Let me begin by saying that you choose the Pride of America because of the awesome itinerary rather than the ship. We were in port every day and I came back to the ship every night tired enough that I really didn’t want much on the ship.
The ship itself is nothing special, but not bad either. In fact, it didn’t stand out in any way, positive or negative. It was clean and comfortable, but lacked many of the modern amenities of newer ships. But, who cares? You’re there to island hop and if you’re on the ship enough to care, then you are missing the point of this cruise!
Cabin was small, especially for 3 people, but adequate. View was very obstructed, but it was better than no window at all.
We had 2 full days a Kahului, Maui. First day, we rented a car and went to the West Maui mountains and the Nakalele blowhole. IT was a beautiful and fun trip without all of the traffic issues of driving to Hana. If you choose to do the West Maui Mountains, make sure to go through Lahaina rather than Kahakuloa. By all reports, the road through Kahakuloa is very dangerous!
One note about renting a car. Avis/Budget had a shuttle from the pier. Enterprise had an office within walking distance. All others took cabs. Cab fare was $12+tip.
The second day we took the downhill bicycle excursion. It was a great tour and a lot of fun. We ended in a cool cowboy town called Makawao.
When we arrived in Hilo, we rented a car. All of the major car rentals had shuttles to the airport rental counter, so that was easy. Since the volcano has stopped erupting, we chose to drive along the Hamakua coast instead of going to Volcanos NP. It was a beautiful drive and we stopped at Akaka falls.
Next we checked out Carlsmith beach park. It had a bunch of really great lagoons for swimming and the sea turtles supposedly like it too, but not when we were there. I recommend it, but beware! There or large volcanic boulders in the water so be careful! You can easily cut yourself or break a toe.
Kona was the only harbor on our itinerary that actually had a pretty place for use to come ashore. It was a very picturesque place. However, it was very, very crowded! It turns out that we were there 3 days before the Ironman triathlon and all of the athletes were there. You could tell at a glance who were the tourists from the ship and who were the athletes! :o
Kauai was by far the greenest and most rugged of the islands we visited. Those mountains go straight up!
We made use of the rental car shuttles (all the major brands had them) to rent a car. On the first day, we drove to Waimea Canyon. Spectacular place, but we were slow and did not beat the tour busses!
If you choose to drive to Waimea canyon, be sure to take Waimea Canyon road on the way there rather than the “recommended” route on Kokee road. You’ll avoid the tour busses and see several worthy scenic lookouts on the way.
On the second day, we took the complementary shuttle to the Anchor Cove shopping center. The Marriott has a wonderful botanical garden with a great Koi pond. We arrived right a feeding time. It was quite a site. Best of all, it was free!
There’s also a fine swimming beach adjacent to the shopping center and we had a great time there.