GREAT HAWAIIAN CRUISE
After reading past reviews of the NCL Pride of America, I went in with very low expectations on food and service. I was very pleasantly proven wrong. Our service throughout the ship was outstanding. The food was, at the least, above average. We were lucky enough to be put on the VIP List (it's nice to have friends with connections), so we had breakfast almost daily in the Lazy J Steakhouse away from what I have to assume were the crowds in the buffet.
The itinerary cannot be beat. I feel everyone should experience the beauty and hospitality of Hawaii at least once. It seemed many of the excursions offered by NCL were designed for very large groups. As we preferred a more personal experience, I spent quite a bit of time online researching excursions. With the exception of the Gourmet Volcano Tour on Hilo, I booked all of our excursions independently.
The ship was well laid out, easy to navigate. Lots of fun bars to find your type of place to relax. With such a More
tour and port intensive trip, I can say we didn't really utilize much of the ship. Cabins are a little smaller than those on Celebrity and Princess, although as a single in an inside I didn't notice many shortcomings.
Unfortunately the weather wasn't the nicest, but it is winter in Hawaii too.
Overall a great cruise. I would recommend the Pride to everyone - its the best way to see the most of Hawaii. Less
Read more Pride of America cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic's Pride of America Review >>
Port and Shore Excursions
Pat was an awesome guide - she clearly loves Hawaii and her job. Provided knowledge and insight above and beyond a basic tour. Nice small group. A great overview of Hilo. I truly enjoy supporting local purveyors - coffee, chocolate, wine. You could easily have spent a day alone at Volcanoes National Park.
We opted for a small plane tour of Kauai. Everyone had their own large panoramic window. 3 of us flew for the cost of 1 helicopter tour through the cruise line. They even provided transport. This is a family run business - they were phenomenal. Again, the overview made me wish I had a few days to explore Kauai.
Swimming with the Dolphins was simply AMAZING. Everyone should do this. The boat only takes 6 people at a time. As we were in port a day before the full moon the dolphins were a bit tricky to find. But once we did it was amazing swimming among them in their natural habitat. We were also very luck to see and swim with spotted dolphins also - apparently a rare experience. This is definitely an active excursion - in and out of the water about 5-6 times, swimming in the ocean. Lunch was served on the ride back and the homemade macadamia nut brownies were AWESOME.
Emabarkation Port - Fairly easy embarkation process.
You have to stand in line to check in your luggage - if you use the porters you by pass that line at least.
Day 2 very early morning to sail out to the Molokini Crater, again saw more whales. Continental Breakfast/Coffee provided on the sail out to the crater. Lunch provided after snorkeling. Water was very cold, but fish were phenomenal. Great crew, good food, very nice group of travelers. Great day until the rain hit :(
We had an overnight in Maui -
Day 1 rented a car with Enterprise, Free shuttle from the pier, a small hiccup at the rental place, but they handled it well.
Headed to Lahaina and found a small catamaran providing whale watching trips. Great crew, beer/pop/water included. Only about 15 ppl on the boat compared to the uber-large ships. We were lucky to have 2 past crew members on-board so double the knowledge. Great lunch at Cool Cats prior.