Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Pride of America
Sailing Date: September 22nd, 2007
Following what seemed like an endless 2 stage flight from the east coast we were met by NCL representatives and quickly and efficiently transferred to the Port in Honolulu. Despite the added security since 9/11 we proceeded thru the NCL embarkation process and were in our staterooms rather quickly. My wife and I had a balcony room (which is highly recommended) and the rest of the family an inside room. Both rooms though small were clean, well stocked and comfortable. The service received all week from the Steward and housekeeping staff was outstanding.
Aside from (2) dinners at the Aloha Buffet, where we also had breakfast daily we had dinner in the main halls. Both the Skyline and Liberty Restaurants provided fine experiences. The service was very competent and friendly. The food was excellent. Early in the week at breakfast we encountered our waiter from the previous evening who went out of his way to make reservations for us for that evening.
Our first port was Hilo where we rented a car , on our own with Thrifty ( I highly recommend their Blue Chip Service) and did self tours of the Volcano National Park as well as the Akaka Falls, north of Hilo. Our shuttle driver from Thrifty was quite helpful in pointing out some local areas to see, ways to save money etc. We liked Hilo. Of course it rained part of the day which we expected.
In a word Maui is marvelous. On the first day did an excursion to the Molokini Crater for snorkeling. Both the variety and abundance of fish were awesome. I highly recommend this pricy but worthwhile excursion. On the 2nd day we again rented a car via Thrifty and did a self tour which included 30 miles of the Hana Road. For anyone faint of heart or prone to motion sickness this trip should be avoided. Though initially intimidated by the numerous hairpin turns, no shoulder and one-lane bridges the Hana Road was awesome. We stopped just south of mile 14 and drove down to a cove that gave us breath taking views above. We wish we had more time to spend on Maui as we were unable to venture in to the Iao Valley as we had planned.
Kauai was our favorite port. From the quaint beauty of the Nawiliwili Harbor to the overwhelming views at the Waimea Canyon and of course the Napili Coastline we were in awe. As with the other islands we rented a car and drove to the north coast.....actually to the end of the road at Kees Beach. This route gave us marvelous views of the shoreline and beaches of eastern Kauai to the overlook of Kiluea Lighthouse and to the Village of Hanalei. At Hanalei we spent quite a bit of time on the beach in the state park body surfing. Hanalei itself was an interesting stop in a rather remote area and worth visiting.
From Kees Park at the end of the road we were able to get a brief glimpse of the beginning to the Napili Coast. When we sailed from Kauai our ship sailed the entire length and back of the Napili Coastline. It is an incredible site with 15 miles of cliffs, mountains and secluded beaches. The numerous photos and video we took don't do it justice.
Our debarkation went smoothly and we did an excursion tour of Pearl Harbor and Honolulu. Pearl Harbor as it should be was a sombe, yet a memorable sight to visit.
Our experience on the Pride of America as earlier stated was wonderful. The only drawback to such a cruise involves the brief amount of time spent on any one island. It did however give us the opportunity to get a small taste of what each of the islands has to offer. The people both the POA staff as well as those encountered on the Islands were friendly, helpful and didn't make us feel like tourists.
I highly recommend the NCL Pride of America Hawaiian Cruise.