• Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
Pride of America Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,394 Reviews

Best way to experience more than one Hawaiian Island

Pride of America Cruise Review by flowersnquilts

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Dec 2018
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Inside

First time cruiser, so much of the information below was gleaned from that perspective.

I'm a planner, and want to have information before a trip begins...

We chose this cruise because my mother (Deaf, senior citizen, mobility impaired) wanted to see "all" of the islands, for the last state on her list of visiting all of the United States. Of course, seeing ALL of the islands isn't possible, and inter-island transfers are prohibitively expensive, so we chose to do the NCL cruise. My parents have been on an NCL Alaskan cruise, and were happy to go again. My husband and I have never wanted to do a cruise, and this experience cemented that opinion. Yes, it was handy to unpack once, have food available when wanted, and to be moved from island to island. However, there were well over 2,000 guests onboard, and there are ALWAYS people EVERYWHERE. Getting on and off the ship was quite time consuming, and the tendering in Kona caused my mobility impaired mother to have to stay on the ship (and this tendering was NOT advertised in the materials, nor was it included in the 'before you sail' documents). We had a few other suggestions for improvements, but the cruise did the job of getting us to 4 separate islands.

On the flip side, the times when I interpreted (sign language) for my parents, the staff were very accommodating and welcoming. This included the mandatory drill, shopping, disembarkation, embarkation, and dining. The cabin they were in was for disability, but not for Deaf/Hard of Hearing. The ship provided a mobile door unit (lights up when the door is knocked upon), and our steward changed the batteries on the second day. It worked well after that.

Because the excursions through NCL were crazy marked up, especially for a group of 4, we rented a car in each port, except for Honolulu. That process also took upwards of two hours for waiting for/riding the shuttle, rental, gassing up, and the return shuttle. Even so, getting a car was the best choice. We got to do what we wanted, when we wanted, without being with a crowd of co-passengers. Even with the car rental fee, we saved money over paying NCL prices for tour tickets. Parking overnight was explained by shuttle drivers...obviously much more up to date than comments online. No problems with that in the 2 locations that were overnight in port. (Maui was overnight parking at/by the airport, use the shuttle to get to/from the ship; Kauai was at the ABC store just down the street ($20) or on that street (free)--a walk of 2-3 blocks. Easy.

We booked a Maui Gold Pineapple tour (excellent), and were able to bring our complimentary pineapples onboard. Hawaii has a contract with airlines so that they can be carried on a flight with no extra charge.

Our steward "G," was AMAZING, and helped to redeem the onboard experience. I'd hire him in a heartbeat for ANY job.

We were aware that cruise lines are all about entertainment, including programs for kids, programs/shows for adults, and shopping. There are a variety of shops onboard, and similar shops at ports. I know that in Juneau, the cruise line owns many/most of the shops at the port...so am suspecting that may be true on Hawaii, as well. Go away from the port to shop, or to get a true Hawaiian experience. We met many amazing locals by exploring.

The shows were really geared toward people who enjoy the Vegas-type experience...or summer camp on steroids. We went to one, and that was enough. With a full day and a good dinner, we just had quiet evenings in our cabins. My parents got a balcony cabin, so we all enjoyed the views.

We chose a Luau at Lahaina, and it was wonderful! I looked at the pictures from the cruise-sanctioned event on Kauai, and it didn't come close to the excellence level of the Old Lahaina Luau. Again, a car is necessary to do most activities not provided by NCL.

The end of the cruise included a swing by the Napali coast. Fortunately, my parents' balcony room was on the port side, as that's the side that saw the coast (luck of the draw, as that information is not provided ahead of time). The coast is beautiful...we left port at about 2:00, arrived there at about 5:15. We wish we'd had that time frame, as we had dinner reservations at 5:30. It was nice that the windows at La Cucina are on the port side, as well, so we could continue to view the spectacular scenery.

If you are at all sensitive to wave motion, do NOT book a cruise. It wasn't stormy, but MANY guests were seasick the first couple of nights (staff, too). The seas weren't flat, just had swells. The movement of such a big boat was amazing! Passengers were laughing down the hallways, because we all looked like drunkards. This made it difficult for my mother, who uses a cane for stability. She had to hold on to the railings, or to us. Hand rails are missing across doorways, so when the ship is really rolling she held onto us. The 2 nights sleeping in port were lovely, no movement.


There is a staff member standing at the doorway of the buffet to squirt sanitizer into everyone's hands. There are stations as well, but many passengers go right on by. And then you see the people who sneeze all over their hands and touch things. Sigh.

The buffet food was ample and had many choices. The burger buns were amazing, and the rest of the food was chain hotel average to above average. Breakfast pastries and soft serve ice cream only offered on one side. LOTS of people, and many don't seem to understand that there are LOTS of people, and so should be not standing stock still in the middle of everything, looking at what to eat next (or shouldn't just push in to the front of a line). Or standing in a group, having a conversation. Watch out for people who allow their children to run. Be prepared. Don't expect to be able to get through quickly.

We ate Friday night at La Cucina ($$ on top of the "complimentary" dining), and it was worth it. Not excellent, but very good, and the windows provide great views. The setting was much more intimate than the buffet area, and the service was stellar.

Beverages: Only water, coffee, tea, orange/cranberry/apple juice, milk and lemonade were available with the cost of the cruise. All alcohol is extra, as is pop/soda/coke. I can understand the alcohol, but soda? That's cheaper than juice and milk! It's $7.95 per person, per day for soda! The alcohol is priced at hotel bar levels. The drink of the day is $8.95, about a dollar less than the regular price, and each day's offering is listed in the newsletter. They aren't stiff drinks, but not watery, either. There was a whiskey tasting "class," which turned out to be all Jack Daniels products. The lecturer passed along misinformation, but overall a nice hour. $19, and totaled about 2 shots. If you desire to drink, do it onshore. Or, buy wine at the market and pay the $15 corking fee, it will save you big bucks.

Wine: A bottle that I know is under $10 at the grocery store was on offer for almost

$50. Glasses start at about $8. 2 days after the cruise was underway, a "Vino" package was mentioned in the newsletter (not online prior to cruising), which turned out to be a choice of 4, 6, or 8 bottles for a flat price (tiered for expensiveness of the wines). I don't know if it was available from the beginning; talk to a bartender or server for information.

All of the above said, we're glad we chose to do the cruise, because it enabled us to see 4 of the Hawaiian islands. It was very much like being in a huge, all-inclusive resort. Not our cup of tea, but it served its purpose, and I know that there are (obviously) people who desire that type of vacation. We loved seeing Hawaii, and had a great time with my parents.

flowersnquilts's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Sign Up for Price Drop Alerts
Get tomorrow's price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Cabin Review

Cabin IB 10527

I saw a post before we went about the 'tiny' cabins, and the need for over the door hanging storage for the bathroom, and extension cords. Well, the bathroom in our inside stateroom was fine; there is a corner medicine cabinet with ample storage, and a decent countertop. Yes, it's small, but bigger than an RV. If a passenger is 300 pounds, they'll have trouble (get a handicapped room...they're huge!).

Extension cords are critical if you have a CPAP machine that you need to use at the bed. There are 2 outlets with 2 plug-ins each, one on each side at the shelf area between the foot of the bed and the door. No USB ports. The heavy hair dryer is outside of the bathroom. Nice little nightstands between the bed and the walls, with a shelf underneath.

My dad felt too claustrophobic in our room, probably because there are no windows. 10527 has one bunk; I pulled it down to see how that would impact the room. The person under it on the bed could sleep on his/her side, but not sit up. Some rooms have two bunks...I can't imagine how that would work, unless the underneath bed were twins. Perhaps the twins are lower, so there's more room between the upper and lower beds? THAT would be claustrophobic.

We felt that the cost savings was worth it, but ALSO very much enjoyed the balcony that my parents had. The view from the pool areas just wasn't the same, and they were crowded.

Our steward "G," was AMAZING, and helped to redeem the onboard experience. I'd hire him in a heartbeat for ANY job.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Pearl Harbor

Booked with Diamond Head Vacations..."Auntie Pua" was an excellent guide. Very empathetic with passengers, full of information, and entertaining! Everyone should tour with her!

View All 212 Pearl Harbor Reviews

This was an excellent adventure! Parking was easy, as was entry. The tables overlook the ground-seated patrons, and the stage. Prior to the show, there are local vendors showing and selling traditional wares. The drinks are bottomless (all of them!), and the food was spectacular. It was served buffet-style, but went smoothly and quickly. We would do this luau EVERY time we visit the island!

View All undefined undefined Reviews

Great tour of the property, including the coffee trees and processing facilities. The gift shop is nice, the coffee a bit steep compared to other places, but it's the LOCAL coffee from the farm we just walked on! There are tastings, so you can choose the type you like best (medium roast, dark roast, decaf). Very nice people run the place. Highly recommended.

View All undefined undefined Reviews

Excellent equipment, location, and especially, leader/tour guide. He was full of information, and knew the Hawaiian names for everything. The wetsuits helped with flotation, and made the experience more enjoyable.

View All 18 Snorkeling Reviews

Previous ReviewNext Review
1 Reviews Written
4 Helpful Votes
Never Miss a Deal!
Subscribe and Save
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

More Norwegian (NCL) Pride of America Reviews

Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.