Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Pride of America
Sailing Date: March 31st, 2007
We had an excellent time cruising Hawaii for
our 25th anniversary. Boarding the ship was relatively easy, and we were given
an upgrade from an inside cabin to an ocean view. The only challenge we faced
was our luggage took several hours to get from the airport at Honolulu to our
room. I suggest you personally take your bags from the bus to the boat.
The service workers were outstanding. We live in the Orlando area and are used to service workers merely doing their jobs -- minimum effort for minimum pay. The "Aloha Spirit" thrives both on the Pride of America and throughout the islands of Hawaii. The service workers were caring, compassionate, and truly concerned about assuring that we had a great experience visiting the islands.
The boat served as an excellent hotel -- adequate food and fun entertainment. Even the pool area and performers were enjoyable.
The islands are incomparable! From the Volcano National Park and Akako Falls on the big island of Hawaii, to the "tourist trap" of Lahaina on Maui, to the Waimea Canyon of Kauai, nothing compares. We live only 25 miles from Disney World, Sea World and Universal Studios, yet the sites of Hawaii are so far superior to the attractions of our area, there is no comparison!
We rented cars from Thrifty on the islands on Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii. Service is especially good if you take the time to become a "Blue Chip" member before you rent. There is no extra charge for this service, but you save a lot of time getting your car! Shuttles pick you up at the docks. Parking at the docks is limited, so get back to the boat early if you have an overnight stay.
We took excursions on Kauai and Kona, Hawaii. The most affordable means for excursions is not offered through the cruise line. Book with Roberts -- brochures are available when you are preparing to board the ship (and probably online).
We really enjoyed "Freestyle Cruising." We ate at Jefferson Bistro and the Terryaki Restaurant, but preferred the free meals found at the Skyline and Liberty Restaurants, as well as the Cadillac Diner. Every morning, we arrived at the Skyline for breakfast at 7:00AM and got an incredible view to complement a great meal!
No need to take taxis to shop on the islands. Every island has free shuttles to "Hilo Hatties." On Kauai, a Wal-Mart was right behind Hilo Hatties, and cost of souvenirs was really cheap! Hawaii calendars for 2008 are only $1.25 at Hilo Hatties and make a great (and cheap) gift!
It might be advisable to book your own flight, rather than depend on a package. We had to fly from Orlando to Chicago, then take a 9 1/2 hour flight to Honolulu.
Overall, cruising the Hawaiian Islands on the Pride of America was a wonderful experience!