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We chose an 11-day Cruisetour of the Islands and NCL was the only Cruise Company that we knew of that offered the type of vacation we were looking for. We arrived at the Hilton Hawaiian Beach Resort Spa very late in the evening and basically fell into bed. The first three days of the NCL vacation were all land-based and they were FANTASTIC! The bus was super comfortable and our tour guide was amazing. We learned so much from him. The transition from hotel to Cruise Terminal was seamless and so relaxed - they deserve 5 stars for that. Unfortunately, there had to be a downside from there. Service was not a strong suit for NCL Pride of America staff. We got attitude, were actually dismissed by a member of the Photo Studio (yes, he turned his back on us.) when we had the gall to ask them a question 2 minutes before "opening". We were told to come back when they opened which took more effort than a simple yes or no which is all that was required. Needless to say, we avoided purchasing any product from there. Dining room staff was distant. Polite but stand-offish. Smiles from the crew anywhere on the ship were rare. The food was average at best, but it was edible. On the plus side, we were not tempted to overeat! :-) LOL Excursions were well run with no confusion at all. Excellent variety available as well. It would have been nice to have had better enrichment prior to each port, but the trade-off was having 2 days in each of the ports of Kahului (Maui) and Nawiliwili (Kauai). One of the excursions we chose was Kauai - the Director's Cut. It was not what we expected BUT, it was fun and did take us to see some lovely scenery. So, having said both good and bad, here is a summary of the Cruistour offered by NCL and Pride of America: 1. Life is too short - do it! 2. 11-day Cruisetour was amazing - take time on either side of it to get the most. 3. The a la carte restaurants on Pride of America are not worth the $$. 4. If you plan to eat anywhere except the buffet, grills, and Cadillac Restaurants, make your reservations on the first night. They fill up fast. 5. When in Honolulu, go to Dukes Lane for souvenir shopping and seriously barter! Do not buy the first thing you see but walk around as some of the vendors in the back are more interested in lower pricing. You can save at least 50% off store prices and possibly more if you're ready to wait. 6. Do NOT take the Luau excursion off the ship. It's seriously overpriced and not one person was satisfied with the value for $$. If you do opt for days before and after the Cruisetour, shop around and ask the Hotel for suggestions on other Luau packages. 7. The real star is Hawaii itself - the ship was just transportation - a floating restaurant with average food. The excursions are definitely worth looking at as they allowed us to see everything we wanted to see with the most comfort and the least fuss. 8. There are very few birds and almost no indigenous flora. People from Florida felt like they were seeing all the same flowers etc - cause they were! The difference in Hawaii is the terrain. Fantastic topography! Breathtaking scenic vistas! Snorkel/scuba outings are a must! Swim with turtles - visit the Volcanic areas - (don't expect to see any active areas as most are now dormant except for Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii - last erupted in 2018 and the lava is cooling still - so the national park is still closed. There was a small earthquake, M 5.5 - 12km SSE of Volcano, Hawaii the night we left, so there may be some fissure reopened, but there was nothing to see while we were there. 9. Take lots of pictures! Keep a journal or folder of the excursions and islands. After a few days, you'll lose track. The Hawaiin alphabet is comprised of 12 letters and an apostrophe, so place names start sounding the same. Also, the tradition is name things as descriptors, so the names become quite long. This will make sense once you're there. 10. Hawaii is not cheap. It is an isolated volcanic chain of islands that have to have everything imported. Expect to pay a bit more for your food and don't expect to do a lot of shopping. It is all high-end luxury stores like Michael Kors, Gucci, etc. Stick to the more affordable ABC stores. There are quite a few restaurant options so you won't go hungry.

Magical Hawai'i

Pride of America Cruise Review by MonicadeMoss

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2019
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
We chose an 11-day Cruisetour of the Islands and NCL was the only Cruise Company that we knew of that offered the type of vacation we were looking for. We arrived at the Hilton Hawaiian Beach Resort Spa very late in the evening and basically fell into bed. The first three days of the NCL vacation were all land-based and they were FANTASTIC! The bus was super comfortable and our tour guide was amazing. We learned so much from him. The transition from hotel to Cruise Terminal was seamless and so relaxed - they deserve 5 stars for that. Unfortunately, there had to be a downside from there. Service was not a strong suit for NCL Pride of America staff. We got attitude, were actually dismissed by a member of the Photo Studio (yes, he turned his back on us.) when we had the gall to ask them a question 2 minutes before "opening". We were told to come back when they opened which took more effort than a simple yes or no which is all that was required. Needless to say, we avoided purchasing any product from there. Dining room staff was distant. Polite but stand-offish. Smiles from the crew anywhere on the ship were rare.

The food was average at best, but it was edible. On the plus side, we were not tempted to overeat! :-) LOL

Excursions were well run with no confusion at all. Excellent variety available as well. It would have been nice to have had better enrichment prior to each port, but the trade-off was having 2 days in each of the ports of Kahului (Maui) and Nawiliwili (Kauai).

One of the excursions we chose was Kauai - the Director's Cut. It was not what we expected BUT, it was fun and did take us to see some lovely scenery.

So, having said both good and bad, here is a summary of the Cruistour offered by NCL and Pride of America:

1. Life is too short - do it!

2. 11-day Cruisetour was amazing - take time on either side of it to get the most.

3. The a la carte restaurants on Pride of America are not worth the $$.

4. If you plan to eat anywhere except the buffet, grills, and Cadillac Restaurants, make your reservations on the first night. They fill up fast.

5. When in Honolulu, go to Dukes Lane for souvenir shopping and seriously barter! Do not buy the first thing you see but walk around as some of the vendors in the back are more interested in lower pricing. You can save at least 50% off store prices and possibly more if you're ready to wait.

6. Do NOT take the Luau excursion off the ship. It's seriously overpriced and not one person was satisfied with the value for $$. If you do opt for days before and after the Cruisetour, shop around and ask the Hotel for suggestions on other Luau packages.

7. The real star is Hawaii itself - the ship was just transportation - a floating restaurant with average food. The excursions are definitely worth looking at as they allowed us to see everything we wanted to see with the most comfort and the least fuss.

8. There are very few birds and almost no indigenous flora. People from Florida felt like they were seeing all the same flowers etc - cause they were! The difference in Hawaii is the terrain. Fantastic topography! Breathtaking scenic vistas! Snorkel/scuba outings are a must! Swim with turtles - visit the Volcanic areas - (don't expect to see any active areas as most are now dormant except for Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii - last erupted in 2018 and the lava is cooling still - so the national park is still closed. There was a small earthquake, M 5.5 - 12km SSE of Volcano, Hawaii the night we left, so there may be some fissure reopened, but there was nothing to see while we were there.

9. Take lots of pictures! Keep a journal or folder of the excursions and islands. After a few days, you'll lose track. The Hawaiin alphabet is comprised of 12 letters and an apostrophe, so place names start sounding the same. Also, the tradition is name things as descriptors, so the names become quite long. This will make sense once you're there.

10. Hawaii is not cheap. It is an isolated volcanic chain of islands that have to have everything imported. Expect to pay a bit more for your food and don't expect to do a lot of shopping. It is all high-end luxury stores like Michael Kors, Gucci, etc. Stick to the more affordable ABC stores. There are quite a few restaurant options so you won't go hungry.
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BA
The cabin was a bit smaller than we expected and it was "tired", but it served its purpose for the duration of the cruise.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews