We wanted a overview of the Islands and Pride of America had some neat things to offer. We scheduled so much activity each day, we spent little time on the ship except to sleep. I can't think of one activitiy I would like to do without though! Some of the tours I booked by myself and some with NCL. NCL provides a much smoother transaction for first timers than I could do on my own. It is very important to have a smooth transition between the ship and your destination and it was much easier when all transportation was arranged. At least for this first timer. This might not be the same for all travelers if you know the islands but by the time we paid a cab, we could have booked from NCL and much less stress.
I am a handicapper traveler and things that are necessary for me would be essential for my comfort. While you are still traveling in the USA on the only USA cruise ship, don't assume the islands are as all together as the mainland. NCL's ADA accommodations are first class and the room was most comfortable. Some of the public doors on ship need attention so the wheelchair bound can open them without waiting for a kind soul to help.
Kona, we only stopped for one day. Returning to the ship by tender was a nightmare for all with a waiting line that ran the length of the pier, sidewalk and out in to the street. NCL's policy allows a wheel chaired person to come to the front of the line as security procedures are more complex. In Kona the security guy sent my caregiver (husband) to the back of the line and left me sitting in the heat ignored. Finally I asked the beige shirt guys to point me to the BOSS. He wasn't pleasant but started the process of my security check. By that time, I was exhausted from heat and near panic when I turned around to find my husband in the crowdhe came from the middle of the street to join me ready to take on the beige shirts. While this all worked out OK, there really is no excuse for a USA port to be untrained in ADA requirements. I could have had a stroke from the stress and the heat.
Kona could and should be a overnight stop. We did not get to see much of this island and did NO shopping because of the time restraint.
Fellow passengers, please do not grouse because we get "special treatment". Anyone would trade places with you if independent walking was part of the trade!