Richand & Deborah
Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Pride of Aloha
Sailing Date: November 6th, 2006
Norwegian Cruise Lines America
Pride of Aloha Cruise Review
Richard & Deborah Rocheleau
We boarded the Pride of Aloha on July 2nd, after spending 2 days on Waikiki Beach.
The boarding process was very efficient, we were on the ship in 15 minutes and our bags were at out door in 1 hour.
We immediately went to the dining reservations desk, and made reservations for specialty restaurants for that evening and two other days. They have a special $5 surcharge for the first night. We ate at the bistro restaurant the first night and the meal was good but not great. The main course was very good but the appetizer & soup was average.
We selected an inside cabin on deck 10. The price for a balcony was almost double. After looking at the itinerary we saw that traveling was mainly at night (except for leaving Kauai) and having a balcony in port may not provide a great view (docks typically have ugly buildings, freight, fuel tanks etc. Except for Kona where we anchored out, that was the case. In Kauai the starboard side faced and old cane mill and fuel tanks, while the port side had a view of the inlet. In Hilo the port side had a view of the docks , freight cranes and the starboard side a view of the harbor. In Maui the port side had a view of the docks, but you could see the mountains. All in all we made the right decision. Our cabin was small but well arranged. The bathroom was good, large mirror over the sink, lots of storage. The shower was round with a shower curtain covering about 40%. I’m 6’1 /210lbs and did not have any problems with the size of the shower.
We reached Kauai about 6AM on July 3rd. We ate breakfast at Crossing’s (deck 5 stern), which was very nice. We had a table for two looking out to the rear of the ship on to the mountains. We enjoyed the breakfast - eggs cooked to order. We looked at the buffet on Deck 11, and the food looked good but it was crowded and noisy. We signed up for the down hill bike ride excursion in the Waimea Canyon. This trip was a farce, the only view of the canyon seen is from the top of the road before the bike ride. So essentially you ride up a road in a van and return on the same road on a bike, The view is no better than riding back down in a van. The second day we took the back road excursion. This excursion provided a lot of information on plants, animals and cane plantations. They did go into private areas off road. Except for the view of a cane truck tunnel most of the views could be done with a rental car. Over all we thought we might have been better to rent a car for the two days and map out a route that included the views from both excursions. That night we ate at the crossings restaurant that night and had a good meal (lobster tails). The second night we went to the Italian restaurant and as with the Bistro the main course was great but the Soup & Appetizer were terrible. My advise is to make reservations up front for these restaurants and compare the menus – if the main dining room menu looks good cancel the other.
We left Kauai that at noon. For 4th of July the ship had a lunch barbeque on the pool deck. The food was very good (chicken, ribs, hamburgers etc) They had a band on deck and lots of contests. It was a good time. The ship travels up on the north shore of Kauai, where King Kong, Jurassic Park were filmed. You slowly travel past these tall grooved green mountains, it was quite a sight. We cruised all night to Hilo. Inn Hilo we did an all day excursion to the volcano, macadamia nut factory and water falls. The excursion was very good. It provided great information on plants, volcano history, and little known facts. Rainbow waterfalls were very nice and very close to the ship. We missed was seeing the active lava flow during the day. Another couple did a smaller excursion that did the active lava flow which they found very interesting, but they did not see the other areas of the volcano. My recommendation is to do upfront planning and rent a car where you could see all of the sites. Hilo as a whole looked very run down. The volcano/waterfall were the only attraction worth seeing.
We sailed that evening to Kona and the ship went up to the active lava flow (at night) and you could see the lava flowing down the hill into the water. They turn the ship 360 degrees so everyone get a good view. I tried to take pictures but they did not come out. You may want to figure out how to get your camera to do a night (long shutter speed) shot from a slow moving boat. Kona was much more upscale than Hilo. The ship anchored out and provided shuttles to shore. We had booked a snorkel trip with Captain Zodiac. The snorkel excursion was very good. They traveled about 30 minutes to the snorkel site and on the way went out and viewed Pilot Wales (they are there year round) and spinner Dolphin. They also stopped along the way in some lava tunnel/cave areas that were very interesting. The snorkeling was pretty good. Lots of bright colored fish but not a lot of variety of coral. Overall the excursion was worth every penny.
That night we ate at the Crossings Restaurant and had another good meal. Our waiter, upon uncovering the dishes was not happy with their serving and immediately took it back to the kitchen and returned to our table with hot, well portioned dishes. We had the Ahi Tuna & the Beef Wellington – it was great.
We left Kona that night and reached Maui the next morning. Maui looked more
upscale than the island of Kaui or Hawaii. The first day we walked up to the
mall (4 blocks) and did some shopping. Maui has a great city bus
system so we took a bus to WalMart and then to Lahaina. $5). Lahaina is a very nice fishing village turned into a resort. They have a great main street with lots of restaurants and shops. We ate on the water and had a great fish sandwich. It was great window shopping. They also have the largest Banyan Tree I have ever seen. It takes up a entire city block. We took the bus back to WalMart did some quick shopping and got a bus back to the ship.
We ate at the Pacific Heights restaurant that night. The entire meal was great from appetizer to desert. Best meal we had on the ship. Also if your into Sushi they have a sushi menu on request (small extra charge). A couple at the next table were raving about the sushi.
The second day we rented a car and first went up to Haleakala, the dormant
volcano. The drive up & down is very scenic and well worth the time. We had
originally thought about doing the bike ride “Maua Downhill” but after our
experience in Kauai we decided to do it in a car. We saw the bikers heading down
the road and it looked to be fun but from a scenic point of view you got much
more riding in a car and visiting all the overlooks. We came down from the
volcano and got on the Road to Hana. This was a very long winding road with lots
of areas for waterfalls but not water. We were told that the farmers dam the
water in the summer and that the waterfalls flow in the rainy season. We got to
Hana and went to the black beach, The beach was nice but very small - we were
not impressed. We continued on the main road around the back side of the island.
The road went to dirt and was very very bumpy. It was a long ride with some
great views, but probably should have rented a SUV. We heard later that that
road was off limits to rental cars. Not sure that the trip to Hana was worth the
time, we saw some nice sight but it took all day. That night we ate at the
Crossings and had another good meal. We cruised all night back to Honolulu.
Overall it was a great way to see Hawaii.