4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We are NCL Platinum, 10th cruise on NCL. Never been to Hawaii before. Seniors. We took this trip to meet relatives from Australia. We flew from Chicago to LAX then on to HNL on Wednesday. We booked Charleys Taxi for a flat rate ride to the ... Read More
We are NCL Platinum, 10th cruise on NCL. Never been to Hawaii before. Seniors. We took this trip to meet relatives from Australia. We flew from Chicago to LAX then on to HNL on Wednesday. We booked Charleys Taxi for a flat rate ride to the hotel and saved about $5. The cab was right there, no waiting. We booked the precruise night through NCL and additional two nights with credit card points. The NCL provides the room and transport to the ship. Breakfast is not included. The Hilton Village is really too big. First question the cabbie had was which tower do you want? Main Lobby I guess. NCL has reps at the hotel on Wed 1-6, Fri 2-6, and Sat 730AM-930AM. The desk is in the main lobby around the corner near the concierge desk and Avenue store. see picture. You have to check in with them to get scheduled for bus 1 or 2 on Saturday. Plus give them your room number for luggage pickup. Tips are included. We checked in at the main desk and told them we were on a NCL booking. They gave us the upgrade pitch and we bought it to get in the Rainbow Tower facing the ocean. $60 extra per day. Daily resort fee on private bookings is $40. Covered by NCL bookings. Hotel was nice bed comfortable, coffee machine, balcony with chairs. When it was time for our Arizona tour we had to find our way to the Bus Terminal which is at the far corner of the Grand Islander Tower. there were signs along the way to "bus terminal". This turned out to be the same place to meet for the NCL bus on Saturday. The hotel has fireworks on Friday at exactly 745 which is very intense and lasts exactly 5 minutes. There was quite a crowd. Arizona Tour: We booked a small group tour which included a drive through town pointing out some of the other sites. Half day trip. We had assigned times for the boat ride and had time to visit the other exhibits. There was a 22 minute film and then on to the boat. The Arizona dock has been damaged so we couldn't dock. what we got was a drive by in the boat and they told us not to stand up so that was very disappointing. Didn't see much. On Thursday and Friday there were sprinkles each day a few times. On Saturday we had the 11AM bus so we made our way to the bus terminal lobby, look for the rep with the paddle. lined up, boarded the bus off to the ship. Long line to chek in through security then get the ID card. The on board we heard about the wine and drink packages. Drinks on POA Info I found while on POA cruise in February 2019. The ship being American flagged is bound by all local laws so they have to purchase goods at the same places that the hotels on land do. All drinks include a 20% tip and about 5% local tax depending on which island you are at. So the drink prices are as high as you would pay at the land hotels. We are two seniors that drank whatever we wanted which included wine, beer, cocktails, and cappuccinos on the trip. A dos Equis beer came in at $8.40 total. My wife liked the Rose wine which wasn't on the wine package list so we just bought it as desired. A bottle was $46.00 total with tax and tip so 5 glasses was about $9.40 each equivalent. The cocktails were from $12 to $15 each. I had a double vodka which was just over $30. There is no extra shot discount that is available on other NCL ships, and no bucket of beer discount. We could purchase a bottle of wine in the dining room and then carry it to the other bars after dinner or back to the room or in one case we left a bottle at Cagney's because we were returning two days later. The drink of the day was $8.95 + T&T = $11.18 There were wine packages available for 3,4,5 bottles but we passed. The drink package was offered at $99 a day per person. So 99 times 7 plus T&T of 25% is $866 total per person. Our total bill for the week includes beer with lunch, pre dinner cocktail, wine with dinner, drinks after dinner came to $900. So for 2 people we spent $65 a day each total or just a little more than the package price for one person. We had a penthouse suite which was a beautiful large room with a double balcony. Note that the step in tub has a step over of about 21 inches with a grab bar. Sunday Maui We booked a private tour for four with mauiislandtaxitour . Our driver Nick Crowley drove us around about 5 hours a day on Sunday and Monday to see the island. we choose not to do the road to Hana but keep to the other sites. Nick was very informative and showed us some places you wouldn't normally see . Stopped in town for lunch and shop tours. When you compare prices of the NCL tours for the four of us, we actually saved some money and got to come and go as we saw fit. Didn't have to wait for 40 people to get on the bus and 40 people to get off the bus all day. Tuesday Hilo We didn't have any big plans except maybe going into town. It poured rain all day long and we never left the ship. Wednesday Kona Kona is pretty cool and you pull into the pier and are right in town. It's a short walk to visit the Hulihe'e Palace which was $16 for seniors. Then further down was the Kona Inn shopping center where we wound up having lunch and buying some souvenirs. Then down the street was the flea market for some more souvenirs for the grand kids. No rain today, they did get it yesterday though. Thursday Kauai Had another private tour booked today with KauaiIslandShuttle com . Got a late start because the ship was late. saw the Waimea canyon, falls, coffee plantation, had lunch, spouting horn etc. Friday half day we took the free shuttle to the hotel area, had a dink at Dukes. Walked through the hotel . Looked around and bused back. The in the PM it was the slow cruise by the Na Pali coast. spectacular site. Then they turn around so you can see it from the other side. also a few whales showed up. Saturday they start the announcements about 730 and go on and on every ten minutes. It's a quick walk off and we went right to the airport for our 2 PM flight. Cab was $30. Airport has no curbside check in and you have to have your bags x ray'd and tagged to check them in. The AA counter doesn't open till 1115 per the sign and there was no place to sit. So there we stood for about 2 hours and we sat on the luggage drop scales. Honolulu was very crowded and seemed like there were bus load after bus load of tourist from China. The flight time from China is more reasonable. All the other islands were a lot more peaceful. I think we had some rain every day except two. Cagney's was still th best, everybody went to dinner at 7 PM. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Not an all inclusive trip. Extra for internet, tipping, bottled water, photos, etc .you think you have everything paid for but then they tack on an extra charge everyday for each person. I expected the excursions to be a little bit more ... Read More
Not an all inclusive trip. Extra for internet, tipping, bottled water, photos, etc .you think you have everything paid for but then they tack on an extra charge everyday for each person. I expected the excursions to be a little bit more considering the price. But most were just a bus ride to a free admission park. Very disappointed in most of them. Occasionally they would include a box lunch with one bottle of water. Weather was terrible one day but because they did not cancel we would have lost our money had be not gone. Couldn’t see anything but rain and clouds for the sunset at Haleakalā. Glassbottom boat in Kona was a joke - only saw a few yellow fish and only got about 10 feet from shore. They booked our flights but failed to tell us that we would be dropped off st the airport at 9:30 and the American Airlines gate would not open until 11:15 so we had to stand in line waiting to check our bags for almost 2 hrs. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Pride of America has a nice itinerary to get a taste of the islands. It is good to have a place to call home while exploring. We had a cabin with an ocean view. It provided nice natural light, although the windows are always streaky so you ... Read More
Pride of America has a nice itinerary to get a taste of the islands. It is good to have a place to call home while exploring. We had a cabin with an ocean view. It provided nice natural light, although the windows are always streaky so you never have a clear view. Our stateroom size was adequate. We had to watch our heads due to the overhead bunks ( which weren’t in use). The outside decks provided enough areas to view the scenery without feeling over crowded. We always found a spot to sit or lounge, even poolside. If you do sit poolside, the loudspeakers are very loud when announcements are being played. Our dining experiences were good...enough food to eat at any time of the day. The buffets are average, with the biggest complaint being Luke warm food. Some dishes were quite bland; I would probably bring a shaker of some seasoning from home if we would do this cruise again. Entertainment was excellent. Bar service was mediocre with long waits between ordering a beverage and finally receiving it. My observation was they did not have enough bartenders to make the drinks for the wait staff, as well as walk up cruisers at the bar. The drinks were also over-priced. An average beer if over $8/ bottle; a mixed drink $8-15+ with an automatic 20% gratuity added. Maybe this is their way of not letting anyone's Drinking get out of control. We used shore excursions thru the cruise line. We enjoyed Whale watching ( we saw several). We did the Atlantis submarine which was a unique experience. Our National Volcano Park tour was a bust due to heavy rains and cloud cover. We paid over $100 pp for a bus ride and never saw a bit of the volcano except for one steam vent. We felt this tour should have been cancelled. We also did the Mudbugging which was great fun! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because it was the only cruise around the Hawaiian islands. We purchased our tickets which included 3 benefits, 3 shore excursion discounts, 3 dinners in the specialty dining rooms and free wifi/internet. When we tried ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was the only cruise around the Hawaiian islands. We purchased our tickets which included 3 benefits, 3 shore excursion discounts, 3 dinners in the specialty dining rooms and free wifi/internet. When we tried to book our shore excursions we were told we did not have any discounts, specialty dining and free wifi/internet. We tried to explain that these benefits were included with our initial purchase but the desk on the ship said they had no knowledge of our benefits. Luckily we had the telephone number of Norwegian Cruise Line's office. After several days and attempts to call them on our cell phone, despite the 5 hour time difference and the reception we connected with them and they said we did have the 3 benefits and they would email the ship. The ship never contacted us that they had received the email but when we went back to the ship's desk they said we did have the 3 benefits and they would include them on our bill. NO APOLOGY OR EVEN AN OFFER OF A FREE ICE CREAM OR DRINK FOR UPSETTING OUR PLANNED EXCURSION AND DINNER RESERVATIONS. WE NEVER DID RECEIVE FREE INTERNET/WIFI. OR A CREDIT FOR THAT. Also I talked to the NCL representative about a balcony upgrade and she suggest cabin 9502. I trusted her and that balcony was the most forward balcony/cabin on the ship and th balcony was completely framed by a 2 foot metal structure cutting out a big portion of our ocean view. The first night of the cruise was extremely rough!!! We also came into port 2 hours late. As I learned later while over hearing a conversation from the crew the ship was having engine problems which we were never made information from the captain. Finally, my husband has celiac disease which make him unable to eat wheat, barley or rye. We made NCL aware of this issue and they assured NCL would take care of him. Because of the issue with the dinners in the specialty dining we had to eat the the buffet. There was no signage on any of the food indicating if they were gluten free so we asked the staff and they also did not know. I registered a complaint to NCL more than 5 days ago and they have not answered me or refunded me for not providing wifi/internet as promised in my contract. This is not a cruise I would recommend to anyone. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We just got back from our cruise on the Pride of America last Sunday, February 24, 2019. We chose this cruise because we have been to just about all the Caribbean islands on the Royal Caribbean, Carnival and NCL ships. We thought it was ... Read More
We just got back from our cruise on the Pride of America last Sunday, February 24, 2019. We chose this cruise because we have been to just about all the Caribbean islands on the Royal Caribbean, Carnival and NCL ships. We thought it was time to see something new. We have been on everything from Royal Caribbean smallest ship in the ocean to their largest etc. I must say that the NCL Pride of America was AWESOME in every way possible. We booked our trip last summer and I did not even look at any reviews. Then I started researching port excursions about a month before the cruise and noticed there were various bad reviews on Yelp and some other review sites like Yelp. I must say that I became a bit nervous after reading these reviews. Well NCL Pride of America was amazing and so much more!!! For starters we stayed in a penthouse suite with our 2 daughters who are 13 and 16. We were greeted within 3 minutes of walking thru check in and were escorted to a private desk for an immediate check in. It was seamless. It was the fastest that we ever got on a ship ever!!! We spent some time eating at the lunch buffet and walking around the ship to see where everything was at. I just kept telling my husband how in shock I was of the negative reviews that people put on the internet about this ship. Honestly, I have never ever taken the time to write a review but I really felt like I have to in this case. So the next night at dinner at Cagneys Steakhouse I asked Martha who is in charge of Cagneys why could there possibly be so many negative reviews. She explained that it really was a shame as well! She also mentioned that the ship had a multi million dollar refurbish 3 years ago! I figured as much because I knew it is a an older ship but so many things on the ship look brand new. So basically in a nutshell the food, entertainment and service was absolutely AMAZING and I would soooo recommend anyone interested in this Hawaiian Cruise to take the cruise of a lifetime!!!!! You will NOT be disappointed!!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This was our first cruise. My husband and I went with my brother and sister-in-law who had been on a cruise before. It was suggested that we take the cruise out of Honolulu as that way we would get to experience more time on the Islands ... Read More
This was our first cruise. My husband and I went with my brother and sister-in-law who had been on a cruise before. It was suggested that we take the cruise out of Honolulu as that way we would get to experience more time on the Islands of Hawaii. Overall it was a great experience! We had a room with a balcony which made it so nice to be able to open the door and listen to the waves as we set sail to another island. We also got ample opportunities to take sunset pictures which were breathtaking! The bathroom was a little tight maneuvering around, especially for my husband who is a fairly large man. We disembarked onto the islands at every opportunity. We found that talking to natives on the islands provided us with the best prices for exploring the many attractions it had to offer. We save over 40% off what the ship prices provided and we got the experience of the people that live on the islands. Disembarking and embarking went pretty smoothly. You always have to have your ship card on your person as well as a photo id to get on and off the ship. There was many different food offerings on the ship. The buffet was pretty good. It offered the biggest variety and there were several stations serving the same food so that lines were minimal, even at the busiest hours. We did eat at a couple of the restaurants that were not included in our package, and I would say the Steakhouse was the best meal we had on the ship!! The service was excellent and the food was phenomenal. There was a crew member who sprayed your hands with hand sanitizer any time you entered the food buffet area. I reasonable precaution given all the people on board and hearing of illnesses on past ships. The Cruise Director was so friendly, enthusiastic and informative. There was plenty to do on board the ship. Entertainment included comedy shows, magic shows (for adults and children), plenty of music and dancing that varied each night as well. Also, other types of entertainment that involved the travelers such as a "Not So Newlywed Game" which was very funny! Given all the free food offered, I was glad to see this ship had a wonderful fitness center that included many of the latest treadmills, elliptical machines and other fitness equipment as well. I used them daily!! The pools were clean and we also enjoyed the experience of the Jacuzzi and meeting new friends!! Overall, our cruise on the Pride of America was a dream come true for my husband and myself. We would definitely go again, and I would recommend this trip to any of my family and friends! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
My cousin and I had a wonderful girls vacation on the Pride of America! They only thing that could have made our trip a little better was less rain, but the crew had no control over that! The Napoli Coastline was beautiful and I would ... Read More
My cousin and I had a wonderful girls vacation on the Pride of America! They only thing that could have made our trip a little better was less rain, but the crew had no control over that! The Napoli Coastline was beautiful and I would have liked another highlight or two more like that while on the ship. The food was wonderful & accesssability to food was available nearly 24/7! They ran out of a few food items, and service was a bit slow at the Liberty restaurant, but it wasn’t a huge deal. I celebrated a birthday on the ship. I think they were uploaded to sing and bring me a cake, but they forgot. I didn’t really need it anyway and may have enjoyed a drink more than more dessert (which was readily available on the ship). They also offered me $50 off a spa treatment, but you still had to pay another $100 or so for a service. Would have been nice to just get a little free service, like nails done or hair do or something, but I guess everyone needs to make a living;). We went to a bunch of great entertaining shows and also learned how to make several different types of leis! I was also impressed with security coming off and onto the ship, although getting off the ship the last day was a bit hectic (long lines to get off and confusion as to if we took our own bags off or tagged them). The gentlemen taking care of our rooms were also fantastic and always had our room looking great! Hawaii is a beautiful part of the United States and the Pride of America was a great way to see several of Hawai’s many islands. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This has been the worst trip I’ve ever been on. I understand that the weather is too bad to go to Maui. But instead of taking us to Honolulu or some where, they’ve trapped us on this ship at sea for 2 whole days. If they would of just ... Read More
This has been the worst trip I’ve ever been on. I understand that the weather is too bad to go to Maui. But instead of taking us to Honolulu or some where, they’ve trapped us on this ship at sea for 2 whole days. If they would of just taken us to Honolulu, I could of gotten off the ship and be done. Never book in February and go with a different cruise line who has alternative ports instead of trapping you on the ship. I missed our whale watching. The caption showed us a few whales, but he didn’t say when to look. I barely went to the beach. 2 days of fun on my once in a lifetime trip we’re ruined because they didn’t have an alternative port. It was also cold in Kauai. The dining was okay. The foods were similar every night. They had some variety Asian food a roasted pig one night which I didn’t like. They had salads. I liked the hamburgers, grilled chicken, spaghetti and the pizza a little. They didn’t have sugar frosting on the cake. I almost spit out the cake frosting. The ice cream was nice. The service was great. The servers got your plates right away. It was hard to find a table when they trapped everyone on the ship. The cleaning lady was the only really good thing. She cleaned our room twice a day and waited until we were out. She helped my Mom with the room. She was super nice and friendly. The entertainment was okay. We only found two shows we liked on one day trapped on the ship. Only one show the 2nd day. They made us listen to this big thing at the end of the show saying how great their staff were. Their staff weren’t bad accept for the captain trapping us. But I really didn’t care for their celebration and telling us to come back when they were horrible. They had nice hot tubs. The pool was cold. But you couldn’t use the pool or hot tub when everyone was trapped and crammed on the ship. They had a big chess game and ping pong. But the ping pong tables were where you entered the buffet. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this NCL cruise because it appeared to be a good way to visit 4 Hawaii Islands without unpacking and changing hotels. My wife and I have cruised on 3 other cruises in the past, but it has been over 10 years since our last cruise. ... Read More
We chose this NCL cruise because it appeared to be a good way to visit 4 Hawaii Islands without unpacking and changing hotels. My wife and I have cruised on 3 other cruises in the past, but it has been over 10 years since our last cruise. Our cruise was from 2/9/2019 thru 02/16/2019. The weather in Hawaii was extremely winding and this caused many issues. First we were not able to dock in Maui at the beginning of the week which diverted us to Kauai, this caused all of our excursions to be change for these two ports which were both over night stops. We did management to stop at Hilo and Kona, but the wind caused our helicopter ride in Kona to be canceled, we were not informed of this until minutes before we were to head out it was 10:30am so we were too late to schedule any other excursions. We were also told that Kona only had small beaches so we decided not to plan on going to the beach only to find that they had a nice beach right where we were tendering in. The cruise never docked in Maui, which was questionable the second day, as we spent another day sailing around Maui, why if the weather was so bad did we not go back to Honolulu? NCL made no special offers, events, happy hours or any other concessions to their guests during the two days that we were stuck on the boat sailing around! We are now owed $792.00 in a refund for all of the canceled excursions that we had scheduled, it would be more but we used some of it to do things like a couples massage at a cost of $398.00, bought two cups of coffe with baileys for $16.00 each, and wasted $110.00 on a so called specialty restaurant that was no different than the included restaurant. The food on this cruise was the worst I have ever had on a cruise ship, the buffet was always COLD and consistently poor for every meal, we avoided eating there. If you go on this cruise eat your breakfast at the Cadillac Dinner, its cooked when ordered and it is actually served hot. We ate at to so called specialty restuarents, East Meets West worst than Panda Buffet and La Cucina which had the same food quality as the Liberty Dinning room so do not waste your money. Here is the buyer beware part, if you go on this cruise book your excursions through NCL, because if you do not you will find yourself out the cost of the excursions when the ports of call get changed. Also keep in mind that the weather can be bad and you could find yourself as we did stuck on a boat at sea, where as if you did not cruise you could at least be on the islands during things. It should be noted that our second day at sea the weather was sunny and warm but we still were not able to dock. Due to all the changes and cancelations we were in Hawaii for a week and never got to a volcano, never snorkeled nor swan in the ocean, never went to a Luau. My advice is do not risk a cruise of the Hawaii islands, asure yourself of a good Hawaii vacation by staying on the islands not on a boat looking at the island because you cannot dock due to weather. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Wanted to see Hawaii; preferred to do our own agenda but ridiculously expensive to island hop, and wanted to avoid the sea days of the other cruise options. The weather caused us to miss Maui entirely - 1/3 of the anticipated stops - ... Read More
Wanted to see Hawaii; preferred to do our own agenda but ridiculously expensive to island hop, and wanted to avoid the sea days of the other cruise options. The weather caused us to miss Maui entirely - 1/3 of the anticipated stops - surprised to not be able to tender on the second attempt when whale watching boats (smaller than our tenders) were in business under the same conditions. The cancellations led to the sea days we wanted to avoid; we recognize that you do not control the weather but it is difficult to check off this one from the bucket list The ship is older but clean and well kept. Cabins small for the price; our steward was excellent. Dining (Liberty and Skyline) quality was marginal for a major cruise line; the service was friendly but not as polished/trained as we have experienced - the Italian and Bistro specialty restaurants were very good, but the additional charges are the highest we have ever paid in past cruises. The Entertainment was good. Overall service was good with the exception of the Internet - the absolute worst in our experience and outrageously overpriced for anyone needing more. We did private shore excursions and the ones we were able to get to were excellent. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
My hubby and I had an amazing 7 day cruise on the Pride of America. it was a nice ship and people were very friendly. The cruise director was very fun and all that worked with Jamie were amazing. The food was amazing especially in the ... Read More
My hubby and I had an amazing 7 day cruise on the Pride of America. it was a nice ship and people were very friendly. The cruise director was very fun and all that worked with Jamie were amazing. The food was amazing especially in the Skyline Room. When we couldn't go to land we found things to do on the ship. I would recommend a cruise to anyone. It is great to have all your things in one place and not have to move around. Thank you Pride of America for a wonderful cruise. There was plenty of places to eat and when it was sunny, many places to go and sit and relax. The spa was great and the massage I had on Valentines Day - a gift from my hubby was amazing.. We went to shows each night and enjoyed the entertainment. Our cabin was very clean and the nice man who was in charge of the floor was amazing. Good time had by all. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
With no prior notice, NCL changed the itinerary for the trip changing the dates of 4 of our 6 ports and then ended up only going to 4 of the 6 ports; skipping both days in Maui. As frustrating as that is I'm a pretty hard person to ... Read More
With no prior notice, NCL changed the itinerary for the trip changing the dates of 4 of our 6 ports and then ended up only going to 4 of the 6 ports; skipping both days in Maui. As frustrating as that is I'm a pretty hard person to frustrate and can handle change well. What made this cruise my worst ever was the ship itself. This ship was build in 2005 which is extremely misleading. It was originally started in the US and finished several years later in Germany but I think the company that was building it in the US was using plans from 1980 that they downloaded on the internet for free. The ship has no stabilizers. Two of our sale days were so bad the front of the ship would break out of the water and coming crashing back down so loud you thought the boat would break in half. In my cabin, I would almost come off the mattress as the ship would start to oscillate back down and I would get pressed down hard into the mattress as it would go back up; impossible to sleep. The rocking front to back and side to side in this ship is by far the worst I have ever experienced. I have been cruising for 21 years on over 25 ships and have only had this type of experience once back in 2000 on a 29,000 ton Holland American ship that was getting decommissioned shortly after my cruise. One of the days the ship decided we were going to stay at sea rather than go into port they said it was too windy and a rough sea. That day around 10 am or so one of the passengers needed their dialysis treatment so NCL tendered him into the port anyway. I went out to the deck and watch to see how that went. There was no wind and the waves were small (trust me I know small vs big waves). The tender went to shore and back with hardly any bobbing motions. This was a disgusting money grab by NCL to keep us all on board to enjoy another day of poor service. DO NOT SAIL THIS CRUISE until NCL replaces this ship or adds stabilizers to it. Cabin Our cabin was a 1990 styling; however, it was clean and in good shape. We did have one of the two closet doors falling off its hinges. We requested it to be repaired but by the end of the cruise, they had still not dealt with the broken door. Dining I tried the free dining at the Liberty restaurant the first two nights and felt forced to pay the additional money for the specialty dining for the rest of the cruise. Had several great meals at Cagneys and a really good one at Moderno's. I forget the Italian restaurants name, however, I had a really really overcooked steak there one night. It was so bad they didn't charge me for the meal without me even asking for them to take it off the bill. The mater d just walked past the table and saw the steak, so she stopped and asked about the meal and I commented on the steak. I told her I would deal with it but at the end of the meal when the bill came she had removed it without even being asked. It was bad to have my meal ruined but she dealt with it very professionally. Embarkation The embarkation was smooth. We left about two hours late; it would have been nice to be given an explanation but it was all good. Entertainment I love the gold rush saloon. I enjoyed the kareoke there most nights. That was the only bar with draft beer. Onboard Experience The onboard experience was not what you are used to on most NCL ships. Their fleet as a whole has nice ships with lots of things to do on them. Remember this ship was built with plans from the 80s and has nothing to do but shop. The layout of the top of the ship has no entertainment activities (pools and bars - that is it) and the rest of the ship only has bars or shops. If you ever cruised in the 90's you will know exactly what I'm talking about. This ship is truly an embarrassment to the NCL name. Public Rooms I enjoyed the theme of this ship. Everything is based on US history. The public areas are all well maintained and clean like you would expect by NCL. The problem is just the design of the ship; it can be clean and well maintained and still fall very short of your NCL expectations - that's what this ship is. Service I have cruised many many times and have found NCL, Holland America, Princess and Royal Carribean to all meet my need for service. That said this is an all American crew so, as you could guess, the service level isn't what you would expect. I still want to give credit to NCL for the best they could do with what they are working with. Value for the Money This is an expensive cruise because of the American crew. So the value for the money is just difficult to say. If you compare to any other cruise in the world you would say its expensive but you have to look at the huge cost of the American crew. For me, it was particularly bad because NCL skipped Maui altogether. Horrible value for my particular sailing. I think you know how horrible the experience this was. I feel the weather was a major issue however the second day at sea (the second day when we should have been in Maui) they could have easily tendered us to shore starting a little later in the day (say 10:00 am) and didn't bother. That was very bad treatment to us by NCL. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I chose this cruise as it was the easiest way to see the islands of Hawaii. I had read lots of negative reviews between Nov and early Jan after booking and was a bit anxious before hand but decided that I was not that bothered I would be ... Read More
I chose this cruise as it was the easiest way to see the islands of Hawaii. I had read lots of negative reviews between Nov and early Jan after booking and was a bit anxious before hand but decided that I was not that bothered I would be off the ship more than on. That did not work out, the itinary was turned upside down and we lost 2 days in Maui due to the weather. Nothing anybody can do about that. I had read a prev negative review about the cruise director Jami, unfounded, I thought she was as good as any and she was there at every corner with a big smile and welcome, even when we were leaving the ship my daughter got a hug. Prev bad reports about the staff and entertainment I also found unfounded. The waiters, servers have a tough gig, working all day, every day for months on end with a smile on their face, but do it well. The dancers and singers on stage are new and the shows on the Hollywood and Mardi Gras were good to excellent,the very beautiful and talented Danielle one of the singer/dancers was especially nice to my daughter, who is 4. Food/service in the french bistro restaurant was my favourite, Japanese restaurant was also really good and the chefs put on a good show. Wine tasting is super value for money and the guy was really good. Barwoman in the piano bar was also super nice to my daughter, not to forget the photo crew. The ships real asset is the staff. Yes the ship is older, I have cruised Azamara, Royal Caribbean, MSC x 2 Celebrity x2 and Holland America and apart from Azamara all other ships we less than 6 month old. I hated Azamara due to that ship being old and was concerned about this ships age before embarkation. Room is a room, as long as we have a balcony we are happy. Our cleaner was Presentation(her actual name) who also works hard and never without a smile and a laugh. Yes, the ship is not a fancy as other boats, but guests and staff more than compensate. My first time without a drinks package, really not worth it with NCL. Freddie the waiter at Mardi Gras also worth a mention, happy chap. If Hawaii was not as far away from home I would do the cruise again next year. Thank you Pride of America staff and a bigger thanks from my daughter Aimee, she had a ball. Only complaint would be, there should be 2 days in Kona and a day less on the north Island. Do a excursion in Hilo or it’s a quick walk round and a day on the ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We usually cruise the Caribbean because the East Coast ports are close to us. For our 25th anniversary we decided to return to Hawaii where we spent our honeymoon. The last time we were there, we were constantly packing and unpacking for ... Read More
We usually cruise the Caribbean because the East Coast ports are close to us. For our 25th anniversary we decided to return to Hawaii where we spent our honeymoon. The last time we were there, we were constantly packing and unpacking for each island, so a cruise was a logical choice to avoid that. The Pride of America is a smaller ship, but we like that. We don't gamble, so no on-board casino doesn't bother us. As non-smokers, we also like the fact that there's only one place on the entire ship for smokers - on the 13th deck all the way aft. A major storm was passing through the islands, so when we got on board, we were told that the itinerary was reversed and we would go to Kauai first instead of Maui. Any pre-booked Maui tours were automatically refunded, and we were still able to get the same Kauai excursion. After visiting Kauai and the big island, we were still unable to stop at Maui for 2 days due to dangerous wind and waves. The crew apologized many times, and did everything they could to arrange activities for the 2 additional sea days. They even reprinted the Freestyle Daily with new activities and made sure everyone got a copy. Instead of port calls, we sailed along the Molokai sea cliffs, did some whale watching, and cruised around the islands. We heard some passengers complaining about not getting to see Maui, but it isn't NCL's fault that the weather was bad. After all, February is the coldest and wettest month in the state, so you have to expect something other than sunshine. We took lemons and made lemonade and had a great time. We had a lot of relaxation time. We found the crew to be very friendly, and even had two dining room waiters look us up and say hello whenever we weren't seated in their section. Since it's a U.S. flagged ship, much of the crew consisted of college age kids from many states. There were also folks from Guam - a U.S. possession. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This is an old, tired and run down ship that should be retired. The food in the Aloha Cafe was on par with the Golden Corral, tired looking and lukewarm. The bus staff were atrocious. They walked around like zombies, not noticing the ... Read More
This is an old, tired and run down ship that should be retired. The food in the Aloha Cafe was on par with the Golden Corral, tired looking and lukewarm. The bus staff were atrocious. They walked around like zombies, not noticing the dirty plates at the end of the table. We did try the main dining room for lunch and that was a mistake. The nachos and philly cheese steak we order came covered in melted cheese whiz. The food looked like it was under a food lamp for hours. A fast food meal is better than this meal. We must give cudo’s to the staff at Cagney, where we enjoyed a great meal and great service. The manager was very attentive. This meal was deferently the highlight of the cruise. The bathroom in our cabin was small where taking a proper shower was next to impossible. The only standout here was our cabin steward. We did not have time to check out the entertainment as it was poorly planned with the restaurant operations. For example, the Aloha Cafe opens at 6:00 pm and the first show was at 6:30 pm. This meant that we would have to go to later shows Over the earlier shoes. Basically, this cruise is not worth the money we paid for it. The premium we paid for was for an all American crew. There were only a select few of the crew who stood out and truly represented the Pride of America. You’re better flying to each island and booki a hotel on each if. NCL’s POA IS AN EPIC FAIL. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I choose to sail on this cruise as I thought what better way to see Hawaii then being able to visit 4 of its beautiful islands within a week. I also loved that it offered two overnight stays to give you even more time in Kuai & Maui. ... Read More
I choose to sail on this cruise as I thought what better way to see Hawaii then being able to visit 4 of its beautiful islands within a week. I also loved that it offered two overnight stays to give you even more time in Kuai & Maui. It also seemed like a more affordable way to see Hawaii then travelling the islands on your own. Embark was fast and easy although our itinerary had changed before we even got on board. This left us with all of our excursions cancelled and no clear answers as to when or what we could re-book. As soon as we got on the boat we went straight to the shore excursions desk where we were treated with complete disrespect and rudeness. They could care less to help us and just told us to come back later in the evening once they figured things out. Each day we were left with more uncertainty of where we were going due to the weather. Both of our days in Maui were cancelled minutes after we were about to walk off the gangway. How can you cancel our port of call on the hour that people are suppose to exit the boat and enjoy their day. I would be walking off the boat at 7 am as scheduled to enjoy the port and they would announce that the water is too rough and we are going to have a day at sea. If you get sea sick this is an awful way to spend your day. The shore excursions desk was an awful place to deal with and as our excursions got cancelled multiple times throughout the week we hated having to go back to speak to the staff. In all honesty we couldn't wait to get off the boat and enjoy the time we booked see Honolulu at the end of our cruise on our own. Food in the dining room was average, they had some great options but most of the time the food was cold and wasn't very appetizing. The dining staff didn't say much either and weren't very friendly. Most of them didn't even tell us their name or of any specials for the night. Buffet was also average, typical food options. Sometimes the buffet was way too busy and it was hard to find somewhere to sit. Nothing is worst than having to carry your food half way across the boat to eat in your room. Our stateroom steward however was amazing and so kind. She always came to see if we were doing ok and if we needed anything. She even came to knock when our itinerary for the next day was ready. The pool was ok nothing special, this deck looks like it could use a new pool. When we had the days at sea if you didn't get out right away good luck finding a place to sit. It was impossible. They had a great gelato place though on the pool deck ...it was an extra charge but it was delicious. Made the sea days a bit better along with the pool side bbq they offered. Gave you a chance to grab lunch without having to deal with the buffet. I probably wouldn't sail with this cruise line again as customer service was awful and a lot of times you asked guest services a question and they weren't always sure how to help you. I dont really like feeling like I have to ask 3 people a question to get help or an answer. They also weren't very friendly on this boat compared to other cruise lines we sailed with. I also hated the fact that any of our cancelled excursions couldn't just be refunded onto our credit card. They issue a refund through a cheque which takes a week to get mailed out to you. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
If you are Non-Veg, no worries. You are good to go. The biggest disappointment is vegetarian food. A lot of food items that are non-veg when it could easily be vegetarian. All 7 days, we did not get ONE soup that was veg. There are 4-5 ... Read More
If you are Non-Veg, no worries. You are good to go. The biggest disappointment is vegetarian food. A lot of food items that are non-veg when it could easily be vegetarian. All 7 days, we did not get ONE soup that was veg. There are 4-5 stations for non-veg, vs. only one for vegetarian, and feels very segregated. With 3 cruises, it definitely feels that they do not budge until there is a ruckus. Based on your ethnicity, they do offer you the specific food so you basically are forced to eat what one eats daily. I think the best way to have this addressed is to not pay gratuities if they do not expand on the veggie menu. I know it's sad, but why pay the same as others, if you cannot enjoy the same. It's not that your fare is lower that the ones who can enjoy all 6 stations!!! I made sure I paid the cash directly to the guys that deserved it If you have the beverage package or not, please ensure you double check what you ordered, as after you sign the check, its on your cabin bill. E.g. I ordered a Gamay (#303 on the menu, look it up :)) and was charged a different one, about double the price!!! I had the beverage pass, and this happened only once, so not bad. Port Excursions : If you have specific excursions, it may be better to book with the ship to ensure timely return, but other than that, for sightseeing etc. it is better to rent a car and do it yourself. Most of the airports are near the piers and have shuttles so it is easy to rent a car., with the exception of Kona (For Kona, make sure you rent a car from a location near the pier rather than the airport, The airport is about 7 miles away with no shuttle service.) Ship/Cabin/Service The ship is nice, well maintained, much smaller than the newer ones, but overall the cabin was nice. The room was nicely maintained and was more than happy. Entertainment: The stand up show ( went to 3 different sessions), as well as the polynesian island cultural show were nice. Did not go to much of the other shows. The routine worked well. Wake Up, Breakfast, Dock, Rent a car, Sightseeing, Return, Snack, Rest, Dinner, Show or go to sleep, and repeat each day. We could not dock into Maui due to weather, so had a nice relaxing day with family. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Don't bother going on this cruise liner...…...staff were very good on the whole but nothing else was!!!!! FOOD - no diabetic or low calorie choices, even the packet breakfast cereal was high sugar. Bread was stale, fruit and ... Read More
Don't bother going on this cruise liner...…...staff were very good on the whole but nothing else was!!!!! FOOD - no diabetic or low calorie choices, even the packet breakfast cereal was high sugar. Bread was stale, fruit and vegetables not ripe. We arrived at 6pm for dinner and they had just opened the casual dining café....the food was cold!!!! even the French fries were cold?????!!! PAID FOR DRINKS PACKAGE - but each drink was taxed so even if you chose a drink below the stated $15.00 limit once they added tax and service charges you ended up with a charge on your account. SMOKING AREA- only one for the whole ship....and it is a big ship! The area allocated was small, hard to get to for older passengers or those with disabilities or those not good climbing two lots of stairs with buffeting winds as it was aft and on deck 13, totally unprotected from the elements!!! CABIN- LAYOUT & SIZE OK. Rooms were not ready till approx 4.30pm. Our balcony door could not be locked and on one night because of rough seas I had to get up 6 times/ grab the curtain pull it back inside the cabin and shut the door. I was travelling with my elderly mother who attempted to do this when it first happened and she fell and could have SUSTAINED A SERIOUS INJURY AT 87 YEARS OF AGE! When I rang guest services there was no answer although I tried several times to report the faulty door. The next morning I went to guest services and complained....late that afternoon a workman came to replace the locks and stated he had been VERY BUSY AS MANY DOORS HAD TO BE FIXED!!! Towels and sheets were not changed throughout the 7 days. Toilet broke down on the second day and was not fixed till late that afternoon approx 4pm so had to access the public toilets all day!!!! Hand basin plug not functioning and could not drain the water out of handbasin. Again was not fixed till late that afternoon. LIBRARY - unable to get library books out on weekends and only after 5pm weekdays....what? most people want to sit on deck , relax, lap up what little sunshine we got and read a book IN THE DAY TIME??????? And as we were stuck at sea it would have been nice to get a book and read for the day as there was nothing else to do!!! ENTERTAINMENT - very poor, stuck at sea for two full days, unable to dock anywhere and no extra entertainment organised to help pass the time. The shows we did see were amaturish and short (one only just over half an hour). No movie theater or big screen. PORT & SHORE EXCURSIONS - We were suppose to dock in six ports and got to call into two apart from Honalulu were we joined the cruise........ Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We had crappy weather which resulted in several itinerary changes. While disappointing, the captain and crew did Everything in their power to make it enjoyable and give us decent alternatives. My one complaint is how they handled the ... Read More
We had crappy weather which resulted in several itinerary changes. While disappointing, the captain and crew did Everything in their power to make it enjoyable and give us decent alternatives. My one complaint is how they handled the cancellations of the pre-booked excursions when they switched the itinerary around. Rather than cancelling and making everyone start from scratch, they should have simply changed the dates based upon the revised itinerary and only cancelled those which were not available and allowed guests to cancel if the revised plan did not work. It made for a lot of unnecessary chaos. Food and service was good. The ship feels a bit dated, although its more as a result of its traditional style, than its age. I would suggest that they ask if people have food allergies as part of the onboarding process, then have their system pull it up for the wait staff, which would allow them to simply verify, rather than inquire each and every time - small touches like that set the service apart. I overheard some passengers criticizing about the lack of amenities, which I guess if you spend a lot of time on the ship may be valid, but for us it was fine. The excursions were awesome! This cruise is a great way to experience the beauty and diversity that each of the Hawaian islands have to offer. The spa was also lovely. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
I am a Platinum Latitudes member and enjoy NCL. POA was a little different experience than what I had in the past. We stayed in a OS and LOVED it!. I just feel that some of the perks normally associated with a suite was a bit lacking. ... Read More
I am a Platinum Latitudes member and enjoy NCL. POA was a little different experience than what I had in the past. We stayed in a OS and LOVED it!. I just feel that some of the perks normally associated with a suite was a bit lacking. Typically people chose this ship for the itinerary, I get that. My husband and I have traveled to the islands in the past and chose the itinerary to get out of the polar vortex, because the timing was convenient, and because we wanted to spoil ourselves a bit. I wasn't thrilled with our butlers attempts to talk us out of breakfast in our suite. We know we can have meals in Cagney's, we prefer breakfast in our beautiful room. Breakfast was reluctantly delivered without linen service or set up. Disappointing. Also the items I called the Concierge desk pre-cruise weren't in our suite either. A few other things weren't in our suite until requested, such as a laundry bag and additional napkins, etc. The entertainment was good. The main show was entertaining, it was the first time the staff performed it and there were no glitches. My husband enjoyed the comedian. He even bought 2 copies of his book. The ship is well laid out and clean. We were never lacking for a lounge or bar. The furnishings were in good condition and tasteful. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I saw a targeted ad on my Instagram feed for this cruise at a price that I could not resist with no solo traveler supplement (the bane of the solo travelers' existence) likely because it was three days before sail. I booked it, but ... Read More
I saw a targeted ad on my Instagram feed for this cruise at a price that I could not resist with no solo traveler supplement (the bane of the solo travelers' existence) likely because it was three days before sail. I booked it, but not before checking that flights were available from SAN for a reasonable price. The embarkation process was smooth and easy with easy access from Waikiki. The ship was clean and the layout was easy to memorize. My stateroom was ready when I boarded and I was only travelling with a carry-on bag so I went directly to my room, unpacked, introduced myself to my cabin attendant who was setting up a room in hallway, and then took a walk around the ship to familiarize myself with the offerings before muster. After muster I proceeded to the Aloha Lanai Bar on deck 11 fully aft to enjoy the weather and a beer and watch as we left port. Here's where the cruise hit a sour note. Mandara Spa had a cruise special for the "Thermal Suite" for $100 so I went ahead and purchased it sight unseen. I visited after snacking(more on the food later) and discovered that it isn't a thermal suite at all. A shower, a steam room (that wasn't functional), a sauna, and a meditation room does not make a thermal suite. There was not a private pool, no jacuzzi, no sunroom. After getting chilled in the steam room and figuring out that it wasn't going to get any warmer, I entered the sauna which was working thankfully. I then did a quick rinse to enter the Meditation Room only to be able to take one step in before quickly backtracking out. The air was so thick with body odor that I could not enter it, despite it being empty. I was the only male in the thermal suite at the time and I was in there for 45 minutes to an hour so I wonder how often they check on the room and clean it? The odor was awful. I told the desk attendant of my concerns when I left. I don't know if they repaired the steam room or cleaned the meditation room because I did not return for the duration of the cruise. I want to feel cleaner and refreshed when I leave such a facility, not the opposite. I blame myself for being ripped off. It's a good thing this cruise itinerary allows for a large amount of time off of the boat, especially Maui and Kauai where you can stay the night on the islands if you so choose, because the food on the boat was so-so on it's best day. On the day of departure I ate at the Aloha Cafe(buffet) (1) and it was bad. I did not eat on the boat again until Day Three after departing Maui. I had the beet salad entree and the pork loin main in the Liberty Dining room (2). The beet salad was good. The pork loin was two thin slices of loin with a small dab of sweet mashed potatoes and two sprigs of asparagus. I passed on dessert. I'm not a breakfast person so I cannot comment on the breakfast offerings. I ate at the Aloha Cafe (3) again on Night Five because all of the other restaurants were full at the time I was hungry. Again it was barely edible. On our final evening after boarding in Kauai at 1:30pm I checked the boards and noticed that East meets West was showing availability so I walked over to see if they could seat me only to be told that they were full, but that they could seat me at the sushi bar, but I had to buy a sushi roll. I declined their offer and slunk back to the Aloha Cafe (4) after looking at the menu at the Corvette Diner. So again, it's a good thing you get to spend a lot of time on the islands and I should have just brought good local food on board with me. Of the seven nights on the boat I only ate aboard 4 times!!! The ship was clean and well maintained and the staff seemed good if not fully seasoned. I did request an adjustment for my thermal suite purchase from a full use pass to a single use for my one visit which was roundly denied. Again, my mistake I should have made the request when I left on the first visit instead of the end of the cruise. That's okay, Mandara Spa will never get another cent from me. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
To be honest, because we wanted to see as much as we could of the other islands in Hawaii and NCL had a monopoly on the market as far as cruising went. The ship was easy to embark and disembark at every port of call. The ship and ... Read More
To be honest, because we wanted to see as much as we could of the other islands in Hawaii and NCL had a monopoly on the market as far as cruising went. The ship was easy to embark and disembark at every port of call. The ship and cabins, although older, were well maintained, clean and the service excellent in keeping it that way. The trip was excellent, staff fantastic and the entertainment on board top notch. The cruise also offered a varying selection of dining choices. Loved the idea that we were not forced to use buffet, as each evening came with an upgraded dining choice or a few restaurants with a la carte menus. The only challenging piece we experienced was with the head office and your excursion booking application. We had booked many excursions and placed the items in the shopping cart. At checkout we had selected a credit card to make our payment. The authorization went through and seemed to be no issue, until we were advised a day or two later, that our excursions would be cancelled as we had some how paid short on the invoice of $1.57. It cost us more in phone calls, aggravation and worry, since we were already in Hawaii and commenced our vacation. Very poor customer experience in consideration, that it was more than likely the NCL system that erred. I would definitely use NCL again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Disclaimer: I'm a 30yr old tech worker from the Bay Area who's been to Hawaii on 3 separate trips (including having my own wedding on Maui). I'm your usual millennial who's used to having WiFi 24/7 and likes to do my ... Read More
Disclaimer: I'm a 30yr old tech worker from the Bay Area who's been to Hawaii on 3 separate trips (including having my own wedding on Maui). I'm your usual millennial who's used to having WiFi 24/7 and likes to do my own research. Also a huge foodie. So this trip wasn't exactly my first choice (went w/parents and grandmother) in terms of "doing Hawaii". This is also my second cruise ever so I don't have a lot to compare against. The Good: - Cabins were great, even the inside cabin we got, our steward was super nice. Would be nice to have a night light so it doesn't feel like we're sleeping in a pitch black coffin. - It was great to hit up all the islands, there's a downside here though, which I'll talk about down below. - The entertainment on ship was surprisingly great! It was really apparent that Jami, our cruise director, loved her job and wanted to put on a genuinely good show. The musical productions were great, some of those folks are super talented. - The staff, with the exception of a few sour faces, the vast majority of cruise staff were friendly, happy and really helpful. Seems like a great group of people. - Most savory dishes on-board were...fine. Won't blow your socks off but better than the "usual". - That last day sail around the Napali coast, just gorgeous... The Bad: - It is really really REALLY not necessary to put that much sugar in your desserts. Please. Just cut back by 50% and those dishes would've been tasty. - If anyone from the ship's food team reads this, please for the love of god rethink your menu for the East Meets West restaurant. My family is Chinese and we knew it was gonna be authentic but I have to say even Panda Express would've been better. Just...gross. Flavors that didn't make sense, way way too much sugar, it just wasn't good food, not to mention "asian food". - $200 per device for wifi? What a joke... - There was some key information that wasn't easy to find. We needed tender tickets to get off the boat when docking in Kona, would've been nice to get that info somewhere ahead of time. We need to be in the theater for the mandatory safety drill, we just saw people walking a certain way and followed them. - The schedule felt frantic. Wake up, eat breakfast, get off the boat, get on a shuttle to the airport, get your rental car, do Hawaii things, return car, take shuttle back, be back on the boat by 5:30 or they leave without you. Like I said, not the usual Hawaii experience I'm used to having. - The logistics disembarking. Oh boy the pier crew at times was not ready for 1000+ people all getting off the boat at once. Starting your day getting yelled at by a flustered woman trying to corral a hundred people to get on the right car rental shuttles, AFTER having waited quietly for about 20mins...well, I feel for her but also, doesn't she do this every week? Why isn't it down to a science by now? Sometimes we just said screw it and grabbed a Lyft. Also imagine those 100 people all descending on Hilo's sleepy airport car rental kiosks at once. Yup you guessed it, more waiting. Takeaway: Would I do this trip again? Hell nah. If I'm gonna spend 7 days in Hawaii, there much better ways of doing it. But if none of the things on my bad list phase you, by all means see the beautiful islands of Hawaii. Aloha. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Our youngest daughter had wanted to go to Hawaii for years, and when an irresistible package deal came up on my Facebook wall I booked for my husband, myself, my 18yo daughter & her 2 best friends. We flew to Honolulu from Australia ... Read More
Our youngest daughter had wanted to go to Hawaii for years, and when an irresistible package deal came up on my Facebook wall I booked for my husband, myself, my 18yo daughter & her 2 best friends. We flew to Honolulu from Australia and spent 3 nights at Waikiki before the cruise. The first day we walked along Waikiki beach, went shopping, watched a beautiful sunset & dined outdoors at the pink resort. Second day was cold & wet so we bused to Pearl Harbor. Next day did Diamond Head walk which I really enjoyed, and watched the Friday night fireworks on the beach. Embarkation on 2nd of Feb went smoothly. My husband and I had the unlimited beverage package included in our deal, which was a treat this cruise. We had balcony cabins 9646 and 8544. Cabins were clean, but tiny, especially the bathrooms. Our steward, Marta was polite & friendly. We've only sailed RCCL before, on 5 two week long cruises. This ship was smaller & less grand than others we've been on, less onboard activities, small pool. But I did like the outdoor area behind the Aloha buffet where we often sat for a pre-dinner drink and watched the sunset and sail away. It was a FAR older group of passengers than our previous cruises. Almost no one around the age of our 18 year olds. A lot of people in gophers. Made my husband & I, in our early 50s, feel young. It was a bit hard to figure out how the freestyle dining worked. All of the included restaurants were booked out for the evenings for the whole cruise, until about 9pm. The reservations lady explained that people could book tables up to 3 months before they cruised. But a lot of people don't turn up to their booking, so you could get straight in, or if no tables available, they give you a beeper that works anywhere on the ship to let you know when a table is available. We ate at the Skyline restaurant the first couple of nights, then thought we'd try the Liberty, which has a dress code. I waited and was given a table there, and called my husband and girls to come. BUT when the girls turned up, looking gorgeous, we were quite rudely advised that their skirts & dresses were too short to be allowed into Liberty, so we had to go back downstairs to Skyline, and wait again for a table. Our 3 girls were insulted & upset. When we were finally able to enter Skyline, staff asked us how we were & I let them know we weren't happy. People apologised, which was appreciated, and a restaurant manager, Felix, offered us a sushi meal as compensation. It turned out that the only evening we didn't dine in Skyline was the night we ate at East Meets West. We didn't enjoy the food on the regular (included in fare) menu very much, finding it bland. There was no vegetarian sushi on the menu, but the chef made us some absolutely delicious vegetarian sushi. Staff Taylor & James were lovely. There have been quite a few complaints on cruise critic about the food on POA, but we found the Skyline to be great. Enough vegetarian options. The mushroom ravioli on the last night in Skyline was divine. The service was hit and miss in Skyline. Some staff were really friendly, like Gino. A few a little rude. I prefer the regular seating on other cruises where you have the same staff each night & get to know them, and don't have to wait for a table, but the advantage here is there is no one trying to hurry you up to leave before the next lot of customers arrive. We had an afternoon snack and a late breakfast in the Cadillac diner too which we enjoyed. The Sunday in Maui we had booked the ship's Molokini snorkel and turtle tour with Pacific Whale Foundation. The sea conditions were too rough to snorkel at Molokini so they took us to a more sheltered area. Snorkeling was quite good, didn't see turtles, BUT we were there in humpback whale breeding & mating season, and saw an amazing number of whales & calves. A magical experience. We got back just before the superbowl half time performance, so my husband & I went to the "party" in the Hollywood theatre where they had a buffet of junk food, and the game on the big screen. Couldn't really understand what was happening, but was fun to have experienced. We went to the Aloha Polynesia show. The dancers were great but the presentation was really cheesy & I thought disrespectful towards Polynesian cultures. Monday we walked to a beach that we could see from our balcony and sunbaked, swam & read , and watched the colourful parasurfers. Afterwards the girls went to find free wifi in a little shopping centre near the pier. That night was 70s FABBA night in Mardi Gras. Dancing was fun, especially while the entertainment staff were there. Tuesday in Hilo we had booked a tour with Mauka Makai tours, to see the black sand beach (no turtles that day), volcano national park, orchid farm, the Rainbow falls, and a chocolate factory. A good day out. That night my husband & I went to Lights Camera Music in the Hollywood theatre. It was OK. Then we headed to the Mardi Gras for 80s night & were surprised to find that our daughter had been a team leader in Battle of the Sexes, & she & one of her friends had somehow signed up for a dance off competition! Once the main show was over the DJ started up and he was dreadful. The floor cleared quickly and people soon left the lounge. I wonder whether he was trying to get us all to leave so that staff could close up & go to bed. And that's really the only option of where to go to party at night. There are so many fabulous 80s dance tracks to chose from, its hard to understand how bad his playlist was. Wednesday was Kona. We were tired so slept in and waited for the open tenders, that you didn't need to get up early & book, which started around midday. I had done some research, so we took an Uber and our sets of cheap goggles & snorkels to Kahaluu beach. Its about a 10 minute drive. I tipped the driver & asked him to collect us in a couple of hours to take us back & he came right on time for the return trip. It is a shallow, safe, black sand beach, with life guards. The snorkeling, on the left hand side by the lava rocks, was fantastic! A lot of the coral was dead & damaged by people having trodden on it, but there were soooo many tame, colourful tropical fish, sea urchins & anemones. And just as I was thinking it was time to get out, I realised a giant turtle was swimming along beside me! At last I saw an Hawaiian turtle! I swam behind and watched it for a while, feeling really happy. Back in Kona we ate delicious shaved ice at a place by the pier that our Uber driver had recommended. Found some free wifi. The girls stayed back for a while to swim in the beach beside the pier. Didn't have to wait long for a tender back to the ship. That night was the White Night dance party which was fun until again the DJ took over and most people left. On Thursday, in Nawiliwili, I had booked us on an adventure tour with Outfitters Kauai. We had to walk about 2km to the small boat harbour, and met up with our guides and group (about 15 of us, only 2 others from POA, the rest were people staying on the island). We Kayaked a couple of kms up a beautiful tree lined waterway. Next we hiked a couple of kms through jungle, with the guide teaching us about some of the flora and history. We could swim in a waterfall. Then we got onto a seated trailer behind a tractor, which drove us through beautiful country side to a hill with amazing views, where we had lunch. After lunch was zip-lining over breathtaking views. Then we had to hike a few more kms along a very muddy path (wear old shoes that you can throw away later if you book this) through beautiful jungle. Most people swam in a waterhole that you could take a flying fox into. Another hike followed, until we were taken back in a boat to the start. You need to be agile & fit if you want to do this tour. We loved it, despite feeling exhausted and muddy by the time we'd walked back to the ship. We went to bed straight after dinner that night. Friday I was still tired and only managed to drag myself out of bed by midday, and sat in a hot tub for a while. Later we sailed past the spectacular Na Pali coast line. Was lovely to be able to enjoy it from our balcony. We ate our last meal in the Skyline & my husband & I competed in the Majority Rules game show. Hardly anyone was in the Mardi Gras that night. Our bills were sent to the cabins overnight & luckily my husband checked them because we had been accidentally overcharged $400. But he managed to sort it out fairly easily after lining up at guest services. Disembarkation went smoothly. We chose to carry our own luggage, & left the ship at about 9.30. We were really lucky with the weather conditions during our holiday. Most days were lovely and sunny. The following day, Sunday, when we were due to fly home, the weather was cold, wet & windy, making it easier for us to say goodbye to Hawaii. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We wanted to have a chance to see the greatest number of islands without the headache of transportation. The cruise was the answer... Simply unpack once and you are shown all the sites. Food was the highlight.... and when you want ... Read More
We wanted to have a chance to see the greatest number of islands without the headache of transportation. The cruise was the answer... Simply unpack once and you are shown all the sites. Food was the highlight.... and when you want it. The open dining was a real treat in the Liberty Dining room and not treated like a bunch of cattle in a buffet. That's right real waiters and a menu. Open seating. We never had to wait. Then when was considered too habitual, not often, we went to the 50's diner for a quick snack.. Of course the buffet was still there with all the ice cream and deserts as needed !. The aft deck was a treat for viewing... especially during departure from Honolulu. Night with city scape. ooooh!! Don't miss the Na Pali Coast cruise by on the last day. The views are amazing Shops ok. but who really wants to go shopping on the ship We spent some time getting the games from the Library and going to the game room to challenge the couple we were traveling with. . Dancing available in the Pink Champaign room but limited dance floor to many different types of music. We went on 4 paid shore excursions and enjoyed every one of them. Cruise staff all VERY nice and friendly. STAY away from the margarita tasting event. BAD, BAD, BAD. Read Less
Pride of America Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 3.9
Dining 5.0 3.5
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.8
Family 5.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.0
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 5.0 3.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 3.0 3.7

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