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Sail Date: September 2018
I don't consider ourselves "cruise" people. In fact, the only other cruise we have taken was 25 years ago for our honeymoon on NCL. We chose Hawaii to celebrate our 25th and compared this cruise to island hopping with checking ... Read More
I don't consider ourselves "cruise" people. In fact, the only other cruise we have taken was 25 years ago for our honeymoon on NCL. We chose Hawaii to celebrate our 25th and compared this cruise to island hopping with checking in/out of airports/hotels. For convenience, we selected the cruise on Pride of America. Cabin: The cabin is small but sufficient for how little time you spend in there. The shower area is small but the water pressure was excellent. A decent sized closet with adequate hangers. A total of 4 drawers to store everything else. Our empty suitcases fit nicely below the bed and were hidden. A small desk/vanity area outside of the bathroom was sufficient. The steward did a great job cleaning/replenishing towels, etc.. We had an inside cabin, not an issue. You cruise at night so you aren't missing out on views from a balcony. Excursions: We booked our daily activities on our own by mainly renting cars at each port and doing what we wanted without having to wait on others. We were able to see more this way. Maui: We drove the Road to Hana. Stopped at 3 or so waterfalls along the way, purchased banana bread from a road vendor (it was very good). We reached the end about 4 hours later and I can truly say I am not sure I needed to see all 4 hours of it. Now you have the 4 hour drive back. We decided (against a park rangers advice) to continue around the island in a full circle. The roads become bumpy/dirt roads and more narrow. Totally doable if in the right vehicle (we had a Jeep Wrangler). I found the natural beauty of that side of island to be breathtaking just from looking out the car window. In summary, it is a very long day of driving. Not hard, just slow due to curves, traffic, bridge switchbacks, stopping to do small hikes in to see some waterfalls along the way. We then continued on to the Haleakala Crater for sunset. It is a steep and winding drive but I found it to be rewarding watching the sunset above the clouds, beautiful. We were fortunate to be there on a night after the full moon so the star gazing was amazing and we saw the Milky Way. It is chilly at that elevation so have long pants and light jacket if you plan to stay more than 15 minutes. Note: rented car from Enterprise which is close to the port. Parking that night was a pain. Enterprise guided us to park at the Maui Beach hotel for $5. From boat to hotel was a 1 mile walk. Right across the street from the port is a shopping plaza with a Long's Drugs (24 hour CVS). I bet we could have parked there without any issue. Big Island: Hilo Port: We drove to Mauna Kea. We rented a small pickup truck from Harper's near the port. They are the only rental agency that contractually allows you to drive up to the summit of Mauna Kea. You need the 4-wheel drive with low gears to climb/descend without burning out the breaks. It is steep but totally doable. Once at the summit, the view is amazing. It is windy and a bit chilly at 15,000 feet but you only need 10-15 minutes of it and you are ready to descend back down. We stopped at the Visitor/Observation center both coming and going to acclimate to the altitude changes. After speaking to a worker, we learned it would be a phenomenal night for star gazing and to see the Milky Way. We opted to spend the night off the ship and booked a hotel room so that we could return to Mauna Kea that evening. We went back to the ship and filled out paperwork to let them know we would meet up with ship in the Kona side the next day. We enjoyed the star gazing and guided laser show that the visitor center put on. We got a call that night from NCL telling us that they were not docking the next morning on the Kona side due to large ocean swells from a hurricane 400+ miles away. We booked a one-way ticket on Hawaiin Airlines to Kauai (at our expense) the next morning to meet up with the cruise again. Filling out that paperwork is what led NCL to call me and tell me in advance that they were not docking in Kona the next day. If you decide to do this, make certain you fill out the paperwork at the reception desk. It seems that this is a common practice on the Big Island. I wish they would only dock on one side of the island so you have a full night at port. Mauna Kea and Volcano National Park are 45 minutes + from either side of the island. Kona Port: Since the cruise didn't dock, it seemed like we had the island to ourselves. We did a plantation tour at Hula Daddy Kona Coffee. It was interesting to learn about coffee and I don't even drink it. We then did a catamaran snorkel trip via Sea Paradise to the cove of Captain Cook monument. 45 minute ride each way and an hour snorkel. Lots of fish and the water was clear. Tourism was lower that day due to the POA not coming to port. Even though it cost us some $, we weren't stuck at sea for a full day so I think we lucked out Kauai Port: We went to a few beaches, drove to the sanctuary/lighthouse, did a Wailua River kayak/hike to waterfalls and ended the trip with a helicopter island tour with Safari Tours. The weather was beautiful the whole time and we enjoyed exploring all three islands. We were busy with maximizing our time on the islands so we didn't use the ship pool, fitness, game room. Ship Entertainment: We went to a comedy show two different nights. The guy was good (Michael Sommerville or something like that) They did a Newlywed type game show with couples from the cruise, that was funny. On the last night, we did a trivia night where the popular answer wins, it was pretty lame. MEALS: We only ate at the "free" restaurants. East Meets West - service was awful. It took over 75 minutes to get our food. And, it wasn't even good. Kung Pao chicken had no flavor/spice. They sent a bottle of wine to our cabin for our troubles. Aloha Cafe (buffet) - We mainly ate here for breakfast. It was okay. The bacon was bad (pretty sure it is deep fried) so it tasted like a deep fryer. We ate dinner here one night, again okay. Desserts seemed prepackaged/frozen. Skyline Dining - informal/casual wear. A decent menu selection. I had steak one night, it was okay. My husband had spaghetti bolognese, he said it was okay. Lava cake was pretty good. Liberty Dining - more formal but same menu as Skyline. We both had the chicken breast, it was okay. I was getting tired of the waiter calling me "malady". Cadillac Diner - open 24 hours. It was a late night on the island so this was our only choice for a quick meal. It was just okay. So in summary, the food was just okay. If I compare it to our experience 25 years ago, it has gone way downhill. It is like eating at the Golden Coral for 7 days straight. For the $$, I expected it to be better. I also wish the plan included soda as a beverage choice. We decided $7.95/day/person was ridiculous. It seems so nickel and dime, a turn off really. The cocktails are between $7 (for beer) and $11-$13 for mixed drinks. They automatically add another 20% gratuity on top of that. If you bring any beverages in luggage, purse, etc., they will confiscate it at the checkpoint. I saw quite a few people try it though. Also, it seems to encourage people to drink well on the island in order to save money on the ship. I saw people downing the small liquor bottles before getting to the checkpoints. So in summary, the cruise was like a floating hotel for us and you pay for the that convenience. I read reviews in advance and that was the impression I had from others as well. I wish the food were better, but it wasn't awful. It kept us from gaining the standard 8-lbs they say you get from a cruise :-) Everyone's experience and expectations are different. We did this as a convenient way to explore Hawaii. Others may take advantage of the cruise entertainment, nightlife etc. which wasn't as important to us. We were pretty exhausted at the end of each day since we had long day excursions outside of NCL. I hope this review helps you in some way. I am glad to answer any questions. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
This is my 1st Carnival cruise but my 7th cruise. I won’t sail Carnival again. Feel like I’m on budget holiday. The food is ordinary, cold when it’s supposed to be hot and visa versa. 5 days until we get home can’t ... Read More
This is my 1st Carnival cruise but my 7th cruise. I won’t sail Carnival again. Feel like I’m on budget holiday. The food is ordinary, cold when it’s supposed to be hot and visa versa. 5 days until we get home can’t come quickly enough. Everything is a money grab you even have to pay for fish and chips. Bingo is a joke. Same entertainment for 18 days. No dancing for older people unless you want to go to the nightclub at 10pm. We danced every night on Princess. The interior of the ship can only be described as ugly, it’s hard to look at. I’m normally a very optimistic person but this is a challenging cruise to say the least. The day trips are expensive and not really worth the money. Room staff are lovely but some of the kitchen staff don’t understand when you ask questions which is very frustrating. Worst buffet layout ever. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Well we arrived to the pier with a relatively quick experience going through security and check in. When we walked to board the ship however we were stopped by photographers forcing almost every passenger to have a photo done with the ... Read More
Well we arrived to the pier with a relatively quick experience going through security and check in. When we walked to board the ship however we were stopped by photographers forcing almost every passenger to have a photo done with the American flag as you enter the gangway. This is a bit over the top,one it slowed down the entire process and respectfully we are Canadian and don't feel the need to stop for a photo with the American flag. Save the photo's for other times on board the ship. Ship; Smallest ship we have sailed on and very dated. The common areas were dusty, old, and dark, no where near the new ships grandeur or bright open glamorous common areas we have become use to. I read this ship went in for refurbishment, not sure what they updated? Cabin: Small as with most cruises, outdated, limited electrical plugs and no space to put suitcases other than standing up in the closet. Limited drawers so even unpacking a suitcase was a challenge. The shower was terrible and reminded me of showering at an overnight camp as a child My husband and I are relatively slim people and we couldn't even turn around without hitting a spout or dispenser. Shower curtains in hotels/cruises are gross, they harbor bacteria and I can assure you are not cleaned on a regular basis--yuck. Clearly this ship is more about getting simple food and a bed to sleep on in the evening, NCL relies on the destination of Hawaii to be the highlight of the trip for passengers not the ship or cruising experience. Entertainment: Barely any shows and times early so it conflicted with most dinner times. No casino on board either so for some that is a drawback, we don't gamble but it is sometimes nice to stroll the casino to see people and get a little party vibe. Dining: Again pay restaurants are king at NCL, unnecessary cash grabs from cruise lines. Liberty Main dining although is fine with anytime dining, there is a dress code, that isn't clearly state on the website so we were slightly unprepared on the first night showing up without the proper collared dress shirts. Given NCL's more casual dining experience passengers should be informed that slacks and dress shirt with collars are required for men so we could pack accordingly. Alas this wasn't a huge issue as we do tend to dress up a bit for dinner however given the limited dining options on the ship not having the right attire could leave some passengers with even less dining options. East/Meets west was misrepresented initially. We went day one to ask about dining and were told it was a pay restaurant, given the cost of this cruise and drinks on board we were not willing to pay more. Later in the week we found out only certain items were pay options so we only got a reservation the last day. Food was good, service as well, too bad staff didn't inform us correctly earlier in the week, Restaurant is ridiculously small so get on the ship and reserve your spot quickly. Buffet: This was by far the smallest, mediocre buffet I have ever experienced on a cruise Variety was limited, food bland and barely warm, again NCL is relying on passengers to be so overwhelmed with Hawaii that the rest of the ship and it's food are not a consideration. Service and staff: this was the highlight, as they were friendly, helpful and were talkative at the bars and restaurants. Worth noting apparently most staff are american and are therefore paid better wages than staff on other ships that hire people from other countries. Drinks: All pay as you go and over priced, bucket of beer, 6 bud was 43.00 USD, so one literally had to buy it and stock it away in your room to simply try stomach the cost of a drink. When on land 6 beers were 8-10.00 at ABC the alternative was Pop/Soda also over priced for literally syrup and water mixed, Although I am not a big drinker by any means I don't mind the occasional pina coloda or frozen drink however these were over 11.50 USD so for us as Cdn's you are talking over 15.50 with exchange for ONE drink, sorry vacation or not this was gauging to say the least. In a nutshell having to watch every drink, every purchase was a serious downfall to this cruise experience. Overall the ship was a means to get us from one island to another, with the bare necessities, we won't however do this trip again on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
This is our second cruise on Pride of America. Went on our 25th Wedding Anniversary as well. We stayed in room 12500, a penthouse suite which was awesome. Jeffrey our butler was outstanding as was our Concierge Thomas who took care of us ... Read More
This is our second cruise on Pride of America. Went on our 25th Wedding Anniversary as well. We stayed in room 12500, a penthouse suite which was awesome. Jeffrey our butler was outstanding as was our Concierge Thomas who took care of us five years ago as well. All excursions were great with exception of one which I will be requesting a refund. The Luau on Kuai was terrible. It was touted as one of the finest but was anything but. We expected a beach setting, pig in the ground, cultural/traditional dancing in similar garments. What we experienced was 600 people under a huge circus tent with a center stage. We were first herded in front of trinket tables for purchases then under the tent. We were called table by table for a buffet meal. The entertainment was more like a Las Vegas review. Cost was $300 for two. NOT RECOMMENDED. We went on a Turtle Snorkel on Maui. Saw my first sea turtle 3' wide by 4.5' long. Highly recommend. Also went on the Duck Boat tour on Oahu. Highly recommended. Captain is great and humorous. A tour guide shares the history of Honolulu. Just terrific. Then we did the kayak & waterfall excursion which was very good but was right after a storm so water was not as clear. We ate at the specialty restaurants which were impeccable but the buffet is only so so. Comedian was fantastic. The shows were OK but not my thing. Pools are small. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was a great cruise. Our first cruise with Norwegian. We were very happy overall. The ship does not have all the bells and whistles of larger ships, but when you are in Hawaii it’s all about the islands and enjoying their beauty. ... Read More
This was a great cruise. Our first cruise with Norwegian. We were very happy overall. The ship does not have all the bells and whistles of larger ships, but when you are in Hawaii it’s all about the islands and enjoying their beauty. We stayed in a penthouse suite. It was spacious , with a wonderful jetted tub and an amazing balcony. We tried almost all of the restaurants. Definitely liked the specialty restaurants better. Main dining room and buffet average. Cagneys, Italian and French were excellent. Maui we rented a car to explore road to Hana and Lahaina. Kauai we did ships zip and splash tour and a mountain tubing excursion. Both great. Favorite excursion was Captain Zodiac raft ride in Kona. Got to snorkel, visit sea caves, blow holes, saw dolphins. It was amazing day. Overall, an incredible trip. We were apprehensive due to some negative reviews but this ship, staff and the Hawaiian Islands were all amazing. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We booked this cruise like most do, I think, for the itinerary. And the itinerary was top-notch. We were able to see the best of the islands without packing and repacking a suitcase..and that was great. We splurged and stayed in a ... Read More
We booked this cruise like most do, I think, for the itinerary. And the itinerary was top-notch. We were able to see the best of the islands without packing and repacking a suitcase..and that was great. We splurged and stayed in a Penthouse suite and were very glad we did. The suites are fairly updated on this ship and the haven service is nice. There weren't many public areas to roam around in or hang out..so it was nice to have a luxury place to land. The food on this ship was pretty subpar. We ate in Moderno and Cagneys alot. Luckily, Cagneys is open for haven guests to eat for breakfast and lunch. This was a really nice perk for us. We really enjoy food when we are vacationing. We were bummed that POA didn't offer a chef's table. The sports bar on the cruise was great. We watched some NFL and playoff MLB games there. We also participated in a margarita tasting event that was super fun. There is an outside bar at the far aft of the ship that is also very nice...windy..but nice. The Aloha buffet was an avoid at all costs place for us. It didn't come close to matching buffet areas on other ships we've been on. The dining rooms were ok. We had a great vacation. The islands were magnificent. In Maui, I recommend Holo Holo tours. We spent an amazing day with them. Lahaina was a great shopping day. The Kona Brewery is a must go to. As is the Volcano National Park. I recommend skipping the director's cut excursion on kauai. It was pretty repetitive. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise as we had never been to Hawaii and wanted to see several island without having to pack and unpack our luggage all week. I was concerned after reading some reviews of the Pride of America but was extremely happy that I ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had never been to Hawaii and wanted to see several island without having to pack and unpack our luggage all week. I was concerned after reading some reviews of the Pride of America but was extremely happy that I only have great things to say about our experience. The embarkation and disembarkation process was extremely smooth. We took an early morning Pearl Harbor tour after the cruise and it was great to take the tour and then transported to The Honolulu Airport. Sheldon, our room attendant did an amazing job keeping our balcony room clean and well equipped. We enjoyed our tours; however the lunches served on the were not very good. We also loved our breakfasts at Skyline restaurant and enjoyed all of our dinners at La Cucina, Moderno, Teppanaki, and a Liberty. We like that the serving sizes at the restaurants were a nice size and. Did not lead to overeating. The ship was very clean. We also enjoyed listening to a piano playing singer in Pinks Lounge. Although the balcony room was smaller than other cruise lines we have been on, we got used to the size. I would not hesitate to tell people to take this cruise. We had great customer service, excursions, and dining experiences and fulfilled my dream of seeing several islands of Hawaii. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Overall it was good except for a few stand out items that bothered us. Don't waste you money on the soda package, You can't find where to get it during off hours and they won't just give you a can. Also the drinks are watered down and ... Read More
Overall it was good except for a few stand out items that bothered us. Don't waste you money on the soda package, You can't find where to get it during off hours and they won't just give you a can. Also the drinks are watered down and expensive with no drink package available. Our state room was clean except for the carpet which was stained and smelled musty. Don't opt for the photography package no information was given about where or how it works. Went down on 3rd day to find out and the photographer was not good or very friendly. The shore excursions we booked thought the ship and were gone most of the day. They were excellent especially the mudbugging on Kauai. We always were returned to the ship on time except for one day when we were delayed due to a medical emergency and they called ahead to ship and we had no issue. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
The Hawaiian cruise was always on our bucket list.Celebrating our 25th Wedding anniversary and my wife’s 59th Birthday,we were treated with beautiful suite decorations and champagne plus excellent service from our concierge and ... Read More
The Hawaiian cruise was always on our bucket list.Celebrating our 25th Wedding anniversary and my wife’s 59th Birthday,we were treated with beautiful suite decorations and champagne plus excellent service from our concierge and butler.Our cabin steward kept our suite in perfect shape and she was always friendly.This vacation was every thing I expected.We did take alot of excursions and they were excellent.Helicopter tour over Kauai was best plus deep sea trolling meeting good people along the way.You got to enjoy the restaurants (fantastic).Cagneys,Jefferson Bistro,& LaCucina had very friendly waitors and did have you take your time enjoying your meal which were cooked to perfection.Alot of fun with entertaining shows and crafts. Never thought I would make 3 lei ( orchid,kukui nut,& ribbon). Visited Dole pineapple plantation with train ride ( definitely try the pineapple ice cream) then off to Pearl Harbor to pay homage to our soldiers who sacrificed for us. Very touching to see the sunken ships plus very educational. We were able to go on Ford Island to see the sunken Utah.All the beauty of Hawaii was well worth the travel and expense. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Firstly, the ship is in excellent shape. This was our 7th Celebrity cruise, the first time to Hawaii and also the most sea days we have experienced. Much of the staff was top notch, as friendly as you would expect on a Celebrity ship. ... Read More
Firstly, the ship is in excellent shape. This was our 7th Celebrity cruise, the first time to Hawaii and also the most sea days we have experienced. Much of the staff was top notch, as friendly as you would expect on a Celebrity ship. Food was excellent, except a bit of a hiccup in Murano one evening, but no one is perfect. We have never participated in so many activities, specifically the dance classes (keeping busy during the long sea days) The Hawaiian dancers/instructors were amazing. I really enjoy working out and they actually had a couple of super tough workout classes which had no charge. My workout experiences were excellent. Our cabin was not the cleanest when we arrived, major fingerprints on the doors. Cleaned it ourselves. The biggest problem with the cabin was the noise, neighbor’s phone sounded like it was in our cabin, there must have been a speaker right outside our door, so even though we were trying to sleep in, we had to hear every single tender announcement. All the way to “39 and 40”. We love to sleep in on vacation, was only able to once. Room attendant would vacuum the neighboring cabins shortly after 8 am.... Biggest beef is the entertainment and specifically the music. Must have heard “Rock around the Clock”, four times.......either performed by one of the house bands or a DJ. I googled the song, it was released in 1954........really??? So you would have to be 80 to have “grown up” with music that old, I have nothing against 80 year olds as I plan to be one someday but I don’t think they were up dancing at 11 pm.. Was told that Celebrity carefullly pre-selects music. I don’t expect to hear Eminem but a song that is 64 years old played at least 4 times is crazy. That was just an example of how poor the music was. Clearly Celebrity is aiming at a demographic much older than we are, and we are in our 50s. I planned to discuss this with the cruise director but he was no where to be found. Bottom line, we had a pretty good time but we would never cruise to Hawaii again, it is too beautiful to spend 5 days to get there, fly straight there and enjoy the beautiful islands longer. Secondly, we are taking a break from cruising. Some people cruise to stuff themselves with food and booze, cant deny we do a bit of that but we also cruise to enjoy dancing, getting out at night etc. This had to be the worst cruise for music we have experienced as Celebirty seems to be catering to the 70 plus set. I don’t think I will ever like songs like Rock around the clock but perhaps in a decade or two I won’t mind so much... Read Less

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