned today, the room had sort of been cleaned. Actually the bed had been made, the ice bucket did have ice and they had emptied the fridge. They hadn't vacuumed the dead bug, though he could have crawled out after housekeeping left. They didn't do anything that we could tell in the bathroom. In fact, there was a wad of tissue on the bathroom counter that DH and I neither one remember seeing before we left, and it wouldn't be like us to leave something like that on the counter. The plates and silverware we brought down from breakfast this morning were all still sitting on the desk. I set those out in the hallway. I don't remember how long they sat there before being picked up.

But the bugs and poor housekeeping were not what annoyed me most. What was most annoying of all to me was that once again there was no Freestyle Daily!! On every cruise we've been on the day's schedule has always been left in the room the night before. When we didn't have one when we got back from dinner on Sat night, I didn't think too much of it because we were going to be leaving first thing Sun morning and I assumed that they would put one in the room while we were gone. Wrong!! I'm not sure what it says about me, that I didn't report finding two bugs in the room, or dishes not being taken away, or the grime on the nightstand that I actually wrote in, but I did go up to guest services to ask for a Freestyle Daily and complain because this was the second time I had had to track one down. That night while we were at dinner they did leave a Daily in the room and we got them every night after that.

Once again we ate in the Skyline dining room. The food was marginally better tonight than the previous night (it would have to be). Although by the time we got our food we were so hungry we might have eaten anything. And unfortunately the service had taking a drastic downturn and it wasn't great the night before. Our waiter was so overwhelmed. The poor guy just looked completely frazzled. He never even had time to tell us his name. It took us about 2 hours to finish dinner tonight. All of the tables around us were taking just as long. At one point an assistant waiter brought out plates and set them all down on our table. By now we weren't even sure anymore what we had ordered. The party at the table next to us was looking over because they had been there even longer than we had. The poor asst had set their dinners on our table. It wouldn't have been good form to just transfer them over to their table since we'd already poked at them, so he had to take them all back. Both tables were laughing saying it doesn't matter who ordered what, we would just take anything at this point. I thought all of the parties at the tables around us maintained pretty good attitudes considering the service. Honestly, the wait staff was so overwhelmed that we felt too sorry for them to complain. But if we'd received the same service at a restaurant at home, I would have asked to speak to the manager and would have probably left. I think they had some serious staffing problems this night, because when we left we passed a lot of empty tables, but there were a lot of people waiting to be seated. I guess it wouldn't do any good to seat them if there weren't enough wait staff to take care of them. Once again, these were our experiences. Other people on the same ship may have had totally different experiences. In fact, I hope everyone else's experiences were better, and that no one else encountered any bugs. Considered separately, each incident may not seem like that big of a deal, but bundled together they did not leave with me with an especially warm fuzzy feeling for Pride of America or NCL. I'm not trying to discourage anyone else from sailing with them. I'm not even saying I wouldn't sail them again, but it might take some convincing and a really, really good deal. I do think this ship definitely has a great itinerary for people wanting a taste of Hawaii. I am just trying to present our experiences as honestly as possible so people don't get their expectations up too high.

TIP - For the lava sail by you will need a good pair of binoculars, a jacket or sweater, and a camera with a good zoom if you have one. And you will need to know how to get to a prime viewing spot, which I can help with. For the best view, go to deck 13 at the front of the ship, walk around to the left. About 1/2 way down there will be some stairs that go up one more level. Take those. You will be right below the ships radars and antennas. We watched from there with less than a dozen people. On the deck below people were stacked several deep around the railings. When they turn out the ship lights, make sure you look up at the sky. That was the most stars I've ever seen. When you are here, you will be right above what was called the Lana'i Bar on the ships map, and the Martini Bar in the Dailys. (Idk why it has two names.) If you go down and ask them, the waitress will come up and take orders and bring drinks. I would recommend checking out my instructions before the sail by, just to make sure I am remembering how to get there correctly.

We enjoyed the lava sail by so much. I don't even know how to describe it. Even though we were a pretty good distance away, it still felt like we were seeing something that most people are never going to see. DH, who is a gadget guy, has several good pairs of binoculars that he never gets on a ship without. The binoculars made all of the difference. The Daily said the viewing would start at 9:45. We went and found our spot right after dinner, about 9pm. We could already see the glow. As we neared the flow, they turned off the ships lights, which totally changes the mood. The Hawaiian Ambassador narrates what you are seeing, talks about Pele, etc. It's just really a memorable experience.

We tried to take a few pics, but our camera didn't do it justice. The ship photographers take pictures and those pictures are available for purchase the next day. They were $12.95 for 4 shots. You had a choice of several different shots. The purchased shots are what it looked like through our binoculars. BRING BINOCULARS!

Day 4 - Maui - Road to Hana

We were up early and having breakfast on the Aloha buffet patio again this morning. Once again we took items down to the room to make our picnic lunch. There was a Thrifty shuttle waiting and we were picking up our car in no time. Today we upgraded to a 4-door Jeep...no more climbing into the backseat thru the front door for the DWs! It was an expensive upgrade. Total for 2 days rental was $201.85, but we were much more comfortable.

There is a lot of controversy about whether or not you are allowed to take rental cars all the way around the complete Hana loop. I can tell you that there is nothing in the contract that specifically prohibits it. The only thing I see that might apply is the standard statement in the prohibited uses section that lists "the unauthorized use of vehicles on other than regularly maintained hard surface roadways", but I think it would be difficult for them to apply that statement to the Hana loop. The unpaved portion of the road was hard pressed dirt and gravel and smoothly graded. Also, when the rental agent asked me for my cell phone number I asked her if cell phone service was good on the entire island or if there were any areas where I might not have service. She said that if we go over to some southeast part of the island that is not as developed we might lose service there. She didn't tell me not to go.

To me the worst part of the drive was the section between Hamoa Beach and The Pools of 'Ohe'o. The road wasn't in bad condition. It was just so narrow, with so many blind switchbacks and 1 lane bridges. Those were the most nerve-racking miles to me. When got to the Pools, we asked the ranger about the road ahead, if she thought it would be better to make the loop back to Kahului or to turn around and go back. She said it would definitely be better to keep going and make the loop, that a few miles weren't paved, but the road straightened out and you make better time without the so many blind curves. It was about 4:30 when we arrived at the pools so we knew it would get dark on us going back. No way did I want to go back the way we came in the dark. So after the Pools, we pressed onward, brave adventurers that we are.

We picked up the rental car at 8:36am according to the time on the receipt. We stopped at a Shell station for drinks and additional snacks. Which reminds me -

TIP - Make SURE you get some Maui Style potato chips while in the islands. They are the best potato chips ever and I'm not even a big potato chip lover. They are sort of like Kettle chips, but there is something different about them. I like the onion flavor best.

We spent more time in the Shell station than planned. It didn't look like all that much from the outside, but they had some interesting things inside. But soon enough we were on the road. We didn't stop in Paia but it looked like it would be a lovely town to spend a little time. The first thing we came to that we wanted to stop and take pics of were the painted Eucalyptus trees. You will come to a grove of these all planted in a line, and you will want to stop but there is no good place to pull over here. If you keep going a little ways the road curves to the left and there is a pull over on the right. There are some more trees across the road here. They are not planted in a nice straight row like the first ones you see, but the bark is just as pretty. We took these photos at 10:10am.

If you are going to stop at the Garden of Eden, which I consider a must-do, you will see the trees there also.

The Garden of Eden - Being a plant person, I'm declaring the Garden of Eden Arboretum a must-do. If plants don't do much for you, you might still like it, but may not want to spend as much time there as we did exploring the paths and gardens. There are some wonderful views there of the ocean and two different waterfalls. And many of their plants are labeled, which I appreciated. I could take a picture of the garden sign and then the plant for easy plant hunting later. There is an entry fee of $10/pp.

We arrived at the gardens at about 10:30am. We were there a little over an hour. I could have stayed longer.

Kaumahina State Wayside - Our next stop was the Kaumahina State Wayside, just to check out the view. We arrived here about 11:50am and were only here for long enough to take some photos.

Our next stop was the pullover between MM 14 & 15 - To the left was the iconic view of the RTH and to the right are more views of the Ke'anae Peninsula.

Ke'anae Peninsula - We enjoyed this stop and I would consider it a must-do also. The village on this peninsula was completely destroyed by a tidal wave in 1946, except for the church which still stands today and is open for visitors. Inside the church there is a sign-in book for visitors and also a donation box for those wishing to make a donation, which we did. There is a small cemetery nestled beside the church, and next to the church is a little league baseball field. I bet every game in that park seems special. I would have loved to seen one. The peninsula is surrounded my black lava rocks and tidal pools. The view is beautiful everywhere you look. We arrived about 12:30pm and spent about 45 minutes here.

Halfway to Hana Stand - Once you come off the Ke'anae Peninsula and turn left back on the highway, you will come to the Halfway to Hana stand pretty quickly on your right. We stopped here to buy some of their world famous banana bread and to eat our lunch on one of their picnic tables. I was not that impressed. They also have sodas, chips, and coconut candy. NOTE - They don't have bathrooms. We bought some banana bread, a small bag of coconut candy chips, and a post card and it was $13. Definitely overpriced I thought. The bread and candy weren't bad, but they weren't to die for either. We wound up throwing both away when we packed to go home. It was pleasant to eat our picnic there. They have two tables under a cover and one that is not.

We finished lunch and got back on the road. We jumped out of the car at Upper Waikani Falls (3 Bears) and took one picture.

We stopped at Pua'a Ka'a State Wayside Park to use their restrooms.

TIP: I had read somewhere to bring some toilet tissue with you on the RTH, because some of the restrooms along the route would run out. I bought some Charmin in a little travel package. You can get them in grocery/drug/discount stores on the isle with all the sample/travel size toiletries and cosmetics. At the Pua'a Ka'a State Wayside Park restrooms we were glad I had brought it!

Wai'anapanapa State Wayside Park - We arrived at the Wai'anapanapa State Park about 2:30. This park is my last must do. It's beautiful, there is a black sand beach, caves, sea arches, blow holes. It's a one-stop park for sure. In hindsight I wish we had driven straight here and spent a couple of hours and turned around and gone back. Not that I didn't enjoy the entire day, I did. But I'd wish we'd been able to spend more time at the favorites and had skipped some of the others.

Hamoa Beach - We arrived at Hamoa Beach about 3:30pm. I was disappointed in this beach. I'd read such wonderful things about it that I guess I had built it up too much in my mind. The facilities at the beach are owned by the Hotel Hana Maui for their guests but there are some restrooms (one shared stall for men and women) and an outdoor shower for the public. There are no concessions. We did go in the restroom 1 at a time and change into our swimsuits, but the surf was so rough that only DFH was brave enough to venture into it. I wish we had skipped this and gone straight to 'Ohe'o Gulch Pools.

Ohe'o Gulch Pools - It was about 4:30 by the time we got here. This is a beautiful area and I know there are a lot of trails that would have been wonderful to hike, and the pools were beautiful. The problem was the stretch of road between Hamoa Beach and here was so stressful, it was getting late and we knew it was going to be way after dark before we got back to the ship, and we were all getting tired by now. So it was difficult to relax and enjoy it. If this is on your must do list, and if you are a hiker it may be, my suggestion would be to go straight there as early as possible and then when you leave decide if you want to go back on the Hana Hwy or make the loop around.

We left the pools and continued around to complete the loop back to the ship. The ranger was correct about the road. It was not the surface of the road that concerned me, but the width of it and some of the blind hairpin turns, several of which were up pretty high above the surf below. Fortunately the vistas opened up pretty quickly and you were able to see up ahead and know when to expect another vehicle.

We did not stop at Lindberg's grave. We did enjoy our stop at the Kaupo Store. I bought a lovely angel ornament and we enjoyed talking to the clerk.

Several cars stopped at the ruins of a church, so we stopped here and looked around and got some beautiful photos at sunset. There were some beautiful plumeria plants and bougainvillea plants that must have been years and years old. We all left within a few minutes of each other and sort of formed a caravan back. It got dark within just a few minutes of us leaving the church and we were glad to have our little parade of cars. Once you are past Kaupo Store, actually from a little ways before that, there is nothing bad about the road, it is just long and there are a lot of curves and dips that force you to go slow. And you have to watch out for cattle crossing the road.

It was about 8pm when we got back to the ship. The closest parking lot was full so we dropped DFs off at the security gate and parked in the overflow lot along the seawall. It is a little farther of a walk but it was not too bad. We drove almost all the way to the end of the seawall and there were about 11 spaces left at that time. I would suggest not taking one of the closer spots in the overflow lot even if they are available, because it is possible that someone else could park in and block you, or at least make it difficult to get out, which is what DH said had happened when he went and picked up the car the next morning.

For dinner this night we just went to the buffet and were happy with it. The dessert choices were not the best but they did have ice cream. And about the ice cream - it is not available 24 hrs like on Carnival. They shut the ice cream machine down promptly at 9pm. Personally on days the ship is in port I think they should keep the buffet open later than 9pm. By the time we got back to the ship around we had to rush to the buffet and they were shutting down before we finished. After dinner it was off to bed.

Final thoughts on the Road to Hana - We had a wonderful day and we were all glad that we had driven it and had gone all the way around. DH had no problems with the driving. We are thankful for the experience, but we were all in agreement that it is not something that we need to do again. If we are ever back on Maui, we will spend more time in Lahaina and the beaches on that side of the island.

The best source of info I found for the RTH was a book called the Hana Highway - The Road to Hana & Beyond by John and Natasha Derrick. It is not a very thick or heavy book, like the Revealed books, so it is easy to take with you. Everything in the book is listed in the same order you will come to them on the drive. The only problem with the edition I have is that when it was printed there were road closures between the pools and Kaupo and those roads have been opened since the book was printed. Hopefully newer editions have corrected that.

Regarding housekeeping today - When we got back to the room the bed was made and we even had a towel animal and the Freestyle Daily for the next day. But once again I had to set the breakfast dishes out in the hallway. And the one towel DH had left on the bathroom floor to be replaced was still lying on the bathroom floor.

Day 5 - Snorkeling Molokini Crater and Lahaina

We were excited about today because this is our first opportunity to snorkel, and we love to snorkel. We didn't have to make a picnic lunch this morning this morning or even go to breakfast because both were provided on the excursion. We left the ship as scheduled at 7:30am. It was an easy drive to the Makena Beach & Golf Resort in Wailea. The resort is beautiful. We were there at least 20 minutes before they started checking everyone in. Prior to boarding the boat everyone had to sign a release form and check in. Then one of the naturalist from the crew gave a talk about the kinds of marine life we would likely encounter. She would be videotaping the excursion and editing it with music and stock shots on the way back in. Anyone wanting a copy of the video was to let her know and she would make sure those were the participants she focused on. We didn't do that. It is a "barefoot cruise" so before boarding everyone puts their shoes in large storage buckets. When you return, all the shoes are laying out on the grass to be retrieved. The catamaran had been out on an early morning excursion and we could see it coming back in. It pulls directly onto the sand and you board via a double staircase in the center front of the boat. The boat itself very nice with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. There are restrooms but I didn't use them so I can't comment, but I'm sure they were fine. There were places behind the seats to store your bag, or could leave on your seat to save your place.

Going out to Molokini they served breakfast muffins, fruit and pastries and juices. There may have been coffee too, but I'm not a coffee drinker so I'm not sure about that. The muffins were delicious. They were several different kinds. They were large and cut in quarters so you could try several types without getting whole muffins. As we were approaching Molokini one of the crew, Fred, gave a talk about snorkeling, how to fit your mask, etc. There were float belts available for those who wanted them. Once the ship was anchored people had the option of entering the water by using the stairs, sitting on the bottom and putting on your fins, which is what I did. Or they could jump of the side through an opened gate. DH took that option. There were several crew members sitting on boards in the water to answer any questions or help anyone who needed it. Fred dived down really deep and tried to get an octopus to come out of his hidey hole but I don't think he ever did. I did see an arm snake out. Visibility was good and there were a lot of fish to see. As far as I know we could swim where ever in the crater that we wanted. If they told us to stay in a particular area, I missed that part of the talk. They did give us warnings about going too close to the outer areas of the crater, where waves wash around and you can run into a current. The crater is "C" shaped and we were anchored pretty much in the inside center of the "C", which I thought was best because that pretty much gave us the entire crater to explore. If we had been on one of the boats that was anchored on either side, I wouldn't have wanted to go too far astray and that would have limited my snorkel area. One of the crew brought up a starfish that DFW got to hold. We had been told that we might see some small sharks, and I have friends who snorkeled the crater in August and saw sharks, but we didn't, and that was ok with me.

I don't remember exactly how long we were in the water at the crater but it was a pretty long time. A lot of the other boats had left the crater already and I think everyone was ready for a little break. There was a fresh water hose on the back of the boat that you could rinse off with if you wanted, or use to rinse of your equipment. They had put out an array of snacks that included pineapple, chips, dips and juices. It was those delicious Maui Style chips. Yum. We sat on the bench along the back of the boat behind the Capt to enjoy our snacks and the ride to see turtles. They put out fishing lines behind the boat while we were moving, but if they caught anything, I missed it. The Capt did say that they had caught a tuna on the morning trip.

Soon we pulled up to an area where they said they can usually find turtles, and sure enough there was a turtle. Some of the crew jumped in and looked around and gave the ok, so once again we were all getting in the water. And there he was, finally, the Honu I've been looking for. The naturalist from the boat said that this was not a Hawaiian green sea turtle, but a rare hawksbill turtle. She was very excited to see him. But he wasn't a very social turtle, staying at the bottom most of the time, and it was pretty deep here, so he was pretty far away. The crew and some passengers including DH would dive down to get photos, but no way could I dive down that far. So even though I was thrilled to see him and be in the same water with him, it wasn't the turtle bonding experience I had hoped for. But I had more snorkeling opportunities coming up, so I was still hopeful! I was sure that the real Honu were somewhere waiting to see me and would be more social. And yeah! Here is a real Honu!!! Unfortunately he was pretty deep too. Tomorrow I'm going to get close to a turtle if I have to weight myself down with lava rocks!

When we got back on board they had lunch set out for us: sandwich fixings which included white or wheat Less


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Cabin review: Pride of America 4555

Quiet room in a convenient location for boarding and getting off ship.

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