7 Days of beauty
Overall a great ship, crew and experience.
It's probably the best way to see the islands for the first time. Now that I have gotten home from it I have a new list of things I want to see on each of the islands that will require a land based vacation to execute.
The ship is very clean, I never felt hurried or rushed while onboard. The crew did an outstanding job of making sure I was happy and had everything I needed to have an exceptional vacation.
The entertainment was top notch, I enjoyed every show that I went to. There is naver a problem finding a chair on deck to lay on and relax if that's what you choose to do, in fact often you can find an area to be by yourself or with few others.
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Cabin review: Pride of America 9704
Nice cabin, large balcony with 2 chairs, 2 lounges and a table with plenty of room to spare, There were 3 adults in the room and it was a bit cramped when the bed was pulled out in the evening, but being you wont be in your cabin much anyways on this cruise, as there are no at sea days, very port intensive.
Port and Shore Excursions
We did shore excursions today, I did the a Crater hike and Akaka falls with a total of 13 in our group, We hiked the Kilauea Iki crater, it was a 4 mile hike, then we walked through the Thurston lava tube, ate a light lunch, then drove up to the big Kilauea crater, learned a lot at the visitor center, and saw steam vents. We then were taken for a tour around Hilo and stopped at a black sand beach. We ended the tour at Akaka Falls, it was a beautiful rain forest with a VERY tall waterfall, it was breathtaking.
We arrived in Honolulu a day before sailing, my suggestion is to spend at least a day before the cruise on Oahu. We had an awesome dinner on Waikiki beach at Dukes. We visited Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona on the morning before embarking. Embarkation was a breeze, we arrived at port at 11:00AM and were on board shortly after noon.
In my opinion the most beautiful of all the islands, I would have liked to spend another couple days here. We did the Luau Kalamaku and Heaven and Earth quest here. I could have skipped the Luau, To be fair the show was INCREDIBLE, very well done, however the food was substandard, they should offer the luau without food for half the price, I would have chosen it. The food on board the ship in the main dining rooms was FAR superior. Now as for the Heaven and Earth quest... by far the BEST shore excursion we did while on the cruise, We had the best tour guide anyone could ask for. We flew with Blue Hawaiian helicopters, it was about a 50 minute flight in an Eco Star helicopter and we basically got to see the entire island with a birds eye view. You have the option to buy a DVD of your flight for $25, my suggestion is buy it as they load the helicopter by weight to best balance the aircraft, so you have no choice in the seat you sit in and if you had high hopes of getting great pictures, you might get seated in an interior seat. Also I cannot stress this enough, WEAR DARK CLOTHING in the helicopter if you want the best chance of getting glare free pictures, as light colored clothing tends to reflect off the glass on the interior of the helicopter, dark clothing greatly dampers this effect. The land portion was just as incredible. We learned a lot of island legend, lore and history and by the end, had it all 'Downloaded'!
I did the Captain Zodiac snorkel and dolphin adventure, all I can say is WOW! One of the best shore excursions on the cruise. We saw spinner dolphins, and even a baby manta ray, it was incredible. We snorkeled at a protected site right in front of Captain Cooks monument, lots of colorful fish and varieties of coral to see, one of the other people on or excursion even saw an eel! If you have a waterproof camera, take it!
We rented a car and went out exploring on our own. We drove up to Haleakala crater national monument, It was a very fun road to drive, lots of switchbacks and blind curves, take your time driving the road. We then drove to the southern part of the island and sis some sight seeing.
On the second day We drove to Lahaina and did some shopping, lots of great little stores to visit, lots of variety and good food. We then drove north up the coast to Kapalua and had lunch. so many beautiful beaches, sensory overload!