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This is not one of those cruises where the ship is part of the destination. On this cruise, the destinations are the destinations, and the cruise ship is the generally enjoyable means by which you get there. In the weeks leading up to our sailing, there were many issues with access to water onboard late at night, tsunami warning(s), high surf advisories, and some associated missed ports. On our cruise, the weather stayed a day ahead, and we were fortunately able to see every port and experience every single adventure we had pre-planned with no issues on board or otherwise. We chose two excursions through NCL, and the others we booked directly. The ship was clean and at no time did we think it was in any kind of disrepair. The balcony door in our cabin did not seal, but it wasn't an issue, and it was the only thing we noticed as far as maintenance. Our cabin was always clean, as were public areas and restrooms. Entertainment: We did not go to many shows. We had jet-lag and we were exhausted from our days enjoying the islands. The ones in the Mardi Gras were fun, like the Newlywed Game. The layout made it hard to see what was happening from our seats, so you just had to go by sound. Get there early to get a good seat. We went to the Aloha Polynesian Show. The Hollywood Theater has a small stage, so maybe that was part of the let down... You could tell the performers were working VERY hard and had talent. But everything about this show was like a high school production, compared to shows on other ships. We also went to see the magician. He was very entertaining, but he did a lot of close-up magic which was hard to see in seats further away, and he only used the TV's on the sides of the theater to show where he was famous on other TV shows. Dining: We utilized our suite meals often, eating breakfast mainly at Cagney's and once at Cadillac. We had a 3-specialty-dining package as a perk, and used it on Cagney's (x2) and La Cucina. Both were fantastic. The servers got to know us and it felt more like traditional dining in that regard. Ate once at Skyline and once ordered to the room via the Butler, which is apparently discouraged(!) on this ship. Service at Skyline was great, but the food was... meh. I do not recommend the food at Cadillac. Aloha Cafe was fine but the selection was not great and at "snack time" mid afternoon the food didn't even seem to go together. Cagney's was phenomenal at every meal and in every way -- Kudos to manager Kristina Hazard and her team. Excursions: We did the whale watch through NCL. I had called PWF prior, and they said if we had not rented a car the cost of transportation would be expensive and since they had a contract with NCL we should probably just use NCL. Also, if it got cancelled for rough seas we wouldn't have wasted the transportation etc. The excursion was great, PWF really knows what they're doing. We saw whales from our balcony as we came into port as well. We also did the Kauai Director's Cut, and got on a smaller shuttle bus with Auntie Alicia. She was hilarious and we really enjoyed this tour. Service was wonderful. Even the staff bussing tables at Aloha Cafe would say hello and make conversation, and they weren't "working a tip." There was only one young lady on the entire cruise (working with Ryan at Key West Bar) that we noticed was not pulling her weight AT ALL and CLEARLY hated her job & wasn't afraid to show it, but it was not a reflection of the rest of the crew. Overall, it was an excellent way to sample the islands and a solid cruise experience.

Fantastic Vacation, Adequate Cruise

Pride of America Cruise Review by wannavacay

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2018
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Penthouse with Large Balcony
This is not one of those cruises where the ship is part of the destination. On this cruise, the destinations are the destinations, and the cruise ship is the generally enjoyable means by which you get there. In the weeks leading up to our sailing, there were many issues with access to water onboard late at night, tsunami warning(s), high surf advisories, and some associated missed ports. On our cruise, the weather stayed a day ahead, and we were fortunately able to see every port and experience every single adventure we had pre-planned with no issues on board or otherwise. We chose two excursions through NCL, and the others we booked directly.

The ship was clean and at no time did we think it was in any kind of disrepair. The balcony door in our cabin did not seal, but it wasn't an issue, and it was the only thing we noticed as far as maintenance. Our cabin was always clean, as were public areas and restrooms.

Entertainment: We did not go to many shows. We had jet-lag and we were exhausted from our days enjoying the islands. The ones in the Mardi Gras were fun, like the Newlywed Game. The layout made it hard to see what was happening from our seats, so you just had to go by sound. Get there early to get a good seat. We went to the Aloha Polynesian Show. The Hollywood Theater has a small stage, so maybe that was part of the let down... You could tell the performers were working VERY hard and had talent. But everything about this show was like a high school production, compared to shows on other ships. We also went to see the magician. He was very entertaining, but he did a lot of close-up magic which was hard to see in seats further away, and he only used the TV's on the sides of the theater to show where he was famous on other TV shows.

Dining: We utilized our suite meals often, eating breakfast mainly at Cagney's and once at Cadillac. We had a 3-specialty-dining package as a perk, and used it on Cagney's (x2) and La Cucina. Both were fantastic. The servers got to know us and it felt more like traditional dining in that regard. Ate once at Skyline and once ordered to the room via the Butler, which is apparently discouraged(!) on this ship. Service at Skyline was great, but the food was... meh. I do not recommend the food at Cadillac. Aloha Cafe was fine but the selection was not great and at "snack time" mid afternoon the food didn't even seem to go together. Cagney's was phenomenal at every meal and in every way -- Kudos to manager Kristina Hazard and her team.

Excursions: We did the whale watch through NCL. I had called PWF prior, and they said if we had not rented a car the cost of transportation would be expensive and since they had a contract with NCL we should probably just use NCL. Also, if it got cancelled for rough seas we wouldn't have wasted the transportation etc. The excursion was great, PWF really knows what they're doing. We saw whales from our balcony as we came into port as well. We also did the Kauai Director's Cut, and got on a smaller shuttle bus with Auntie Alicia. She was hilarious and we really enjoyed this tour.

Service was wonderful. Even the staff bussing tables at Aloha Cafe would say hello and make conversation, and they weren't "working a tip." There was only one young lady on the entire cruise (working with Ryan at Key West Bar) that we noticed was not pulling her weight AT ALL and CLEARLY hated her job & wasn't afraid to show it, but it was not a reflection of the rest of the crew.

Overall, it was an excellent way to sample the islands and a solid cruise experience.
wannavacay’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
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Shore Excursions
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Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Penthouse with Large Balcony
Cabin SG 11018
The cabin was a nice size, always clean, and the balcony was fantastic. We didn't spend much time in the room, but we never felt squished in there. We met our steward a few days after sailing in the hallway and she was very friendly. Our butler, Patt, was very attentive but we did not utilize her very much. We made her aware of a couple food sensitivities and she adjusted the afternoon canapes accordingly.
Deck 12 Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Hilo
    We booked a small group tour privately. There were only 6 of us on the tour and we had quite a bit of flexibility with our route and how long we stayed at any given location. Of course the volcano and its associated stops were all fascinating.
    View All 539 Hilo Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Hilo Cruise Port Review
  • Honolulu
    We stayed 3 nights prior to sailing and one day afterward. We visited Pearl Harbor and Kualoa Ranch while on Oahu.
    View All 641 Honolulu Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Honolulu Cruise Port Review
  • Hollywood - Hawaii
    We booked NCL Director's Cut, and enjoyed our tour as well as our stop for lunch. on the second day we had privately booked Wings Over Kauai private Cessna Tour. It was also very enjoyable, with great weather for seeing the island from the air. There are so many areas of Kauai that are inaccessible or on private land but you can see the beauty from above.
    View All 23 Hollywood - Hawaii Reviews
  • Kona
    We did not book any tours and just wandered around town. We ate lunch in Kona, stopped briefly at the beach by the tender dock, then headed back on board. Note: If you see a storm rolling in, either wait it out if you have time, or get on a tender ASAP. A storm came in and several tenders were rocking & rolling beside the ship packed shoulder to shoulder with windows closed, waiting until the water was calm enough again to unload passengers.
    View All 370 Kona Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Kona Cruise Port Review
  • Whale Watching
    Because we had an overnight, we were able to do a Whale Watch tour as well as a privately-booked helicopter tour the next day (to see Road to Hana as well as Haleakala).
    View All 57 Whale Watching Reviews