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I am a first time cruiser traveling with a parent in a wheelchair. Direct flight from eastern US (Atlanta) with no stay in Honolulu before the cruise, straight from the airport to the ship. Flight landed about 2:40, got to the ship about 4:00. Note that EVERY shuttle and shore excursion tour bus driver is a comedian, get used to it. Getting off of the airport shuttle, NCL/Pride of America was supposed to have a wheelchair for my mother to take her on the ship. So I asked the first person who checked IDs in the terminal, she got on the radio and called for a wheelchair. Before you get to the gangway, there is a person to spray sanitize your hands. He steps in front of me holding a spray bottle and says "washy, washy?". I said "excuse me, what?". He holds his hand out palm up and said again "washy, washy?". Me; "oh, wash hands, ok". And he sprays my hands. I am thinking to myself- So your job is getting in front of people, say "washy, washy", and spray their hands. Where can I apply for that job?. I did not realize there were a lot of things going on already before we got to the ship. The Skyline restaurant serves lunch Saturday until 2:00, and both the Aloha Cafe (buffet) and Key West Bar and Grill (outside on deck 12, overlooking the main pool/hot tub area on deck 11) serve lunch until 4:00. There is a Pride Of America ship tour at 3:00. And a mandatory life boat drill at 4:45. The hula welcome / blessing / sail away party starts at 5:15 at the main pool area. I did have a signal on my phone (T-Mobile) in the ports, but not at sea. The Internet cafe costs money (I did not ask how much). There is Wi-Fi, but it's not free either. There is a library on the ship. We went so my mother could get several books to read while I was doing shore excursions every day. There is one hour in the morning (9 to 10) and one hour in the evening (8 to 9) when you can check out books. The doors to library are open 24 hours so you can return books, but the book cabinets are locked except for those 2 hours a day. The cabins are very small. After asking the cabin steward, we kept the wheelchair folded in the hallway outside the cabin door because there is not enough room in the cabin. Fortunately we did get a cabin with a balcony, at least there are two chairs and a small table on the balcony. Beside ship information, the TV has news (CNBC, MSNBC) but not regular broadcast channels (ABC, CBS, NBC). The cabin steward was very friendly and attentive. Although he was not very forthcoming with important information unless we asked a direct question. Like when we asked for more glasses, he said "Housekeeping and kitchen are two different departments. So don't put glasses on the room service tray in the hall for the kitchen to pick up. Just leave them on the desk and I will wash them for you". Because my mother is in a wheelchair, we decided it was easier to order room service for breakfast. The room service breakfast order form that you hang on the cabin door handle does not have eggs or meat on it. So our breakfast was yogurt, fresh fruit (the fresh pineapple is fantastic), juice and coffee. I was out on an excursion every day and ate lunch on the excursion, except Wednesday after going to the beach I ate at Aloha Cafe. So we just went to the ship's restaurants for dinner. We had the Ultimate Dining Package. My stomach is picky but I found something I could eat at every restaurant. We went to Liberty on Saturday, East Meets West Sunday, Cagney's Monday, Teppanyaki Tuesday, Cagney's again Wednesday (liked Cagney's enough to go twice), Moderno Thursday and La Cucina Friday. We did not go to Jefferson Bistro. Liberty and Skyline both have the same menu, just the decor / ambiance is different. Cagney's is the best, but it is colder in that restaurant so bring a jacket or sweater. Teppanyaki is my 2nd favorite, it is Benihana style where the chefs cook the food at the grill in front of the table. And it's also a good way to meet other passengers at the table around the grill, each Teppanyaki chef cooks for 8 passengers. I don't understand why a ship that stays in Hawaii would have a french specialty restaurant (Jefferson Bistro) and not a seafood specialty restaurant. However each restaurant does have at least one seafood item on the menu. Shore excursions I did: Haleakala crater at sunset on Sunday, Best of Maui on Monday, Volcanoes National Park and Akaka Falls Tuesday (Akaka replaced Rainbow Falls on the tour because of work being done on the parking lot at Rainbow Falls - This tour also included a stop at the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut factory), Beach trip Wednesday (not an actual excursion), Best of Kauai Thursday, Director's Cut Friday. Haleakala crater was the best excursion but also a little more strenuous. There is a point near the crater where the tour bus has to stop at a parking lot, it's not allowed to go higher than that parking lot. But you can walk up a lot of steps to go to a higher lookout point. It's cold up at the crater from the 10000 foot elevation. When we left the ship it was 80 degrees in the port. After the 37 mile bus ride up to the crater, it was about 45 degrees and windy. Where we were standing across the road from the bus parking area, there was a photographer with two assistants shooting wedding pictures for a couple. The photographer would take a pic, then say "nailed it" to the couple. Finally the bride said "we're not doing anything", The photographer just laughed. So I said "If you're not falling off the mountain, then your nailing it". The bride said "Ah, okay, got it". Kona is the only stop where the ship does not dock. It anchors off the coast and you take the little "tender" boats to the dock. After breakfast there are about 400-500 people in line to get on the tenders. Each of the tenders can hold about 95 people and they can load two at a time, but then you have to wait a few minutes for the next two tenders. When I went with about 9 other people from the cruise on a trolley car to a beach at Kona, there was one native Hawaiian (besides the driver) on the trolley. When we got to a shopping center where the driver took a smoke break, the other Hawaiian went into the market, bought some apple bananas and handed them out to us on the trolley saying "try it, apple banana, very sweet, very good". We asked if we could pay him, he said "no, no, that's ok" The best of Kauai was my 2nd favorite excursion because of the amazing view of Waimea Canyon. There are so many wild chickens running around you might think that they are part of the shore excursions. The ships leaves Nawiliwili at 2:00 on Friday afternoon in order to go around to the northwest coast of Kauai called the Na Pali coast to see the cliffs that fall from the clouds down 4000 feet to the ocean. The ship starts passing the cliffs at 5:15, after about 30 minutes it turns around and starts the overnight journey to Honolulu. There is a good early morning view of Diamond Head coming back into Honolulu. The guest services desk people were friendly and helpful. The sea was very rough Monday night going from Maui to the Big Island and I got sick. I asked guest services if the medical clinic on deck 3 had the motion sickness pills. They said "Yes, but the clinic is closed now. However we have those pills here at the guest services desk also". The ship's gift shop does have things that you actually need, like sunscreen lotion. But it is very expensive. As an example, Banana Boat Sport SPF30 3oz at Wal-Mart is $6.44, on the ship it is $13.99 Friday afternoon there is an art auction in Pink's Champagne Lounge. I think having an art auction on a cruise is stupid, but I am not into art. When debarking the ship Saturday morning, they request that you are out of your cabin by 8:45 and off the ship at 9:00. The last airport shuttle is 9:30. So if you have a late afternoon flight, you have a long wait at the airport. Of course, what they are hoping is that you will sign up for another excursion on Oahu before going to the airport. So I signed up for the Early Bird Pearl Harbor excursion. The Pearl Harbor excursions include going to the USS Arizona memorial, but they don't include the cost to tour the USS Bowfin submarine. There were only two times during the cruise when it was a pain being on a big ship with so many other people: 1. Saturday is seems that everyone is starving when they get to the ship. So everybody tries to go eat as soon as the restaurants open for dinner. We were guilty of this as well. We had already made reservations for 8:00, but at 5:00 we were hungry enough that we could not wait 3 more hours. 2. The line for getting on the little "tender" boats after breakfast at Kona on Wednesday.

I had a good time and stayed busy doing an excursion every day.

Pride of America Cruise Review by bluejayro

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2015
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
I am a first time cruiser traveling with a parent in a wheelchair. Direct flight from eastern US (Atlanta) with no stay in Honolulu before the cruise, straight from the airport to the ship. Flight landed about 2:40, got to the ship about 4:00.

Note that EVERY shuttle and shore excursion tour bus driver is a comedian, get used to it.

Getting off of the airport shuttle, NCL/Pride of America was supposed to have a wheelchair for my mother to take her on the ship. So I asked the first person who checked IDs in the terminal, she got on the radio and called for a wheelchair.

Before you get to the gangway, there is a person to spray sanitize your hands. He steps in front of me holding a spray bottle and says "washy, washy?". I said "excuse me, what?". He holds his hand out palm up and said again "washy, washy?". Me; "oh, wash hands, ok". And he sprays my hands. I am thinking to myself- So your job is getting in front of people, say "washy, washy", and spray their hands. Where can I apply for that job?.

I did not realize there were a lot of things going on already before we got to the ship. The Skyline restaurant serves lunch Saturday until 2:00, and both the Aloha Cafe (buffet) and Key West Bar and Grill (outside on deck 12, overlooking the main pool/hot tub area on deck 11) serve lunch until 4:00. There is a Pride Of America ship tour at 3:00. And a mandatory life boat drill at 4:45. The hula welcome / blessing / sail away party starts at 5:15 at the main pool area.

I did have a signal on my phone (T-Mobile) in the ports, but not at sea. The Internet cafe costs money (I did not ask how much). There is Wi-Fi, but it's not free either.

There is a library on the ship. We went so my mother could get several books to read while I was doing shore excursions every day. There is one hour in the morning (9 to 10) and one hour in the evening (8 to 9) when you can check out books. The doors to library are open 24 hours so you can return books, but the book cabinets are locked except for those 2 hours a day.

The cabins are very small. After asking the cabin steward, we kept the wheelchair folded in the hallway outside the cabin door because there is not enough room in the cabin. Fortunately we did get a cabin with a balcony, at least there are two chairs and a small table on the balcony. Beside ship information, the TV has news (CNBC, MSNBC) but not regular broadcast channels (ABC, CBS, NBC). The cabin steward was very friendly and attentive. Although he was not very forthcoming with important information unless we asked a direct question. Like when we asked for more glasses, he said "Housekeeping and kitchen are two different departments. So don't put glasses on the room service tray in the hall for the kitchen to pick up. Just leave them on the desk and I will wash them for you".

Because my mother is in a wheelchair, we decided it was easier to order room service for breakfast. The room service breakfast order form that you hang on the cabin door handle does not have eggs or meat on it. So our breakfast was yogurt, fresh fruit (the fresh pineapple is fantastic), juice and coffee. I was out on an excursion every day and ate lunch on the excursion, except Wednesday after going to the beach I ate at Aloha Cafe. So we just went to the ship's restaurants for dinner. We had the Ultimate Dining Package. My stomach is picky but I found something I could eat at every restaurant. We went to Liberty on Saturday, East Meets West Sunday, Cagney's Monday, Teppanyaki Tuesday, Cagney's again Wednesday (liked Cagney's enough to go twice), Moderno Thursday and La Cucina Friday. We did not go to Jefferson Bistro. Liberty and Skyline both have the same menu, just the decor / ambiance is different. Cagney's is the best, but it is colder in that restaurant so bring a jacket or sweater. Teppanyaki is my 2nd favorite, it is Benihana style where the chefs cook the food at the grill in front of the table. And it's also a good way to meet other passengers at the table around the grill, each Teppanyaki chef cooks for 8 passengers. I don't understand why a ship that stays in Hawaii would have a french specialty restaurant (Jefferson Bistro) and not a seafood specialty restaurant. However each restaurant does have at least one seafood item on the menu.

Shore excursions I did: Haleakala crater at sunset on Sunday, Best of Maui on Monday, Volcanoes National Park and Akaka Falls Tuesday (Akaka replaced Rainbow Falls on the tour because of work being done on the parking lot at Rainbow Falls - This tour also included a stop at the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut factory), Beach trip Wednesday (not an actual excursion), Best of Kauai Thursday, Director's Cut Friday. Haleakala crater was the best excursion but also a little more strenuous. There is a point near the crater where the tour bus has to stop at a parking lot, it's not allowed to go higher than that parking lot. But you can walk up a lot of steps to go to a higher lookout point. It's cold up at the crater from the 10000 foot elevation. When we left the ship it was 80 degrees in the port. After the 37 mile bus ride up to the crater, it was about 45 degrees and windy. Where we were standing across the road from the bus parking area, there was a photographer with two assistants shooting wedding pictures for a couple. The photographer would take a pic, then say "nailed it" to the couple. Finally the bride said "we're not doing anything", The photographer just laughed. So I said "If you're not falling off the mountain, then your nailing it". The bride said "Ah, okay, got it".

Kona is the only stop where the ship does not dock. It anchors off the coast and you take the little "tender" boats to the dock. After breakfast there are about 400-500 people in line to get on the tenders. Each of the tenders can hold about 95 people and they can load two at a time, but then you have to wait a few minutes for the next two tenders. When I went with about 9 other people from the cruise on a trolley car to a beach at Kona, there was one native Hawaiian (besides the driver) on the trolley. When we got to a shopping center where the driver took a smoke break, the other Hawaiian went into the market, bought some apple bananas and handed them out to us on the trolley saying "try it, apple banana, very sweet, very good". We asked if we could pay him, he said "no, no, that's ok"

The best of Kauai was my 2nd favorite excursion because of the amazing view of Waimea Canyon. There are so many wild chickens running around you might think that they are part of the shore excursions. The ships leaves Nawiliwili at 2:00 on Friday afternoon in order to go around to the northwest coast of Kauai called the Na Pali coast to see the cliffs that fall from the clouds down 4000 feet to the ocean. The ship starts passing the cliffs at 5:15, after about 30 minutes it turns around and starts the overnight journey to Honolulu. There is a good early morning view of Diamond Head coming back into Honolulu.

The guest services desk people were friendly and helpful. The sea was very rough Monday night going from Maui to the Big Island and I got sick. I asked guest services if the medical clinic on deck 3 had the motion sickness pills. They said "Yes, but the clinic is closed now. However we have those pills here at the guest services desk also".

The ship's gift shop does have things that you actually need, like sunscreen lotion. But it is very expensive. As an example, Banana Boat Sport SPF30 3oz at Wal-Mart is $6.44, on the ship it is $13.99

Friday afternoon there is an art auction in Pink's Champagne Lounge. I think having an art auction on a cruise is stupid, but I am not into art.

When debarking the ship Saturday morning, they request that you are out of your cabin by 8:45 and off the ship at 9:00. The last airport shuttle is 9:30. So if you have a late afternoon flight, you have a long wait at the airport. Of course, what they are hoping is that you will sign up for another excursion on Oahu before going to the airport. So I signed up for the Early Bird Pearl Harbor excursion. The Pearl Harbor excursions include going to the USS Arizona memorial, but they don't include the cost to tour the USS Bowfin submarine.

There were only two times during the cruise when it was a pain being on a big ship with so many other people:

1. Saturday is seems that everyone is starving when they get to the ship. So everybody tries to go eat as soon as the restaurants open for dinner. We were guilty of this as well. We had already made reservations for 8:00, but at 5:00 we were hungry enough that we could not wait 3 more hours.

2. The line for getting on the little "tender" boats after breakfast at Kona on Wednesday.
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BF 7036
The cabins are very small. So after asking the cabin steward, we kept the wheelchair folded in the hallway outside the cabin door because there is not enough room in the cabin. Fortunately we did get a cabin with a balcony, at least there are two chairs and a small table on the balcony. Beside ship information, the TV has news (CNBC, MSNBC) but not regular broadcast channels (ABC, CBS, NBC). The cabin steward was very friendly and attentive. Although he was not very forthcoming with important information unless we asked a direct question. Like when we asked for more glasses, he said "Housekeeping and kitchen are two different departments. So don't put glasses on the room service tray in the hall for the kitchen to pick up. Just leave them on the desk and I will wash them for you".
Deck 7 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Pearl Harbor
    Early Bird Pearl Harbor. An hour and a half on your own before going to the theater for the movie that you have to watch before you can get on the boat to go to the Arizona memorial. During the hour and a half, I did the USS Bowfin submarine tour, the cost of the Bowfin tour is not included in the Early Bird Pearl Harbor.
    View All 187 Pearl Harbor Reviews
  • Haleakala Crater
    The best excursion I did on the cruise. Could not tell from the ship if it would be worth it. Because all you could see was clouds. But once we got above those clouds it was perfectly clear. Clear enough so that when we got to the crater, you could see all the way to Mauna Kea on the Big Island, about 80 miles away. Where the bus stops, you can either stay there or go up steps about a half mile to a higher vantage point. I went up the steps but came back down before sunset because it's cold up there. When we left the ship it was about 83 degrees in the port. After the 37 mile bus ride up to the crater at 10000 feet, it was about 45 degrees and windy. Where we watched the sunset across the street from the bus parking lot, there was a photographer with two assistants shooting wedding pictures for a couple.
    View All 92 Haleakala Crater Reviews
  • Iao Valley
    This was the first part of The Best Of Maui excursion. We did have a good view of the Iao needle, but really wanted to be able to spend more time there.
    View All 23 Iao Valley Reviews
  • Maui Ocean Center
    The big tank where the sharks and rays are is very nice. You walk out through a tube area where the sharks sometimes go over your head. They even have a tiger shark in the big tank. Outside there is a good view of the harbor as well as the smaller nearby islands that are not part of the cruise, Molokai, Lanai, Kohoolawe. Also look up on the hill over the center at the windmills.
    View All 23 Maui Ocean Center Reviews
  • Maui Tropical Plantation
    This was the 2nd part of The Best Of Maui excursion. The little tram ride takes you see all the different things growing there, and there is a lot. They stop at a spot to show you a demonstration of how to open a coconut. Also got to see several Texas Longhorns. And there are chickens running around everywhere. The excursion includes lunch at the plantation: soup, salad and make-your-own turkey and/or ham sandwich with water, ice tea or coffee.
    Then go in the gift shop to buy macadamia nut ice cream or pineapple sherbet. I got the pineapple and kept adding pineapple to it from the free sample plate by the door.
    View All 37 Maui Tropical Plantation Reviews