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We are mid 50s couple who celebrated 36th anniversary on POA. No kids or grandkids this vacation! 1st time to Hawaii & 3rd cruise overall (RCL - W. Caribbean & Carnival - W Caribbean). Arrived Honolulu 3 days early to enjoy sights before cruise. Stayed at Outrigger on the Reef Hotel right on Waikiki Beach. On the cruise we took an NCL excursion every day and thoroughly enjoyed each one. Best way for us to see as much of Hawaii as possible. Our travel agent scored big for us as we were blessed with staying in an Owner's Suite (Category AA) for, in my opinion, a fair up charge from our original balcony stateroom. If you can afford it, I highly recommend one of the several suite or penthouse rooms. The extras were worth it to us. Sean, our butler, was marvelous. James, the Concierge, was a great help. Conrado, our room steward, kept everything impeccable in our room. Embarkation Day: Arrived at pier 11:30 AM. We recommend arriving early. Check in was a breeze. Allowed to take escalator & board ship just after noon. Great champagne welcome. Ship very clean & everyone very friendly. Lunch at Aloha. Luggage arrived soon after & then mandatory safety drill - but was done in the Hollywood Theater rather than going on deck to the lifeboats. During the cruise we ate at as many different restaurants on board as possible - Aloha cafeteria, Liberty, Skyline, Cadillac Diner, & the specialty ones - Lazy Js Steakhouse & Jefferson Bistro. All the food & service was good for us. The best meal was at Lazy Js. Being close to being "old fogeys", we didn't do any of the entertainment at night in the Hollywood Theater, but we heard it was very good - especially Second City. Day 1 & 2 (Kahului, Maui) - Haleakala Crater excursion 1st day & Best of Maui the 2nd. Recommend Best of Maui tour for 1st timers. Lots of beautiful scenery. Nice lunch at tropical plantation. Maui Ocean Center very nice too. Day 3 (Hilo, Big Island) - Volcano & Rainbow Falls Deluxe excursion. Again, nice scenery, great tour, good lunch at Volcano National Park. Ship passed by lava flow about 9:30 PM on way to Kona. Hard to see. Pics didn't come out. Buy postcard. Day 4 (Kona, Big Island) - POA anchors & you tender into port. We did Historic Kona excursion. ½ day that left at noon. This was our least favorite tour of the trip, but worth the experience. Day 5 & 6 - (Nawiliwili, Kaua'i) - Wailua River & Fern Grotto excursion 1st day & Tubing the Ditch the 2nd. You'll see why Kaua'i is called the "Garden Island". Most beautiful scenery! Book Tubing the Ditch early because they only take 20 on this tour & it is offered just 3 times (twice on 1st day & once on the last at port). Ship left 2 PM Day 6 & passed by beautiful Napali coast afternoon of 2nd day on way back to Honolulu, Oahu. Debarkation Day - this was the most organized debarkation off a cruise shop we ever experienced. We were booked for 9 PM flight to Houston, so we took the "Grand Circle Island Tour" excursion. Left big bags outside room by midnight night before. We met at 9:15 AM in the Hollywood Theater, left as a group from there, picked up our luggage in the port, loaded the tour bus with bags going in the underneath storage, & enjoyed one more day in beautiful Hawaii. Summary: POA is great way to see a lot of Hawaii - especially for 1st timers to the islands. The ship is a floating hotel. Not a "typical" cruise experience with casino (gambling is illegal in Hawaii) or lots of activities on board during the day. That's because you sail at night rather than during the day. Daytime is for you to do one of the many shore excursions or whatever you want to do. You may want to rent a car and do your own thing. We flew coach non-stop from Houston. If you can swing it, I'd recommend flying first class. We had an 8 hour flight and would have enjoyed the extra leg room. Bottom Line: Research as much as you can, read the reviews & message boards, & design a Hawaii experience that's just right for you! We highly recommend NCL's POA! Aloha!

POA - Great way to see Hawaii for 1st Timers!

Pride of America Cruise Review by Ponderosa Ranch

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2009
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Owner's Suite with Large Balcony
We are mid 50s couple who celebrated 36th anniversary on POA. No kids or grandkids this vacation! 1st time to Hawaii & 3rd cruise overall (RCL - W. Caribbean & Carnival - W Caribbean). Arrived Honolulu 3 days early to enjoy sights before cruise. Stayed at Outrigger on the Reef Hotel right on Waikiki Beach. On the cruise we took an NCL excursion every day and thoroughly enjoyed each one. Best way for us to see as much of Hawaii as possible.
Our travel agent scored big for us as we were blessed with staying in an Owner's Suite (Category AA) for, in my opinion, a fair up charge from our original balcony stateroom. If you can afford it, I highly recommend one of the several suite or penthouse rooms. The extras were worth it to us. Sean, our butler, was marvelous. James, the Concierge, was a great help. Conrado, our room steward, kept everything impeccable in our room.
Embarkation Day: Arrived at pier 11:30 AM. We recommend arriving early. Check in was a breeze. Allowed to take escalator & board ship just after noon. Great champagne welcome. Ship very clean & everyone very friendly. Lunch at Aloha. Luggage arrived soon after & then mandatory safety drill - but was done in the Hollywood Theater rather than going on deck to the lifeboats.
During the cruise we ate at as many different restaurants on board as possible - Aloha cafeteria, Liberty, Skyline, Cadillac Diner, & the specialty ones - Lazy Js Steakhouse & Jefferson Bistro. All the food & service was good for us. The best meal was at Lazy Js. Being close to being "old fogeys", we didn't do any of the entertainment at night in the Hollywood Theater, but we heard it was very good - especially Second City.
Day 1 & 2 (Kahului, Maui) - Haleakala Crater excursion 1st day & Best of Maui the 2nd. Recommend Best of Maui tour for 1st timers. Lots of beautiful scenery. Nice lunch at tropical plantation. Maui Ocean Center very nice too.
Day 3 (Hilo, Big Island) - Volcano & Rainbow Falls Deluxe excursion. Again, nice scenery, great tour, good lunch at Volcano National Park. Ship passed by lava flow about 9:30 PM on way to Kona. Hard to see. Pics didn't come out. Buy postcard.
Day 4 (Kona, Big Island) - POA anchors & you tender into port. We did Historic Kona excursion. ½ day that left at noon. This was our least favorite tour of the trip, but worth the experience.
Day 5 & 6 - (Nawiliwili, Kaua'i) - Wailua River & Fern Grotto excursion 1st day & Tubing the Ditch the 2nd. You'll see why Kaua'i is called the "Garden Island". Most beautiful scenery! Book Tubing the Ditch early because they only take 20 on this tour & it is offered just 3 times (twice on 1st day & once on the last at port). Ship left 2 PM Day 6 & passed by beautiful Napali coast afternoon of 2nd day on way back to Honolulu, Oahu.
Debarkation Day - this was the most organized debarkation off a cruise shop we ever experienced. We were booked for 9 PM flight to Houston, so we took the "Grand Circle Island Tour" excursion. Left big bags outside room by midnight night before. We met at 9:15 AM in the Hollywood Theater, left as a group from there, picked up our luggage in the port, loaded the tour bus with bags going in the underneath storage, & enjoyed one more day in beautiful Hawaii.
Summary: POA is great way to see a lot of Hawaii - especially for 1st timers to the islands. The ship is a floating hotel. Not a "typical" cruise experience with casino (gambling is illegal in Hawaii) or lots of activities on board during the day. That's because you sail at night rather than during the day. Daytime is for you to do one of the many shore excursions or whatever you want to do. You may want to rent a car and do your own thing. We flew coach non-stop from Houston. If you can swing it, I'd recommend flying first class. We had an 8 hour flight and would have enjoyed the extra leg room.
Bottom Line: Research as much as you can, read the reviews & message boards, & design a Hawaii experience that's just right for you! We highly recommend NCL's POA! Aloha!
Ponderosa Ranch’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Owner's Suite with Large Balcony
Cabin SC 12000
Great Owner's Suite on 12th deck. With balcony about 900 square feet. King size bed, separate living room, hugh bathroom with separate jazuzzi tub and walk in shower, private hot tub on balcony, guest bathroom, dining table, bar with premium coffee maker, desk with PC & Internet service, butler service. Plenty of privacy and close to elevators.
Deck 13 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins