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If your looking for the best Hawaiian experience, this is the best option. The cruise’s strength is that is has the best itinerary hands down of any other ship. There is enough time at the two main ones (Maui and Kauai) but a great opportunity to see Hilo and Kona which would likely not be on your radar. Each island has its own feel and it’s the perfect amount of time on each. The ship overall was just ok. It does feel like one of NCL’s older fleets. We did have an issue with a bathroom toilet for two days due someone improbably disposing of things but didn’t feel it got much attention until we had to escalate it. Also feel there were some sections of the hotel that smelled a little moldy. If you like participating in a lot of the cruise on board activities, you might be slightly disappointed it didn’t seem as much variety as with other past cruise including on NCL. Overall everything really shuts down on the ship by midnight which is fine for early birds but might be slightly disappointing for the night owls. It was a very diverse group of people which was nice to see. I will say that the ship staff were GREAT. They might have the been the second best part of the trip because they were funny, personable and went out of there way to connect with people. As for excursions, you can mostly skip them and venture on your own. In Maui, I would recommend renting a car (Budget/Avis/Thrifty/Dollar) pickup right at the port. I took an Uber for two days and the access was great but it can run you if you are trying to see different things. I would recommend visiting the Lahaina but know it is about 30-45min away, Maui Brewing headquarters for local beer tasting in a really cool setting with great views and Wailea Beach (our Uber driver took us to a local entry section and it was nice, not crowded and felt like a local). In Hilo, Kona and Kauai you can take a Hop on Hop Off bus that goes to the main tourist sections. Hilo it’s called Hoppa On Hoppa Off. You will find the store to purchase tickets and pickup right outside the port gates. All of the hop on hop offs take you to the beach also. Kona is an island where they tether you to the shore FYI for some that might not be ok with small boats. In Kauai you have to walk a little further to get to it or you can take the free shuttle right at the port to the shopping center where it is located. In HIlo I would recommend eating at Suisan for the BEST poke bowl. It’s the freshest food we ate the entire trip and it’s the number 1 local spot. It’s on the Hoppa on Hoppa off right as well. Lastly if you have the opportunity I would recommend a pre and post in Honolulu to see Pearl Harbor and also go to the North Shore. I didn’t make it to either but was told that it’s best to rent a car to North Shore because it’s over an hour and Uber’s can get really pricy on the way back. Some hotels like Kahala have a Hertz located in the hotel making it really convenient. We did do the Luau with VIP upgrade and the Kayak/Hike excursion through NCL in Kauai. I would recommend the Luau in Kauai because its one of the most authentic and first islands. Note if booking the hike to bring proper hiking shoes or proper sneakers that you don’t mind getting fully muddy and wet. There were some large puddles in which your feet will be fully submerged. It also can be a little tricky going up and down the hills with the mud so I wouldn’t recommend it for those with any physical challenges. I would highly recommend you take advantage of the specialty dining packages. Moderno, Teppanyaki and Cageny’s were one of the highlights of the trip. Service was impeccable. The 24 hour dinner which is included is really nice hidden spot. Overall I would rate the ship experience a 3 but a 5 for the itinerary.

Hands down best Hawaiian itinerary

Pride of America Cruise Review by Krystlesp9245

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2018
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
If your looking for the best Hawaiian experience, this is the best option. The cruise’s strength is that is has the best itinerary hands down of any other ship. There is enough time at the two main ones (Maui and Kauai) but a great opportunity to see Hilo and Kona which would likely not be on your radar. Each island has its own feel and it’s the perfect amount of time on each.

The ship overall was just ok. It does feel like one of NCL’s older fleets. We did have an issue with a bathroom toilet for two days due someone improbably disposing of things but didn’t feel it got much attention until we had to escalate it. Also feel there were some sections of the hotel that smelled a little moldy. If you like participating in a lot of the cruise on board activities, you might be slightly disappointed it didn’t seem as much variety as with other past cruise including on NCL. Overall everything really shuts down on the ship by midnight which is fine for early birds but might be slightly disappointing for the night owls. It was a very diverse group of people which was nice to see. I will say that the ship staff were GREAT. They might have the been the second best part of the trip because they were funny, personable and went out of there way to connect with people.

As for excursions, you can mostly skip them and venture on your own. In Maui, I would recommend renting a car (Budget/Avis/Thrifty/Dollar) pickup right at the port. I took an Uber for two days and the access was great but it can run you if you are trying to see different things. I would recommend visiting the Lahaina but know it is about 30-45min away, Maui Brewing headquarters for local beer tasting in a really cool setting with great views and Wailea Beach (our Uber driver took us to a local entry section and it was nice, not crowded and felt like a local). In Hilo, Kona and Kauai you can take a Hop on Hop Off bus that goes to the main tourist sections. Hilo it’s called Hoppa On Hoppa Off. You will find the store to purchase tickets and pickup right outside the port gates. All of the hop on hop offs take you to the beach also. Kona is an island where they tether you to the shore FYI for some that might not be ok with small boats. In Kauai you have to walk a little further to get to it or you can take the free shuttle right at the port to the shopping center where it is located. In HIlo I would recommend eating at Suisan for the BEST poke bowl. It’s the freshest food we ate the entire trip and it’s the number 1 local spot. It’s on the Hoppa on Hoppa off right as well. Lastly if you have the opportunity I would recommend a pre and post in Honolulu to see Pearl Harbor and also go to the North Shore. I didn’t make it to either but was told that it’s best to rent a car to North Shore because it’s over an hour and Uber’s can get really pricy on the way back. Some hotels like Kahala have a Hertz located in the hotel making it really convenient. We did do the Luau with VIP upgrade and the Kayak/Hike excursion through NCL in Kauai. I would recommend the Luau in Kauai because its one of the most authentic and first islands. Note if booking the hike to bring proper hiking shoes or proper sneakers that you don’t mind getting fully muddy and wet. There were some large puddles in which your feet will be fully submerged. It also can be a little tricky going up and down the hills with the mud so I wouldn’t recommend it for those with any physical challenges.

I would highly recommend you take advantage of the specialty dining packages. Moderno, Teppanyaki and Cageny’s were one of the highlights of the trip. Service was impeccable. The 24 hour dinner which is included is really nice hidden spot.

Overall I would rate the ship experience a 3 but a 5 for the itinerary.
Krystlesp9245’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BB 9674
Just ok and I would recommend that NCL reconfigure how they setup for two separate beds. They put the beds first when you walk in and the couch in front of the Balcony doors. I was on another cruise 6 months ago on another cruise line and they put the couch first which made it visually feel roomier even if it meant the bed was in front of the window.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Hilo
    You can take the Hoppa on Hoppa off right at the port right after the port gates for about $20 and includes a route of the island and a separate beach route also. Best food of the trip came from Suisan a local hot spot servicing the best ahi poke bowl. It’s the on route also.
    View All 548 Hilo Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Hilo Cruise Port Review
  • Honolulu
    We didn’t do any excursions in Honolulu and didn’t get to the North Shore and Pearl Harbor which I would do next time. I was told by an Uber driver that is best to rent a car for the North Shore due to expense cost of Uber rides on the return. I would stay at a hotel that has a rental car on site to make it even more convenient like Kahala.
    View All 649 Honolulu Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Honolulu Cruise Port Review
  • Kona (Kailua Bay)
    Note that this is a tethered port meaning you will have to get off the boat onto smaller boats to get to the port. Just wanted to call it out for those that might have an issue with smaller boats. There is a Hop on Hop off at this port also making it easy and inexpensive to do the main tourist stops.
    View All 377 Kona (Kailua Bay) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Kona (Kailua Bay) Cruise Port Review
  • Maui
    If your looking for the best Hawaiian experience, this is the best option. The cruise’s strength is that is has the best itinerary hands down of any other ship. There is enough time at the two main ones (Maui and Kauai) but a great opportunity to see Hilo and Kona which would likely not be on your radar. Each island has its own feel and it’s the perfect amount of time on each.

    The ship overall was just ok. It does feel like one of NCL’s older fleets. We did have an issue with a bathroom toilet for two days due someone improbably disposing of things but didn’t feel it got much attention until we had to escalate it. Also feel there were some sections of the hotel that smelled a little moldy. If you like participating in a lot of the cruise on board activities, you might be slightly disappointed it didn’t seem as much variety as with other past cruise including on NCL. Overall everything really shuts down on the ship by midnight which is fine for early birds but might be slightly disappointing for the night owls. It was a very diverse group of people which was nice to see. I will say that the ship staff were GREAT. They might have the been the second best part of the trip because they were funny, personable and went out of there way to connect with people.

    As for excursions, you can mostly skip them and venture on your own. In Maui, I would recommend renting a car (Budget/Avis/Thrifty/Dollar) pickup right at the port. I took an Uber for two days and the access was great but it can run you if you are trying to see different things. I would recommend visiting the Lahaina but know it is about 30-45min away, Maui Brewing headquarters for local beer tasting in a really cool setting with great views and Wailea Beach (our Uber driver took us to a local entry section and it was nice, not crowded and felt like a local). In Hilo, Kona and Kauai you can take a Hop on Hop Off bus that goes to the main tourist sections. Hilo it’s called Hoppa On Hoppa Off. You will find the store to purchase tickets and pickup right outside the port gates. All of the hop on hop offs take you to the beach also. Kona is an island where they tether you to the shore FYI for some that might not be ok with small boats. In Kauai you have to walk a little further to get to it or you can take the free shuttle right at the port to the shopping center where it is located. In HIlo I would recommend eating at Suisan for the BEST poke bowl. It’s the freshest food we ate the entire trip and it’s the number 1 local spot. It’s on the Hoppa on Hoppa off right as well. Lastly if you have the opportunity I would recommend a pre and post in Honolulu to see Pearl Harbor and also go to the North Shore. I didn’t make it to either but was told that it’s best to rent a car to North Shore because it’s over an hour and Uber’s can get really pricy on the way back. Some hotels like Kahala have a Hertz located in the hotel making it really convenient. We did do the Luau with VIP upgrade and the Kayak/Hike excursion through NCL in Kauai. I would recommend the Luau in Kauai because its one of the most authentic and first islands. Note if booking the hike to bring proper hiking shoes or proper sneakers that you don’t mind getting fully muddy and wet. There were some large puddles in which your feet will be fully submerged. It also can be a little tricky going up and down the hills with the mud so I wouldn’t recommend it for those with any physical challenges.
    View All 594 Maui Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Maui Cruise Port Review