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Hawaii has so much to see and do POA cruise is a great way to see 4 islands without wasting time/money flying or boating (small boat) between islands. Mostly you travel in the evenings/at night, and have days to explore the islands. This was our 2nd trip to Hawaii 2006 we went to Hawaii & Maui. We loved it and wanted to see more! Myself, husband, two teenage boys. We stayed two nights in Waikiki Marriott before embarkation. Very nice, clean, parking. No rental car return anywhere near the pierhad to return Avis car to the airport, so DH dropped us off and we waited w/luggage for him to return. No luggage porters at pier, also no air conditioning. Long line to check luggage, but it moved fast. Also, Avis didn't have a shuttle bus to/from pier to airport, so $30 cab ride. Thrifty (maybe others) did run a shuttle. Security uneventful. We reserved a suite, so we got to avoid the long line to check in. Very quick, and we were on board. Luggage was there in the hallway before we were! Cabin was nice, very nice starboard balcony (starboard has best views of Maui, Haleakala lava flow & Kauai coastline), few things needed repair. No clock in our room, shower doors didn't close all the way, other minor things. Very happy that we had opted for the bigger room, as we are more private people, and it was good to have enough space to get away from the public and not be climbing all over each other in tiny cabin. Room steward was great left us ice, fresh towels, turndown service, towel animals, advice. Room host left us treats every day (I think that was part of the suite deal) in late afternoon, fruit basket, fresh flowers. Suite concierge told us about breakfast in Lazy J for suite guests only we went twice, but found that it was time consuming (sit down service instead of buffet), and not as much selection as Aloha Cafe. FoodAloha Cafe great for breakfast. I don't think that we ate lunch on board at all, and it was bad for dinner. Cadillac Diner was the other "casual" option for dinner burger joint, and the service was slow, slow, slow. Food was mediocre as best. Dinner Lazy J Steakhouse ($25/person) upcharge was good, Teppanyakki ($25/upcharge) was excellent with a fun show of preparing the food in front of you Japanese Steakhouse style. We had no problems making reservations at either, but we did it the first day on board for the whole week. Make sure that you cancel reservations if you can't make them you are charged otherwise. Skyline dining room was just ok...service was slow & food was nothing notable. We had room service breakfast the first day onboardat 8am. My advice, starboard rooms order room service for 6:30am and enjoy it while you cruise past the Maui coast. Portions are small...for example, toast order is 1 slice. Specify exactly what you want on the room service card & that's what you will get. Oh the soda dealwe bought the sticker for our cards for $6.95/day for unlimited fountain drinks. We are big pop drinkers, but didn't nearly get our money's worth. Be aware, it is $6.95 + 18% ($8.20) per day per person. At $2.00/drink, you would have to have 4 drinks per day to make that pay off. It is for fountain onlynot soda in your room. In retrospect, we didn't take advantage of it. Excursions We did all of our own excursions, not NCL. Rented Avis car at each port, and each port had a shuttle to rental facility. (Many rental car co's did.) The two times that we had to park the car overnight, there was free parking near tbe boat. No problem. Make sure to reserve a car ahead of time. Some people didn't have reservations for a car, and there were none available...especially in Hilo. At Hilo, they gave us a larger car than we had reserved for the same price because of availability of cars. So we paid a little more for more gas, but not a big deal. The day in Kona is a day that you "tender" to get off/on the boat. They give you a number and you have to wait for the number to get off. People that have NCL excursions and suites get first time to get off. Everybody else can get off after 9am. Excursions that we did (did not reserve through NCL): Trilogy snorkeling to Mololini crater (good), Sunshine Helicopter on Kauai (excellent), Zipline on Hawaii (excellent). The rest of our trip was on our own: Haleakala summit (excellent), Volcanos National Park (goodthe rim around the top road was closed), Hilo Scenic Drive north of port & Botanical Garden (very excellent), Kauai as far north as the road will go & hiking (very excellent), Dole Pineapple Plantation (good), Haunama Bay Snorkeling (good), Diamond Head hike (good), Pearl Harbor/USS Arizona Memorial (excellent), North Shore of Oahu (excellent). Figured that we saved $600+ booking our own excursions, not through NCL. AFter the cruise, stayed one night at Waikiki Sheraton. Even though we were one of the last to leave the ship, our room wasn't ready when we arrived at hotel. Room was just ok...needed updating, especially the bathroom. $100 lunch by the pool for burgers! But the pool and beach were fantastic. Ate casual dinner outdoors at Duke's Canoe Clubmake reservations early if you want to eat full dinner menu. We didn't so we had to wait for an outdoor table in the loud bar area, but it was really nice setting. Walked along beach back to our hotel. Bought "boogie boards" for $15/ea and used them before/after the cruise on Waikiki and Oahu North Shore. It's harder than it looks, but we had fun trying! On the last day, we gave the boogie boards to another family. We'll never use them in Chicago! Snorkeling advicethere is some great snorkeling just off shore at many beaches. If we ever go again, we won't pay tour operator for snorkeling. Ke'e beach on Kauai, Sunset beach on Oahu, Haunama Bay on Oahu all had great free snorkeling from shore. All in all, I was disappointed by the food on the cruise, but we had good service almost everywhere we went on board. If I was going to Hawaii for the food, I would have been sorely dissappointed. Luckily, I was going to SEE several islands, and experience Aloha Spirit, and POA was a great way to experience alot without having the inconvenience of moving hotels, flying between islands, etc. Hope this helps someone else in planning their trip. Aloha!

Great way to see Hawaiian Islands.

Pride of America Cruise Review by SuMom2

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2009
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Penthouse with Large Balcony
Hawaii has so much to see and do POA cruise is a great way to see 4 islands without wasting time/money flying or boating (small boat) between islands. Mostly you travel in the evenings/at night, and have days to explore the islands. This was our 2nd trip to Hawaii 2006 we went to Hawaii & Maui. We loved it and wanted to see more! Myself, husband, two teenage boys.
We stayed two nights in Waikiki Marriott before embarkation. Very nice, clean, parking. No rental car return anywhere near the pierhad to return Avis car to the airport, so DH dropped us off and we waited w/luggage for him to return. No luggage porters at pier, also no air conditioning. Long line to check luggage, but it moved fast. Also, Avis didn't have a shuttle bus to/from pier to airport, so $30 cab ride. Thrifty (maybe others) did run a shuttle. Security uneventful. We reserved a suite, so we got to avoid the long line to check in. Very quick, and we were on board. Luggage was there in the hallway before we were!
Cabin was nice, very nice starboard balcony (starboard has best views of Maui, Haleakala lava flow & Kauai coastline), few things needed repair. No clock in our room, shower doors didn't close all the way, other minor things. Very happy that we had opted for the bigger room, as we are more private people, and it was good to have enough space to get away from the public and not be climbing all over each other in tiny cabin. Room steward was great left us ice, fresh towels, turndown service, towel animals, advice. Room host left us treats every day (I think that was part of the suite deal) in late afternoon, fruit basket, fresh flowers. Suite concierge told us about breakfast in Lazy J for suite guests only we went twice, but found that it was time consuming (sit down service instead of buffet), and not as much selection as Aloha Cafe.
FoodAloha Cafe great for breakfast. I don't think that we ate lunch on board at all, and it was bad for dinner. Cadillac Diner was the other "casual" option for dinner burger joint, and the service was slow, slow, slow. Food was mediocre as best. Dinner Lazy J Steakhouse ($25/person) upcharge was good, Teppanyakki ($25/upcharge) was excellent with a fun show of preparing the food in front of you Japanese Steakhouse style. We had no problems making reservations at either, but we did it the first day on board for the whole week. Make sure that you cancel reservations if you can't make them you are charged otherwise. Skyline dining room was just ok...service was slow & food was nothing notable. We had room service breakfast the first day onboardat 8am. My advice, starboard rooms order room service for 6:30am and enjoy it while you cruise past the Maui coast. Portions are small...for example, toast order is 1 slice. Specify exactly what you want on the room service card & that's what you will get. Oh the soda dealwe bought the sticker for our cards for $6.95/day for unlimited fountain drinks. We are big pop drinkers, but didn't nearly get our money's worth. Be aware, it is $6.95 + 18% ($8.20) per day per person. At $2.00/drink, you would have to have 4 drinks per day to make that pay off. It is for fountain onlynot soda in your room. In retrospect, we didn't take advantage of it.
Excursions We did all of our own excursions, not NCL. Rented Avis car at each port, and each port had a shuttle to rental facility. (Many rental car co's did.) The two times that we had to park the car overnight, there was free parking near tbe boat. No problem. Make sure to reserve a car ahead of time. Some people didn't have reservations for a car, and there were none available...especially in Hilo. At Hilo, they gave us a larger car than we had reserved for the same price because of availability of cars. So we paid a little more for more gas, but not a big deal. The day in Kona is a day that you "tender" to get off/on the boat. They give you a number and you have to wait for the number to get off. People that have NCL excursions and suites get first time to get off. Everybody else can get off after 9am. Excursions that we did (did not reserve through NCL): Trilogy snorkeling to Mololini crater (good), Sunshine Helicopter on Kauai (excellent), Zipline on Hawaii (excellent). The rest of our trip was on our own: Haleakala summit (excellent), Volcanos National Park (goodthe rim around the top road was closed), Hilo Scenic Drive north of port & Botanical Garden (very excellent), Kauai as far north as the road will go & hiking (very excellent), Dole Pineapple Plantation (good), Haunama Bay Snorkeling (good), Diamond Head hike (good), Pearl Harbor/USS Arizona Memorial (excellent), North Shore of Oahu (excellent). Figured that we saved $600+ booking our own excursions, not through NCL.
AFter the cruise, stayed one night at Waikiki Sheraton. Even though we were one of the last to leave the ship, our room wasn't ready when we arrived at hotel. Room was just ok...needed updating, especially the bathroom. $100 lunch by the pool for burgers! But the pool and beach were fantastic. Ate casual dinner outdoors at Duke's Canoe Clubmake reservations early if you want to eat full dinner menu. We didn't so we had to wait for an outdoor table in the loud bar area, but it was really nice setting. Walked along beach back to our hotel.
Bought "boogie boards" for $15/ea and used them before/after the cruise on Waikiki and Oahu North Shore. It's harder than it looks, but we had fun trying! On the last day, we gave the boogie boards to another family. We'll never use them in Chicago! Snorkeling advicethere is some great snorkeling just off shore at many beaches. If we ever go again, we won't pay tour operator for snorkeling. Ke'e beach on Kauai, Sunset beach on Oahu, Haunama Bay on Oahu all had great free snorkeling from shore.
All in all, I was disappointed by the food on the cruise, but we had good service almost everywhere we went on board. If I was going to Hawaii for the food, I would have been sorely dissappointed. Luckily, I was going to SEE several islands, and experience Aloha Spirit, and POA was a great way to experience alot without having the inconvenience of moving hotels, flying between islands, etc.
Hope this helps someone else in planning their trip. Aloha!
SuMom2’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Penthouse with Large Balcony
Cabin SE 10016
Cabin was nice, very nice starboard balcony (starboard has best views of Maui, Haleakala lava flow & Kauai coastline), few things needed repair. No clock in our room, shower doors didn't close all the way, other minor things. Very happy that we had opted for the bigger room, as we are more private people, and it was good to have enough space to get away from the public and not be climbing all over each other in tiny cabin.
Deck 13 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins