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Hawaii was a "bucket list" item for me and my wife, and this cruise seemed a very good way of seeing a lot of the 50th state without having to unpack. We arrived in Honolulu the Wednesday prior to our Saturday departure, and were pleased to be upgraded to an oceanfront room at the Embassy Suites. After resting up on Thursday we toured Oahu and visited the Polynesian Cultural Center. I will post a review of that attraction over there. Saturday, embarkation was a breeze. We checked in at the pier at noon and were seated in the Skyline Dining Room by 12:45. Or cabin was ready by mid-afternoon, although our luggage did not arrive until after dinner. The cabin was a large balcony cabin on deck 11. Neither of us found it confining. Our cabin stewardess was inconsistent. She griped when I asked her to empty the mini-fridge; sometimes coffee cups were not replaced or a bathmat not found in the bathroom. I give her a C-. We ate all evening meals in the Liberty Dining room (included in the cruise price). We had continental breakfast most mornings in our cabin. Meals were acceptable, but certainly unspectacular. We never had any problems with food arriving cold. The first evening, the maitre'd asked if we would like to join another party. We said sure. We were seated with three Japanese women who spoke no English. On the way out he apologized profusely. Service in the Liberty varied depending on the server. Some were spectacular - friendly, prompt and very personable (ask to be seated at Shelby's table!). Other wait staff were indifferent seemed at care less. We requested to be seated at Shelby's table after the 3rd night, and our request was honored. We varied our dinner times based on our shore activities. We went to some of the shows, but often crashed after dinner because of the shore intensive activities. The shows we saw were well done and professional. This cruise is about the ports of call. In Maui on the first day, we rented a car, drove to Lahaina, went on a whale watch through Ultimate Whale Watch (saw 4), and then drove to the beach. Late in the day we returned the car and got to the ship around sundown. The next day we took a tour through Roberts to the top of Haleakala and to the Maui Ocean Center. Both were excellent. Then came the big disappointment of the cruise. Due to high winds, the ship could not safely get into the harbor at Hilo, and the stop there was canceled...no Volcanoes National Park. We had a sea day instead. Bummer. In Kona, we took the "Hidden Waterfalls of Kohala" tour through NCL. Lots of fun. Saw several waterfalls, swam in the pool at the base of the last one, and enjoyed picnic lunch overlooking the Pacific. On to Kauai, where we took the NCL tour to Wiamea Canyon and the Fern Grotto. Very good. The next morning we had a helicopter tour scheduled with Sunshine Helicopters. We were at the airport preparing to go when the pilot announced that he was having alternator trouble and we were canceled. They offered to reschedule, but the ship was leaving at 1:30. Refund was given. Still, another disappointment. The last day, disembarkation was easy. We took the NCL tour to Pearl Harbor and the USS Missouri with a late airport drop off. Excellent tour. They kept our luggage locked up while we toured. We even met a Pearl Harbor surviving veteran (age 96). We were there 2 days after Pearl Harbor day. Our bus driver/tour guide really made this tour come alive with his personal experiences such as his father's memories of Dec 7, 1941.

Hawaii is the star of the show

Pride of America Cruise Review by VTSteerage

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2017
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Large Balcony
Hawaii was a "bucket list" item for me and my wife, and this cruise seemed a very good way of seeing a lot of the 50th state without having to unpack. We arrived in Honolulu the Wednesday prior to our Saturday departure, and were pleased to be upgraded to an oceanfront room at the Embassy Suites. After resting up on Thursday we toured Oahu and visited the Polynesian Cultural Center. I will post a review of that attraction over there.

Saturday, embarkation was a breeze. We checked in at the pier at noon and were seated in the Skyline Dining Room by 12:45. Or cabin was ready by mid-afternoon, although our luggage did not arrive until after dinner. The cabin was a large balcony cabin on deck 11. Neither of us found it confining. Our cabin stewardess was inconsistent. She griped when I asked her to empty the mini-fridge; sometimes coffee cups were not replaced or a bathmat not found in the bathroom. I give her a C-.

We ate all evening meals in the Liberty Dining room (included in the cruise price). We had continental breakfast most mornings in our cabin. Meals were acceptable, but certainly unspectacular. We never had any problems with food arriving cold. The first evening, the maitre'd asked if we would like to join another party. We said sure. We were seated with three Japanese women who spoke no English. On the way out he apologized profusely. Service in the Liberty varied depending on the server. Some were spectacular - friendly, prompt and very personable (ask to be seated at Shelby's table!). Other wait staff were indifferent seemed at care less. We requested to be seated at Shelby's table after the 3rd night, and our request was honored. We varied our dinner times based on our shore activities.

We went to some of the shows, but often crashed after dinner because of the shore intensive activities. The shows we saw were well done and professional.

This cruise is about the ports of call. In Maui on the first day, we rented a car, drove to Lahaina, went on a whale watch through Ultimate Whale Watch (saw 4), and then drove to the beach. Late in the day we returned the car and got to the ship around sundown. The next day we took a tour through Roberts to the top of Haleakala and to the Maui Ocean Center. Both were excellent.

Then came the big disappointment of the cruise. Due to high winds, the ship could not safely get into the harbor at Hilo, and the stop there was canceled...no Volcanoes National Park. We had a sea day instead. Bummer.

In Kona, we took the "Hidden Waterfalls of Kohala" tour through NCL. Lots of fun. Saw several waterfalls, swam in the pool at the base of the last one, and enjoyed picnic lunch overlooking the Pacific.

On to Kauai, where we took the NCL tour to Wiamea Canyon and the Fern Grotto. Very good. The next morning we had a helicopter tour scheduled with Sunshine Helicopters. We were at the airport preparing to go when the pilot announced that he was having alternator trouble and we were canceled. They offered to reschedule, but the ship was leaving at 1:30. Refund was given. Still, another disappointment.

The last day, disembarkation was easy. We took the NCL tour to Pearl Harbor and the USS Missouri with a late airport drop off. Excellent tour. They kept our luggage locked up while we toured. We even met a Pearl Harbor surviving veteran (age 96). We were there 2 days after Pearl Harbor day. Our bus driver/tour guide really made this tour come alive with his personal experiences such as his father's memories of Dec 7, 1941.
VTSteerage’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience

Cabin Review

Large Balcony
Cabin B6 11024
The cabin was snug, but more than adequate. The balcony was indeed "large".
Deck 12 Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Polynesian Cultural Center
    We took the Island Tour leaving Waikiki at 7:45, visiting various places around Oahu, getting to the Center around 1 PM. The tour seemed rushed, and we were looking for more education during the day. Instead there was lots of pageantry, shows, and entertainment. The food at the luau was disappointing. The show "Ha" had an interesting story and was very theatrical. All in all a very long day.
    View All 37 Polynesian Cultural Center Reviews
  • Waimea Canyon
    Bus tour to the canyon and the Fern Grotto. OK.
    View All 108 Waimea Canyon Reviews
  • Kona
    Took a 6-wheel ATV onto an old plantation, and then hiked to several waterfalls. We went for a swim in the pool at the bottom of the last waterfall. Then we had a picnic lunch overlooking the Pacific.
    View All 9,415 Kona Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Kona Cruise Port Review
  • Whale Watching
    Superb day. Saw 4 whales up close. Operators are enthusiastic. Small boat is very nimble.
    View All 49 Whale Watching Reviews