Joanie Ogg, CTC, MCC
Age: Baby Boomer
Occupation:Travel Association Executive
Number of Cruises: 100
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Pride of Aloha
Sailing Date: May 15, 2005
Itinerary: Hawaiian Islands
Joanie Ogg, CTC, MCC
The Pride of Aloha Group
I flew from San Diego nonstop to Honolulu on Aloha Airlines. The flight was very enjoyable and the aircraft very clean and comfortable. I departed at 6:00pm from San Diego and unlike so many carriers these days; Aloha still serves a very nice warm meal with drink service prior to and during dinner. About an hour prior to arrival they cook fresh chocolate chip cookies and serve them with your choice of milk or water. I was sleeping while they were being cooked but the smell woke me and it was certainly a nice wake up call.
Upon arrival in Honolulu I took a cab to my hotel in Waikiki for one nights stay prior to the cruise. I had stayed at this hotel a number of times and as always it was a great stay. The hotel is the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel and it is pretty hard not to get some sort of great view from the rooms there. It overlooks Queen’s (a surf break) and is right across street from the beach. It is not a fancy hotel but very comfortable, safe and a choice I make often when I am in the islands.
The following morning I enjoyed a great run, my usual Starbucks fix and a few hours on the beach. I checked out of the hotel about 12:30p and took a cab to Aloha Tower to board the Pride of Aloha. The cab from my hotel which is on the far side of Waikiki away from the Aloha Tower was about $17 with tip.
I checked my luggage and proceeded to go through the security and check in process. The lines were a bit long but I was there in the prime time to board so if I had waited about an hour it would have likely been much faster. Even with some time in line it was not a long wait and it went very smoothly. Be aware if you are planning on bringing any alcohol on the ship in your carry on as they will confiscate this. I am not certain of when you get it back but just be aware not to pack anything like this in your carry one. The gentleman in line ahead of me had some beers they found and he was a bit embarrassed so save yourself the stress.
I was really impressed with the warm Aloha’s that the staff and crew shared with the passengers as they boarded the ship. Every woman was presented with a lovely flower lei and the gentlemen a shell lei. It was a nice touch and made you feel like you were in the Aloha Spirit. There were staff and crew positioned at just about every staircase and elevator bank helping passengers to locate their cabins which was another very nice touch and something that is not always done on other lines. I noted that they were there for many hours as the boarding process for this ship is long due to it’s late departure from Honolulu.
The Pride of Aloha in Kailua, Kona, Hawaii
The Pride of Aloha (formerly the Norwegian Sky) is 77,104 Gross Tons; 853 feet in Overall Length; Beam of 108 feet; Draft of 26 feet; and can cruise at a speed of 23 knots with a capacity for 2,002 guests at double occupancy.
I have decided to review this ship in it’s entirety or at least as many areas as I can access and photograph from Deck 12 heading aft across the deck and down to each floor from there.
The Pride of Aloha's Pool and Jacuzzis
Jacuzzi and Pool
There is a great Jacuzzi located on Deck 12 that offers a very quiet and relaxing area to sun, soak in the Jacuzzi and bath in the wading pool with a small waterfall right at the front of the ship.
The Pool Forward on Deck 12
Deck chairs are always available in this area and it is away from regular foot traffic and was my favorite sunning area of the ship.
The Hoku Bar
Heading back a bit is the Hoku Bar which is named after Hawaii’s higher regions.
The Basketball Court
The sports area is located on the aft of deck 12 and offers a good size basketball court; a couple practice golf net cages; and a shuffleboard area. The deck from
The Plantation Club is a great lounge and is located on the port side of the Pride. It is themed to resemble an old plantation era with lots of wood and and wonderful views from two sides. This is the lounge that is often used for private parties and also offers entertainment on most nights. The performer on our cruise was a vocalist who also played some instruments such as piano and ukulele. He has a wonderful voice and plays a great many Hawaiian tunes. However, the highlights of this lounge are two of the staff that are there working hard every night. The bartender Steve Parker who hails from Seattle and Kathy Watson the best bar waitress on the ship who comes from Reno make this lounge what it is. Their friendly natures and warm hospitality make it a pleasure to while away the hours and enjoy a cocktail and the warm ambience.
The Plantation Club
Le Bistro is located directly across from The Plantation Club on the starboard side of the ship. It offers some beautiful views if you try to plan a bit of an early dinner as you can sit right next to the windows and enjoy the sunset as you dine.
The Plantation Club's Interior
Le Bistro is one of the specialty restaurants so there is a charge of $15.00 per person.
If you try to go on the first night of the sailing you may find they discount the specialty restaurants by 50% which is a great deal.
Deck 11 is a very busy deck due to the nature of the itinerary. This is where the main pool area is as well many other options for passengers to enjoy. Let’s walk enjoy deck 11 from forward to aft.
On Deck 11 forward is an area that is just open deck where we had many of the scheduled yoga classes offered on the ship. It was a great place to unwind.
The Outrigger Lounge
Overlooking this deck area is the Outrigger Lounge which is a large and very tastefully decorated lounge.
The Outrigger Lounge Dance Floor
There is a dance floor and a large bar area as well as plenty of comfortable seating to spend time enjoying the breathtaking views of the islands from it many windows. It is decorated in a wood them with many very authentic looking canoe replicas and other themed décor. It was normally open for cocktails from 6pm – 10pm. However, it did offer a great place to read a book in solitude during the day.
The Entrance to the Mandara Spa & Salon
The Mandara Spa & Salon
Is located on the starboard on deck 11 and features a great array of services and relaxation packages to suite every person’s needs.
The Mandara Salon
Decorated in an Asian theme it lends a feeling of quiet and tranquility.
One of the Mandara Spa Treatment Rooms
They have several treatment rooms and a large salon for hair, nails, etc. My favorite area was the Whirlpool bath which is a special treatment you can purchase to while away time in a bathtub to suit a king or queen. They put in specials oils and scents to relax the muscles and usually folks use it for about 30 minutes in total solitude. I think I could have just fallen asleep there.
The Mandara Spa Gym
The Mandara Fitness Center
This is on the port side of the ship and I found it to be a well equipped, clean and never too crowded. I tried to use it twice a day by enjoying use of the equipment and then perhaps a class they were offering later in the day.
The Mandara Spa Exercise Room
I have to mention Catherine who is the Fitness Instructor on the ship. She was really the best yoga and Pilates trainer I have ever seen on any ship.
Catherine, the Fitness Instructor
from Alabama and is very knowledgeable about health and fitness. Her knowledge
and experience along with her very pleasant personality made the classes a real
joy to attend. Thanks for the great week of exercise Catherine!
Outside on each side of the gym and the spa are several ping pong tables that were very popular with the passengers.
The Pride of Aloha's Pool Area
The pool and deck area surrounding are very comfortable with plenty of space to relax and enjoy the sun. I never saw anyone having trouble finding a deck chair as is so often the case on some ships. They also have deck chairs and tables to enjoy a cocktail on Deck 12 overlooking the pool. No need to get out and try to hold a deck chair on this ship as there are plenty. One thing I noticed was they many towel holders on the deck as well as on deck 12. Usually you have to look all over to find one and they had several well placed and they always had plenty of clean beach towels available.
The Breakers Bar
The Breakers Bar offers service at the pool was there if you wished but you were never hounded to buy a drink. Instead you simply felt if you wished something it would only be a minute till you had your libation in hand. The Breakers Bar is located at the aft side of the pools and was open from 9:00am to Close.
The Hukilau Cafe
On the starboard side of the ship you enter the Hukilau Café which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a buffet style. There are two buffets inside and a smaller selection of buffet items outside on the aft of the ship. The café was always a busy place at breakfast and lunch and even at dinner on some of the evenings. I ate here quite a bit and found the food to be good but not great. It lacked a bit of flavor and was a bit mundane on a daily basis but certainly there were other options for dining as well. They also offer an omelet station and a waffle station just outside the café at the pool area.
The Pacific Heights Specialty Restaurant is on the port side is the Pacific Heights specialty restaurant that offers dinner from 5:30pm to close. Reservations are suggested of course as this is a popular spot. They serve Pacific Rim Cuisine and the décor is Asian in design. As with the other specialty restaurants on the Pride there is a $12.50 per person cover charge.
The Longboard Bar
This is a great bar that acts as a sports bar and a place to grab a snack. The décor is a surfing motif with great photos and some cool boards (or sticks as us surfers call them) on the walls. I really like the ambiance in this bar. I did enjoy a meal there one night when I did not feel like a big dinner and it was great. They serve burgers, wings, salads and lots of choices of fun finger food. They also have popcorn which is always popular.
This is part of the café but sits on the back of the ship with plenty of tables to enjoy a meal in the sunshine or under the shade of an umbrella. This is where I would always get my early morning cup of java and do my emails. There is also a small buffet there as well so if the other café is crowded this is a great option with no lines.
Deck 10, 9 and 8
These are the decks with the majority of cabins.
There are also cabins on Deck 7 but in addition to this there are several areas that are used frequently by the passengers. I will show you pictures and give descriptions of these areas from forward to aft.
The Atrium Bar
There is a nice little lounge overlooking the beautiful views of Hawaii on Deck
This lounge is the Atrium Bar.
Across from the Atrium Bar is a lovely little chapel.
One of the Craft Classes in the Cultural Center
From the center of the ship going aft is where the public areas are located. The first is the Cultural Center which is really a treat for those like me who are interested in Hawaiiana and Hawaiian culture. There are several great displays featuring art, culture, history and more. I found it really enjoyable to meander through this area. They also do Hawaiian craft classes here for small groups.
The Golf Hawaii Shop
Heading back you come to the Golf Hawaii Shop which is the only shop of its kind on any vessel. They have a great array of golf attire and other needed items for the golfer. Additionally they offer tremendous services like booking you tea times for you. It is of course suggested you do this before you travel with NCL as they can arrange all of this for you.
The Golf Hawaii Shop's Employee
I spoke with several who enjoyed the services provided and were very pleased with the efficiency and quality of the service. This itinerary lends itself to being a real treat for the golf enthusiast. With full days in port there is ample time to get in a round in most of the ports of call at some of the world’s finest and most beautiful courses. Just down the hall from the Golf Hawaii shop or rather just before you arrive there you can head down the hall and find the Video Game Room which is hidden away and really a great location for this type of entertainment.
The Galleria Shops
Heading aft from the Golf Hawaii Shop is the Galleria Shops that I found very
nice. They have a great array of Tommy Bahamas attire so I bought Tom a couple
great shirts. The prices were fair and they had some great perfume and cologne
offerings as well. You can also find Pride of Aloha logo items in this shop.
Deck 7 Galleria Shops
The Pride of Aloha's Internet Cafe
Across from the Galleria Shops are the Internet Café and the Coffee Bar. The Internet Café was staffed by a gentleman name Juan and he was a there a great deal and very helpful. There are a good number of terminals to use and I never saw them busy. It is open 24 hours a day and staffed during the normal business day hours.
The Coffee Bar
The Coffee Bar is a really nice casual bar that seemed to be a pretty busy spot when it was open. The bartender/barista there was really a nice young man who always greeted passersby with a warm hello.
The Stardust Lounge
As you make your way past the last of the internet café terminals you end up at
the rear of the ship and there is an entrance there to the Stardust Lounge which
is two levels. It goes from Deck 7 and includes Deck 6 aft as well. It is a well
appointed public room with ample seating and good visibility from most seats as
far as I could tell.
Let’s head across Deck 6 now going from Aft to Forward.
The Photo Gallery
As mentioned above the Stardust Lounge is at the aft portion of the ship. From there you head down the hall and find the Photo Gallery. The only negative here was that the crowds viewing their pictures were rather hard to get by during peak picture looking times. It is a rather narrow way through and causes a bit of a gridlock. However, aside from that small glitch, the pictures are displayed well and the staff in the Photo Gallery are very courteous and helpful. I always have to organize a group shot and some ships just like to make a big deal out the request and like to make it rather hard to arrange….. However, the staff on the Pride was happy to help and to make the photo time appropriate for the needs of our group.
The Mark Twain Library
Just past the photo gallery is the Mark Twain Library and meeting room. It is really a nice public area that is quite and was never busy! Seemed a great place to get away and enjoy some solitude and a good book.
Captain Cook's Lounge
The next area is the Captain Cook’s Lounge. Just behind it is an area where
folks can smoke cigars. I really loved the ambiance, staff and entertainment in
this lounge. It was my favorite bar on the ship. The only issue I had with it is
the fact that the Cigar Area is not closed off at all and if you do not like the
smell of cigar smoke, it can be very distasteful. Luckily on this sailing it did
not seem there were too many cigar enthusiasts but on the few evenings the area
was used it was pretty smelly. There were three great staff working this lounge.
David, the bartender was great. Also David one of the servers who hails from
Seattle was just the nicest young man. Then there was the Handsome Guy from
Hanalei, Kauai as he decided to name himself! He was great fun and once he knew
how much I like olives in my Martini’s I had more than I could eat.
Walking forward from this lounge will take you into the Blue Hawaii Night Club, a very large lounge that offers a variety of shows throughout the week and music to dance to each night. It was also the local Karaoke spot on the ship. The décor is very festive and it is just a fun spot.
The Black Pearl Gem Company
Just past the Blue Hawaii and at the Atrium are two fine jewelry shops which
carried some really lovely items. The bank of elevators is just beyond this area
and then the rest of the deck is cabin space.
From forward to aft there are cabins till you reach the Atrium or center of the ship.
The Atrium as Seen From Deck 7
Here you find the Reception Area, Shore Excursion Desk, Credit Desk and the Concierge.
The Reception Desk
You also find a table set up during the day where you can make dinner reservations at the various restaurants and also order wine if you wish.
The Concierge and Shore Excursion Desks
really convenient as calling from your cabin to make reservations on many ships
can be frustrating due to busy phone lines. It was great to just stroll by and
make the needed arrangements at your leisure.
The Palace Restaurant which is one of the main dining rooms is located in this area as well. This is one of the dining venues that does not require reservations and also has no cover charge. I did not eat in this dining room but others did and said it was very nice and the service was great.
Entrance to the Kahili Restaurant
The Kahili Restaurant is also located on Deck 5 Midship. It is an Italian themed venue and is one of the optional dining venues.
The Kahili Restaurant
The cover charge is $15.00 per person. The restaurant is really lovely and a quiet area out of the way of general ship traffic. This is a great restaurant to have a special meal with someone special. The service is terrific.
You have to go up one floor to get over the dining room (Palace) and when you
reach the aft of the ship you go down the stairs or elevator to reach the
Crossings Restaurant. This and the Palace Restaurant are the two open dining
Other Areas of Interest
Deck 4 is primarily cabin space as is deck 3. Deck 2 is where we typically disembarked the ship while in port. The Medical Center is also located on Deck 2 but I have no pictures as I did not want to spend any time there. I was having far too much fun enjoying this cruise.
Sunday May 15th, 2005; Honolulu, Hawaii
My cabin #8203
The cabin was very far forward which concerned me a bit as I tend to get a little bit of motion sickness. I will report on that later as I am still in port as I write this. I had read reviews and heard from some folks that the cabins were very small.
I honestly felt it was perfect for me and I had plenty of closet space which is very important to the over packer in me. I would suggest that perhaps they put in a few more drawers if possible but certainly it was not a problem. The cabin was very colorful with floral spreads in bright blue, green and lavender. My cabin had a nice large porthole which was really as big as a typical window cabin.
The bathroom while small is certainly sufficient and there was plenty of space to store items. The shower does have a curtain instead of the enclosed kind which would be a nice upgrade when they decide to update the ship in years to come.
Cabin Desk and Entertainment Center
I had a small couch and table and plenty of room for my laptop and other computer stuff.
Always Happy to See Me
My room stewardess was the best I have ever
had. She was always happy and greeted me every time she saw me. She was so
representative of the service and friendly attitude that the staff on the Pride
of America has.
This is something that I have to get hooked into early on a cruise as I am working during the cruise. Therefore you see this information early on in the review. They have a number of options for staying connected and it really only depends on your needs and how much you think you will need to be online. I knew I would have a busy week online so I opted for the 250 minute plan for $100 on a wireless connection plan. My laptop was new and equipped with the necessary wireless protocol. Your computer needs to support the 802.11B wireless protocol or you will need to purchase a wireless card which is available on board for $10 a day if needed. There is a $3 insurance per day for the card. Most laptops with Windows XP will likely be able to connect without these added charges. If you have questions about the various services they offer on the Pride they have a great page on the NCL website that you can review at http://www.ncl.com/more/internet_cafe.htm . You have plenty of options to either purchase minute plans and use it in the internet café or the wireless option. It is a very impressive list of services compared to many other much larger ships.
Juan, the Internet Café Manager was very helpful and he and I set up my system and I was rocking and rolling online before 4pm on the day of departure. Thumbs up to NCL on this one!
Our cocktail party was scheduled for 7:30pm in the Plantation Club which is located on deck 12 aft. It is adjacent to Le Bistro which is one of the optional dining options on the ship. The Plantation Club is really a lovely lounge that according to the bartender features a piano player and vocalist in the evenings. I just loved the ambiance of this particular lounge and the view as we departed from Honolulu for our first port in Kauai was pretty spectacular as well.
A few of us decided to try out Le Bistro after the party while others decided to head on down to the pool deck for the Sail Away Barbeque and music. Le Bistro is not typically too busy on the first night leaving Honolulu so if you want to try it out and enjoy a great meal at your leisure you might want to plan this for our first night. We did not have a reservation but figured we would just give it a try. They took us right in and were very accommodating. One of our agents had not yet received his luggage prior to the cocktail party so he was still wearing his Bermuda shorts. Le Bistro has a policy against shorts but when he said he had not gotten his luggage yet they graciously said no problem and let him come in. It is that sort of accommodating service that permeates this ship.
The dinner was wonderful and the service spectacular. When the bill arrived we were pleasantly surprised that the typical $15.00 per person charge was only $7.50 on the first night in the Bistro. I am not certain if this is typical but it was really nice. Then they advised us that we would be able to show our receipt at any other specialty restaurants during the week and get 50% off there as well.
I called it a night and went to the cabin for a great nights sleep.
Monday, May 16th, 2005; Nawiliwili, Kauai
Today we arrived at about 7:00am in Nawiliwili, Kauai. Entering the port is really a beautiful site to see and one that you really should not miss. It is a beautiful way to start your day. Kauai, known as the Garden Isle is one of Hawaii’s most beautiful jewels.
I had signed up for the Wellness Package that is offered on the Pride when I boarded the ship. For a fee of $69 I have unlimited access to the exercise classes that are offered during the week. It also includes Some of the classes on the ship, such as yoga, Pilates and spinning have a $10 fee per class. If you are a workout junkie you might want to take a look at this as it will save you money in the long run and having paid in advance certainly motivates you to go to the classes and stay active.
The first yoga class was at 8:00am and the do the class out on the deck if weather permits. It is a nice quiet area of the ship not an area that folks walk through so it is a perfect place to have a yoga experience. I must say that experiencing an early morning yoga session outside looking at the ocean against the backdrop of the mountains of Kauai is something very special. The instructor Catherine was really great and obviously well trained and an experienced yoga instructor.
I worked for a few hours using my wireless connection and ventured off the ship to walk to the Kauai Marriott to take some pictures of the beautiful bay that it sits on. Just a five minute walk from the ship takes you to one of the most beautiful beaches in Kauai. I have been to Kauai many times so the tours and shopping excursions were not of interest to me however I spoke to several other passengers during the day that enjoyed many of the options that are available to choose from.
Monday night is the optional formal night for this itinerary. With freestyle dining you have the choice not to dress up of course but many do which is something I enjoy. I had not experienced the lounge known as Captain Cook’s Bar. There was an officer who played the piano there for some time which was really lovely. The highlight of the night was the entrance of the featured pianist and vocalist W. T. Greer. I do not even have words to describe how talented this man is and what a treat it was to enjoy his music. My waiter, known as the Handsome Hawaiian Guy from Hanalei told me I had to stay to hear W.T. as he was just incredibly talented. Wow, was that an understatement. Apparently this is his last week on this ship and what a loss it is to the Pride. I certainly hope that they find a spot for him on another ship but honestly he is just perfect for this ship and passenger mix. He plays a variety of music but can play Lionel Ritchie better then Lionel in my opinion. He sings and plays tunes from Phantom of the Opera and has a voice like honey. Do not miss seeing this talented man if you see his name on any ship you travel on. I intend to enjoy hid music every night of this week!
I had not had dinner and it was about 10pm when hunger struck so I headed over to Longboards which serves food till 3:00am and enjoyed a sandwich there. The service was fast and very courteous and a good place to grab something to eat when the other dining venues are closed.
Tuesday, May 17th, 2005; Nawiliwili, Kauai
The ship remains in Nawilili, Kauai till about 1:00pm on this itinerary. This gives the passengers even more time to explore all that Kauai has to offer before departing for Hilo. The ship seemed pretty vacant till about 12:00n and I suspect people were enjoying those last moments on the island. I spent the day preparing for our seminar that took place at 2:00pm.
There are several meeting rooms on the Pride of Aloha and the bank of rooms we occupied apparently used to be the Casino when the Pride was the Sky. The rooms are well designed with good audio visual equipment and many other features built in such as a dry erase board, screen, etc.
We were honored to have several officers and crew join us for the meeting where they came and shared information about the Pride to keep the agents up to date on the ship. We had someone from shore excursions, reception, group services, the golf program, the Assistant Hotel Director and the Chief Purser. The information they shared was invaluable and appreciated by all.
We did take a meeting break for about a half hour during the meeting as this was when the ship would be cruising by the Pali Coast and we did not want to miss the chance to see this spectacular site.
In the evening there were a multitude of activities for everyone to enjoy. The art auction was a popular event as was the show “Hey, Mr. Producer” which features the Jean Ann Ryan Company and songs and scenes from famous Broadway shows. The show was great and certainly enjoyed by all who attended. Other evening events around the ship included the Not-So-Newlywed Game Show and the Blue Hawaii Sock Hop.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005; Hilo, Hawaii
I awoke about 5:30pm and headed up on deck to enjoy the cruise into the port of Hilo, Hawaii. The views cruising along the coast of the Big Island is a beautiful site and a great way to start the day. The sun was shining to boot! That is not the norm for Hilo and it made for a pleasant welcome to Hilo.
After another great Yoga class on the deck of the ship I ventured off the ship to walk into the old town of Hilo. If you are not a walker who likes long walks…you might not want to venture the entire route roundtrip. I started about 9:30 am and walked from the ship along Banyan Drive and the hotels on the Bay. I took some pictures of Liliokalani Gardens and ventured along the water to town.
Once in town I strolled through the outdoor market which features so many fresh fruits and vegetables. I wanted so badly to be able to buy some but alas they cannot be brought on the ship. There were also some beautiful orchids sold by the local vendors. Really a great place to shop for fresh produce I would think.
I made a pretty quick tour of the town which is not too large and really had not changed much since my last visit. However, they do now have a Starbucks in Hilo which stunned me as it was also a drive through. I arrived back to the pier at about 12:30pm so it was about a 3 hour walk and I did not stop to sit. It was a great time and I highly recommend it if you like to take long walks.
I noticed a number of passengers were renting bikes at the pier and that looked like great fun. I think that will be on my to-do in Hilo list. The sun continued to shine and it was really a gorgeous day in Hilo. I have been here many times and I have never seen weather like this in Hilo and it was surely a treat.
The featured entertainer for the evening was a magician and illusionist, John Schrock. He was not only a great magician who performed some amazing tricks but he was also very funny and had some great one-liners. He had the audience in his hands and he did a superb show. I am not typically fond of magic shows but this one was fantastic. After that show I sauntered over to the Captain Cook Bar to again enjoy the talents of W. T. Greer and his amazing talent. Tonight the room filled up before he even began in anticipation of the show. His tribute was to Lionel Ritchie so most of the songs were of Ritchie and Commodore fame. The audience loved it as did I. I even purchased his CD so I could share it with Tom when I returned home.
Thursday, May 19th, 2005; Kona, Hawaii
View of Kailua Kona from Ship Pic
Kailua, Kona on the Big Island was our port of call on Thursday. Tendering is necessary in Kona and crowds rushing for the tenders did not seem to be a problem at all. I did some work on board and tendered over at about 9am with no wait. I was desperate for a Starbucks and knew there was one up the road a bit so I took a stroll up to get my much needed Cappuccino. While they have a great coffee bar on Deck 7 I still am a nut for a Starbucks.
With coffee in hand I walked through Kailua along the waterfront and took some pictures for www.portreviews.com and did a bit of shopping. Kailua has some great little boutiques and shops which always seem to lure me in to purchase. It worked again and I headed back on the ship with a bag of goodies.
I enjoyed lunch in the buffet where the serve some great Asian Noodle Soup and then spent the afternoon catching up on some work and emails. We were in Kona until 5:30pm which gave ample time for folks to enjoy exploring so much of the town.
We had arranged dinner as a group tonight in Crossings Restaurant as well as a group photo just prior to dinner.
Group Photo and the Group Dinner Shots
The evenings activities included a close up and person show by the magician and illusionist John Shryock. It was a really entertaining show as we all tried to figure out how in the world he can do what he does!
The show in the Stardust was entitled Sea Legs Cirque which featured the Jean Ann Ryan Company singers and dancers. In the Captain Cook Lounge W.T. Greer once again packed the house while he did a tribute to Nat King Cole.
Friday, May 20th, 2005; Kahului, Maui
We arrived in Kahului at about 8:00am and since we had two days on the Island I rented a car to go and enjoy all that Maui has to show. I have been to Maui many times so in some ways it brings on great memories and nostalgia. Some happy and some regretful as those who I shared so much with there are no longer with me. My parents used to take us to Maui about once a year and we would stay at the Napili Kai Beach Club up on Napili Bay. I was so very fortunate to enjoy time with my family in Maui for so many years. My parents passed away many years ago so it was a bittersweet journey around the island.
When Andy was a young boy, every year Tom and I would come here to Maui during the thanksgiving holiday to enjoy the island. So I have very wonderful and fond memories deeply rooted here and enjoyed my days in Maui so very much on this trip. I have nothing too spectacular to share with you other than if you come to Maui, rent a car and explore! You will be glad you did. By the way, a convertible car is well worth it!
The ship is pretty quiet on Friday night as so many are enjoying the sites and sounds of Maui since we are docked overnight. Some even took an overnight trip to Lanai that the ship organizes. Others enjoyed going to Luau’s and dinner in Lahaina.
However there are still plenty of activities to enjoy on the ship if you decide to stay on board. An example of just a few of these activities were a Maui-Ritaville Island Party on deck that featured a band called the Classic Knights who are a local band from Maui who came on the ship for the evening’s performance.
W.T. Greer performed a special show in the Stardust lounge which was fantastic.
Saturday, May 21st, 2005; Kahului, Maui
I spent another day in my car exploring and enjoying Maui. We were scheduled to depart at 5:30pm and I just made it back on the ship at about 4:15pm. The traffic in Maui coming from or going to Lahaina and Kaanapali can be pretty bad so make sure you leave plenty of time to get back to the ship…phew!
Tonight the Jean Ann Ryan Company performed Runnin’ Wild in the Stardust Theatre and at 9:45pm there was also a Twisted Karaoke Challenge which was really a hoot. The last night of a sailing is always a bit quiet as folks are packing and readying for the sad departure from the ship. I enjoyed some time out on deck and simply enjoyed the peace of the ocean and the fact that I was lucky enough to enjoy such a great week on the Pride of Aloha in the beautiful Islands of Hawaii.
My Overall Opinion
As a very seasoned cruiser on most cruise lines of just about every class, I must say that I enjoyed this ship, itinerary and crew more than many other trips I have taken over the last few years. I love cruising and feel that each ship has its own personality, flavor and style. This is one of the great benefits of trying so many different lines and vessels to see what fits your personal needs. I cannot say I have been on a cruise that I did not really enjoy. Perhaps I am less critical then some as I feel that you make your cruise what you wish it to be by your expectations, preparation and most of all your attitude. Sure, things happen that are not always what you expect or wish to happen but life is like that and how one handles these little glitches or experiences (as I like to call them) can make or break your cruise.
That being said, I was very impressed with what NCL has done in Hawaii with the Pride of Aloha. I cannot wait to have the chance to sail on the Pride of America based on this tremendous experience on the Aloha. Some may say they had a rocky start with some service issues but they have given the time and attention needed to fix those concerns and have available now a spectacular ship and a wonderful way to cruise Hawaii.
This is a great itinerary and ship for couples, families, and family reunions and basically anyone who likes a port intensive itinerary. The opportunity to see the islands this way enables first-timers to see all of Hawaii or a tasting if you will for the next trip. Hawaii is somewhere you always go back to (or certainly want to). It is also a good itinerary for people who have been to Hawaii numerous times and like to enjoy the beauty of the islands from the sea and visit their favorite spots on each island.
In conclusion, I liked it so much I am going to book a family cruise next spring and bring my adult nephews, our son and this time I am going with Tom (my husband). He will love this cruise!