Pride of America Cruise Review by Luke82580
- Sail Date: November 2012
- Destination: Hawaii
- Cabin Type: Balcony
This was our 2nd cruise and thus everything was compared to the first which was last year at the same time. It was the Adventure of the Seas in the Southern Caribbean.
Embarkation in Honolulu was a breeze, there were no lines and we were on the ship within 15 minutes after being dropped off. The other process in San Juan last year was also smooth for us because we had a suite however guests without a suite who had to stand in that line were probably there for hours. Again, no line in Honolulu for any cruise ship passenger.
The ship was as mentioned, as expected. It was not that exciting. It is older and could use an update which I understand it will be getting in the sprint. We had an aft balcony and upon entering we immediately noticed there was dust everywhere, the mirror was not clean in the main cabin area. There were hairs everywhere, sink, shower, bed. Also someone had left a pair socks in one of the drawers so obviously the room was not cleaned very well or those would have been found. There was plenty of storage and the suitcases fit neatly under the bed. The balcony was nice and about the same size as on the Adventure of the Seas however these balconies were not at all private. There were openings at the top, bottom, sides. On Royal Caribbean's ship the balconies were extremely private with the partitions going from the floor to the ceiling. There were no marking on the dispenser in the shower as to what was in them and the person on the phone at reception had no idea but said he thought the one on the left was shampoo. We never once met our stateroom attendant. Perhaps NCL doesn't do that? Our room was made up however each day that wanted it to be.The TV was very small, 9" maybe...perhaps a little bigger and very old school. Don't go on a cruise to watch TV so for us this didn't matter. However on Royal Caribbean you could use your TV to check your balance and do a lot of cool stuff, not here. I called down to guest services to get our room balance and was told we had to actually come down to the desk for security reasons. Why is getting a balance a security issue in the first place? You can obviously see what room I'm calling from so chances are, if i'm in the room...it's ok to tell me the balance...this policy seemed very strange to me.
Luckily we did not go to Hawaii for the ship, we went to visit all the Islands with hopes of determining which we liked best. This was our first trip to Hawaii.
The food was not good. I do not go on cruises for the food or to expect fine dining however I found several things on the ship inedible. Comparing it to Royal Caribbean, well there is just no comparison. The food on Royal Caribbean was amazing. All the buffets, restaurants, snack bars, etc. The breakfast buffet on the Pride of America was the worst food I have ever tried to eat. Nothing was good, and I'm not being overly picky I don't think...it was just bad. We ate in both Liberty and Skyline and the portions were tiny and the food was just ok. It was better than the breakfast buffet but still, wasn't that great. The food on Royal Caribbean was restaurant quality, on this ship it wasn't at all. We didn't eat lunch on the ship ever. I realize you can order as much food as you want but that's not the point, portions were small, food didn't have taste.
Service was just ok as well. There was one bartender at one of the bars, can't remember the name but (excuse the language) was a down right bitch. We avoided going to her at all costs. She was rude to the guests, other employees, etc. This was the bar that had the evening happy hours, it was on the back of the ship on the same level as the buffet.
Not much to do on the ship in the evening that was our style entertainment. Didn't see the comedian so can't comment on that. The tribute to Frankie Vallie was pretty good, the broadway show was horrendous. There were some things going on that we didn't do so I'm not saying it was all bad, perhaps some of it was good. I found the timing of some of the shows/activities to be odd. For example the bar crawl that they do on the first day started I believe at 5. I don't really want to do a bar crawl at 5, would have been better if it were later in the night but I guess they may do that for crowd control.
Not a complaint per se but I found it interesting that during the overnight stops, hardly anything was open on the ship. Bars especially. It was a challenge to find a bar open to get a drink, and none were anywhere close to the pools/hot tubs. I guess most people stay out on the Islands late? I would think you would want to server the guests that decide to come back early?
The best entertainment was in Pink's Champagne bar, David on the piano was very entertaining. Most nights he had a theme, broadway, elton john, etc. Some night he just played and sang. We spend every evening here listening to him.
We decided we prefer the bigger ships with more options. Again though we didn't go for the food, entertainment. There were some tributes that weren't really our thing but were younger than most on the ship (32 and 28) so most of the shows/activities were geared toward an older crowd.
side note: the beer was never cold, I tried getting it from several bars and it was always the same temperature.
We enjoyed the happy hour at one of the bars each evening, they had mai tais and sangraia on happy hours, again can't remember the name of the bar but its on the very back of the ship at the end of the buffet, just walk through the buffet and head all the way back to the very back of the ship. This is also a great place to take your food to eat, there are plenty of tables and it's generally less crowded than the buffet.
We were going to upgrade to a suite or better room but there was a sign at guest services indicating there would be no room changes due to the occupancy of the ship. I found this interesting because in my opinion this ship couldn't have been sold out. There were many evening that we would be the only people out on deck and we never had to wait for dinner. Just didn't seem like the ship had 2000+ people on it...maybe i'm wrong
There is a $5 fee to get pizza delivered to your room. It was one of the many things on the cruise that go on the list of "one of the worst things i've ever eaten in my life"
There is no adults only area which is annoying, luckily there weren't many kids on the ship. The main pool is rather small and we didn't spend much time there. There is another pool (very small, looks like a hot tub) on the back on the ship and a hot tub with bar close so we spend most of the time back there. It was a small area but never crowded. Although in the main hot tubs by the main pool there are servers that come to ask if you want anything...in the hot tub on the back of the ship, even though it's right next to 2 bars, no service...don't understand this
The ship serves its purpose for a floating hotel to see Hawaii. I don't think I would want to be on this ship again for a week however. Next time will just go to Hawaii for a week and pick an island. I will do individual port reviews instead of doing those here.
We had decided we probably wouldn't do NCL again however we spoke with someone on one of the shuttle buses who said she did the Epic last year and had done NCL many years previously and doing the Pride of America was like doing another cruise line. She told us to not judge NCL by this ship because all her other experiences were far superior. So we will most likely do the Mediterranean on the Epic next year.
Also, I realize there probably isn't anything anyone can do about this but the first, second, and next to last night at sea was extremely rocky. The ship rolled so much it was hard to sleep. We were near the back so i'm sure that didn't help and people mentioned that because it was November the waves were higher. I don't get seasick but the rolling around was a little uneasy at times. I imagine for people who are sensitive to motion sickness that this would be a problem. I don't want to make anyone unease about taking the cruise but for people who are concerned I thought I'd mention it. Perhaps it was the location of our stateroom or the time of year.
In summary, I would recommend this cruise for anyone who wants to see Hawaii and perhaps who have never been. I will say to anyone who has never cruised before that this cruise should not be what you use to compare to other cruises. Again, I'm not an expert and have only cruised one other time but I can say without a doubt there are better ships and cruises out there. I will reserve my final judgement about NCL after we cruse the Epic next year. I would be happy to answer any specific questions about this cruise/ship, etc. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
HiloSeeing the Volcano and big waterfalls was amazing. Rained and overcast all day. We rented a car (don't rent convertible or jeep) because after talking to lots of people, it just rains all the time there. After seeing the volcano and waterfalls we didn't really feel like doing much else. Headed back to ship early. Was worth seeing the waterfalls and volcano but definitely don't need to go back here anytime soon. The drive is only 45 minutes to the Volcano and the waterfalls are very close to town/car rental so take your time and explore if you like but you can see all there is to see it seems on this stop in a day.View All 463 Hilo Cruise Port Reviews
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HonoluluDidn't spend a lot of time here. Stayed at the Hilton Waikiki Beach. Good hotel. Had oceanfront room, this hotel is not right on the beach and there are other building you see in between your room and the ocean but it was still nice. Waikiki beach is one of the most overrated places I've ever been. The beach is very small, crowded. Not sure why this place is so popular. Duke's restaurant right down the street however at the Outrigger hotel is amazing. We ate there twice. The north shore was fun, we got to watch part of a surfing competition and then the traffic was horrendous so we left and didn't make it to sunset beach which was on our list.View All 520 Honolulu Cruise Port Reviews
Of course Pearl Harbor is a must but be advised you have to get there early or make your reservation to get to go out to the Arizona memorial. We decided to go to North Shore first and Pearl Harbor in the afternoon. Probably not the best decision. When you get to Pearl Harbor you have to decide what you want to do, I just thought you could walk around at your own leisure and you have to buy tickets for specific things. Keep in mind you have to take a bus over to the Island where everything really is (except the visitor center and a few other things) so you have to take a shuttle. We did the Missouri tour, so you board the ship and you can get an audio tour or guided tour. We didn't have much time so we just walked around on our own and took pictures. Will have to go back to do more at Pearl Harbor so my advise would be to book your tickets online and go early to do what you want.
View Cruise Critic's Honolulu Cruise Port Review
KauaiRented a car here as well for both days. First day went driving over to the other side of island to spend the day on the beach. It was a nice drive and we went all the way to the end, stopping along the way at some beaches and enjoying the scenery. It lives up to its name the Garden Isle. Very beautiful here. You pass thorugh a small town on the way to the end of the road wish some shopping restaurants. We ask our waitress for a good beach and she sent us through a residential area to a beach park with a very large, very pretty beach where we spent a couple hours.View All 426 Kauai Cruise Port Reviews
2nd day, drove the opposite side of the island to the canyon. Glad we did, it was beautiful but probably wouldn't need to do it again. Maybe by air next time. We were going to do a helicopter tour but decided to just drive around instead.
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KonaNice little port town however we were upset when we woke up that morning it was still very overcast and cloudy. We were told Kona had beautiful weather year round and we were looking forward to it after spending a very rainy gloomy day in Hilo. We tried to make the best of it and it even sprinkled rain a few times but we went to Kahalu'u Beach park via taxi (you have to call for taxi's if you get outside the main pier area but they come rather quickly if you use Kona Cab Service) Everyone kept telling us there was a trolley that took you around but we only saw it once at the end of the day so I'm not sure how reliable it is. We decided to walk through town and catch a cab at the edge of town, we waited for a while on the trolley or cab but none came so we just called them from then on.View All 314 Kona Cruise Port Reviews
The beach park was a great place to swim/snorkel. Not the best snorkeling we did but there were green sea turtles everywhere which made it worth it. Very shallow water here. We also heard that Kaa Beach park on the other side of town was beautiful and we were going to go but the weather just wasn't cooperating so we went to a bar close to the pier and had some drinks in the afternoon before taking the tender back to ship.
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MauiLoved Maui, did the Road to Hana on our own the first day. Rented a Jeep which I would recommend, not a car as the road is bumpy. We did the entire loop around. I didn't find the 2nd half to be any worse than the first. I grew up in WV on windy, not so good roads so maybe that's why it didn't' bother me. Part of the 2nd half is bumpy and not paved but it's not that bad. Make sure you get the CD to put in your car for the drive, lots of information about things to see, etc. We bought the CD at a Shell station not far from the cruise terminal. I can't think of the name of the intersection where it was but you can find it on here on other reviews (that's where i found out about it)View All 494 Maui Cruise Port Reviews
It was a long day, spent almost 8 hours traveling that day (not all driving) but it was worth it.
2nd day we went to the other side of the island which I'm guessing is where most people go to stay when they visit Hawaii. Passed through a little town that was really cool, right along the ocean. Great shopping, restaurants, etc. We don't do excursions because we like to do our own thing, that's how we found this area. We found a great beach and spent the afternoon snorkeling and it was wonderful. It's in the main resort area, there is public parking and it's on North Kaanapali Beach. There is another Duke's restaurant there, and this beach is right behind it. near the corner of the Honoapiilani Highway and the Lower Honoapiilani Road. Look up the address for Duke's in Maui and you will find this place. WE just happened upon it after stopping at a couple other beach parks and not really being that impressed with the beaches there. So don't just settle, keep driving around if you have a car and find an amazing beach because they are there :)
View Cruise Critic's Maui Cruise Port Review