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Most cruise ships are at sea most of the time, so they need to entertain you. The Pride of America (PoA) is more like a floating hotel. They're a lot like most cruise ships - good dining, shows, pool and spa, bars, etc. But no casino and no rock wall, skating rink, that kind of thing. You don't take a cruise of the Hawaiian Islands to be hanging out on the ship. You are in port every day and several nights - there are no sea days. P.S. no duty free shopping, as you are in the United States the entire time. The ship is in good condition but is headed to drydock so will be pretty close to all-new by the end of March! Cruised Jan 30-Feb 6. Get the package: includes 2 nights in Honolulu before the cruise, morning tour, plus transfers. The cost savings is significant and you don't have to worry about getting Pearl Harbor tickets. This is definitely a cruise I would do again because they maximize your chance to see the Islands. You get 2 days on every island except Kauai. In Maui, we did a Road to Hana tour Day 1 (Valley Isle Excursions), then whale watching on Day 2 since it was definitely the season. Big Island - another 2 days - did a long tour on Day 3 to include the volcano, Rainbow Falls, orchid farm and more, then did Kona Day 4. Last stop was Kauai (1 1/2 days) and loved it! Did a so-so tour Day 5, plus a great helicopter ride Day 6 (Blue Hawaiian) before the ship pulled out mid-day and we cruised the Na Pali coast that afternoon - that is some gorgeous scenery! Was not using tours through the ship, but in every port, tours and buses were easy to get to, whether through the ship or not. The ship has a lot going on, even though most people get off every day. I was too busy to catch 2 of the 3 lei-making classes and wish I had caught them all. Also missed hula lessons; might have been a blessing there. The shows were fun and music onboard was really good. Food was generally good in every dining option we tried. Husband got 32-oz steak in Cagney's and swore it was the best he's had. My filet there was fantastic: tasty, moist, and done just right. I loved one appetizer in the main dining room - portobello mushroom with goat cheese and pine nuts. Their ice creams and sorbets are wonderful. Service was uniformly good to great. It's mostly American staff and I found them more willing to talk to us, give suggestions. Ex - if you ask your waiter what's better, A or B, they usually tell you it's all good. We had a waiter several times that would say no, you want that one. I you take this cruise, ask if David Main is working . . . . Cocktail waitress steered me to a drink I wish I could duplicate at home (ice cream base). Let's face it - Americans are used to speaking up! Cabin steward was rare non-US. Philipino and very friendly,kept everything tidy, but also figured out quickly when we wouldn't be there, so we only saw him in the hall! Our cabin was a typical balcony - small but with things arranged to maximize the small space. Disembarkation was smooth and easy - we got up early, ate breakfast in a dining room and had about 45 minutes till they called our color ticket - oh yes, they let YOU choose what time you want to get off. Tips if you go - If you get a balcony, try to get the port/left side. When you cruise the Na Pali Coast, you'll want to be on the port side. If lava is flowing into the ocean when you cruise, they also go past that and you would then see it best from the starboard/right side. Ask for David Main on the ship, great waiter Use non-ship excursions - recommend Valley Isle on Maui, Blue Hawaiian for helicopters, Roberts in general. Loved the Road to Hana tour and do get a tour bus for this. If you drive it, someone misses the scenery and you cannot do the full circle (rental agreements don't allow) If it's Nov - March, do whale watching. Lahaina Courthouse on Maui. Would either get my own car next time on Big Island, and/or do a helicopter there. You can't get too close to the volcano. Would let me spend more time where I wanted if I rent a car, but I'd probably run out of time. If you like flowers, go see the Orchid places. Kona - tour wasn't great but would never have seen the Painted Church if the tour hadn't gone there. Kauai - did the Fern Grotto tour - not great, not bad. Helicopter tour through Blue Hawaiian was incredible; would do that again. Wish we'd done a sunset dinner cruise of Na Pali coast our first night there - I planned my excursions poorly and couldn't fit it in. Even though the ship cruises that coast the second day, a smaller boat would get you up really close. Search online for companies that do it. Bottom line - great cruise, great chance to sample Hawaiian Islands - if you CAN go, DO!

Really great cruise; if you CAN go, DO!

Pride of America Cruise Review by RJ in SC

46 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2016
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
Most cruise ships are at sea most of the time, so they need to entertain you. The Pride of America (PoA) is more like a floating hotel. They're a lot like most cruise ships - good dining, shows, pool and spa, bars, etc. But no casino and no rock wall, skating rink, that kind of thing. You don't take a cruise of the Hawaiian Islands to be hanging out on the ship. You are in port every day and several nights - there are no sea days. P.S. no duty free shopping, as you are in the United States the entire time. The ship is in good condition but is headed to drydock so will be pretty close to all-new by the end of March!

Cruised Jan 30-Feb 6. Get the package: includes 2 nights in Honolulu before the cruise, morning tour, plus transfers. The cost savings is significant and you don't have to worry about getting Pearl Harbor tickets. This is definitely a cruise I would do again because they maximize your chance to see the Islands. You get 2 days on every island except Kauai. In Maui, we did a Road to Hana tour Day 1 (Valley Isle Excursions), then whale watching on Day 2 since it was definitely the season. Big Island - another 2 days - did a long tour on Day 3 to include the volcano, Rainbow Falls, orchid farm and more, then did Kona Day 4. Last stop was Kauai (1 1/2 days) and loved it! Did a so-so tour Day 5, plus a great helicopter ride Day 6 (Blue Hawaiian) before the ship pulled out mid-day and we cruised the Na Pali coast that afternoon - that is some gorgeous scenery! Was not using tours through the ship, but in every port, tours and buses were easy to get to, whether through the ship or not.

The ship has a lot going on, even though most people get off every day. I was too busy to catch 2 of the 3 lei-making classes and wish I had caught them all. Also missed hula lessons; might have been a blessing there. The shows were fun and music onboard was really good. Food was generally good in every dining option we tried. Husband got 32-oz steak in Cagney's and swore it was the best he's had. My filet there was fantastic: tasty, moist, and done just right. I loved one appetizer in the main dining room - portobello mushroom with goat cheese and pine nuts. Their ice creams and sorbets are wonderful.

Service was uniformly good to great. It's mostly American staff and I found them more willing to talk to us, give suggestions. Ex - if you ask your waiter what's better, A or B, they usually tell you it's all good. We had a waiter several times that would say no, you want that one. I you take this cruise, ask if David Main is working . . . . Cocktail waitress steered me to a drink I wish I could duplicate at home (ice cream base). Let's face it - Americans are used to speaking up! Cabin steward was rare non-US. Philipino and very friendly,kept everything tidy, but also figured out quickly when we wouldn't be there, so we only saw him in the hall! Our cabin was a typical balcony - small but with things arranged to maximize the small space. Disembarkation was smooth and easy - we got up early, ate breakfast in a dining room and had about 45 minutes till they called our color ticket - oh yes, they let YOU choose what time you want to get off.

Tips if you go -

If you get a balcony, try to get the port/left side. When you cruise the Na Pali Coast, you'll want to be on the port side. If lava is flowing into the ocean when you cruise, they also go past that and you would then see it best from the starboard/right side.

Ask for David Main on the ship, great waiter

Use non-ship excursions - recommend Valley Isle on Maui, Blue Hawaiian for helicopters, Roberts in general.

Loved the Road to Hana tour and do get a tour bus for this. If you drive it, someone misses the scenery and you cannot do the full circle (rental agreements don't allow)

If it's Nov - March, do whale watching.

Lahaina Courthouse on Maui.

Would either get my own car next time on Big Island, and/or do a helicopter there. You can't get too close to the volcano. Would let me spend more time where I wanted if I rent a car, but I'd probably run out of time.

If you like flowers, go see the Orchid places.

Kona - tour wasn't great but would never have seen the Painted Church if the tour hadn't gone there.

Kauai - did the Fern Grotto tour - not great, not bad.

Helicopter tour through Blue Hawaiian was incredible; would do that again.

Wish we'd done a sunset dinner cruise of Na Pali coast our first night there - I planned my excursions poorly and couldn't fit it in. Even though the ship cruises that coast the second day, a smaller boat would get you up really close. Search online for companies that do it.

Bottom line - great cruise, great chance to sample Hawaiian Islands - if you CAN go, DO!
RJ in SC’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BA 9132
Cabin is a typical cruise ship cabin. It's small but well-designed. Our steward kept it tidy - at least as much as he could with all our "stuff" in there.

If you get a balcony, try to get the port/left side. When you cruise the Na Pali Coast, you'll want to be on the port side. HOWEVER, if lava is flowing into the ocean when you cruise, they also go past that and you would then see it best from the starboard/right side.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Volcano National Park & Hilo Waterfall Tour
    From the ship, we drove down Banyan Drive and through Queen Liliuokalani Gardens, then went to Rainbow Falls. From there, we stopped by a macadamia nut farm and an orchid garden before heading to Volcano National Park. You get to see the national park exhibit and can see the active crater from a distance, plus steam vents, an older crater, lava tube and a lava field. The lava tube is the most interesting. Afterwards, they stop by a "candy" company, which is largely a shopping stop. It's a long day and they encourage you to buy a packaged lunch while at the mac nut farm, which you eat on the bus. Great tour, but they could have cut the last stop and it would have been fine.
    View All 112 Volcano National Park & Hilo Waterfall Tour Reviews
  • Honolulu
    Post-cruise, did this on our own. Really incredible views plus the historic angle that it was a fort. Not an easy hike for someone almost 60, but I took it slow and made it to the top. Well worth the effort!
    View All 641 Honolulu Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Honolulu Cruise Port Review
  • Honolulu
    Roberts was a pre-cruise tour. Picked us up at hotel, toured Pearl Harbor National Monument, did a short tour of downtown Honolulu, and returned us to hotel. Only down side was we didn't have much extra time at Pearl Harbor.
    View All 641 Honolulu Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Honolulu
    Post-cruise, rented car and went to PCC. Great place! Loved the shows and the Hawaiian crafts, etc. Stayed for luau and evening show, Ha, the Breath of Life. Well worth the money.
    View All 641 Honolulu Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Honolulu
    Pre-cruise, part of Peal Harbor/Honolulu tour.
    View All 641 Honolulu Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Place of Refuge
    One of the few tours where I didn't feel too rushed + there's a bonus stop at the end. Your first stop is at a coffee store to buy some 100% Kona coffee, drive by a few other things, then head to Pu'uhonua o'Honaunau/Place of Refuge. Interesting story that goes with it, but it was a place where the royal family traditionally visited and was buried. One of the few stops on any tour where I didn't feel I was totally rushed. After you get back on the bus, you go to the Painted Church, which has a really interesting story. That's worth the tour, by itself. You drive by a few other locations before going back to the harbor. One wish is that they would drive by the Captain Cook location. It should be close to the route.
    View All 12 Place of Refuge Reviews
  • Road to Hana
    The road to Hana is one of those times when it probably is best to let someone else do the driving. 600+ curves, 59 1-lane bridges, a lot of the road is barely more than 1 lane anyway. It's gorgeous - you start out thinking every new vista is beautiful, only to realize it gets better and better. Black-rock beaches with blue, blue water, lush green hillsides with waterfalls, sheer cliffs and drop-offs, then a black sand beach with lava tube cave, and the seven sacred pools at Ohe'o Gulch. You can rent a car but apparently, the car rental companies won't let you drive the entire route because at a certain point, the road gets VERY rough. I can vouch for that. Tour companies do the full circle, so you see Charles Lindbergh's grave and the desert end of Maui. Plus, once the road straightens out, it's a lot easier going on than turning back . . . .Unless you stay somewhere along the way, you will be rushed to do this in one day whether by tour or rental car.
    View All 91 Road to Hana Reviews
  • Whale Watching
    Oh wow, words just can't do justice to this 2-hour tour. Maui in January is a cross-roads for whales. We saw whales swimming, breeding, nursing, breaching, courting, you name it. The naturalist on our boat said it best: "You're surrounded . . . and outnumbered!" The tour leaves from one of the waterfront locations just behind Lahaina Courthouse, which also gives you a chance to see the huge banyan tree that covers a full block. They take your picture as you get on the boat - obviously to sell you the photo at the end. It was a good shot of my husband and me, so we bought it. They throw in a CD of photos from earlier trips they've taken, so you get loads of great whale shots, even if your photos aren't great. Mine were pretty good, but it's a nice supplement.
    View All 57 Whale Watching Reviews