After alot of decision making, we decided to book the 7 Day Cruise on the Pride of America during Christmas 2011... The reviews we read here were mixed, but were mostly poor, but we really liked the itinerary, so we figured, why not? Lets take a chance..
Norwegian took care of the Air arrangements as we flew from Florida to Honolulu via Atlanta on Delta. We arrived at Honolulu and was met by the cruise line rep at the Airport as soon as we came of the Airplane. They told us to get our luggage and then they took care of everything from there.. They transferred us directly to the ship...
Getting onto the ship was a breeze.. They were very organized.. Didn't wait in any line for longer then maybe 5 minutes.. Once on board, we were greeted with a drink and headed to check out our room. As with other reviews, the room was a bit small, but had the balcony, so it made for a nice experience..
The port at Maui was nice.. We rented a car and drove everywhere.. No problems.. We booked the Luau at the Hyatt Regency Lahaina on our own and it was ok... We had seen it 10yrs ago and it seemed better then, I would recommend it if its your first time..
We then went to Hilo on the big Island.. To be honest, its not the nicest place to go.. Hilo is very old and run down.. We went downtown and turned around and went back to the ship.. We spoke to other people and they said the Volcano trip on the Helicopter was the thing to do there.. Not crazy about helicopters so we decided to hang out poolside.
That night, we sailed past the Volcano.. It was amazing to see, but we were a bit far off the coast to really get a good look at the Lava.. Maybe due to safety, but if your going to take pictures,make sure you have a good zoom lense and the ability to slow down the shutter speed to capture the picture.
We then arrived at Kona.. We decided to rent a car and drive around a little bit on our own.. We ended up at the Marriott Wailulua.. As it turned out, this was the beach where Norwegian had their Beach Day Excursion.. We didn't even know it until we got there... A word of caution though, DONT RENT YOUR CAR FROM DOLLAR in KONA.. They do NOT provide a shuttle from the Pier.. It cost $30.00 EACH WAY for a cab to go from the Pier to the Rent a Car lot at the Airport.. Alamo was the only shuttle bus we saw at the Pier.. FYI...
We then sailed to Kauai... Kauai is a beautiful Island... We signed up for the Plantation tour and Luau.. It was very nice , but Ill tell you, the cost was way to much for what they gave you.. Dinner was ok, but it was very small portions and was more like a pre - appetizer.. The show itself was very good, but only lasted about 25 minutes.. This excursion costs about $160.00 a piece.. To much money for what they gave you... The Plantation tour was ok.. The home was beautiful , but the folks there rented out every room in the house to various vendors instead of restoring it.. That to me destroyed the charm of the home.. So sad as it is a historical landmark..
Anyhow, the next day, we got back on the ship and the captain headed for the Napilli Coast of Kauai.. The Napilli Coast is absolutely breathtaking.. Looked like something out of a Thomas Kinkade Painting.. We spent well over an hour at Sunset cruising north along the coast.. At Sunset, the ship stopped at the northern point then slowly turned around to head back to Honolulu.. This was the highlight of the trip in my opinion.. I cant find words to describe this part of the journey..
Back in Honolulu, it was time to disembark.. Again, a very smooth process.. There was no lines at all to get off the ship.. We did the self check out and carried our luggage off..
All in all, this cruise was much better then I expected.. The crew on board could not have been nicer to us.. We cruised other lines ie; Carnival many times, however this is by far the best experience we ever had..
The only complaint I could come up with was that my in room coffee pot had some dust on the lid on the first day, but was quickly cleaned up after we arrived!
The photographers did get a bit out of line in the costs of their pictures that they took of you .. I suggest you take your own pictures as the costs quickly added up.. That was it!!
I highly recommend this cruise to anyone who wants to get a taste of the Hawaiian Islands... GREAT TRIP!!