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My husband and I and another couple just did the Hawaiian cruise with Norwegian Pride of America from Sept. 3 through Sept. 10, 2016. I’d like to do a review at different categories. SHIP AND STAFF The ship is amazing and beautiful but bit confusing when you first board as everything seems to be located opposite to all other cruise ships I’ve been in. The entertainment was not the best and the staff was kind of boring, nice but boring. I had read non-favorable reviews about this specific ship and staff prior to booking but booked it anyways because it offers the best itinerary if you want to visit several Hawaiian islands on the same trip. During that week we had to constantly remind ourselves that we booked it because of the ports not because of the entertainment or food. It was nice, however, to enjoy a cruise without having to walk through a casino to get anywhere. I did not miss the smell of cigarettes at all! It was extremely hard to find a hot meal though. The buffet had plenty to choose from but, for some reason, hot dishes (meat, potatoes, eggs) were never hot. It might be that their equipment does not work properly because this happened all week long. By the time we returned home we had actually lost weight when usually you gain during the cruise because of eating all the time at all hours of the day. I find that Norwegian as a cruise line lacks on entertainment and food choices (and proper temperature) as we had the same problem at Pearl during our Alaskan cruise on 9/14/14. This is definitely our last cruise with Norwegian!…we are Royal Caribbean fans and only did these two because of the itineraries. Thank God for Cadillac Diner, limited menu but great food and no wait most times since the cruise line failed to list them on the daily journal and most people did not know about it. We found it by coincidence! I was surprised to not find any Spam on the menu. Cruise ships usually cater to local foods but not this time. I did not get a chance to try Spam at all. Upon going into the cabin the very first time I always go around and inspect that the cleaning has been done to our standards; no hair left in the sink/toilet/bed, no dust on furniture, etc. I don’t want to catch a disease just because I’m on vacation. I noticed that the area right underneath the TV was full of dust, enough dust for 2 or 3-weeks’ worth… like it had not been cleaned for some time. I pointed it out to our steward (Eston) who was embarrassed by it and made the comment “I’m always having to deal with this issue”. You would think that since he was aware of the issue he would make certain that it’s clean before new passengers come aboard, I guess not! I have to say though that after that 1st incident he made sure our cabin was perfectly clean all week long. Specialty Dining - We purchased the specialty dining package since we knew not expect much from Norwegian’s buffet. We decided to try the Moderno Brazilian Churrasqueria first since churrasco happens to be one of my favorite steaks. What a disappointment! My local Pollo Tropical restaurant makes better churrasco than this (and I’m not even a fan of Pollo Tropical!). Just because I like my meat well done they cooked the steak separately and burned it. We were served a few pieces of burned steak on a plate instead of getting the end cuts of a long and slowly cooked steak sliced off the skewer by the passador. It ruined the experience. Then what they called the chimichurri sauce tasted more like sofrito (any Puerto Rican could tell you what that is!). It’s sad that a churrasqueria does not know how to make the chimichurri sauce which is what gives a churrasco the flavor. What a waste! I tried two different desserts and they were not good either. My $16 glass of Moscato was served in a MINI glass, I mean MINI! The glass size was more appropriate for a shot of tequila than wine, and it was $16! The server noticed that we left the food and dessert on our plates and told the manager. Before the night was over we had a bottle of wine and an apology letter delivered to our cabin with a plate of appetizers. The next day the manager called and gave us a credit to use at any of the restaurants. Next we tried the Cagney’s Steakhouse. I ordered a well done steak and got a medium rare. They happily took it back and made it right, I just prefer not to have to go through that hassle but at the end it was good. Our third choice was La Cucina Italian Restaurant. No complaints! Plenty of choices to choose from and excellent food. Lastly, to use the credit we got from the churrasqueria we decided to go back to Cagney’s Steakhouse and this time everything was cooked to perfection from the very beginning. This was our last night of the cruise and the view from the restaurant was spectacular, we got to enjoy the Na’Pali coast. PORTS / EXCURSIONS Honolulu - We arrived a few days prior to embarking and stayed at Hale Koa in Waikiki. We enjoyed the Luau party at the hotel Thursday night and the fireworks show Friday night. We definitely recommend Hale Koa if you’re military (retired or active). They have a mini-exchange onsite where you can buy plenty of souvenirs, clothes, alcohol, etc. There’s also a salon in case you need a haircut or style before the cruise. The onsite restaurant is excellent and the views from it are amazing. We purchased the Go Oahu Card online to visit a few sites in Honolulu and visited a few local sites like Iolani Palace, the North Shore and the Dole Plantation. There we enjoyed a few delicious pineapple floats and learned about the production. Did you know it takes almost 3 years for a pineapple to grow? You better appreciate it next time you have one!  After the cruise when we returned to Honolulu we did the Pearl Harbor & USS Missouri excursion and afterwards were dropped off at the airport. I highly recommend booking this through the cruise line for two reasons; 1) you will be among the first ones to disembark 2) the convenience of leaving your luggage in the bus while visiting Pearl Harbor. I tried to book this same excursion through Viator but they require that you to take the luggage with you. At the same time Pearl Harbor does not allow you to bring anything larger than the size of your hand so you will need to rent a locker for a fee and store your luggage there or in a storage room. We were dropped off at the airport between 2:00 – 3:00pm so make sure to book a late flight. Kahului, Maui – It’s a long walk to the beach! You can take a taxi but they are expensive, about $70-80 one way per person. We, along with many other people ended up walking to the nearest shopping center where you can catch a bus that takes you to another shopping center where you catch a larger bus that goes to Lahaina historic district. The 1-day round trip pass was only about $4 per person but the wait is ridiculous. They should have better transportation arrangements knowing that this cruise comes to town every single week. Anyways, once you get there you can enjoy local food or shop around the different stores. There you will see the amazing Banyan trees, make sure to take pictures because it’s hard to believe they are real. The views are beautiful and definitely worth the hassle. We booked the Haleakala Crater excursion through Skymilescruises.com to do on our 2nd day in Maui. We were picked up by Roberts Hawaii shuttle bus and our driver was Harry, an intelligent funny guy. Wear comfortable clothing as you will have to do some minor climbing to enjoy the view. When it comes to craters I prefer Crater Lake (in Oregon) … this was beautiful just not as beautiful. Hilo, Hawaii – We again booked this Volcanoes National Park & Rainbow Falls excursion through Skymilescruises.com and were picked up by Roberts Hawaii. This time our driver was cousin Jeff. This guy was not only intelligent but talented and hilarious. He even played the ukulele for us! I will never forget him. We were told that the Kilauea volcano had been quiet for some time but the day before we were there it started erupting again so we could see the smoke rising and the active lava on the caldera…that was a site to see! After that they take you to see and walk through a lava tube formed by the volcanoes lava. We also went to the Akatsuka Orchid gardens which was beautiful. You can purchase orchids here and have them shipped to your home or bring them with you. We found out that you are allow to purchase fruit, plants, vegetables on this cruise and bring it on the ship since everything is inspected, just make sure to consume it before getting to the airport with the exception of the orchids. I was able to bring them in my carry-on all the way to Florida since the plants are certified. You may want to check out https://hawaiibookmarks.com/ for fashion and souvenirs made with real Hawaiian wood. If you become a fan, make sure to visit them while in Hilo. The owner, Jeff Gomes will welcome you into his warehouse which is walking distance from the Mauna Loa macadamia plant. We got off the shuttle bus and did exactly that and since we were on our own after this we got a chance to see something that you would normally miss during an excursion. It’s called the Boiling Pots which is in the Wailuku River State Park surrounded by a few waterfalls. The water from this river travels and forms the Rainbow Falls but the view from the boiling pots is so much beautiful and you can even get in the water if you want to. To top off the experience, that night as you leave Hilo the captain will turn off the lights on the decks so you can appreciate the lava coming out of the volcano and into the water. You really get to appreciate the power of our Creator. This made the entire cruise worthwhile! Words cannot describe what you get to experience that night. Kailua-Kona – For this port we booked the Kona Coffee, Chocolate & City of Refuge Tour through Skymilescruises.com. The driver’s name was Bob from C-Big Island tours. He was driving a regular size van not a shuttle. I guess it was ok for a small group of 8 but it was hot, the A/C did not work properly so we were extremely hot inside the van. The driver was nice and knowledgeable but I felt like we made too many stops unnecessarily. I was disappointed to find out that most of the coffee is only 10% Kona coffee unless you’re willing to pay a pretty penny for it. At least the samples were free and one of the coffee places had samples of rum cake and that was delicious! The city of refuge is surrounded by water so instead of watching the movie about the history and how it came about you can just walk to the water and enjoy the water, black sand, fishes and turtles and the beautiful view. You don’t necessarily have to take an excursion in Kona since the beach is right by the pier, within walking distance. Nawiliwili, Kauai – All this time I had been looking forward to visiting Maui but now I can say that Kauai was my favorite island! We booked the Journey to Waimea Canyon tour through Skymilescruises.com. We are happy to be back with Roberts Hawaii! Our driver this time was an elderly lady by the name of Nani. Do not be fooled by her age/looks. She can drive that shuttle bus like a toy! Waimea is the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. If you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon this is a smaller version of it but in an elevation of 3400 feet and in a place that is surrounded by water. It is a beautiful site to see. There’s a kiosk at the park that sells tropical fruit like guava, coconut and even sugar cane. Then we went to the Kauai coffee plant and gift shop where you can eat lunch and enjoy the view…..sample more coffee. Lastly you will be taken to the McBryde spouting horne. That too was a unique experience! Nawiliwili is the perfect place to go to the beach. The water is so clear and beautiful. Just walk outside the ship and catch the free trolley. They drop you off across the street from the beach. Just make sure to bring your towel since they charge for the lounge chairs and umbrellas. You can rent a kayak there too. There are shops to buy souvenirs, clothes and plenty of places to eat and drink within walking distance. Then you can catch the shuttle at the same stop and be on your way. Few extra notes: Highly recommend using Roberts Hawaii for tours. Their drivers are happy, smart and funny people. And safe drivers too! - http://www.robertshawaii.com/ Check out Hawaii Bookmarks for unique souvenirs and fashion made of Hawaiian wood - https://hawaiibookmarks.com/ Read the label when buying coffee. Not all is 100% Hawaiian coffee. Enjoy buying local foods and feel free to bring them to the ship to enjoy all week long. It will not be confiscated like on Caribbean cruises. It’s perfectly safe. If you don’t want to book excursions at each port I recommend renting a car in Honolulu, Kona, Kauai and Maui. In Maui you can actually have a rental waiting for you in the pier if you book ahead of time. Also in Maui there are shuttle buses waiting outside the pier to take you to rental car places.

Best of Hawaii, best vacation ever

Pride of America Cruise Review by SweetPea68

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2016
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Inside
My husband and I and another couple just did the Hawaiian cruise with Norwegian Pride of America from Sept. 3 through Sept. 10, 2016. I’d like to do a review at different categories.

SHIP AND STAFF

The ship is amazing and beautiful but bit confusing when you first board as everything seems to be located opposite to all other cruise ships I’ve been in. The entertainment was not the best and the staff was kind of boring, nice but boring. I had read non-favorable reviews about this specific ship and staff prior to booking but booked it anyways because it offers the best itinerary if you want to visit several Hawaiian islands on the same trip. During that week we had to constantly remind ourselves that we booked it because of the ports not because of the entertainment or food. It was nice, however, to enjoy a cruise without having to walk through a casino to get anywhere. I did not miss the smell of cigarettes at all! It was extremely hard to find a hot meal though. The buffet had plenty to choose from but, for some reason, hot dishes (meat, potatoes, eggs) were never hot. It might be that their equipment does not work properly because this happened all week long. By the time we returned home we had actually lost weight when usually you gain during the cruise because of eating all the time at all hours of the day. I find that Norwegian as a cruise line lacks on entertainment and food choices (and proper temperature) as we had the same problem at Pearl during our Alaskan cruise on 9/14/14. This is definitely our last cruise with Norwegian!…we are Royal Caribbean fans and only did these two because of the itineraries. Thank God for Cadillac Diner, limited menu but great food and no wait most times since the cruise line failed to list them on the daily journal and most people did not know about it. We found it by coincidence! I was surprised to not find any Spam on the menu. Cruise ships usually cater to local foods but not this time. I did not get a chance to try Spam at all.

Upon going into the cabin the very first time I always go around and inspect that the cleaning has been done to our standards; no hair left in the sink/toilet/bed, no dust on furniture, etc. I don’t want to catch a disease just because I’m on vacation. I noticed that the area right underneath the TV was full of dust, enough dust for 2 or 3-weeks’ worth… like it had not been cleaned for some time. I pointed it out to our steward (Eston) who was embarrassed by it and made the comment “I’m always having to deal with this issue”. You would think that since he was aware of the issue he would make certain that it’s clean before new passengers come aboard, I guess not! I have to say though that after that 1st incident he made sure our cabin was perfectly clean all week long.

Specialty Dining - We purchased the specialty dining package since we knew not expect much from Norwegian’s buffet. We decided to try the Moderno Brazilian Churrasqueria first since churrasco happens to be one of my favorite steaks. What a disappointment! My local Pollo Tropical restaurant makes better churrasco than this (and I’m not even a fan of Pollo Tropical!). Just because I like my meat well done they cooked the steak separately and burned it. We were served a few pieces of burned steak on a plate instead of getting the end cuts of a long and slowly cooked steak sliced off the skewer by the passador. It ruined the experience. Then what they called the chimichurri sauce tasted more like sofrito (any Puerto Rican could tell you what that is!). It’s sad that a churrasqueria does not know how to make the chimichurri sauce which is what gives a churrasco the flavor. What a waste! I tried two different desserts and they were not good either. My $16 glass of Moscato was served in a MINI glass, I mean MINI! The glass size was more appropriate for a shot of tequila than wine, and it was $16! The server noticed that we left the food and dessert on our plates and told the manager. Before the night was over we had a bottle of wine and an apology letter delivered to our cabin with a plate of appetizers. The next day the manager called and gave us a credit to use at any of the restaurants.

Next we tried the Cagney’s Steakhouse. I ordered a well done steak and got a medium rare. They happily took it back and made it right, I just prefer not to have to go through that hassle but at the end it was good.

Our third choice was La Cucina Italian Restaurant. No complaints! Plenty of choices to choose from and excellent food.

Lastly, to use the credit we got from the churrasqueria we decided to go back to Cagney’s Steakhouse and this time everything was cooked to perfection from the very beginning. This was our last night of the cruise and the view from the restaurant was spectacular, we got to enjoy the Na’Pali coast.

PORTS / EXCURSIONS

Honolulu - We arrived a few days prior to embarking and stayed at Hale Koa in Waikiki. We enjoyed the Luau party at the hotel Thursday night and the fireworks show Friday night. We definitely recommend Hale Koa if you’re military (retired or active). They have a mini-exchange onsite where you can buy plenty of souvenirs, clothes, alcohol, etc. There’s also a salon in case you need a haircut or style before the cruise. The onsite restaurant is excellent and the views from it are amazing. We purchased the Go Oahu Card online to visit a few sites in Honolulu and visited a few local sites like Iolani Palace, the North Shore and the Dole Plantation. There we enjoyed a few delicious pineapple floats and learned about the production. Did you know it takes almost 3 years for a pineapple to grow? You better appreciate it next time you have one! 

After the cruise when we returned to Honolulu we did the Pearl Harbor & USS Missouri excursion and afterwards were dropped off at the airport. I highly recommend booking this through the cruise line for two reasons; 1) you will be among the first ones to disembark 2) the convenience of leaving your luggage in the bus while visiting Pearl Harbor. I tried to book this same excursion through Viator but they require that you to take the luggage with you. At the same time Pearl Harbor does not allow you to bring anything larger than the size of your hand so you will need to rent a locker for a fee and store your luggage there or in a storage room. We were dropped off at the airport between 2:00 – 3:00pm so make sure to book a late flight.

Kahului, Maui – It’s a long walk to the beach! You can take a taxi but they are expensive, about $70-80 one way per person. We, along with many other people ended up walking to the nearest shopping center where you can catch a bus that takes you to another shopping center where you catch a larger bus that goes to Lahaina historic district. The 1-day round trip pass was only about $4 per person but the wait is ridiculous. They should have better transportation arrangements knowing that this cruise comes to town every single week. Anyways, once you get there you can enjoy local food or shop around the different stores. There you will see the amazing Banyan trees, make sure to take pictures because it’s hard to believe they are real. The views are beautiful and definitely worth the hassle.

We booked the Haleakala Crater excursion through Skymilescruises.com to do on our 2nd day in Maui. We were picked up by Roberts Hawaii shuttle bus and our driver was Harry, an intelligent funny guy. Wear comfortable clothing as you will have to do some minor climbing to enjoy the view. When it comes to craters I prefer Crater Lake (in Oregon) … this was beautiful just not as beautiful.

Hilo, Hawaii – We again booked this Volcanoes National Park & Rainbow Falls excursion through Skymilescruises.com and were picked up by Roberts Hawaii. This time our driver was cousin Jeff. This guy was not only intelligent but talented and hilarious. He even played the ukulele for us! I will never forget him. We were told that the Kilauea volcano had been quiet for some time but the day before we were there it started erupting again so we could see the smoke rising and the active lava on the caldera…that was a site to see! After that they take you to see and walk through a lava tube formed by the volcanoes lava. We also went to the Akatsuka Orchid gardens which was beautiful. You can purchase orchids here and have them shipped to your home or bring them with you. We found out that you are allow to purchase fruit, plants, vegetables on this cruise and bring it on the ship since everything is inspected, just make sure to consume it before getting to the airport with the exception of the orchids. I was able to bring them in my carry-on all the way to Florida since the plants are certified.

You may want to check out https://hawaiibookmarks.com/ for fashion and souvenirs made with real Hawaiian wood. If you become a fan, make sure to visit them while in Hilo. The owner, Jeff Gomes will welcome you into his warehouse which is walking distance from the Mauna Loa macadamia plant. We got off the shuttle bus and did exactly that and since we were on our own after this we got a chance to see something that you would normally miss during an excursion. It’s called the Boiling Pots which is in the Wailuku River State Park surrounded by a few waterfalls. The water from this river travels and forms the Rainbow Falls but the view from the boiling pots is so much beautiful and you can even get in the water if you want to. To top off the experience, that night as you leave Hilo the captain will turn off the lights on the decks so you can appreciate the lava coming out of the volcano and into the water. You really get to appreciate the power of our Creator. This made the entire cruise worthwhile! Words cannot describe what you get to experience that night.

Kailua-Kona – For this port we booked the Kona Coffee, Chocolate & City of Refuge Tour through Skymilescruises.com. The driver’s name was Bob from C-Big Island tours. He was driving a regular size van not a shuttle. I guess it was ok for a small group of 8 but it was hot, the A/C did not work properly so we were extremely hot inside the van. The driver was nice and knowledgeable but I felt like we made too many stops unnecessarily. I was disappointed to find out that most of the coffee is only 10% Kona coffee unless you’re willing to pay a pretty penny for it. At least the samples were free and one of the coffee places had samples of rum cake and that was delicious! The city of refuge is surrounded by water so instead of watching the movie about the history and how it came about you can just walk to the water and enjoy the water, black sand, fishes and turtles and the beautiful view. You don’t necessarily have to take an excursion in Kona since the beach is right by the pier, within walking distance.

Nawiliwili, Kauai – All this time I had been looking forward to visiting Maui but now I can say that Kauai was my favorite island! We booked the Journey to Waimea Canyon tour through Skymilescruises.com. We are happy to be back with Roberts Hawaii! Our driver this time was an elderly lady by the name of Nani. Do not be fooled by her age/looks. She can drive that shuttle bus like a toy! Waimea is the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. If you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon this is a smaller version of it but in an elevation of 3400 feet and in a place that is surrounded by water. It is a beautiful site to see. There’s a kiosk at the park that sells tropical fruit like guava, coconut and even sugar cane. Then we went to the Kauai coffee plant and gift shop where you can eat lunch and enjoy the view…..sample more coffee. Lastly you will be taken to the McBryde spouting horne. That too was a unique experience!

Nawiliwili is the perfect place to go to the beach. The water is so clear and beautiful. Just walk outside the ship and catch the free trolley. They drop you off across the street from the beach. Just make sure to bring your towel since they charge for the lounge chairs and umbrellas. You can rent a kayak there too. There are shops to buy souvenirs, clothes and plenty of places to eat and drink within walking distance. Then you can catch the shuttle at the same stop and be on your way.

Few extra notes:

Highly recommend using Roberts Hawaii for tours. Their drivers are happy, smart and funny people. And safe drivers too! - http://www.robertshawaii.com/

Check out Hawaii Bookmarks for unique souvenirs and fashion made of Hawaiian wood - https://hawaiibookmarks.com/

Read the label when buying coffee. Not all is 100% Hawaiian coffee.

Enjoy buying local foods and feel free to bring them to the ship to enjoy all week long. It will not be confiscated like on Caribbean cruises. It’s perfectly safe.

If you don’t want to book excursions at each port I recommend renting a car in Honolulu, Kona, Kauai and Maui. In Maui you can actually have a rental waiting for you in the pier if you book ahead of time. Also in Maui there are shuttle buses waiting outside the pier to take you to rental car places.
SweetPea68’s Full Rating Summary
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Volcano National Park & Hilo Waterfall Tour
    We again booked this Volcanoes National Park & Rainbow Falls excursion through Skymilescruises.com and were picked up by Roberts Hawaii. This time our driver was cousin Jeff. This guy was not only intelligent but talented and hilarious. He even played the ukulele for us! I will never forget him. We were told that the Kilauea volcano had been quiet for some time but the day before we were there it started erupting again so we could see the smoke rising and the active lava on the caldera…that was a site to see! After that they take you to see and walk through a lava tube formed by the volcanoes lava. We also went to the Akatsuka Orchid gardens which was beautiful. You can purchase orchids here and have them shipped to your home or bring them with you. We found out that you are allow to purchase fruit, plants, vegetables on this cruise and bring it on the ship since everything is inspected, just make sure to consume it before getting to the airport with the exception of the orchids. I was able to bring them in my carry-on all the way to Florida since the plants are certified.

    You may want to check out https://hawaiibookmarks.com/ for fashion and souvenirs made with real Hawaiian wood. If you become a fan, make sure to visit them while in Hilo. The owner, Jeff Gomes will welcome you into his warehouse which is walking distance from the Mauna Loa macadamia plant. We got off the shuttle bus and did exactly that and since we were on our own after this we got a chance to see something that you would normally miss during an excursion. It’s called the Boiling Pots which is in the Wailuku River State Park surrounded by a few waterfalls. The water from this river travels and forms the Rainbow Falls but the view from the boiling pots is so much beautiful and you can even get in the water if you want to. To top off the experience, that night as you leave Hilo the captain will turn off the lights on the decks so you can appreciate the lava coming out of the volcano and into the water. You really get to appreciate the power of our Creator. This made the entire cruise worthwhile! Words cannot describe what you get to experience that night.
    View All 114 Volcano National Park & Hilo Waterfall Tour Reviews
  • Pearl Harbor
    Honolulu - We arrived a few days prior to embarking and stayed at Hale Koa in Waikiki. We enjoyed the Luau party at the hotel Thursday night and the fireworks show Friday night. We definitely recommend Hale Koa if you’re military (retired or active). They have a mini-exchange onsite where you can buy plenty of souvenirs, clothes, alcohol, etc. There’s also a salon in case you need a haircut or style before the cruise. The onsite restaurant is excellent and the views from it are amazing. We purchased the Go Oahu Card online to visit a few sites in Honolulu and visited a few local sites like Iolani Palace, the North Shore and the Dole Plantation. There we enjoyed a few delicious pineapple floats and learned about the production. Did you know it takes almost 3 years for a pineapple to grow? You better appreciate it next time you have one! 

    After the cruise when we returned to Honolulu we did the Pearl Harbor & USS Missouri excursion and afterwards were dropped off at the airport. I highly recommend booking this through the cruise line for two reasons; 1) you will be among the first ones to disembark 2) the convenience of leaving your luggage in the bus while visiting Pearl Harbor. I tried to book this same excursion through Viator but they require that you to take the luggage with you. At the same time Pearl Harbor does not allow you to bring anything larger than the size of your hand so you will need to rent a locker for a fee and store your luggage there or in a storage room. We were dropped off at the airport between 2:00 – 3:00pm so make sure to book a late flight.
    View All 180 Pearl Harbor Reviews
  • Waimea Canyon
    All this time I had been looking forward to visiting Maui but now I can say that Kauai was my favorite island! We booked the Journey to Waimea Canyon tour through Skymilescruises.com. We are happy to be back with Roberts Hawaii! Our driver this time was an elderly lady by the name of Nani. Do not be fooled by her age/looks. She can drive that shuttle bus like a toy! Waimea is the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. If you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon this is a smaller version of it but in an elevation of 3400 feet and in a place that is surrounded by water. It is a beautiful site to see. There’s a kiosk at the park that sells tropical fruit like guava, coconut and even sugar cane. Then we went to the Kauai coffee plant and gift shop where you can eat lunch and enjoy the view…..sample more coffee. Lastly you will be taken to the McBryde spouting horne. That too was a unique experience!

    Nawiliwili is the perfect place to go to the beach. The water is so clear and beautiful. Just walk outside the ship and catch the free trolley. They drop you off across the street from the beach. Just make sure to bring your towel since they charge for the lounge chairs and umbrellas. You can rent a kayak there too. There are shops to buy souvenirs, clothes and plenty of places to eat and drink within walking distance. Then you can catch the shuttle at the same stop and be on your way.
    View All 121 Waimea Canyon Reviews
  • City Tour
    For this port we booked the Kona Coffee, Chocolate & City of Refuge Tour through Skymilescruises.com. The driver’s name was Bob from C-Big Island tours. He was driving a regular size van not a shuttle. I guess it was ok for a small group of 8 but it was hot, the A/C did not work properly so we were extremely hot inside the van. The driver was nice and knowledgeable but I felt like we made too many stops unnecessarily. I was disappointed to find out that most of the coffee is only 10% Kona coffee unless you’re willing to pay a pretty penny for it. At least the samples were free and one of the coffee places had samples of rum cake and that was delicious! The city of refuge is surrounded by water so instead of watching the movie about the history and how it came about you can just walk to the water and enjoy the water, black sand, fishes and turtles and the beautiful view. You don’t necessarily have to take an excursion in Kona since the beach is right by the pier, within walking distance.
    View All 16 City Tour Reviews
  • Place of Refuge
    For this port we booked the Kona Coffee, Chocolate & City of Refuge Tour through Skymilescruises.com. The driver’s name was Bob from C-Big Island tours. He was driving a regular size van not a shuttle. I guess it was ok for a small group of 8 but it was hot, the A/C did not work properly so we were extremely hot inside the van. The driver was nice and knowledgeable but I felt like we made too many stops unnecessarily. I was disappointed to find out that most of the coffee is only 10% Kona coffee unless you’re willing to pay a pretty penny for it. At least the samples were free and one of the coffee places had samples of rum cake and that was delicious! The city of refuge is surrounded by water so instead of watching the movie about the history and how it came about you can just walk to the water and enjoy the water, black sand, fishes and turtles and the beautiful view. You don’t necessarily have to take an excursion in Kona since the beach is right by the pier, within walking distance.
    View All 12 Place of Refuge Reviews
  • Haleakala Crater
    It’s a long walk to the beach! You can take a taxi but they are expensive, about $70-80 one way per person. We, along with many other people ended up walking to the nearest shopping center where you can catch a bus that takes you to another shopping center where you catch a larger bus that goes to Lahaina historic district. The 1-day round trip pass was only about $4 per person but the wait is ridiculous. They should have better transportation arrangements knowing that this cruise comes to town every single week. Anyways, once you get there you can enjoy local food or shop around the different stores. There you will see the amazing Banyan trees, make sure to take pictures because it’s hard to believe they are real. The views are beautiful and definitely worth the hassle.

    We booked the Haleakala Crater excursion through Skymilescruises.com to do on our 2nd day in Maui. We were picked up by Roberts Hawaii shuttle bus and our driver was Harry, an intelligent funny guy. Wear comfortable clothing as you will have to do some minor climbing to enjoy the view. When it comes to craters I prefer Crater Lake (in Oregon) … this was beautiful just not as beautiful.
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