Sail Date: March 2015
The food and drinks were awful including the specialty restaurants. Limited entertainment with poor after dinner shows. Minimal activities for children and teenagers. Alcoholic beverages extremely expensive. Ship is extremely outdated. ... Read More
The food and drinks were awful including the specialty restaurants. Limited entertainment with poor after dinner shows. Minimal activities for children and teenagers. Alcoholic beverages extremely expensive. Ship is extremely outdated. Mostly accommodating to senior citizens. Most bars closed by 10 or 11pm. Excursions were $100.00 more per person than vendors exciting the port. We cruise twice per year. This ship and cruiseline were disappointing to say the least. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
I was a little concerned about this cruise as the comments given weren't very positive but each to there own. This is my take on the cruise and it was a special birthday that was wonderful. We arrived in Honolulu a day before the ... Read More
I was a little concerned about this cruise as the comments given weren't very positive but each to there own. This is my take on the cruise and it was a special birthday that was wonderful. We arrived in Honolulu a day before the cruise and stayed at the Ala Moana hotel which was very close to the port and a great hotel. We had our transfers booked before we left so it was a confirmation call to confirm pick up which was with Speedi Shuttles. Prompt and always on time. We arrived at the port around 11.30 we checked in our luggage and filled in a health form and waited till the embarkation started. Embarkation was quick, we were greeted by 2 hawaiian dancers who presented us with lei's, flowers for the ladies and shells for the guys, followed by a photo. Then the usual card issue and we were ready to board. It was a very warm welcome. The ships foyer was very patriotic with the red, white and blue strips and stars with a beautiful white staircase. We were not allowed into our rooms till later that afternoon but there was plenty to explore and lunch was offered in the Aloha Cafe. It was a buffet lunch with plenty to choice from, this was the beginning of a food fest. After lunch we explored the ship and tried to get out bearings it was a big ship with lots of facilities, entertainment venues, Restaurants, a Library, and shops. We pre-booked our shore excursions which were great. We did the Volcano & Akaka Falls, Historic Kona and Journey to Waimea Canyon. We didn't book anything for Maui but we disembarked and used the courtesy bus which took us to Queen Kaahumanu Center and caught the public bus which cost $4 return all day, to the outlets of Maui - Lahaina. It was a bit of a drive but great shopping. Not really much there but a nice little town with strip shops too. The Hard Rock cafe is a great place to eat. We returned back to the ship around 4pm. We had an overnight stay in port in Maui. The next day we walked to the Queen Kaahumanu Center and bused it back. Dinner each night was usually at the Skyline Restaurant it was a 3 course meal each night with great service. We didn't eat at any of the other restaurants as we were happy with what was offered at the Skyline Restaurant. The great thing was you could eat when you felt hungry. Breakfast was usually at the Aloha Cafe. We ate at the Cadillac diner for lunch once and it wasn't that good food was pretty average but the milk shakes were great. The key West Bar & grill was also a good place for lunch too. The night of my birthday we had dinner at the Liberty restaurant. The dress code was smarter than the usual casual wear but the food was just as good as the Skyline Restaurant. To make my birthday celebration a little special a birthday cake was brought out and the staff sang happy birthday which was a really nice surprise. The great thing is they offered Gluten free meals and Gluten free bread. The Volcano National Park and Akaka Falls was very interesting, lots of people. We visited the Jagger Museum, The Thurston Lava Tube and the Kilauea Iki Creater. We visited the Akatsuka Orchid Garden which was beautiful and the Mauna Loa Macadama Factory. Lunch was provided which was a Turkey Roll, Cookie and an Apple with a bottle of water which was a great lunch pack. The next Day we visited Kona. The one thing l liked the most was the fact that we had to take the tenders to shore as the ship was so big and very shallow. We traveled along the coastline of the big island to the Kona Coffee Museum, St Benedicts historic painted church, Kealakekua Bay and to the Puuhonua O Honaunau National Park. The next day we sailed to Kauai which also was an overnight stay. We did the Journey to Waimea Canyon. Known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. We also visited the Koloa area with blow holes and great ocean scenery. Beautiful area with tropical vegetation. Entertainment on board was excellent especially the "Fabba" dance Party, 50's & 60's Rock and Roll Party, and White Night Party. The theater had some great entertainment but the best night was the Oh What a Night Tribute - Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. It was a spectacular night. Entertainment poolside was great too. We did the lei making classes and joined in the Trivia afternoon but there was always plenty to do. Overall l can say that it was a very enjoyable cruise the staff were excellent. Edwin our housekeeper prepared a different towel animal each day, really cute. My birthday celebrations had a special touch and enjoyed the trip. I would highly recommend Pride Of America, awesome cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
This was the first cruise for me and my husband (we are recently retired) and it was amazing! This was my first, and probably only time, to get to see Hawaii (I live in Ohio) and I knew I wanted to see several of the islands. By taking ... Read More
This was the first cruise for me and my husband (we are recently retired) and it was amazing! This was my first, and probably only time, to get to see Hawaii (I live in Ohio) and I knew I wanted to see several of the islands. By taking this cruise we didn't have to make reservations at multiple hotels and, best of all, didn't have to pack/unpack every other day. Also, we could spend our time exploring each island rather than waiting for flights from island to island; Norwegian did the "traveling" for us at night while we were sleeping! The entire staff was exceptional. Each one made me feel like I was the only person on the ship. They are polite, friendly, and take their time no matter the request. We never took any of the shore excursions so I can't give any reviews of those. We rented a car on every island except Maui. Maui has excellent public bus transportation so we used that. We arrived in Honolulu the day before our cruise so if flights were delayed we wouldn't miss the cruise. We took public bus transportation ($2.50 each)to within a short distance of the cruise ship. After the cruise we rented a car for two days so we could see more of Oahu. There is so much to do on each island and on the ship; you'll never be able to do everything. Several times I was torn between doing something on an island in the afternoon or going back to the ship early because I wanted to do something on the ship! I guess the only negative is there are lots of "side sales". Every day there's a photographer taking pictures, for cost of course. We also thought thought the shore excursions were pricey. We didn't buy the soft drink package and I'm glad we didn't. There is coffee, both regular and decaf, iced tea, and lemonade available everywhere at no cost. Also, at the buffet, there is a flavored water that's very tasty! When we signed up for our cruise, there was a promotion to get an upgrade to the Ultimate Dining Package at no cost. We loved it! This package let's you eat at any of the restaurants without paying the cover charge (except for the sushi). The food was fantastic! However, the food at the other restaurants (we went to those for breakfasts and most lunches) was excellent too, so don't feel like you have to pay for the UDP. We had no children with us so I can't attest to children's activities. The cabin seemed very roomy. We got a room with a window with a guaranteed unobstructed view. The sink includes liquid hand soap and the shower includes liquid body soap and shampoo, so you don't need to pack any of those. There's also a hair dryer at the vanity part of the room. I hope I've helped answer any questions for anyone reading this. We had an absolutely wonderful time on this cruise and plan on taking more! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
The Pride of America's Deluxe Owner's Suite (Grand Suite 12006), largest suite on the ship, made our vacation memorable. We sailed on March 21, 2015. Here's our review: The Suite: Beautiful large living room with baby ... Read More
The Pride of America's Deluxe Owner's Suite (Grand Suite 12006), largest suite on the ship, made our vacation memorable. We sailed on March 21, 2015. Here's our review: The Suite: Beautiful large living room with baby grand piano and huge dining table, which we used for breakfast every morning. The sofa bed opened into a large kind size sleeper. 2 refrigerators in the suite, which our butler stocked (complimentary) as we wished. We opted for three very nice Greg Norman Estate bottles of wine in lieu of hard liquor. The separate bedroom was large and comfortable as was the bathroom with separate shower and tub, and two sinks. Every room, including the bathroom face out onto the one of the largest balconies at sea. Used the jacuzzi on the balcony every day. Three large loungers with nice cushions on the balcony as well as mid-size round table with four chairs on the balcony. The Service: Service was the best we have experienced with one small exception. Peter, from Kenya, was our butler and we found him to be the best ever. He came by every morning to check on what we needed. We asked that he bring breakfast from Cagney's, which arrived promptly every single day. He stocked the refrigerators daily always checking on what we were consuming so that he could replenish it. On top his terrific service, he has the greatest attitude which was only rivaled by Thomas, our concierge. Thomas is the most knowledgeable concierge we have found. Although we had booked cars in advance, he helped us plan our daily adventures and even saved me a car rental in Kona, where the airport was far away from the cruise port and we really did not need a car. Thomas told us about the botanical gardens in Hilo, which were outstanding and gave us a plan to combine the gardens with Volcano National Park. Thomas also helped us with specialty restaurant reservations, especially at Cagney's where the lady Maitre'D was less than hospitable. Our cabin steward, Jonathan, completed the trifecta of outstanding service we received. We are Platinum status on NCL and Jonathan made sure to tell us he knew that and would be taking great care of us, which he did. I cannot say enough great things about Peter, Thomas, and Jonathan except that they are the best in the cruise industry. The only small negative with service was the Maitre'D at Cagney's who had no clue what she was doing. She had us wait in the lounge for 20 minutes past our reservation time while she took others who came much later than us. She made no effort to try to accommodate reservation requests (time changes) from Suite passengers. I eventually bypassed her by going through Thomas, who knew how to get things done. Overall, the service and perks Norwegian provides to its suite passengers is far superior to those offered by other lines. We travel frequently in HAL Neptune Suites and can say NCL has them beat by a mile. The service on NCL Suites is far more personal than those offered by other lines. I wish we could always travel in the Haven, which sometimes is too expensive especially on the newer ships. The Food: Only ate at specialty restaurants and found them to be outstanding. One special treat, which is not advertised anywhere, is the lobster that is offered on Kona night only in the Bistro and Cagney's only. Although there is $20 surcharge, it is the freshest and best lobster we have ever had. They bring them in live in Kona and prepare them on the spot. You have to try this. The Ports were great as everyone else has posted. Easy self-debarkation at the end of the cruise. Only got to see the comedian, who was excellent. Could not stop laughing. Motion Sickness Warning. On the first night and last day of the cruise, the ship's movement made staying in the forward areas of the ship (including this suite) uncomfortable. If you ever get chance to go on the Deluxe Owner's Suite on the POA, do not pass it up as it will be memorable. After we got home, we booked the Escape for New Year's. Can't wait to ring in the new year. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Amazing crew. We were always greeted along the corridors by any staff present, often by name. All staff were patiently willing to give direction and information to bewildered cruisers. Plenty of activities and wonderful shows were ... Read More
Amazing crew. We were always greeted along the corridors by any staff present, often by name. All staff were patiently willing to give direction and information to bewildered cruisers. Plenty of activities and wonderful shows were provided; so many, it was sometimes difficult to choose. Being a group of hula students, we were particularly honored to be invited to participate in the Kamakapelia show. Having karaoke every night was a real treat. We booked shore excursions through NCL, the most secure way, in my opinion; so easy getting reimbursement for a canceled 'copter flight. Sure the cabins are small, but so well laid out, and soooo much storage space. Larger than expected bathroom. Room service on this, my second, trip was not quite up to par. This may have been an isolated incident, as last trip room service was phenomenal. The food was amazing and plentiful. Included eating areas were beautiful, and all we needed. You must try the Liberty Main Dining Room for a fantastic dining experience. All and all, a magical journey through a tropical wonderland. We really felt we were part of the family. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
This was a great holiday. Everything about the ship - the restaurants, the staff and the entertainment - was first class. We enjoyed our ports of call, making two organized trips and two improvised on the day. Using the local buses on ... Read More
This was a great holiday. Everything about the ship - the restaurants, the staff and the entertainment - was first class. We enjoyed our ports of call, making two organized trips and two improvised on the day. Using the local buses on Maui to visit Lahaina is something we would recommend Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Expected the food to be better. The specialty restaurants were great but dining hall and buffet needs to step up the quality of their food. Uncalled for when you have to send your meal back to be re-cooked and this happened more than once! ... Read More
Expected the food to be better. The specialty restaurants were great but dining hall and buffet needs to step up the quality of their food. Uncalled for when you have to send your meal back to be re-cooked and this happened more than once! I'm all about quality! Service was okay, it's funny because I asked one worker for sour cream and was told there was none. I walked a few steps further and asked another worker for some and she got me some! I guess some workers really live up to Norwegians motto to make the customer happy and some workers don't give a s---! I loved our room stewardess she was awesome! Very welcoming and helpful! Always asking if we needed anything! I had to make a formal complaint with one of the managers about the bathroom near the oasis hot tub. It reeked urine and feces and evidence was on the floor. I made the complaint because it's the nearest restroom and we watched cruisers open the door and close it after smelling the stench, health issue by far! We hung around for over an hour and no one came to clean it during the time! Unprofessional! We enjoyed the entertainment! We participated in he different trivia's, nightly shows, bingo, newly weds, perfect couples, etc! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
My wife and I recently completed the 7 night around the Islands cruise. We have lived on Oahu for the past 36 years but we experienced an entirely new perspective of our Island home. NCL/Pride of America really has the organizational ... Read More
My wife and I recently completed the 7 night around the Islands cruise. We have lived on Oahu for the past 36 years but we experienced an entirely new perspective of our Island home. NCL/Pride of America really has the organizational aspects down. (Carol and I are recently retired school administrators and we are very aware of the complexity of the details involved in making a large organization operate smoothly. These folks get it. From check-in to final embarkation, everything was smooth and well managed. The cruise itself was flawless. I also had read some negative reviews; mostly from a few years ago. I have to say that the Staff made it all come together. They were wonderful. Our cabin steward must work 20 hours per day. He was always there and took care of every need. Most of the people on the cruise were visitors to Hawaii, very few "locals." This was also nice as I had an opportunity to practice my French and German. (of course, I was accused once of being "Canadienne". Dining was excellent mostly. We dined in the specialty restaurants in the evenings. The only one that we would not go back to was Moderno. The salad bar was the best I've ever seen but the never-ending meat was a little too much. Once again, the staff really made the cruise. They were helpful, friendly, and enthusiastic. They all had stories to tell, were extremely hard-working, and were very positive. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
my In-laws had been on this cruise before (twice) and had wanted to go somewhere with us, so we all settled on the NCL POA. 1st off, this was my first trip to Hawaii, and I'm the type that wants to see everything and be immersed ... Read More
my In-laws had been on this cruise before (twice) and had wanted to go somewhere with us, so we all settled on the NCL POA. 1st off, this was my first trip to Hawaii, and I'm the type that wants to see everything and be immersed in "local".. sights, smells, activities, cuisines, etc. If you're that type, I strongly suggest you reconsider using your vacation on this. their schedule, while making it possible to see 4 islands (and 5 stops) in 7, means that you have very strict start and stop times. and on most days, you have about 8-9 hours in port. don't get me wrong, it was nice waking up and having been "magically" relocated while we were resting, but there were a number of sights and activities we didn't get to do because of the hours (night scuba diving with manta rays off kona, fitting in more than one or two sights a day, etc). When you are in port, realize that you are landing with a huge cruise ship of tourists into mostly industrial ports (except kona), where you'll have to walk at least half a mile or more until anything (or take their shuttles to touristy shopping plazas where its just store after store of souvenier shops). We booked excursions through the Ship for most days (2 days in Maui, 1 day in Kona and 1 day in Kauai (we got off the boat and stayed 3 more nights in Kauai after that, preplanned). Trying non-touristy local cuisine was nearly impossible without renting a car, and at least the main dining hall didn't showcase any "hawaiian" foods (though they did have at least an option for fish every night, there was no laulau, kalua pork, poke, lapperts ice cream, hawaiian shaved ice, etc). A lot of our excursions were impacted by weather since we went in march, though it never actually rained on us (misted once for a few hours). the Moloniki crater and turtle snorkel excursion in maui took us to neither site (they cited weather and actually admitted they hadn't gone there all winter long - this was march! so they really should rename the excursion to just "snorkel adventure"). The area they chose to stop the boat was about 30 ft off the bottom, and very little coral (of any color). actually, the area they wanted us to stay (directly to the front of the boat) was mostly a sandy bottom. So that was disappointing. the Sunrise tour the next morning was cold and windy (bring winter gear if you're going) - the husband and I went to antarctica for our honeymoon and this was colder (wind chill and no light for almost an hour). the clouds were not friendly that day so there was no sunrise to be seen. and the kayak / snorkel we did in kona was ok - though our tourguide might have been confused because he kept mentioning all these other stops that we couldn't do because of weather, and stopping for lunch.. for a 4 hour morning paddle with a moderately skilled group (no beginners) that took the whole time. Honestly, the most fun we had was when we rented electric bikes on Maui and rode them away from the tourist traps / crowds, and across towards Paia and beyond. or when we rented a car for the day in Hilo, and visited south point and hiked to the green sand beach, and then stopped by Volcanoes national part and saw the steam vents and thurston lava tube... without the mass of other tourists, dictated stop schedule, and all that. in Kauai, we cancelled our last snorkel trip because the other 2 had been so disappointing. if you rent a car, there are so many places to see (and even just walk in to the ocean from the beach and snorkel in 5 ft of water with much more fish to see in poipu). I would not go on this cruise again, until I have mobility issues (old age), or really just want to sit on the ship all day and relax. They do have activities, but very few seemed interesting. The crew was always friendly and smiling though. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
It has taken a little while to get around to this review but I am not so old my memories have faded. Firstly check in and boarding went well with no hold ups and showed the typical NCL efficiency. The cabin was an obstructed view on deck ... Read More
It has taken a little while to get around to this review but I am not so old my memories have faded. Firstly check in and boarding went well with no hold ups and showed the typical NCL efficiency. The cabin was an obstructed view on deck 7, it was what I expected, a bit smaller than the other cruise lines but well appointed and very clean and kept that way throughout the cruise thanks to a very efficient cabin attendant Wilma. Food in the main dining room was good but it would have been nice to see more vegetables on the plate 3 or 4 beans and some potato is not enough for me. I guess the majority of the food is aimed toward the American market but my family found it a bit stodgy and fatty for our liking. We dined in the Italian Restaurant on one occasion, we had some trouble booking a table but when we arrived the restaurant was less than half full. The food in this eatery was of a very poor quality and the service equally appalling If this restaurant had been land based I would have refused to pay. My daughter ordered lobster fettucine and unfortunately I think the lobster concerned had been sunbathing on the pool deck for a few days, it was rank and should never have made the pan let alone the plate. We complained to the Maitre D who did absolutely nothing. Over all though we had a pretty good time the majority of the staff were helpful and efficient the facilities on board are good the shows we saw were excellent (Jersey Boys and a really entertaining Comedian ) and the 2 shore tours were of a high quality particularly the Directors Cut tour from Nawiliwili, a great way to spend the last morning before heading back to Honolulu and disembarkation. Ah yes disembarkation, we chose to go as late as allowed as we had a private tour booked for 10 am we got there on time but the queue almost ran the length of the ship and virtually blocked up the entire deck. This is an area that needs some improving. Finally the ship overall is starting to appear a little jaded and it is perhaps time to take a break and put the pride back into this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
I have been in 7 cruises so far, three of them with NCL. I was looking forward to this trip because I wanted the opportunity to see more than just one island in Hawaii. Unfortunately, even though I considered until now NCL to be the better ... Read More
I have been in 7 cruises so far, three of them with NCL. I was looking forward to this trip because I wanted the opportunity to see more than just one island in Hawaii. Unfortunately, even though I considered until now NCL to be the better value (I traveled with Disney, Princess and Royal Caribbean); this last cruise disappointed me. Having paid $ 5100 for my daughter and I, I expected the cabin to be larger. The ship needs updating. Carpets are dirty. The cabin was dusty. The bed was extremely hard and lumpy. The shower was very small by any standard (I am not morbidly obese other passengers). And if you Service was decidedly poor. Many of the service crew looked like they didn't want top be there, and some of them were outright rude. The food was not very good, large quantities without quality. And the specialty restaurants I tried were not that special. Stay away from the brazilian rodizio-the meat was very tough an dry; the italian was OK, the asian was OK an the french was really good. Considering that we pay a premium to go to the specialty restaurants, it is really not worth it when the rest of the included options are of similar quality. While the islands are paradise on earth, and hawaiian people are very nice; now I think I should have just paid to stay a weeklong in a resort. Pride of America is not up to the standards of other NCL ships Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
A cruise to Hawaii is like a dream come true! Choosing the Pride of America was a no brainer because of where this ship goes. The itinerary and opportunity to see 4 islands without flying to each one and loading and unloading suitcases in ... Read More
A cruise to Hawaii is like a dream come true! Choosing the Pride of America was a no brainer because of where this ship goes. The itinerary and opportunity to see 4 islands without flying to each one and loading and unloading suitcases in a different hotel was perfect for me! Embarkation on POA was so simple and easy. The crew and officers of the ship were just fantastic during that process and everything thereafter. Our stateroom was ready a little after 2 which is about right and our room steward, Armando, was great. I had heard that the crew was not very friendly and lax, but I saw no evidence of that anywhere. From Guest Services to wait staff and anyone else they were all friendly and couldn't do enough for us. To say I was impressed is an understatement! Service and food in the Skyline, MDR, were wonderful. Our server Mercedes was especially great and we had her for the only 2 nights we ate there. We ate in Jefferson Bistro, Cagney's and Moderno on other nights and loved them all. The Bistro restaurants on all the ships are our favorites and it was really good that night, again with superior service. Cagney's as well was delicious and top notch. Moderno was good also, but the food was a bit salty. The buffet was wonderful for breakfast and lunch. The salad bar was really nice and had a lot of my favorites on a consistent basis. Whatever was on the menu was tasty consistently, but slightly over salted. Cadillac Diner is a hidden treasure which we went to breakfast and had our food hot and fast! Great combination when you are going on a tour early in the morning. The entertainment was very good as well, in particular, Michael Somerville a comedian who was hilarious, and a group called What A Night, who did Frankie Vallie songs and were excellent. The CD Mallu was wonderful. She is Hawaiin and fills you in on the culture as well as the ship activities. The Hotel Director, Kaj Turunen ran a very tight ship and everything was well put together. Also look up the Cruise Consultant, Holly Canale who was a delight. Most of our excursions were through NCL and we were very happy with them. The bus drivers were usually very personable, knowledgeable and funny! That made the day a plus just because of that . Overall I would highly recommend going on the POA at any time. What I saw was superior care and concern for each and every passenger's need. It was a 10 in my book! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
This is the very first time I have written a review after 7 cruises, all with NCL, but as this was my wife and myself silver anniversary special vacation, there is just a few things I felt I had to first praise, and on a slightly different ... Read More
This is the very first time I have written a review after 7 cruises, all with NCL, but as this was my wife and myself silver anniversary special vacation, there is just a few things I felt I had to first praise, and on a slightly different note, just a very small criticism. Firstly to the praise. As our flights to Hawaii from Scotland involved a few airport connections, our luggage was checked in all the way to Honolulu. everything went very smoothly until our flight from San Francisco to Honolulu was completely cancelled, and we ended up flying out via Los Angeles, and as a result of this, our luggage remained in San Francisco.( This was in no shape or form the fault of NCL). We informed airport personnel, our overnight hotel accommodation staff, and lastly, the NCL check in staff at the port about our lost luggage. To say each and every person we spoke to was helpful is a total understatement. They couldn't do more than enough to help us out. To cut a long story short, by the time we set sail at 7pm that Saturday night, our luggage was outside our cabin door. Exemplary service by all involved in locating, and embarking our luggage. Well done NCL. As with all our other previous 6 cruises, we found the staff very welcoming, and inviting, and never any issues with helping with any queries. Must admit, our cabin could've been a wee bit cleaner ( the shelving was just a bit dusty.). Food on board was 1st class. Never any complaints there. As with any cruise, the diet begins once you get home. Our pre-booked excursions were all total value for money. delighted with our choices to make it a vacation to remember forever. Now to get to my very minor criticism. Our last cruise was on the Norwegian Gem, which sailed from New York to the Caribbean and that was March 2014, and I always said that cruise had the best entertainment we had ever experienced with NCL. The quality, and the mix was just perfect, so I totally understand if I am just comparing the 2 cruises against one another, and that is perhaps a touch unfair, but I have to say I thought the singing quality on Pride of Americas entertainment group was not quite up to the quality of the Gem. I don't know, it just all sounded off key. The magician, dancers etc. were very good. Just the singing needed honing. This in no way spoiled our cruise, and we will definitely be cruising with NCL again. There's still a lot of cruise destinations we want to sail on. Please keep up the good work, because you gave this pair of Scots a silver anniversary vacation we will remember, and cherish forever. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
Prior to going on the cruise, I read all the reviews posted. We have cruised with different cruise lines and each experience was different. This cruise was totally different in that there are no days at sea to just relax. We rented a car ... Read More
Prior to going on the cruise, I read all the reviews posted. We have cruised with different cruise lines and each experience was different. This cruise was totally different in that there are no days at sea to just relax. We rented a car in Maui for two days and had shore tours planned for the other days. We left the ship by 8:00 AM every day and returned at 5 or 6:00 in time to get dinner. We were so tired that we only attended one show, the Frankie Vallie Tribute, which was wonderful. You cannot look at this cruise as you do others. This is a terrific way to see different islands and have a place to sleep and food to eat. The ship was clean, the crew all very nice and helpful. We did not have any negative experiences. We ate most of our meals in the Aloha Cafe or the Cadillac Dinner. As on all Norwegian Ships, the main dining room has limited options. The right side of the menu stays the same; the left side changes nightly. But the food in the Aloha Cafe was wonderful with many, many selections. The Cadillac Dinner is a fine place to eat with a limited but delicious menu. Our best shore tours were the ones in Kauai - we visited the Waimea Canyon and went on the Fern Grotto tour. One suggestion I have for anyone traveling from the East Coast, please plan a day or two in Honolulu prior to getting on cruise ship. Between the time change and the length of the flights, you are exhausted when you arrive and for the next day. We arrived on a Thursday evening and on Friday just got a feel for the area. After the cruise, we stayed in Honolulu for five days and rented a car. There is so much to see and do. Pearl Harbor was the most moving experience (you can purchase your tickets online six months in advance; they sell out of tickets very, very quickly) and we attended the Chief"s Luau which was wonderful. We laughed so much and really had the best time. If you want to visit Hawaii, Norwegian is the best way to see and experience different islands. You spend very little time on the ship. Hawaii is worth the expense and the travel time. It is a beautiful place and the Hawaiians are very laid back, the most friendly people, always smiling and saying Aloha. You will have the experience of a lifetime and come home with such great memories. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
When we first researched the Pride of America (POA) Hawaii cruise, we were disappointed and a little leary of the negative reviews we had read previously about this ship and her crew. We just returned from that cruise and all I can say is, ... Read More
When we first researched the Pride of America (POA) Hawaii cruise, we were disappointed and a little leary of the negative reviews we had read previously about this ship and her crew. We just returned from that cruise and all I can say is, WOW! We were very impressed (and we are picky about our cruises)!! Either the people who reviewed it didn't know what they were talking about, or POA listened to the comments and made things right- either way- it was one of the most enjoyable cruises...possibly the BEST...that we have ever cruised on (we've been all around the world with Carnival, Royal Carribean and Princess cruise lines- this was our first Norwegian cruise)! PROS: - Beautiful, patriotic decor- stately, not tacky like many of the cruiseships. - Wonderful entertainment (the theater was packed for virtually EVERY show)- their hula show was just fantastic- felt like you were at a luau without the food. - Friendly staff, BEST cabin steward (Edwin Pacada) ever!!! He was practically invisible, made our daughter a towel animal every night- sometimes more than one. He also made a game out of arranging her zoo of stuffed animals all over the bed- he always greated us by name the few times we saw him. (HE WAS A VACATION HERO!) - There was also the "Whisteling Man" as we called him, who always greeted us at the entranced to the Aloha Cafe, whisteling and asking how your morning/afternoon/day/excursion, etc. was...perked up our moods anytime we saw (or heard) him! (another VACATION HERO - BEST KIDS CLUB; "Splash Academy"... the other reviews were positive for this as well and stated their kids did not want to leave the club...we found that to be true! Our 5 year old daughter (who is also picky), LOVED the kids club and would have just stayed there all cruise if we let her. As soon as we'd get back from excurions, she'd BEG us to let her go up there- allowed for some romantic time with hubby, as well as interaction for her with other kids, so it worked out well! It's FREE (only $6 if they have to take the child to a meal). Like having your own nanny onboard....wonderful! Our VACATION HEROS there were: Pinky, Tizzle, Honeycrunch sp? - Signature "White Hot Party" was a blast - Food rivaled Royal Caribbean, which has been our favorite cruise line thus far, before we cruised Norwegian...now they are tied! Many more restuarant choices- but make your reservations early as some of the more popular ones (East meets West, Jefferson Bistro and Teppenyaki) fill up fast- and don't wait for the last day to make them, everyone who missed them all week, makes reservations that evening- they were booked by 1pm that day. CONS: - Sometimes hard to figure out where things are due to the layout - You know the pics they always take of you when you embark/disembark each time? We have always paid $5-10 per picture- on this cruise they were ~ $25...way too expensive! They had picture packages, but they were still too expensive...they need to lower the prices of the pics- the quality was not that great either. - SMALL CABINS....super small...(we had a balcony) but the rest of the cruise was so good that it didn't matter much. Our excellent cabin steward made it enjoyable by his superb service. Restaurants: - Aloha cafe- best for breakfast and that first dinner onboard- served same thing every morning- including made-to-order omelets (took TOO long, people had to stand around for 10-15 minutes just to get one, but still delicious). HINT: don't eat here...too crowded- go to the the back of the aloha cafe where it goes into the MODERNO restaurant and further into LA CUCINA (with booths), it's the same buffet, but quieter and the MODERNO has outside seating and more waiters coming around with coffee/juice options. HINT: they have a wonderful ESPRESSO machine near the coffee machines in the cafe that I only discovered the next to the last day- made the best coffee!! SKYLINE: formal dining with no dress code (below the Liberty- which is virtually the same restaurant joined by a staircase above and DOES have a dress code. Resort casual with long pants and a colored shirt). Skyline you can pretty much wear anything. Wonderful service, except when they are training. CADILLAC CAFE: quaint little 50's diner- nice milkshakes (they DO charge for these ~ $4, but the rest of the food is included). Fish and chips are good, meatloaf is good as well- comfort food. EAST MEETS WEST: can't speak on it personally but folks in our group went and liked it- it has high marks on reviews. SUSHI BAR: again, some of our group went there and said it was excellent. TEPPENYAKI (sp?): people we spoke to on the cruise we took said it was excellent, but we did not go. We did not attend any others. Excursions: Fully recommend trying to go ahead of time and spend a couple of days on the front/back end of the cruise on Oahu like we did. - Kalamaku LUAU is a MUST! Good food, excellent show! Be aware, though that the dvd they sell is NOT the entire show as we originally thought- it was rather poorly shot from the ground below the performers so you see up a lot of skirts/ loin clothes...the rest of the dvd was nice and had history of Kuai and the place...but it was disappointing that it did not have the entire Luau on it as we wanted our parents who could not go to experience it...however, at $20 (LESS THAN THE OTHER PICTURES ONBOARD), it's worth the purchase. - DIRECTOR'S CUT: if you know movies prior to the 70's this is good for you, we did not, so it wasn't that great; however, the guide: Brother Nui (Mark) made it enjoyable by his humor, and spreading of aloha spirit. He gave wonderful narration of each clip and gave us history on Kauai...one of the best drivers/tour guides we've had- we were lucky enough to get him on 2 excursions- DC and Waimea Canyon (I'd definitely recommend that one)! - ROAD TO HANA: We rented cars and did our own road to Hana...we only made it 1/2 way as it was ridiculously long/curvy, but it was worth it- try to get to the Hana Halfway house (little store on the side of the road) and pin where you're from on their friendly map. Great banana bread there- bring the dramamine as I don't get that carsick, but needed it!! My inlaws took the NCL excursion tour and said it was extremely long and they would probably not take it again but that it was informative. There is a Costco right outside the harbor and we picked up sodas to bring back onboard (2 -12-packs)...we had no problems doing that, they let us bring them right onboard which was nice as we did not have the soda package. - WAIMEA CANYON: we had so little time in Kauai that we didn't trust renting a car and being able to make it there and back to the ship in time in case we got stuck in traffic, etc; so we decided to do this tour- it was worth it- the canyon is beautiful and on our trip, there was a Hawaiian man dressed in authentic warrior garb at the top who told us history of the canyon as well as let us know how Hawaii is being threatened by big businesses, GMO products, etc...very informative and he also lets you take a pic with him. He doesn't ask for money, but does have an area where you can donate to his cause (a decorative basket in front of where he is standing)....he really MADE the trip up there as it took you back as he explained some of the traditional masks/garb they wore and why they wore them. We also got to stop at a Coffee tasting place (Kauai coffee store). So again....wonderful trip- seemed like a dream- would do it all over again! Well worth it! Aloha and Mahalo, PS- if you board after 3pm, don't eat the "bbq" dinner they have poolside- not bad, but not terribly good- wait for the aloha cafe to open...well worth the wait- the first night was an awesome buffet- probably the best of all the nights there- the other nights we ate at the Skyline (formal dinner with no dress code required). The food is salty which makes it taste really good, but your ring fingers will swell so be cautious- practically EVERY member of our party experienced this. Saltwater was great for our complections as we viewed the beautiful scenery from our balcony every morning (when whales tend to be out- we saw a calf swimming by us one morning). - Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
The Pride of America ship is old. For example, there was a moldy shower curtain for the stand up shower. The furniture in the cabin was worn. The balcony was small. The balcony door swung back and forth if it was left open. We had ping ... Read More
The Pride of America ship is old. For example, there was a moldy shower curtain for the stand up shower. The furniture in the cabin was worn. The balcony was small. The balcony door swung back and forth if it was left open. We had ping pong tables over our cabin and could hear loud noises all day and night. They quarantined my luggage because they thought that a Listerine bottle was booze. So someone rifled through my personal belongings for no reason. They charge corkage fees for wine. We have been on four other cruise lines and none have this policy. We had the ultimate dining package but in the specialty restaurants they charge more money for certain items-again, we have never seen this on any other cruise line. Because this ship sails in American waters they have, by law, 80% Americans working on the ship who are all unionized. So we found that the staff was not as friendly as many other cruises we have been on. The price is very high for this reason and also because Norwegian has a monopoly on doing the four Hawaii islands. The pools on the top deck are the smallest we have seen on any ship. All in all, we paid significantly more for this cruise (per day) than any other, and it was definitely not worth it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
We booked a cruise bundle through NCL. It included air, 2 nights in the Mariott Waikiki and 7 nights on the POA. We had such a fantastic time. Everything was so organized and ran like clockwork. My wife and I both have Celiacs Disease and ... Read More
We booked a cruise bundle through NCL. It included air, 2 nights in the Mariott Waikiki and 7 nights on the POA. We had such a fantastic time. Everything was so organized and ran like clockwork. My wife and I both have Celiacs Disease and require strict gluten free food. NCL was fantastic. They were aware of our food issue. No matter what restaurant or buffet we decided to eat at, we were given plenty of Gluten Free choices. I spoke with Arnel - chef in the Aloha Buffet. He was GREAT!. He informed us of what they had in stock, and then he would walk with us and explain which items we could eat. We felt safe and the food was delicious. Everyone was very accommodating and pleasant. Our stateroom was always immaculate and fresh towels appeared like magic- not to mention those little towel critter. Benji our cabin steward was also fantastic and also had a smile and a pleasant Aloha. There was also something for everyone at all of the ports of call. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Our family of four decided to take this cruise from Honolulu to three neighboring islands over Spring Break. The Pride of America is a large ship, although not super-sized and we had a bit over 2,000 guests on our cruise. The ship is well ... Read More
Our family of four decided to take this cruise from Honolulu to three neighboring islands over Spring Break. The Pride of America is a large ship, although not super-sized and we had a bit over 2,000 guests on our cruise. The ship is well maintained and clean throughout. Most of the employees take pride in their work and seemed happy to be on board. The price of the cruise was a bit higher than anticipated, but overall the cruise was great and we had a fun time. We purchased our tickets using the ticket office on base as I am active duty military. We saved about $50 off the NCL price. Cabins We opted for two cabins instead of one so four adults (kids: 14, 23 yrs) wouldn’t be stuffed into one room with only one bathroom. Suite options were a bit expensive, and not all suites have multiple bathrooms, so we decided on one balcony and one ocean view room. As we made reservations late, our rooms were not near each other. The balcony was room 7648 and the ocean view was 4588. Cabin 7648: This seems to be a standard balcony cabin and was sold as such. However, once we got to the room, we found it had a partially obstructed view. There was nothing in front of the window, but the life boats were only two cabins forward of our room blocking any forward looking view. Also, a life saving equipment crane on deck 6 would be in any photo from the balcony as it rose up towards deck 7. I tried to change rooms once on board, but the cruise was sold out. Otherwise, this cabin was OK. Walking space was tight as the king sized bed was only 12 or 18 inches from the wall. The small shelves and cabinets did help with stowing gear, and the space under the bed was perfect for storing suitcases. The bathroom was sufficient and had a medicine cabinet behind one mirror. Before we embarked, I called NCL to inquire if the room had bathrobes…they told me it did not. Once we were in the room, I did not see any robes, but after dinner we had robes. I don’t know if this is because I complained about the view or because I called NCL. See cabin section of review for more. Cabin 4588: This is a ADA compliant room which was a bonus for us. We only requested a standard ocean view cabin, but this is the cabin we were assigned. This cabin had two single beds, a nice desk area, two sitting chairs with a table, good storage, and a huge bathroom. There was plenty of room to walk as the space between the foot of the bed and the wall was an easy 8 feet. This cabin is located on the port side in the middle of the ship. It was directly port of the mid-ship elevators which made accessing any area on the ship super easy. Most disembarkation took place on the 3rd deck below this cabin, making shore trips that much easier. Food and Dining Overall, food on this cruise ranged from delicious to unremarkable. Aside from the buffet and lunch lines, dinner service took a long time but could be sped up if the guest is in a hurry. We ate breakfast at the Aloha Café or Moderno every day. I liked the selection of main and side dishes, and the bacon was fresh and crispy all the time. My wife was disappointed by the pastry selection as they did not have the fruit pastry she liked. Although some of the selections changed daily, most breakfast foods, including pastries, were the same every day. We have to comment on the service at this buffet…it was good. Everyone was friendly and helpful. My wife likes plain French toast, but the buffet had thick bread with cinnamon and raisins. We asked Yessi, the cook behind the line, if they could make plain French toast and they did. It took a few minutes, but 4 out of 6 days we had fresh French toast made to order. On the third day, Yessi actually made it without us requesting it, but that day we tried the buffet selection, so Yessi waited for our request before making the special order. During our cruise, sunrise happened just past 0630. I normally woke at 0600 and had enough time to find a spot on the aft deck and then get coffee and breakfast in plenty of time to witness a beautiful sunrise. The buffet and the tables were not crowded at this time, but everything got busy at 0700. Of note, coffee is available on the Aloha line, but there is also a coffee/drink station near the aft deck on the starboard side…it is much closer to the aft dining area. We hardly ate lunch on the ship, but the few times we did, we had BBQ dishes (burgers, dogs, chicken, ribs) or main dish items in the buffet. Nothing special to report, but nothing bad either. We ate dinner at the buffet once and enjoyed a few dinner-time snacks as well. The menu changed a little every day and each meal had a carving station with a different meat each night. The crepe station made a good, fresh dessert, and soft serve ice cream was available too. For dinner, our rooms had been booked while NCL was running a special that included OBC and the Ultimate Dining Package (UDP). We ate at Cagney’s twice, Skyline MDR, East Meets West, La Cucina, and the Teppanyaki. Reservations for the first two nights were easy to secure, but after that it was tough to get in when we wanted. We ended up eating teppanyaki at 2130 and Cagney’s at 2100 later in the cruise. Teppanyaki only sits 32 customers at each of three sittings, so it is the toughest to get into. I strongly recommend advance reservations for all UDP choices. Cagney’s had the best food. The arugula salad was quite tasty and is recommended. The chicken drumsticks are sweet and sour, but quite tasty. The prime rib confit is a small appetizer but packed with flavor and is served with tast pita bread. I liked the bread and garlic butter served early in the meal. The bison was unremarkable but the filet mignion (5 and 8 oz), leg of lamb, and rib eye steaks (12 or 16 oz, I forget) were delicious. My favorite was the sea bass which fell apart with the slightest touch of my fork. All meat dishes were cooked exactly as ordered. Service was good, but it did take at least 90 minutes for each meal. La Cucina also pleased our palates. The restaurant was breezy which made it cool throughout dinner. I feel as if the staff closed the front door this problem would have disappeared. The lasagna and pizza (served as appetizer, but full size pizza) was tasty but the lobster pasta was just so-so…maybe I am not a good judge though as I don’t eat much lobster. Of note, the chocolate raspberry tart for dessert was delicious. East Meets West is also home to the Teppanyaki. Our first night at EMW, we only had 60 minutes before the magic show. We let our team (Kwan and Austin) know we had a timeline and they made sure we met it. Orders were placed in an expedite status and we never had to wait for the next dish. The chicken kung pao and orange beef was OK, the sweet and sour pork was so-so, and the dessert was all delicious. Teppanyaki was disappointing. The show during the meal prep was great, but the food was not that good. We started with a salad which was OK. Once the chef came out, we had fried rice and then the main dish prepared in front of us. The shrimp was good, but the steak did not have much flavor. The dessert was highlighted by the ginger cake served with green tea ice cream. Finally, the Skyline MDR was disappointing. I don’t remember what we had. The food was not bad, but it wasn’t very remarkable either. The service seemed all over the place and there was no organized entertainment aside from the live music in the center. Our server brought us our food but never made a connection with us. She also never used the word YES. Everywhere else on the ship, people said yes or yes sir, but this particular server’s reply was yeah. Not that I care what people say, but her words were not up to par with other staff on the POA. Finally, the mai tai served at the Waikiki Bar on the 13th deck was well prepared and taasted good. The drink was served with a mint leave, an orange, and a stick of cinnamon. I had never had cinnamon in a mai tai before, but will be trying this one at home in the future. The dress code for all UDP and the Skyline is casual, but not swimwear or flip flops, although we did see a few dinners in flip flops. NCL seems to try to keep the restaurants looking classy but doesn’t refuse service to the few customers who don’t meet the dress code. Liberty MDR and the Jefferson Bistro both require a bit more though, collared shirts for men and dresses for women. Of note, once on the ship, we received a note offering us $100 credit towards excursions in each port if we didn’t use the UDP. This was a per cabin credit. I think you could have used one, maybe two nights, of the specialty dining, and then turned it in for credit. As we were booking our own excursions, we kept the UDP. Itinerary Disclaimer up front…you will not be relaxed or refreshed after this cruise. As the POA docks in a new port every day and there are no days at sea, you feel rushed to do as much as you can in a short amount of time. The cruise is a good cruise, but you will stay busy or have to choose to skip a port if you want to simply relax. We stopped in Maui, Hilo, Kona, and Kauai. We over nighted in Maui and Kauai. This ship will sail by any active lava flows on the big island, but as none are active now, the POA simply sailed from Hilo to Kona. We took our cruise in March, which is in the winter whale season. Whales were seen while sailing into and out of port in Maui, Hilo, and Kona. Dolphins and a whale were seen near the ship while anchored off the coast of Kona. With a family of four and a budget, we did not use any of NCL’s excursions. Instead we rented cars and planned our own trip. One thing to keep in mind if you do this is the time required to get and drop off your car. If you have reservations, you can take the rental companies’ shuttles from the pier, but you will have to wait in line at the pier and again at the airport. In Maui, this process took over an hour, in Hilo and Kauai, about 45 minutes. Entertainment We did not see any of the musical and dance acts. We did enjoy the magic show and the comedy show. The ship’s magician is Charles Bach. He pulls off some cool parlor tricks in a smaller show in the Mardi Gras lounge and then some bigger tricks in the main showroom. On the sail to the Napali Coast, he escapes from chains and locks while underwater in the ship’s pool. He was under water for nearly 3 minutes! The comedian was Michael Sommerville. His act had me in tears, but it seems to be much the same as the act he performed last year on Letterman. I think this was his last cruise, so expect a new comedian in the future. In summary, we had a good time on POA. The staff was attentive and friendly. The pricing was a little high, but POA does have a monopoly on this specific market. We would do this cruise again in the future, but would adjust our shore activities based on personal preferences. Mike Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
Just finished our cruise mid-March. This is how it was for us. Great ship, great staff, not so great food. Food was average to poor depending on where you ate. We ate at three of the specialty restaurants. First the Italian, very ... Read More
Just finished our cruise mid-March. This is how it was for us. Great ship, great staff, not so great food. Food was average to poor depending on where you ate. We ate at three of the specialty restaurants. First the Italian, very poor. I had the chicken parmesan with a side of spaghetti and a lobster/something mix that sounded good on the menu. The service was excellent, the spaghetti had a very thin, weak sauce. The chicken was average. The mixed lobster, etc. was nothing special, just ok. I just asked the Mrs. and she can't remember what she had so I have to assume it was unremarkable. I would not do it again. Next was the French Bistro, again great service, food was average to poor. Wife had the fresh caught Kona Lobster and it was rubbery (overcooked?). My selection was so unremarkable I too can't remember what it was....... I can tell you it was not worth the upcharge for either of us. Last was best. Service was great. It was on a par with Outback steakhouse, but much more expensive and for that reason I would not upgrade again, as it is overpriced for what you get. The Aloha Cafe is a buffet where the food ranges from good to bad depending on your taste. Nothing we had was as good as we had on Carnival in the Caribbean. The pizza was poor, the ice cream was like soft serve ice milk, average, but the selections are large enough that you can always find something good to eat, just not great. The dining rooms were basically the same menu all week and the food was average. The more formal Liberty room has more of the same food with a little fancier menu. Our worst service on the ship was here. The wait staff (2 girls) were more concerned with getting the tables set up for the next day than they were with our service, which was lacking throughout. Overall, if I were to go again, I would not upgrade any dining and be prepared for nothing special to taste. The best thing I had was the plain bread pudding and sauce on the first day in the Aloha Cafe. It was excellent! They had other days with variations on the bread pudding but it was not even average. All the ports were great except one where they had to tender you in. It was an hour wait to get off the ship as they used a limited amount of tender boats. Not a great experience. It would seem they could do a better job here? We only saw a couple of shows on the boat and they were good entertainment as most seemed to enjoy them. This is the best way to see the four larger islands if that is your plan. It gives you a good overview without the time wasted and the hassle of airport transfers to the hotel every time you change islands. Would I do it again? Yes, if I hadn't done it before. Now we did it, we would pick one island and spend the week there. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
This cruise turned out to be a very pleasant surprise, after reading so many negative reviews I was rather dubious about doing it. from the moment we arrived at the ship everything ran like clockwork. In no time we were in our stateroom ... Read More
This cruise turned out to be a very pleasant surprise, after reading so many negative reviews I was rather dubious about doing it. from the moment we arrived at the ship everything ran like clockwork. In no time we were in our stateroom and it was not even 1pm. The stateroom though the smallest we have experience on any cruise ship, had everything we needed. A bonus was the coffee maker which we have never had before, and it was great to be able to make coffee to our taste - strong. Though there was the odd staff member who had forgotten how to smile the majority were very welcoming and made us at feel at home. The ship was clean and staff were always keeping it that way. We did not try any of the speciality restaurants as we found Aurora in the Liberty Dining Room and she made our cruise one we will always remember. She was a font of knowledge and so much fun helping us with whatever we asked for. Her customer service skills were top class. Breakfast was enjoyed each morning on the back deck - Aloha Cafe - sitting in the fresh air and watching the sun rise over our latest port. Most of the ports can be enjoyed by simply walking off the ship and catching local transport or finding a nearby beach and enjoying the crystal clear water. When we did do a shore excursion I had booked them with a local company and they were good. The entertainment was very good about the same on most of the cruises we have done. The Frankie Valli Tribute group was excellent. Would have liked to have seen more of the ship entertainers as the one show they did was very good. Other performers were very entertaining too. Over all it was a great way to experience the islands of Hawaii - my favourite being Kauai. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
Before my wife and I went on this cruise we read all of the reviews on this site and boy was I nervous about what to expect. We have cruised a lot and mainly with Azamara, Oceania, Uniworld and AMA. These cruise lines are smaller and ... Read More
Before my wife and I went on this cruise we read all of the reviews on this site and boy was I nervous about what to expect. We have cruised a lot and mainly with Azamara, Oceania, Uniworld and AMA. These cruise lines are smaller and service is first class so we were wondering if we made a mistake signing on with NCL after reading all of the negative comments. Well now that we are home all I can say to the negative reviewers is "What are you talking about?"! If you go on a cruise ship that is really just a 3-star and expect to be treated like you are on a 5-star ship then what do you expect? You pay for what you get. And honestly the Pride of America is not that bad. People complained about the food. Is it equal to Azamara or Oceania? Of course not! But it's OK. We went to 2 of the specialty restaurants and my recommendation would be don't waste your money. The 2 dining rooms and the buffet are just fine. In fact we never found the buffet to be all that crowded except for the last morning. People complained about the staff being lazy and rude. I don't think we have been on a cruise were someone wasn't nice. They are human after all. And if you say hi with a smile then we found that most of the time it was returned. We were in cabin 9088 and the lady who took care of the room was great! Waiting staff in the restaurants were friendly and helpful. And in the buffet they were very efficient. We have been on Celebrity before where the buffet staff stood around talking while dishes piled up on the tables. This never occurred on POA. People complained about the ship being old and tired. I didn't see that. In fact the carpets looked new to me. And as I said before, they do a great job of keeping the ship clean. And anyway who goes to one of the most beautiful places on Earth to sit on a ship??? The ship is just a moving hotel so you don't have to pack and unpack many times and you get to see many of the islands. OK off my soapbox. Before the cruise: We went 3 days early mainly because Air Canada flies direct to Honolulu but only on Wednesday and Sunday. If you are Canadian be careful of this Rouge thing. We stayed at Coconut Waikiki, a small hotel about a 10 minute walk from the beach. This hotel served the purpose. Not too expensive - included a small buffet breakfast - wasn't far from the beach and downtown Waikiki. But for us Waikiki is too busy, too crowded and too commercial. If we went back we would just skip this area and go to another island. Excursions: 1. On Oahu before the cruise we took a Circle Island Tour through E Noa Tours. It was good - long with a lot of talking but you sure get to see the island. And it rained on and off that day so it was a perfect thing to do since you spend much of your time in the van. And we only had 6 people so you get personal attention. 2. In Maui on the first day we did a Road to Hana tour through Temptation Tours. If you think that you will rent a car to save some money then good luck to you. The road is exactly as described - dangerous with many one-way bridges and passing points. I guarantee that the driver will see nothing of the beautiful country. The trip we took was the Ultimate trip and was great! Excellent breakfast and lunch also. On day 2 in Maui we just took the NCL trip to the beach. Swim, snorkel on Wailea Beach - it was relaxing. 3. In Hilo we took a Volcano National Park tour through Big Island Aina Tours. Again it was very interesting. A long day but lots to see if that kind of thing interests you. I was a geography teacher so I loved it. 4. In Kona we took the NCL Big Island Snorkel trip which is through a company called Body Glove. I only did it through NCL because you tender at that port and I wanted to make sure that we got to shore on time although as it turned out you could do it by yourself with no problem. They hand out tickets for tender boats. Just make sure you get an early one. This trip was also fun. The bay and reef they take you to is quite pretty and isolated ie. no other boats there. You get a lunch onboard and the boat has a washroom. Saw lots of dolphins and whales. 5 On our first day in Kauai we took a photography trip that I found on AdventureMaui.com site. As a side note this site is excellent. The owner gives you Tips at the bottom of each page and they were very helpful. But this trip was not very good. The young man that ran the trip that day was nice but not very helpful with the photography part. And the company charges you to pick you up at the port. Not worth it although he did take you to some beautiful locations which were very isolated and I'm sure the regular trips would never go there. On day two we just walked to the beach which is about a 10 minute walk (if you don't want to walk they have a shuttle bus that takes you to the Anchor Cove plaza that is right in front of the beach). Beautiful beach for the last day. 6. After the cruise we went back to Maui and stayed at the Whaler on Kaanapali Beach. It is a condo/hotel run by Aston Hotels. You are in someone's condo so there is a full service kitchen if you want to cook breakfast and lunch for yourself. It is right beside Whalers Village were there are various shops and an ABC store for convenience items. Mostly we just relaxed and used the beach and pool. We did take the Sunrise at Haleakala. It was with Temptation Tours again which is the same company that NCL uses. But if you wait and book it directly through Temptation then you save a bundle. This trip was spectacular! When you arrive the sky is just filled with stars - no lights to interfere. And the sunrise is so pretty. You are actually above the clouds. But take heed and dress warmly. It was about 40 degrees F on our trip and that was with little wind. Our tour guide Scott said that we were lucky - it is usually windy which of course makes it feel cooler. We also did the touristy Luau at the Westin Hotel. It is located just down the beach from our hotel so we could walk. It was OK - food not bad and the show was what you would expect. Don't get the Premium seats - not that much different from the Traditional seats. And it started to shower so the people in the cheaper Traditional seats were under cover while the more expensive Premium seats got rained on. They gave us a towel - big deal??? Most of the Premium people got up and moved under cover behind the Traditional seated people. Great! In fact unless you really feel an urge to see this kind of show I would suggest that you save your money. All in all it was a great trip to a beautiful place. Would we go with NCL somewhere else? Probably not. It's just that they are the only choice in Hawaii if you don't want to waste time on a cruise ship getting from the mainland to the islands. Would we go back to Hawaii. Of course but this time we would probably just pick an island and stay there. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
Pride of America is the largest cruise ship in the world to sail under the American flag. It is an impressive ship just to look upon, and even more so cruise on. This seven cruise is the only cruise to sail around the Hawaii'n Islands ... Read More
Pride of America is the largest cruise ship in the world to sail under the American flag. It is an impressive ship just to look upon, and even more so cruise on. This seven cruise is the only cruise to sail around the Hawaii'n Islands seven days a week, every week of the year. If you wish to go to Hawaii but want to visit more then one island, this is probably your best option. If you factor in your meals, travel costs, and lodging costs, this seven cruise is a very convenient and affordable way to do so, as your cruise will cost about the same if you were to stay in hotels and hop to different islands via air plane or boat. There are more than enough shore excursions to choose from that will keep you busy should you decide to get off the boat. If you are traveling on a budget, the tour excursions are a good way to see and learn about the islands history and industries while relaxing on your hard earned vacation. If your budget is not so tight, you may wish to consider snorkeling, zip lining, or whale watching. If you have money to spend with out a concern, consider deep sea fishing, helicopter tours, or scuba diving. As I said earlier, this is a big ship, and will take some time to learn to navigate it. You will be provided with a map, but there pictures of the layout of the ship all over the place in case you get. There are plenty of dining options, from the complimentary buffet, from classic American food, to fine dining. There are also several bars and lounges to choose from, depending on your mood. If you are a smoker, there is only one smoking area on the entire ship, which is located on the back of the ship, at the Waikiki Bar. If the Waikiki bar does not have your drink of choice, The Gold Rush Saloon is close enough near by you can get your beverage and walk bak to Waikiki with little effort. The staff is very friendly and helpful with what ever your needs. Most staff personal are young people, I would say under 30. They are happy to be there and happy to serve you. They keep the ship clean and orderly, and can tell you what activities are happening on the ship in case you forget to look at your activity guide, which placed in your stateroom the night before. One thing to keep in mind is the time of year you will be sailing this amazing trip. If you go during the off travel season, which is anytime college and school is in session, you will have few young people on board. On trip, I would say a good 90% to 95% of the travelers on board were retirement age or close to it. The rest were young couples, in their late twenties. You won't find many children on board, if that is a concern. I imagine if you go during the summer time, the age range will differ a bit. Also be aware that your expenses will go up. All in all, I would say this is best vacation I have ever had. You will not regret doing this cruise. I can not recommend this enough. If you are retired, newly wed, or just want to do some thing most people dream of, this is definitely the way to go. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
I can't explain how incredible our cruise was. I read a bunch of reviews about how horrible the ship was, etc. Husband and I are in our mid 30's, we took our 3 kids, and my in-laws (in their late 60's/early 70's). The ... Read More
I can't explain how incredible our cruise was. I read a bunch of reviews about how horrible the ship was, etc. Husband and I are in our mid 30's, we took our 3 kids, and my in-laws (in their late 60's/early 70's). The age range was from 3-72. Fun was had by all. I will piece meal each piece the best I can: Shore excursions: I had a tough time finding excursions to fit the needs of our group. Because my youngest is young, most of the trips seems a little on the bus tour side. We ended up renting a car in Maui for two days. Getting a rental car was easy and efficient! I went through Costco to get the car and paid $215 total for a van for two days. We went all around the island as we pleased. In Hilo, we rented another car and went to see a volcano. My in laws went ziplining which they said was incredible! In Kona, we did the Big Island Snorkel shore excursion. The boat rocked a lot, and I was disappointed with the lack of fish that we saw. It wasn't a bad trip, as the crew was super nice, but I expected something different. In Kauai, we rented a car again. The first day we went to the crater and saw the waterfalls. We ended up going to Poipu beach after that. Again, all cars were rented through costco.com and I feel like we saved a lot of money. My in-laws went on a helicopter ride the last day on Kauai and really enjoyed it! We booked it through Island Helicopter I believe. Saved $100 per person booking it that way. My husband and I stayed on board while the kids played in kids club. Which leads me to my next area~ Kids club!!! I couldn't find many reviews on kids club and was worried about it. Oh my goodness!!! Kids club was fantastic! My kids always complained when they were NOT in kids club. I would hear things such as, "When are we going back to the ship," I want to go to kids club, I'm not hungry, I just want to play....etc. The counselors were incredible people and had a love for the kids. My kid's names were memorized the second day of the cruise. My oldest child cried the last night of the cruise because he was going to miss kids club. It was super sad. They have a lot of activities planned daily. The kids were never bored. There are theme nights every night. For a fee of $6 per child, they will take your child to breakfast/lunch/dinner. We didn't utilize that option because that was our family time. Our kids went to kids club each night around 6 p.m. There wasn't an extra charge unless you wanted to do a late night option (from 10:30-1:30). That charge was $6 an hour for the first child, and then $4 an hour after that. I didn't utilize that either because my kids are still young. I can't say enough about kids club though. It was so overly fantastic that I miss it already (and we just got off the ship about 6 hours ago). I truly hope they are paid well for what they do. We tipped them at the end of the trip for a job well done. We actually tipped them more than the butler and housekeeper. Bravo to all of them: Tizzle, Coral, and Hugs (Those were the main ones with our kids~ I'm missing one more but rarely saw her because she was always so active with the kids...she was excellent too). Food was fine. It's made in bulk and was decent. Had a decent selection and was always fresh. I mainly wanted to write about kids club though. I hope this review helps others that are curious about kids club too. OH~ if you get seasick easy, make sure to get meds!! I had to go to Target on the first day of Maui because I get super sea sick. The seas were extremely not forgiving and very rough. Also found out the hard way that my 3 year old gets super sea sick too. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
This was our 1th0 cruise with NCL and we were really excited about The Pride of America. The ship is beautiful! And the Itinerary was great. Loved the two days in Maui and Kauai. We rented cars in every port and that was great. This is a ... Read More
This was our 1th0 cruise with NCL and we were really excited about The Pride of America. The ship is beautiful! And the Itinerary was great. Loved the two days in Maui and Kauai. We rented cars in every port and that was great. This is a great way to see Hawaii! We were a party of six and never had trouble in the main dining rooms. Due to the overwhelming response to the "Ultimate Dining Package" it was almost impossible to get dinner reservations in those dining rooms for 6 people. We could never get reservations for 6 until 9:00 pm any of the nights on board. That was disappointing since we would have liked to dine together. The food was good in all the restaurants that we tried. Now for the bad......the service on this ship was not up to par with the standard that NCL has set on their International ships. We were surprised that there were no "happy happy washy washy" people greeting you at the buffets or when you got on the ship in port. That was very alarming to us. We had oceanview rooms and when we went to our rooms they were not very clean. Surprised us because that was never the case on any other ship. We noticed the service in the dining rooms was not as good as on the other ships, and the wait staff was not friendly at all. The only restaurants we felt that the service was good was the Specialty Restaurants. The staff at the Guest relations desk was absolutely rude..instead of greeting me when I went to check on our room charges, the attendant said "Where did you get that twang?" I was shocked to say the least. WE have always been treated with respect on all the other ships. WE talked to other passengers and they felt the same way. The service by American Workers was just not as good as the international workers provide. It was a shame. This ship is the "Pride of America"....but the service did not live up to that name.   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
Let me start out by saying this was our 2nd time on POA - the first was almost exactly 2 years before this one. We have cruised on other lines and other NCL ships. This cruise remains our favorite still! Sometimes I read people's ... Read More
Let me start out by saying this was our 2nd time on POA - the first was almost exactly 2 years before this one. We have cruised on other lines and other NCL ships. This cruise remains our favorite still! Sometimes I read people's reviews of POA and I wonder what cruise they were on? Here are my thoughts from our 2/28/15 cruise: Embarkation: We arrived at a busy time - around 12:30 or 12:45. We waited a little while in line - the photo taking was the worst part. We don't get a photo taken. There are 2 lines - one side was allowing those who weren't getting pictures taken to go through but the side we were on was not. This photographer (he was on the ship as well) was a bit rude and that is the only rude staff member I can say we encountered the whole time. I have no problem waiting but lets keep it consistent. The whole process the way they do it in Hawaii is very time consuming with the photos. They should do it like other ships where its right when you are going to board. Anyway, after that everything was quick and smooth and we were onboard and off to lunch. Food: I thought it was improved in the buffet over the last time. The buffet is always crowded at breakfast (and a bit at lunch too) as everyone is getting off to explore the islands each day. We had our breakfast each day (except 1 we didn't have time to eat) and while the food was fine it is just very hectic and my least favorite part just all the other people cutting in line, standing right in front of the toaster so you can't grab a piece of bread even if you aren't toasting, etc. The staff was friendly and always on top of clearing empty plates. Yes, there were washy washy people everyday - I saw it mentioned there weren't and the only time I didn't see them was if it was an off time and the buffet was closed or really empty. Then there was dispensers to use. In fact, they made us wash even if we weren't going to the buffet but just walking through. Dining Rooms: I thought the food was about the same as any other cruise. Acceptable, not wonderful. The service in the Liberty dining room seemed slower than the Skyline. We ate once in each. I had steak each time (1 ribeye and 1 strip) and they were ok. I don't remember what others ate but I don't recall hearing about any of their meals being bad. We ate only in one specialty restaurant and that was Teppanyaki. They let us squeeze and extra couple into our group, so we had 10 but we wanted it that way as we had all met the night before the cruise or on the ship and arranged to have dinner together. They normally seat groups of 8. Our chef was very funny and it was an excellent time. We found the experience to be worth the extra cost. Cabin: We had an obstructed oceanview on deck 7. No problems with the cabin itself. The view wasn't all that bad for being obstructed however they did do some maintenance on lifeboats or something outside our window and that was loud at times (mostly during the day) and also crew working were immediately outside so we had to keep our drapes closed a lot or have them see us. Again, not really a big deal for us as we didn't spend a lot of time in the cabin. I would say our room steward (forgot his name, but I think he maybe was not one of the American crew) was ok. We only saw him 1 or 2 times. He did an alright job. I would say we've had stewards who were wonderful and he was just ok - not really a problem just not as good as others. We did have to ask for extra back up toilet tissue and Kleenex. We did receive them after asking (we ran out of Kleenex one day). Entertainment: We didn't really attend any of the shows. We participated in the sports trivia a couple times and that was fun. Husband wanted to attend the "dance party" to Michael Jackson music one night at Waikiki Bar - we went and there weren't many people there. The only smoking location is at Waikiki Bar on this ship and only smokers were there at the time. I couldn't really stay long as it seemed they were chain smoking and it was really bothering me. I coughed the rest of the night. I'm not usually that sensitive but it really seemed bad that night. Staff: I still don't know why people always say the "American staff is rude or acts like they don't want to be there." I experienced the complete opposite. All the staff we encountered were friendly and pleasant and a joy to talk with. Those we dealt with from the spa to the various bars and lounges were wonderful, pleasant and willing to give advice about the various ports. I think April in the coffee bar was given too much work so at times the wait there was long, but she was supposed to make and serve drinks, coffee drinks and handle the items from Carlos' Bakery. She was never unpleasant about it and I think she did the best she could. they need to get her more help! Mark and Adrian in the Gold Rush Saloon and Aloha Lanai bar were fun to talk to. We just didn't experience any of the negative things others have mentioned. Islands/Excursions: Maui: arranged a cab on our own to Maui Ocean Center and then to Ale House (walk back to ship). Loved Maui Ocean Center and thought it was worth the visit. Since we didn't walk from the ship just back we weren't real clear on how to walk back but figured it out eventually. 2nd day we did "Whale watching and Lahaina on your own". The whale watching is good. There were a couple of older women who kept butting in front of everyone with their 2 foot long camera lenses so it was hard like a short person like me to see let alone get photos, but I somehow managed a few. Those women had no courtesy for others what so ever. There was an older woman sitting next to us and she wasn't very mobile. I don't know if she got to see any whales at all since people just crowded in. Comes with the territory I guess. Hilo: Since we had just been 2 years before, we didn't visit Volcano National Park this time. We did the ship ATV Adventure excursion. It was a small group of 7 of us, so that was nice. We had a nice driver that provided transportation then rode ATV's around the ranch. They showed us some of the animals and other ventures they had going on and gave us snacks at the end of the ride. The husband loved this excursion - I thought it was just ok, but I wasn't very experienced with ATV's. The weather was beautiful this day. Kona: Our favorite port! Unfortunately it rained pretty much all day. Its a tender port and that makes it feel like an even shorter day. Wish we could spend more time in Kona. We ended up going straight to Kona Brewing Co. and enjoyed drinks and a snack with other couples we met the night before the cruise in Waikiki. Was a wonderful time. After that we wandered around the shops a little and had a coffee before heading back to the ship. Kauai: I was to do a snorkel at Na Pali coast but it was cancelled the morning of due to large swells. I completely understand the reason and I'm sure it wouldn't have been enjoyable or safe but it was somewhat disappointing since I had been looking forward to it and since it was to be all day now we had nothing really planned. We ended up sitting out by the pool for a bit and then walked to Duke's for an appetizer and a couple drinks (and Hula Pie of course!). 2nd day: We did "tubing the ditch". I thought this was a lot of fun, hubby thought it was ok. It was early (7am meeting time) and a bit chilly especially first getting in the water. The guides were great! After the tubing part they take you to a picnic area and give you a snack. It wasn't an all day excursion or anything so the granola and banana bread was sufficient but we were definitely hungry when we got back for lunch! Other thoughts: We missed the latitudes returning guest cocktail party because I forgot about it, but we made it to the special sail away from Kauai on the bow. It was super windy so we didn't stay real long, but enjoyed a glass of champagne and nice views. Overall this was a wonderful cruise and we really enjoyed spending time with all the people we met. Can't wait to do it again! 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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