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We are from Michigan, mid 30's, were on a 10-year anniversary trip to Hawaii and thought this would be the best way to "see it all." This was my 10th cruise (others being Disney, Carnival, and NCL). Short story is the trip was great because Hawaii is great. Unfortunately, NCL didn't do much to help make it better besides provide a room and food. If you just need a moving hotel to see Hawaii, do this trip. If you are wanting "the cruise experience" you'll be disappointed. We got to see everything we wanted to and are happy but would not recommend this trip for anything seeking anything else than to see all of Hawaii in one week. We won't being doing this cruise again. Getting on/off the boat - We flew in from Chicago to Honolulu non-stop and went straight to the boat. Got to port at 5PM and had zero wait to get on board which was nice. Bags got to room in 30 mins. Disembarkation: we walked off with our bags pretty easily. Planned on doing Pearl Harbor (PH) then flying out at 5PM. Airport will only take your bags 4hours prior to flight. The port will hold a bag for you for $5 all day. PH does not allow bags of any kind (even purses, clutch only). Unsure if they would take our rolling baggage, we left them at the port, took an Uber for $28 to PH and arrived at 930. Had time to do the submarine, Arizona, Missouri, pick up wife's purse at bag check @ 2PM..., Uber back to boat, pick up bags, and then to Airport ($34 for second Uber ride total) at 3PM. Didn't have time to do the airplane museum. Ports/excursions - ONLY Kona has stuff to do right at the port. Everything else is a mile-ish walk and or bus ride from the boat!!! Wish we'd have known this ahead of time. Excursions are great but read reviews to make sure you don't waste time or money on boring things (i.e. coffee plantation and macadamia nut factory). Excursions are EXPENSIVE because you're on Hawaii. In the Caribbean, I've always used boat excursions but here (in American Hawaii) we tried some on our own. We saved a TON of money and had more fun because if we were all done at a spot, we moved on and didn't have to wait for 60 people. We bought the same helicopter ride on Kauai for litterally half of the NCL cost and they picked us up at the port. You can also take the Maui bus for $4pp all day. There is a "hoppa-on hoppa-off" service on most islands for $20pp that lets you do self guided tours. Great bus drivers and super nice. This is also a great way to see areas relatively close to the boat. We wish we'd have known about this ahead of time. Boat/Atmosphere - I want to be clear that the boat experience wasn't bad, but it was apparent that the level of service, attention to detail, and general atmosphere on board was not up to par. My wife and I agreed that as for on-board experiences, this was the least fun we've ever had. Other guests agreed who were past cruisers. There's not one single thing to put your finger on to say this, but rather a general consensus that this is not the "A-team" of NCL. We knew the boat would likely consist of people well above our age. An honest guess is roughly 65 for an average age so plan on slower moving traffic, listening to lots of complaints, and zero night life on board. This isn't NCL's fault, except that they do close the pool bar at 7PM so if you want towels or drinks, you have to go inside the ship. The boat is smaller so there is only a single deck theater, small pool (that only gets used on the last day of the boat), but basically zero kids to be seen because nobody brought them (like us) or doesn't have any young kids. If you're planning on bringing kids, they will not make lots of friends like on other boats. They'll have fun off the boat but will not enjoy the on-board experience as much. Food - great food as you'd expect, but the selection and "wow" factor of it was definitely less any boat I've been on. Keep in mind, you will likely only be eating breakfast daily, and dinner probably 2/3 of the time as you are on islands overnight in some cases and can board the boat 24/7. Staff - There are some absolute stars on this boat like there are on any of them. The staff is much less diverse (still very diverse compared to the common workplace) on this boat which is likely from is location. Great guest services help. Great bar staff. Dinner servers seemed inexperienced and a lot were "in training." Never met our room staff though which was a first. Also heard the most chatter between staff about their length of contracts and where they were going next? It just didn't seem like the place most people wanted to stay. Cabin - we had an inside cabin because we didn't plan to stay inside much. Great decision to save money here. No regrets. We were on deck 4. You get off the boat on 3, eat on 5, and never go to the pool. Other boats with more "deck time" I want to be on 9/10/11 but this worked out great actually. Minimal elevator time and stairs. Entertainment - the same as every boat. Nightly show, comedian, magician, not so newlywed show, etc. The smaller theater made the shows less amazing but still good. Average age and time-zone changes mean this boat goes to bed earlier than normal so night-life is virtually non-existent.

Hawaii awesome. The boat...

Pride of America Cruise Review by fsudawg85

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2020
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Inside
We are from Michigan, mid 30's, were on a 10-year anniversary trip to Hawaii and thought this would be the best way to "see it all." This was my 10th cruise (others being Disney, Carnival, and NCL).

Short story is the trip was great because Hawaii is great. Unfortunately, NCL didn't do much to help make it better besides provide a room and food. If you just need a moving hotel to see Hawaii, do this trip. If you are wanting "the cruise experience" you'll be disappointed. We got to see everything we wanted to and are happy but would not recommend this trip for anything seeking anything else than to see all of Hawaii in one week. We won't being doing this cruise again.

Getting on/off the boat - We flew in from Chicago to Honolulu non-stop and went straight to the boat. Got to port at 5PM and had zero wait to get on board which was nice. Bags got to room in 30 mins. Disembarkation: we walked off with our bags pretty easily. Planned on doing Pearl Harbor (PH) then flying out at 5PM. Airport will only take your bags 4hours prior to flight. The port will hold a bag for you for $5 all day. PH does not allow bags of any kind (even purses, clutch only). Unsure if they would take our rolling baggage, we left them at the port, took an Uber for $28 to PH and arrived at 930. Had time to do the submarine, Arizona, Missouri, pick up wife's purse at bag check @ 2PM..., Uber back to boat, pick up bags, and then to Airport ($34 for second Uber ride total) at 3PM. Didn't have time to do the airplane museum.

Ports/excursions - ONLY Kona has stuff to do right at the port. Everything else is a mile-ish walk and or bus ride from the boat!!! Wish we'd have known this ahead of time. Excursions are great but read reviews to make sure you don't waste time or money on boring things (i.e. coffee plantation and macadamia nut factory). Excursions are EXPENSIVE because you're on Hawaii. In the Caribbean, I've always used boat excursions but here (in American Hawaii) we tried some on our own. We saved a TON of money and had more fun because if we were all done at a spot, we moved on and didn't have to wait for 60 people. We bought the same helicopter ride on Kauai for litterally half of the NCL cost and they picked us up at the port. You can also take the Maui bus for $4pp all day. There is a "hoppa-on hoppa-off" service on most islands for $20pp that lets you do self guided tours. Great bus drivers and super nice. This is also a great way to see areas relatively close to the boat. We wish we'd have known about this ahead of time.

Boat/Atmosphere - I want to be clear that the boat experience wasn't bad, but it was apparent that the level of service, attention to detail, and general atmosphere on board was not up to par. My wife and I agreed that as for on-board experiences, this was the least fun we've ever had. Other guests agreed who were past cruisers. There's not one single thing to put your finger on to say this, but rather a general consensus that this is not the "A-team" of NCL. We knew the boat would likely consist of people well above our age. An honest guess is roughly 65 for an average age so plan on slower moving traffic, listening to lots of complaints, and zero night life on board. This isn't NCL's fault, except that they do close the pool bar at 7PM so if you want towels or drinks, you have to go inside the ship. The boat is smaller so there is only a single deck theater, small pool (that only gets used on the last day of the boat), but basically zero kids to be seen because nobody brought them (like us) or doesn't have any young kids. If you're planning on bringing kids, they will not make lots of friends like on other boats. They'll have fun off the boat but will not enjoy the on-board experience as much.

Food - great food as you'd expect, but the selection and "wow" factor of it was definitely less any boat I've been on. Keep in mind, you will likely only be eating breakfast daily, and dinner probably 2/3 of the time as you are on islands overnight in some cases and can board the boat 24/7.

Staff - There are some absolute stars on this boat like there are on any of them. The staff is much less diverse (still very diverse compared to the common workplace) on this boat which is likely from is location. Great guest services help. Great bar staff. Dinner servers seemed inexperienced and a lot were "in training." Never met our room staff though which was a first. Also heard the most chatter between staff about their length of contracts and where they were going next? It just didn't seem like the place most people wanted to stay.

Cabin - we had an inside cabin because we didn't plan to stay inside much. Great decision to save money here. No regrets. We were on deck 4. You get off the boat on 3, eat on 5, and never go to the pool. Other boats with more "deck time" I want to be on 9/10/11 but this worked out great actually. Minimal elevator time and stairs.

Entertainment - the same as every boat. Nightly show, comedian, magician, not so newlywed show, etc. The smaller theater made the shows less amazing but still good. Average age and time-zone changes mean this boat goes to bed earlier than normal so night-life is virtually non-existent.
fsudawg85’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Inside
Cabin IA
It was a standard inside room. It was all we needed. Never met the staff which was odd. One drawer was obviously broken but un-repaired.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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  • Volcano National Park & Hilo Waterfall Tour
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  • Honolulu
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  • Helicopter Tour
    ABSOLUTELY AMAZING AND WORTH IT! But save money by booking the same helicopter on Blue Hawaiian's website for literally half and still got picked up at the port!!! You can't fathom how many waterfalls you'll see, how big the cliffs are, etc. It was tough to shell out the money but hands down it was worth it. 55mins in a legit Eurocopter and not some old thing that's hard to see out of. I'll do this again next time but on Maui.
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  • Kona (Kailua Bay)
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  • Haleakala Crater
    Sunrise: Probably wouldn't have been great but because of black ice at mountain, we made it in the park and had to turn around... it happens twice a year but this was the first time for the boat crew because they didn't know what to do. They gave us a 75% credit back which was good. You meet at 3:15 AM on the pier which for an unknown reason gets you there almost 2 hours before sunrise... with nothing to do, and nowhere to sit but on the bus or outside...IT IS COLD. DO NOT DOUBT THE WARNINGS!!! Bus is 1.5hrs each way. Could have easily booked on day 1 for cheaper while on the island and likely gotten another hour of sleep.
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  • Molokini Crater
    One of the best excursions I've ever done! It was whale season so we saw whales everywhere. Snorkeling at the crater was everything you hope it will be. 2nd only to the Grand Cayman. Afterwards we went to a second spot where I found and chased sea turtles! Great staff. Free food and free beers/drinks.
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