This was my first cruise and as you can imagine I was filled with excitement and anticipation. This was one of my life's ambitions and I was not disappointed with it's fulfillment. A Hawaiian cruise of the Islands was our first ... Read More
This was my first cruise and as you can imagine I was filled with excitement and anticipation. This was one of my life's ambitions and I was not disappointed with it's fulfillment. A Hawaiian cruise of the Islands was our first choice and the greatest one that Geraldine and I could have made. First of all the Hotel stay was great. Every aspect of the cruise was very well planned. Welcoming was warm and hospitable. The cabin we had was beautiful with a window view. and kept clean. The food was very good and plentiful at all times. The planned choice of the Islands visited and time of travel was great. Activities met our desire with adequate time for excursions for every day. Not a day was idol. Nighttime entertainment was varied and great. Getting onto and off the ship was planned with great precision. But have some ready cash if you love to (have a few) in augmenting your vacation! and not having a big charge account at checkout. THIS WAS A GREAT LIFETIME EXPERIENCE! Read Less
This was the first cruise for me and my husband (we are recently retired) and it was amazing! This was my first, and probably only time, to get to see Hawaii (I live in Ohio) and I knew I wanted to see several of the islands. By taking ... Read More
This was the first cruise for me and my husband (we are recently retired) and it was amazing! This was my first, and probably only time, to get to see Hawaii (I live in Ohio) and I knew I wanted to see several of the islands. By taking this cruise we didn't have to make reservations at multiple hotels and, best of all, didn't have to pack/unpack every other day. Also, we could spend our time exploring each island rather than waiting for flights from island to island; Norwegian did the "traveling" for us at night while we were sleeping!
The entire staff was exceptional. Each one made me feel like I was the only person on the ship. They are polite, friendly, and take their time no matter the request.
We never took any of the shore excursions so I can't give any reviews of those. We rented a car on every island except Maui. Maui has excellent public bus transportation so we used that. We arrived in Honolulu the day before our cruise so if flights were delayed we wouldn't miss the cruise. We took public bus transportation ($2.50 each)to within a short distance of the cruise ship. After the cruise we rented a car for two days so we could see more of Oahu.
There is so much to do on each island and on the ship; you'll never be able to do everything. Several times I was torn between doing something on an island in the afternoon or going back to the ship early because I wanted to do something on the ship!
I guess the only negative is there are lots of "side sales". Every day there's a photographer taking pictures, for cost of course. We also thought thought the shore excursions were pricey.
We didn't buy the soft drink package and I'm glad we didn't. There is coffee, both regular and decaf, iced tea, and lemonade available everywhere at no cost. Also, at the buffet, there is a flavored water that's very tasty!
When we signed up for our cruise, there was a promotion to get an upgrade to the Ultimate Dining Package at no cost. We loved it! This package let's you eat at any of the restaurants without paying the cover charge (except for the sushi). The food was fantastic! However, the food at the other restaurants (we went to those for breakfasts and most lunches) was excellent too, so don't feel like you have to pay for the UDP.
We had no children with us so I can't attest to children's activities.
The cabin seemed very roomy. We got a room with a window with a guaranteed unobstructed view. The sink includes liquid hand soap and the shower includes liquid body soap and shampoo, so you don't need to pack any of those. There's also a hair dryer at the vanity part of the room.
I hope I've helped answer any questions for anyone reading this. We had an absolutely wonderful time on this cruise and plan on taking more! Read Less
Booked the Hawaii cruise after receiving an invitation to a Kona wedding. The ship, cabin, food, dining options, entertainment, ports and tours all were very good and met our expectations. We mostly dined in the main dining rooms with the ... Read More
Booked the Hawaii cruise after receiving an invitation to a Kona wedding. The ship, cabin, food, dining options, entertainment, ports and tours all were very good and met our expectations. We mostly dined in the main dining rooms with the exception of one evening at the Jefferson Bistro (very nice).
One of the practices that I had not experienced before was the need to take your assigned pool towel from the room to the pool every day. If you lost the towel, you were charged a $20 (?) replacement fee. This virtually eliminated the practice of people saving a deck chair by leaving a towel and wandering off. Other cruise lines would be smart to adopt this practice.
The only perceived negative of this cruise was the presence of an "all American" crew. Maybe it was just the nature of "free style" NCL cruising but the staff felt a little less attentive and mature than I've experienced on other cruises. A little less enthusiastic, a little sloppier (shirts not ironed or tucked in, poor grooming), a little slow, a little tired. At times I felt I was at the local Red Lobster rather than on a cruise. I got the impression from many of our wait staff that this was their first and probably their last employment on a cruise ship. Some attention to detail by the restaurant management is needed. Read Less
We recently returned to the Pride of America (POA) for another spin around the islands. We had sailed on her in 2007, about the same time of year, so the weather conditions were similar. We were once again greeted with an orchid flower lei ... Read More
We recently returned to the Pride of America (POA) for another spin around the islands. We had sailed on her in 2007, about the same time of year, so the weather conditions were similar. We were once again greeted with an orchid flower lei for me and a shell lei for my husband. They had Hawaiian music playing and water available.
Since we were returning cruisers, we were able to get in the ‘short line’ so had our photos taken for our key card and were walking across the gangway in a short amount of time. Since our cabin was not yet available, we decided to go to the Skyline Dining Room for lunch rather than the buffet for a change. We were ushered to Table 1, a great little table for two in the corner at the window. I had a FABULOUS marinated shrimp salad and my husband had a cobb salad and fish and chips - the salads were brought promptly, but the fish and chips took quite a while to be served.
After lunch we went back out to see if our cabin was ready and they were announcing that cabins were ready floor by floor - there didn’t seem to be any logic or reason to the order as the first deck to be announced was Deck 4, then Deck 9 then us on 11 - I would have thought it would have been the deck with the suites, but apparently not.
We were on Deck 11, cabin 11536, so we went up and checked it out. We had never been in a cabin on that high of a deck nor that far forward before so we knew it was going to be a different cruise experience. The cabin interior was the same, with even the same foot protector, but new carpeting. I had forgotten how beautiful the woods are on the POA! I also liked that the murals of various spots and landmarks around the country at the head of the stairs were still there. Apparently the refit was to add 4 studio cabins and more suite cabins and move some areas around to do so, but the rest of the ship was the same, which was good - it really didn’t need improving!
The one thing I really questioned was the large overhang from Deck 12 that extended out about 10 feet farther than our balcony, that obstructed the view upwards - it didn’t seem to be that much of a deal, but as the day progressed, it DID turn out to be a liability. At 4 p.m. we heard a VERY loud noise and realized that it was the Blue Angels doing their performance at Pearl Harbor! It was SUCH a delight to watch the angels doing their amazing flying, but again, having that overhang REALLY got in the way.
About the time they were finishing up, it was time for the Muster Drill, or as they call it Assembly Drill. I have never participated in a more organized, detailed, quick muster drill in my life! They had even lowered one of the life boats down so folks could look inside. Very impressive!
Since we were there as a part of a group, there was a cocktail party at the Lanai on Deck 11, aft. It was nice to be out there as the sun set and we sailed away. We had hit it off with another couple, so all four of us went to dinner at the Liberty Dining Room. This is an elegant room, done in rich navy and maroons with large paintings of presidents and other patriotic items as decor. I had the caesar salad and the mahi mahi, which was served with couscous and mango salsa - it was very tasty!
On our way back to the cabin, there was a pianist playing at “Pinks” the Champagne lounge on Deck 6. Michael Masci was exactly the type of pianist I enjoy - talented, yet with enough personality to be interesting but without being corny. He was delightful!
Day 2 was the first day on Maui (the itinerary had changed from the 2007 itinerary - for the better I might add). We went for breakfast at the Aloha Cafe - we have learned to go ALL the way to the back where we can enjoy our breakfast outside (I’m actually always surprised that there is usually room out there, which for us, are the best seats in the house, ESPECIALLY in Hawaii!).
After breakfast we went down to catch the shuttle to the Queen Kaahumanu Shopping Center. On the way back we struck up a nice conversation with one of the many Australian passengers - apparently there were about 300 Aussies on this sailing. There were also a lot of Japanese as well as a handful of other folks speaking languages I didn’t recognize. There was probably an event at the theatre that told how many from the various countries, but we must have missed that one.
Once back on board we went up to the Aloha Cafe for lunch, where we again sat outside and enjoyed the warm, but humid, windy and cloudy day (Hawaii was also going through a heat wave, so it was unusually warm). On the way back from lunch we stopped by the spa and made our massage appointments and came back to the cabin. We decided to take advantage of the sauna and steam room prior to our massages - that totally started the relaxation process and by the time my massage with Jesse was over (who was EXCELLENT I might add), I was pretty much a giant blob. Since we hadn’t had dinner yet, we decided to order room service, which was perfect because we ended up turning out the lights at 9:30! Are we the life of the party or what?
Maui - Day 2 - Since we had done this cruise before, we had already done the Sunrise at Mt. Haleakala excursion, which I would HIGLY recommend. It is truly a bucket list item that should be done at least once, but having someone else drive and the warmth of a bus is even better. If you do go, make SURE you take plenty of warm jackets as it is VERY cold at 10,000 feet!
After our outdoor breakfast at the Aloha Cafe, with today’s weather being a little calmer and sunnier, we went back to the cabin. Since there was a session with my group right after lunch, we really didn’t have time to do too much so it was nice to just have a leisurely morning. We did enjoy watching the activity of truckload after truckload of sand was being loaded onto a barge.
After my session, we changed and went down for dinner at the Skyline Dining room. This room is done with a New York theme, with contemporary chairs, mirrors, and etched glass mimicking the skyline of New York. Very simple and elegant. My husband had the french onion soup and I had the caesar again and we both had the special, which was a coconut crusted mahi mahi with a raspberry sauce, along with plantain mashed potatoes and carmelized onions - it was FABULOUS! The service wasn’t so hot, but the food was GREAT!
Tonight’s entertainment was the “Not So Newlywed Game” which is one of MY personal favorites on cruise ships. Usually there is one couple that is especially entertaining, but all four of these couples had a particularly entertaining answer at one point or the other, so it was especially good. Norwegian even stepped up a bit more than just congratulating the couples with a bottle of champagne - the winning couple got a gift certificate for a set of bamboo sheets at one of the bedding stores on Kauai! Good for Norwegian!
Hilo - Day 3
We were up early and had breakfast so we could do the Volcanos National Park excursion. John was our tour guide/driver and was FABULOUS! Not only was he good at his job, he had just returned after having taken 3 weeks off to move his 75 acre ranch, including family and animals, out of the way of the advancing lava flow. He was amazingly calm after having spent 3 weeks moving, but as he put it, you accept that when you live on Pele’s island.
The first stop was the Big Island Chocolate Factory, where we were able to watch the workers make the chocolate. They also gave out plenty of samples and of course, there were lots of sales! We drove by a beautiful Japanese garden and then up to the park. Our first stop at the park was the Kilauea Iki Trailhead, where we were able to look down into the Kilauea Iki Crater, formed in 1959. From there we went to the Thurston Lava Tube, where we got out and were able to walk through the lava tube - what an amazing experience THAT was!
We then went on to the Kilauea Caldera, which is where the Halemaumau Crater was formed in 1974 when it erupted. This was also the site of the Jagger Museum, named after the first volcanoist who started collecting data and studying volcanos. It was a very good excursion but warranted a good nap back at the cabin upon our return!
Dinner was back at the Skyline Dinner with more friends from our group.
Kona - Day 4
Since we were unable to dock, today we were anchored off the coast and had to tender in. After breakfast we got our tender tickets and were shortly on our way to Kona. Kona is a completely different climate than the rest of the islands and it was VERY warm and humid there, and today was no different.
We caught the shuttle to Hilo Hatties and loaded up on Hawaiian shirts and macadamia nuts and returned to the pier. Lunch was at a new restaurant , Paradise Cafe, upstairs overlooking the harbor (and ship). Dale had hot chicken wings and I had pulled pork with a mango salsa. It was quite good.
Tonight we splurged and paid the surcharge for the steakhouse Cagney’s. Dale had the St. Louis ribs and I had the filet - both were excellent! For dessert, Dale had the raspberry creme brulee and I had the oreo cheesecake. So much for that diet!
From there we hopped in the hot tub to warm up a little and then got dressed and went down to the Hollywood Theatre for a Tribute to Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons by the group, Oh What A Night, four guys that were VERY good, both vocally and in their performance.
Kauai - Day 5
Today was our excursion to Wiamea Canyon so we met our group at the Hollywood Theatre and we walked down to the busses - all four of them! A young Hawaiian lady was our tour guide/driver, but she was not as good as John. Our first stop was the Spouting Horn out at Poipu Beach. This is a natural formation of lava that spouts water when the waves rush in. It also hosts some local vendors with hand crafted items and rest rooms.
We then headed out to another store, which had a variety of refreshments and of course, another opportunity for shopping before heading up to the canyon. The drive from the store to the canyon is a winding road that takes about 20 minutes before you actually arrive at the lookout point. I had forgotten how beautiful the canyon is. So many striated layers of earth, some waterfalls and of course, helicopters and planes doing tours of the canyon.
We got back to the ship and had a couple of hours before it would be time to meet to go to the luau.
We had the 4:30 meeting time for the Luau Kalamaku - apparently there was a 4, 4:15, 4:45 and 5 p.m. meeting time as well! We found out later that there were about 750 from the ship in attendance!!! WOW!
We had been to luaus before so figured it would be about the same - boy were we wrong! This was WAY more than your usual luau! This was a performance that included lights, costuming, make up, props and for lack of another explanation, would call it an opera, done in Hawaiian style. They followed a story line depicting a father and his daughter that had fallen in love. The story followed the father and boyfriend as they went to find the new land and then returned, the couple married and then ended with the birth of the new generation. It was VERY well done - in ALL ways.
Kaui - Day 6
My husband left early for his helicopter ride of Kauai - this was his third and his favorite thing to do on Kauai. Since I was involved with my group the entire morning, I met my husband for lunch at the Cadillac Cafe, which is the 50s diner on Deck 6 midship - they had the usual diner menu, so he had a hot dog and I had a cheeseburger and fries, then we split a hot fudge brownie - it was all very tasty, although the service was a little odd.
As Platinum members of Norwegian Cruise Lines, we had been invited to a special event held out on the bow of the ship at 2 p.m. as we sailed from Kauai, so headed out with hats and sun glasses. Boy was it hot out there and the reflective light from the white of the ship seemed to make it worse. As you might expect, they were serving champagne and mimosas, so it was a very nice event. After the welcome speeches and actual sailing, it got a tad breezy, although that was welcomed as it did cool us down a little bit, but we lasted about 1/2 hour before it got just too hot.
We went back to the cabin and started packing so that we could enjoy sailing by the Napali Coastline, which would happen at about 5 p.m. Since we had already unzipped the expandable part of the main suitcase in order to come, we had to do some real organizing but we got it all into the suitcases and went back out to the balcony to enjoy the beautiful scenery!
Sadly, the wonderful narration of the coastline was only available through the public address system on open passenger decks, not through the Navigation channel, bridge channel or even through the loud speakers in the hall, so we missed out on that, but we were NOT going to move from our balcony to one of the crowded open passenger decks just to listen to the narration.
After the ship turned around and headed back, we went upstairs to the Skyline Dining Room for our last dinner. We noticed ‘Table 1’ was in the process of being cleared, we asked if we could sit there, knowing it would be a quiet table and were soon ushered to our table. The waiter had a bit of an attitude but we ordered and got through dinner and went upstairs to the Mardi Gras lounge for “The Perfect Couple” Game - since we had never seen this, we really didn’t know what to expect. It was not as good as the Not So Newlywed Game, but it was entertaining.
From there we went down a deck to the Hollywood Theatre for the final ‘show’ - the Variety Show. The magician (whom we had missed before) was back, as well as the Oh What A Night guys for some more Frankie Vallie tunes and then the crew did their thank you’s by bringing up on stage as many folks from the various areas of the ship to wave and say good-bye. This is always an emotional event.
We pulled into Honolulu Harbor and had our final breakfast. We met for the last time in the Hollywood Theatre and joined the rest of our group at 9 a.m. and disembarked for the last time and boarded the bus. Since our flight wasn’t until 11 p.m., we had the whole day to kill, so this tour would take us 140 miles around the island of Oahu, with a stop for lunch and various places along the way. Leo was our bus driver/tour guide and he was delightful and had 35, 40 and even 80 point questions throughout the day (of course no one was keeping score and the points were random, but it added a sense of fun to the day). It was well worth the money for the tour AND was very informative. Read Less
We have recently returned from two weeks in Hawaii. One week staying in a condo in Waikiki and a week on the Pride of America. We have cruised in the past on Celebrity (about 20 years ago!) to the Caribbean and two years ago on Holland ... Read More
We have recently returned from two weeks in Hawaii. One week staying in a condo in Waikiki and a week on the Pride of America. We have cruised in the past on Celebrity (about 20 years ago!) to the Caribbean and two years ago on Holland America to Alaska. My husband and I (69 and 64) and my sister (62) travelled together. DH and I shared an obstructed ocean view aft on deck 7. The cabin was spotlessly clean, as was the entire ship. There was plenty of room to unpack and store our suitcases. The bathroom was quite big enough and everything worked. The floor to ceiling window was great, and the view of the lifeboat outside was interesting, especially when it was lowered and recovered after being used as a tender at Kona. My sister had one of the new 'singles' suites on Deck 13. We were worried that this might not be much bigger than a cupboard, but it was lovely. A double bed, and a well thought out modular storage system, shower and toilet. It was perfect for one person. She didn't use the singles lounge attached to the cabin. Most of the other singles were occupied by mature cruisers, and she said it was very quiet. Her steward was an absolute gem, who really looked after her, which we appreciated as she was not in the best of health, and we were several decks away. Our steward was unobtrusive, very efficient and kept our cabin in spotless order. We only attended one show, the tribute to Frankie Vallee and really enjoyed it. Most nights we were so tired after our on shore excursions that we went to bed fairly early. We ate in the buffet except for one night when we went to the Cadillac Diner. We enjoyed the buffet, there was a huge range of food available, and we ate far too much! Occasionally the food was not very warm. We usually had a drink in the aft bar, as my sister is a smoker. Most of the bar staff were cheerful and chatty, but we were served a dreadful cup of coffee that was stone cold! When we asked for it to be heated up we were told they had no way of warming the coffee! Eventually one of the bar staff ran down to the deck below and obtained some fresh coffee, but it was still not hot enough. After that we always got our own coffee from the buffet. We had coffee and liqueurs twice in the John Adams coffee shop, the first time it was really hot, the second time it was only lukewarm again. But that was the only criticism we had of the catering. The pool area was great, lots of sun beds, and the water refreshing. The ship never felt crowded and there was always somewhere to sit quietly. We took two ships tours, one to Lahaina which was fun, and another to the Waimea Canyon, which was beautiful. We took a Roberts Hawaii tour to the Smith Family Luau on Kauai, and that was a wonderful evening, great food, great show and so well organised. There were not many announcements over the tannoy apart from the captain once a day and maybe the cruise director once or twice, which was good, and we never felt pressured to buy photos or anything else. Having read so many less than complimentary reviews about the POA, we were pleasantly surprised. The ship is so clean and well run, and the size suited us. We had a wonderful time seeing all the different islands, and would definitely recommend this cruise. Read Less
This was my first cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line. I traveled solo and occupied a Studio Cabin. I was very pleased with my room because I spent very little time in the room except to sleep, shower and change clothes. All of the crew ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line. I traveled solo and occupied a Studio Cabin. I was very pleased with my room because I spent very little time in the room except to sleep, shower and change clothes. All of the crew members that I encountered were very helpful and courteous. I had a young man named Gary for my solo Ambassador and he was very attentive to the needs of we solo travelers. I also interacted with a young lady named Holly who was always so cheerful and especially nice. I met a young lady named Hannah in the John Adams Coffee Bar who was new to the ship and she was delightful, too.
I took the lei making classes and also the Hula classes. Kaulana did an excellent job of teaching both classes and it was much fun working with him. He is very knowledgeable about Hawaiian culture and I enjoyed learning from him. I went to the entertainment each evening and was pleased with those. All of my dining experiences were fine. Each time we were in port I left the ship and was pleased with my experiences on shore. I was impressed with the cleanliness of the ship. My cabin stewardess, Lucia, was especially nice and did a great job each and every day. My disembarkation went smoothly because I left the ship with my luggage early and was met by a family member. All in all, I was extremely pleased with the entire cruise and have and will continue to recommend this cruise to my friends. Thanks to you NORWEGIAN CRUISE PERSONNEL. Read Less
I am eighty years old and had never been on a cruise. I have a close friend that had been on cruises before. She has been saying for years that we should go on a cruise. Two years ago, we started making plans for a cruise. After some ... Read More
I am eighty years old and had never been on a cruise. I have a close friend that had been on cruises before. She has been saying for years that we should go on a cruise. Two years ago, we started making plans for a cruise. After some discussion, we decided we should go to Hawaii. Neither of us had been to Hawaii, so this would be a great time to fly to Honolulu and cruise the islands.
We made reservations to fly Delta from Columbus, OH to Atlanta, GA, and non stop to Honolulu. We arrived on Thursday evening so we would have some time before getting on the cruise ship. We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Waikiki. It is close to several nice restaurants, shopping and is on the city bus route. On Friday we took the bus to Pearl Harbor. Saturday morning we took the bus to Diamond Head. Saturday afternoon we were picked up by Speedy Shuttle and taken to the harbor where we made our embarkation to the cruise ship. Our cabin was on deck eight. We had a balcony, which made the cruise extra nice.
We did a number of shore excursions. On Monday, we did the Best of Maui - Plantation, Iao Valley & Ocean Center. On Tuesday, we did the Volcano & Rainbow Falls on the Big Island, Hawaii, . On Wednesday we did the Kona Mocha excursion, also on Hawaii. On Thursday, we rented a car and drove up the east coast of Kauai, to the end of the road at the very northern tip of the island. Thursday evening, we attended the Luau Kalamaku. Great show and very good food and drinks. On Friday, I took the behind the scenes tour on the cruise ship. On Saturday, after returning to Honolulu, we took the Grand Circle Island Tour of Oahu. We were back at the airport by 6:00 PM. We flew out of Honolulu at 10:54 PM Saturday night for LA, CA, and then on to Columbus, OH.
I thought all of the services on the ship were outstanding. The service in the dining areas were great. It was interesting talking with the servers, finding out where they were from, how long they had been on the ship, what their long term plans were, etc. The food was excellent. We went to a number of shows. We enjoyed the performers in the Napa Lounge, the Pink Champagne Lounge and the Mardi Gras Lounge. Over all, everything was great. If I am able to make another cruise, it is going to have to be very good to meet the standards we experienced on Norwegian Cruise Line.
We took our first cruise ever on NCL's Starwood back in 1987, and over the years have cruised 6 more times on Celebrity, Princess, RCCL, and Holland America. This 8th cruise was to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary.
We ... Read More
We took our first cruise ever on NCL's Starwood back in 1987, and over the years have cruised 6 more times on Celebrity, Princess, RCCL, and Holland America. This 8th cruise was to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary.
We came on this ship with low expectations because of the mixed reviews. We picked it because of its port intensive itinerary. We were part of a roll call Cruise Critic group and were able to have a Cruise Critic meeting on the day of embarkation with about 8 officers from the ship including the Captain, the Hotel Director, and the Head Chef. On Friday afternoon we all were invited back for a follow-up meeting with 8 top officers to give our input on the ship and the various experiences we had. On other ships we never met any officers as part of Cruise Critic meetings, so this showed a level of caring and commitment to improvement which was outstanding.
We were in an obstructed view cabin, 7102, with a floor to ceiling window behind our bed. It had a large open area and almost a full view as only the back end of a lifeboat was visible. Several times during the day I noticed workmen walking about the little cat walk right outside out window, and although they were never looking in our window, we had to be careful about prancing around in the buff.
The cabin was small and felt smaller because of the bunk beds hanging on both sides on the long walls. We had to watch we didn't hit our heads when getting OOB in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. The cabin next door didn't have as good of a view as ours, but at least the bed was arranged on the left long wall and had a tiny sofa bed next to it on the window side. We missed having somewhere to sit other than on the bed or the desk chair or a little round stool. The bed itself had some sag in it, and the pillows were not great. I packed my own oldest down pillow which helped me and then I just left it there after the cruise.
The bathroom was the standard ship bathroom but the shower had the best shower curtain with stiff rods in it making it stay in place.
The cabin was quiet. We never heard anyone on either side of us or above us.
We were in a great location near the stairs and elevators, and the only time we heard hall noise was a little around 9-10 PM at night.
Our cabin steward Narcisso was not at all intrusive and always friendly and made us wonderful towel animals every day. He did his job competently.
We had low expectations of the food, but it was generally good to even excellent.
The food at the Aloha Cafe (the buffet) had some great choices, great coffee, and enough to eat. We ate there every morning, for the lunch on embarkation day, and for one dinner. The rolls and baked goods were always fresh.
You can nitpick about any buffet, but I won't. Some food was delicious, some not so much. Your mileage may vary depending on your tastes. The Cadillac Diner was a wonderful place to grab a quick coffee without sitting down to eat. We had one breakfast there and although it was fine, the service made it slower than dashing through the buffet. My husband LOVED going there for the free brownie sundaes which were delicious.
We loved the Skyline and Liberty restaurants. I chose the Chef's Regional Special almost every night and they were all wonderful. The service was all done with class and efficiency, and much friendliness. We never had to wait for a table and always got to sit by ourselves at a table for two, three nights by a window. On our anniversary we were serenaded by a group of waiters who made us hold hands while the one sang LET ME CALL YOU SWEETHEART. They then instructed us to kiss for 40 seconds one second for each year married, and they dragged the count way out, so we were laughing so hard trying to keep a lip lock that long. They also presented us with a little cake and a lit candle. It made our day so special, and I will never forget it.
We also somehow got invited to their Dine With an Officer Program on Weds. Night, (even though we never put our names in for it). We enjoyed a free drink prior to dinner, and then dined with the Hotel Director, Carey, and also the Systems Director, David, plus another Cruise Critic couple and two women who were sisters. It was a lot of fun and we learned some interesting facts about the history of the ship.
We attended the first and the last shows of the week in the Hollywood Theater and both were amazing. The second half of the first show featured the ship's extremely funny comedian, Tim Kaminski, who called about 15 people up on stage for a little remake of THE WIZARD OF OZ, which had everyone howling.
Later in the week we saw him perform again in the other smaller show lounge and he was hilarious.
We attended the NOT SO NEWLYWED GAME, and we were chosen as one of the 4 couples to play the game. It was a ton of fun for us, though we did say some embarrassing things!
There was always something going on in the late afternoon and in the evening on the ship, but we were often just too busy or tired to get to everything we wanted to see and do.
When I get time I will do a port review, but right now I will say that all of them were spectacular. We rented a car at every port for every day except the half day on Kauai. We found this to be very easy and affordable for us. The shuttles to the car rentals were quick and convenient.
We loved the sail by the Na Pali coast of Kauai on the last day. We were invited to see it from the large balcony of one of the owner's suites occupied by the Cruise Critic member Sandy and her husband Terry, who organized our meeting.
Contrary to what another recent reviewer reported we never once saw a staff member who was "scowling" at a passenger or not smiling. We never saw staff members taking pictures of each other and ignoring passengers. We did not feel like we were ever being "punked". Almost every staff member we passed greeted us with a cheerful "Aloha!" from the first day to the last. We thought this was the friendliest, most competent staff we have ever encountered on a ship. I submitted at least four or five STYLE cards to compliment certain staff members who did their jobs so warmly and competently with such thoughtfulness.
The ship itself was very clean and comfortable. It has a low key comfortable, casual atmosphere and it not smoky like other ships we have been on. They restrict smoking to cabins and the top back deck. Embarkation and Disembarkation were a breeze. The Disembarkation process did not feel like we were getting the boot starting mid week like on other cruise ship lines.
This was the BEST cruise we have ever taken. What made it so special was not the ship itself, but the warmth of every staff member and officer we encountered. We were made to feel special and important by every one of them. At the end of the final production show on Friday night they did this number with a large group of the staff and officers where they sang this song about being a part of their family now, and I was moved to tears(not usual for me at all). We hated to leave! Read Less
First my wife & I have have never been on a cruise. I guess our experience on POA will now change all that. In the past we tended to fly to our destination, rent a car, then explore the countryside. However, as we age, we now find we ... Read More
First my wife & I have have never been on a cruise. I guess our experience on POA will now change all that. In the past we tended to fly to our destination, rent a car, then explore the countryside. However, as we age, we now find we like others eg. shore excursion to do the driving & shows us things we could have missed out on.
We found the crew to be very friendly & helpful. The entertainment was excellent, they even had some very talented crew who performed their own show one night. However, the entertainers brought onto the ship in the latter part were extremely good. It was tribute to all the entertainers throughout the Hollywood period.
Didn't swim the ship pool - a bit on the small size, and lots of people drinking cocktails/beers etc whilst in the pool - always worried about urine in the pool, rather swim in the ocean.
We couldn't fault the meals. We enjoyed a meal in Little Italy on our last night.
The price of wine is higher than the mainland, but, hey your on a cruise.
The Aloha Cafe can be very busy with people each morning. Its a bit like a dodgem course. Some people seemed to be hell bent on getting that ice cream or last bit of cake. We tended to get our breakfast (cereal & tropical fruit - great stuff) then walked to the rear of the Aloha Cafe to the outside deck, called Aloha Cafe Lanai, just beautiful having breakfast whilst overlooking the ocean or port. Read Less
During our cruise through the Panama Canal we were given the opportunity to place a deposit on our next cruise and given a $100 credit off our account. The cruise to be taken within two years. Too good an offer to refuse. Subsequently we ... Read More
During our cruise through the Panama Canal we were given the opportunity to place a deposit on our next cruise and given a $100 credit off our account. The cruise to be taken within two years. Too good an offer to refuse. Subsequently we booked the Hawaiian cruise.
We decided to book a balcony suite on the starboard side in order to see the lava flowing into the sea after we left Hilo. I also booked the air flights so that we would arrive on the morning the cruise left and we would stay two weeks on the islands following the cruise. Three days before we were due to leave we received an email from NCL offering us an upgrade to a Penthouse with a Large Balcony for an additional $830. It was to be on the starboard side which was not going to be a problem because the lava had ceased to flow following an earthquake earlier in this year.The added bonus was that we would have an view of the Napali coast after leaving Lihue.
This upgrade has spoilt us for all future cruises. The first thing was the priority boarding after lodging our baggage ( no queuing), a glass of champagne while waiting for lunch in the Lazy J Restaurant, the location for our breakfast and lunch for the duration of the cruise if we wished. We were introduced to our concierge and butler.
The accommodation was a revelation. A large bed sitting area (with settee lounge chair and footstool and a small table with two chairs), a dressing area with a well lit make up desk, the usual compact rest/bath room and an expansive balcony with two pool lounges and occasional table and a small table with three chairs and ample room to walk around. The service supplied by the cabin staff (steward and butler), the waiters, maitre d and general staff in the Lazy J Restaurant could not be faulted. We had our evening meals in either the Liberty or Skyline restaurants and were quite impressed with the variety and quality of the meals. The only problem we had was with a roast lamb course where my wife had a piece of meat that was a bit tough and gristly. This was replaced with another meal of her choosing when she complained.
Overall our experience was the best we have had on a cruise ship. The only downside being the cost of most shore excursions and incidentals (drinks etc) Read Less
We just returned from the May 28 sailing and were very pleased. My wife and I were last in Hawaii in 1973 and decided to return for our 40th anniversary. We were not looking for a party ship, but simply a way to visit the islands with ... Read More
We just returned from the May 28 sailing and were very pleased. My wife and I were last in Hawaii in 1973 and decided to return for our 40th anniversary. We were not looking for a party ship, but simply a way to visit the islands with enough on board entertainment to give us something to do when we weren't ashore. Neither my wife or I or very mobile and NCL's website allowed us to pick shore excursions based on level of activity. We booked all of ours ahead of time and avoided the rush at the on board shore excursion counter. My biggest concern was eating because I have Celiac disease I have to follow a strict gluten free diet. Within days of booking the cruise NCL sent me a survey asking what specific foods I wanted. When we boarded there were letters from the chef & staff with their on board numbers if I needed anything. Along with the letters they gave me an advance luau menu with gluten free options notated. I didn't have any food issues at all. Each restaurant either had a gluten free menu or the chef reviewed what I wanted. The food was excellent & the staff polite and attentive.
If you're looking for a "good time party ship", look elsewhere. If you're looking for the easiest way to see a lot of Hawaii in a week, I have no problems recommending this cruise. I read some negative reviews about cleanliness and staff indifference, but I did not experience any of that. Read Less
We flew from London to San Francisco and spent 3 nights there. It was cold and wet and our Hotel, The Sheraton, Fishermans Wharf was a nice enough hotel but our room was opposite a road and a bus station. All night we could here buses ... Read More
We flew from London to San Francisco and spent 3 nights there. It was cold and wet and our Hotel, The Sheraton, Fishermans Wharf was a nice enough hotel but our room was opposite a road and a bus station. All night we could here buses coming and going and the constant beep, beep of reversing buses.
We flew to Honolulu and went to Germaines Luau with Roberts of Hawaii. It is right on the beach, the food and entertainment was great and we had a lovely time, except for about 15 mosquito bites I got.
Next day at noon we took a shuttle to the port, The embarkation queue was horrendous in a hot room with no seats. Once on board there wasn't anyone to show us where our cabin was, which we had been used to on other cruises. we went straight to the Aloha cafe for some lunch and then explored. Our cabin was small yes but quite adequate, the bed was comfy and plenty of storage space. The bathroom was small, yes but so of all the cruises we've been on and it was very clean. I see no need at all to complain about things. We always have an inside cabin and always eat in the cafe if there is one. We spend very little time in our cabin and prefer to spend our money on trips and seeing the country we are in.
I have heard people saying the ship was always trying to get money from you but you don't have to buy them. We don't buy art, we don't use the beauty salon, we don't buy the photos, (at our age we have cupboards full of photo's) we didn't have the soft drink package, we don't drink much alcohol when it's hot. preferring to drink lots of water We didn't go to any of the specialty restaurants, I am a funny eater and prefer to choose from a buffet. One thing I thought was funny, only small dishes were provided on the salad bar and I like a salad for my main course so, I had to get a hot plate to put my salad on.I was very disappointed in the dessert bar but the crepes were lovely. I always found something I liked to eat and I can't complain about the food when it's me that is difficult. I can't understand people complaining about the ship and the staff. we always try to be pleasant to people and mostly they are pleasant back. Our cabin steward, Jonathan was always cheerful and very helpful, reception ditto.
All our trips were with Roberts and the driver/guides were very knowledgeable and entertaining, at Maui we did the Hana Road, I thought it was to long a day and most of the scenery was much the same but Henry made it so much fun, when he wasn't talking he was singing like Elvis or laughing and making us laugh. we had a nice picnic lunch and I always enjoy myself, it was our choice to do this tour so I wouldn't dream of moaning.
Maui day 2 we went snorkeling, it was an early start but we were greeted with a buffet breakfast and drinks were plentiful all day. After the first snorkel lunch was on the go and we went to Turtle Town for the second snorkel. It was a good day.
Hilo we went to the Volcano National Park and Rainbow falls, Hank our driver/guide was such a character he had us laughing all day. it was very interesting and informative day
Kona we went on the Historical tour. again lots of information and we went to a refuge which has been restored to it's original state as much as possible as it was in the 1700's.
Kuai was Waimea Canyon and river ride to Fern Grotto. this was a lovely day and we really enjoyed it.
Kuai last day, we were close to a beach so, we took the free shuttle and spent the morning swimming and relaxing and after a little retail therapy ashore and back on board, we found a sunbed to watch the beautiful coast we sailed by. We also saw lots of Humpback Whales throughout the whole cruise.
Next morning, disembarkation was simple and we were again picked up by Roberts and taken to Pearl Harbour, very interesting and emotional but something everyone should see. Just one thing slightly annoyed me, our guide kept saying this was the start of world war 2 and I had to point out that us, (Britian) had already been at war for 2 years. Read Less
The people of Hawaii treat each other, their visitors and their country with love and respect. On September 25 my daughter-in-law and two friends set out for a seven day cruise in Hawaii. After a one day flight delay aboard American ... Read More
The people of Hawaii treat each other, their visitors and their country with love and respect. On September 25 my daughter-in-law and two friends set out for a seven day cruise in Hawaii. After a one day flight delay aboard American Airlines we boarded NCL's Pride of America on September 26, 2010. This ship began a seven day cruise, in Honolulu to four Hawaiian islands; Kahului (Maui), Hilo and Kona (on the Big Island and Nawliwili (Kauai). Let me backtrack the first night of our cruise September 25 was actually spent in the Makena Resort on Maui because, as I stated earlier, our flight was delayed and instead of boarding the ship in Honolulu we were flown to Maui and boarded the ship there. The ship was beautiful and clean. I had heard beforehand that the crew aboard the only American ship in NCL'S fleet were not as gracious as the crew aboard other NCL ships, I did not find that to be true. The crew on Pride of America was wonderful, everywhere we went everyone was friendly and courteous. My cabin steward Errol was so pleasant and responded to every request with courtesy and timeliness, I even became friendly with the cabin steward in the next section, because I would pass her everyday in the hall and on my last night there she gave me a postcard with dolphins on it to remind me to remember Hawaii with a smile. I thought that was kind of her, her name was Lula. As far as the transportation and shore excursions go. I only did one excursion with NCL and that was the glass bottom boat because NCL shore excursions are too pricey. I read other reviews before I went to Hawaii and contacted Roberts Hawaii at gorabbitgo.com and booked my airport to pier and back transfers thru them because they only charge six dollars and NCL charges twenty dollars for the same bus ride in the same coach buses. They also offer great deals on shore excursions. In Maui we met Reynolds who has a SUV taxi and we booked our Road to Hana tour with him; we chose this instead of renting a car because that road has about a hundred curves some of them are very narrow and we preferred to let an expert handle that driving. If you go to Maui that tour is a must, you will see the beauty that is Hawaii. Hawaii has all types of shuttles taxis and tour buses. You can also rent your own car if you like because at Maui and Kauai the ship is docked for two days. Because Hawaii is so beautiful and there is so much to see we didn't spend a lot of time onboard the ship, but I did manage to get to the pool every morning and have breakfast which was good. My one complaint about the pool and the area surrounding it, is it is not large enough to accomodate the close to three thousand people that are on the ship and when the children arrive they just take over and you cannot enjoy the pool at all because they are throwing the ball and hitting folks in the head. Also there are not enough poolside lounge chairs.......just saying. There was a Hawaiian couple who taught us all things Hawaiian. Some days we were taught to make different types of leis, including an orchid lei and one evening the lady (or wahina) taught us the history of Hawaii which was interesting for me because I am a history buff. The food was pretty good, I didn't try any of the specialty restaurants this time but I did eat in the dining room every night and the food was delicious and I ate at the Cadillac Cafe a couple of times, I like it there because they serve comfort food. Wednesday night NCL hosted the Hot White party in the Mardi Gras lounge which was fun and Thursday was the luau. Now I didn't go to the NCL and I'm glad I didn't because everyone complained that the food was horrible. I didn't go because some reviewers said the food was horrible. I chose Smith Tropical Paradise for my party's luau and it was wonderful. The food was very good, except for the purple sweet potato and the show was outstanding. One thing I observed about Hawaii the people of Hawaii are very proud of their country and they keep it very clean. I didn't see a scrap of paper or broken glass anywhere and they host thousands of tourists everyday but they kepp that place clean. I enjoyed sailing past the erupting volcano and the Na Poli coast was awesome. So that was my experience and I gotta tell you I love Hawaii, the Hawaiian people were wonderful and I can't wait to go back. Read Less
We met on a ship, the Oronsay, on a voyage to England in 1956 - and have loved ships ever since. CruiseCritic over the past few years has added a new dimension - reading about each ship in the months before we sailed - what passengers ... Read More
We met on a ship, the Oronsay, on a voyage to England in 1956 - and have loved ships ever since. CruiseCritic over the past few years has added a new dimension - reading about each ship in the months before we sailed - what passengers enjoyed, what they criticised, what would it be like for us? Costa Allegra was great for us, in spite of what we had read, Dawn Princess to celebrate our Golden Wedding year was much as expected. Rhapsody had proved so popular with friends we knew it would be good - in spite of some criticism we'd read. Miami provided us with Crown and Anchor numbers, 19 years since we last sailed with them - in the Caribbean!
Waikiki is one of our favourite places and Courtyard Marriott Hotel was great value for money. We revisited all our favourite places four four days - and vowed to get back there again one day - as we always do.
Embarkation on Rhapsody was easy. We boarded about ll.30 am, had lunch in the Windjammer, and had access to our cabin at 1 p.m. Oeanview, and down on Deck 2, which we love - looking out AT the ocean - which proved very exciting in the weather approaching Sydney - we had the cleanest windows! Loads of room, plenty of wardrobe space, pristine-clean with comfortable beds. August our steward later starred in the towel animals exhibition in the Centrum.
Food is greatly important to us --- and the dining was great - Favourites were Venison, Duck, Prime Rib, and, yes, LOBSTER (much mentioned on CruiseCritic) - and the lunchtime salad bar was awesome, as our grandchildren would say! Royston and Englebert couldnt do enough to make every meal memorable!
We are oldies, and earlybirds, and used the best pool we've ever experienced on any ship very early every morning - loved the quiet times in the Viking Lounge - and were first in to breakfast in the Windjammer, where Ivan looked after us many mornings. I loved the Morning Mass each day with Father Dale. Fun watching the "Crossing the Equator' again, and we thought the Walk a Wish with the Captain leading was remarkable. Entertainment was good, especially the magician, and the 'boys and girls' dancing and singing and the films in the theatre - everything well attended. When we saw the DVD clips on the last night we realised that there was a whole world of entertainment enjoyed by all after we went to bed! Q and A with members of the staff - excellent - we learned lots --- lecturers great and big enthusiastic audiences for them.
Ports - magic. We 'did our own thing' Papeete and Moorea we were revisiting - a five dollar ride to Matira Beach on Bora Bora was a real bargain - we snorkelled,taking our own goggles and mask - it was heaven! Bloody Mary's was well worth a visit - again a five dollar shuttle - a whole day in each port gave us plenty of time. Raitea the most welcoming port ever! The pursers office - open 24 hours a day, and again, best we have ever experienced. I have been filling in customer surveys, in detail (!) for over fifty years, and for the first time ever, on Rhapsody, I had a phonecall, and a most interesting conversation about my comments, with charming David, the Food and Beverage manager, about the 'tables for two' which we prefer. They are there, and bookable, but a bit too close together - we think! Susan, the Maitre 'D also helpful, and so good to talk to!
Just one criticism! Disembarkation was late, because of some 'interesting' weather the last night. For some reason there was no information as to what was happening --- and many of the 2000 passengers, like us, had family driving round outside, parking problems, and it would have been so good had we been able to let them know what was happening. But it was the first time this season. Hopefully better when I do my next trip in November. Hooked on Rhapsody! Read Less
It was fun watching my sister see the ship for the first time. It was a WOW moment for her. She could not believe that there were bigger ships than the POA. The POA (Pride of America) is a very nice ship. Very clean and fairly easy to ... Read More
It was fun watching my sister see the ship for the first time. It was a WOW moment for her. She could not believe that there were bigger ships than the POA. The POA (Pride of America) is a very nice ship. Very clean and fairly easy to learn your way around, at least after that first day which can be a little frustrating to newbies and oldies even until you are able to get your bearings. The cabin was a balcony on the ninth deck, aft. It was efficient after we got all our things put away and suite cases stored under bed. We worked out a routine for back and forth to the bathroom since space was at a minimum. This room would make a great singles room if one bed was removed but it worked. We did not see our cabin steward very much but when we did ask for anything he took care of it very efficiently. The food on board was very good. We ate at Little Italy and the Japanese special restaurants and they were wonderful. In the Japanese we were in the area where you are at tables where the chef cooks right in front of you. It was good fun, everyone should go there. The cover charge for each was very reasonable. We also ate at the Skyline main dining room 2 times for evening meals and the service and food were very good. We also did breakfast each morning at the Aloha Cafe buffet as we had excursions to get to. The food there was also very good with a lot of variety to choose from. My sister and I were very fond of the prepared granola with mixed berries on top. It was wonderful. Of course the deserts at lunch time and dinner time were very good in the buffet as well as the dining room. We booked excursions mostly through NCL as we wanted to be sure and not miss the ship. The excursions at all stops were very well organized and the drivers were very informative and entertaining. We loved the luau on Kauai put on by NCL. The food was good and the show superb. We also did an excursion on Kona through Roberts for snorkeling and that was wonderful. I let my sister have the underwater camera and she did a good job and I hope I can get a couple of the shots loaded here for everyone to enjoy. We also did another luau in Honolulu at Paradise Cove. The food was good here also and the show was good. Unfortunately we had some rain so their fire dance part was shorter than planned but it was good. We did like the one in Kauai better after seeing both of them. It was good that we saw both to be able to compare. I enjoyed the CC meet and greet even with a small group. Thank you all for the good advise about getting around. It was very good to meet several members of the ship's crew and the captain also. They were very informative also about upcoming dry dock events for the POA. It sounds like POA will be upgraded to be more like the other NCL ships with added amenities. It won't happen until next year but will be great to see what takes place after POA is out of dry dock. Our embarkation and debarkation went very smoothly. We arrived just after they started embarkation and were on board within 20 minutes. It was a surprise to both of us that it went very smoothly. We were glad even with waiting for our room as we had been up since 2:30 a.m. that morning from Seattle. I was still tired from my 5 hours flight from NC. We stored our carryon with the desk and went to get our first taste of food. We then just explored a little and rested in the atrium until our rooms were ready about 1 Hawaii time. Our luggage arrived around 4 and we got all settled and took about rest before dinner. We just ate in the buffet the first day then we went back to room to retire. The rest of the trip was wonderful and we enjoyed ourselves very much and hope to go back again some day. I will try to answer any questions that anyone may have. Read Less
This was our 5th NCL cruise and was booked "spur of the moment". The price was about right, we love Honolulu and the Hawaiian islands, so what could we lose? We had heard numerous negative critiques about earlier sailings of this ... Read More
This was our 5th NCL cruise and was booked "spur of the moment". The price was about right, we love Honolulu and the Hawaiian islands, so what could we lose? We had heard numerous negative critiques about earlier sailings of this particular ship because NCL, in order be in compliance with the Jones Act which requires that only US citizens may be hired as crew members when no foreign port is part of the itinerary, hired only Americans. People told us that both cabin and dining room service was poor, crew members rude, lazy, etc. because the college age Americans simply refused to work the very long cruise ship hours,(no 8 hour days for the staff members as all cruisers know). Reading Cruise Critic members' positive reviews helped us make our decision to give it a try. Fortunately, that earlier situation has changed. The crew is still American, but many were naturalized citizens, or older, or eager Hawaiians willing to work when jobs are scarce in Hawaii. We were very pleasantly surprised with the customary excellent service of our cabin steward and the dining room waitstaff. Anyone who has sailed on NCL ships knows that they are not stuffy. Life was particularly laid back on this Hawaiian island Thanksgiving week cruise. We enjoyed our 7 days very much and certainly would recommend this cruise. Embarkation was the best we've ever experienced on any of our cruises.
We got upgraded from an inside cabin to a balcony cabin for an additional $50 per person once for the entire cruise. However, the cabin actually seemed smaller because we had the balcony. It would have been nicer if the occupant in the cabin next door hadn't smoked cigars or been on his cell phone a lot. It is too bad that smoking is permitted in cabins and balconies. Read Less
We were not expecting much but were pleasantly surprised. Decor is attractive and reflective of ship's name. We enjoyed the large murals on stairways and had little trouble getting elevators when we wanted them. Every crew member ... Read More
We were not expecting much but were pleasantly surprised. Decor is attractive and reflective of ship's name. We enjoyed the large murals on stairways and had little trouble getting elevators when we wanted them. Every crew member we had contact with was extremely friendly, helpful and efficient, and our cabin was kept clean, well-stocked, and we received anything we asked for quickly and with a smile. The food wasn't as gourmet as on other cruises, but there were plenty of options and we had no trouble finding lots to eat. The only specialty restaurant we went to was Little Italy, which was excellent and well worth the extra $10, we thought. We had cars rented on every island (through Hawaiidrive-o.com)and also did 3 tours through the ship, so we felt that we really saw and experienced a lot of the islands by the time our week was over. We also flew into Honolulu two days early and strongly recommend that to deal with the travel/time issues before boarding the ship. The processes of boarding and leaving the ship were extremely well organized and we never had to wait to get on or off. Our main complaint would be that every communication we received from the ship seemed designed to sell us something...and we also felt that the pricing for beverages (other than water and iced tea...when we could find it) was extremely inflated. I highly recommend purchasing the books by Andrew Doughty - Oahu Revealed, Hawaii Revealed, Kauai Revealed and Maui Revealed - unbelievably great reading and such detail, maps, recommendations, etc. Read Less