A great way to see so much of the Islands

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Review Details

Views:
392
Overall Rating:
Cruise Line:
NCL Cruises
Cruise Ship:
Pride of America
Destination:
Pacific

Review Profile

Times cruised before:
10+
Sailed:
January 2019
Age:
46-55
Cabin:
Balcony
Occasion:
None

Cruise Elements:

Quality of Food:
The Speciality restaurants were very good and the main dining rooms were on a par with R.C. and Princess. The buffet was better than most due to the fresh selections and ease of seating.
Entertainment:
Only made 2 shows but the comedian was very good and the last night song and dance show was good.
Shore Excursions:
Only went on one booked through the cruise line and it was good. The ones we booked ourselves were either very good or excellent.
Staff:
I had heard a lot of mixed reviews as the staff are not what you would find on other ships. We were off the ship more on this trip than any other so did not have as much contact but any we did have was pleasant and very helpful.
Cabins:
We were in a mid ship Balcony on deck 10 below the entrance to the buffet but were not bothered by any noise. Plenty of space, clean and everything worked so no complaints.
A good ship and a great way to see so much on the Islands Firstly a brief background, which I think is important when someone is trying to compare. We are in our 50s, no major health issues, and this was our 16th cruise but first with Norwegian. The others have been mainly with Royal, Princess and Oceania. We love to cruise but it cant take you everywhere so have done land tours in places like India and China as well. We had a LONG flight, Edinburgh via Newark and LAX to Honolulu taking about 26 hours but thankfully all flights were on time and United didnt lose my luggage this time! Had arranged pickup and they took us to the hotel in about 20 minutes as there was no traffic. We stayed at the Hyatt Place hotel just off Waikiki beach for 2 nights prior to the cruise. A couple of blocks back and a nice hotel, large room and had a nice view towards the ocean. I think we would arrive a few days earlier in future as the time difference threw our sleep for a while. Breakfast was included out by the pool area. This was a fun activity, as once youd got your food you had to fight with the strong wind and the flocks of birds to keep you breakfast! We just about managed but saw many waffles fly off into the distance. Ate at the Cheesecake Factory the night before the cruise and as usual couldnt finish the large portion. Not impressed with the burger but my wife loved her fish. Had to share dessert which meant a compromise on the cheesecake choice and ended with just the Original one, but no complaints. Had a good walk around the beach area in the morning prior to going to the ship. We booked all our transfers {airport and cruise}in advance with a local company for a decent price and they were always on time. They picked us up around 12 and dropped us at the ship about 20 min later. The process of luggage drop, security, booking in and getting the obligatory photo took about 40 minutes, so not too bad. Once onboard we dumped our hand luggage in the East meets West restaurant and got back off for a walk around the centre of Town. Walked to the old Falls of Clyde ship built in Glasgow {we live close to the actual falls of Clyde waterfall from which it is named} and the Aloha tower before visiting the only palace on American soil, Iolani. After the customary stop at Seattles favourite coffee shop we walked back to the ship and our room was ready shortly afterwards. We had a Mid ship balcony which was clean, had plenty of storage and everything worked. Never saw our steward the whole cruise, which was a first, but then again this is a unique itinerary with no sea days. He/she however kept the cabin clean and left new towel animals each evening. Made good use of the decent sized fridge. Shower was one of the best for pressure we have had. Slept well in the bed so all good there. The ship was way better that what I was expecting! Good layout and easy to get about. Lots of signage and helpful staff. Just the right size for the Islands we went to as you would not want 6,000 passengers getting off. Carpets on the stairs were looking a bit worn but the paintings/pictures on the walls were bright and colourful. We had a 3night dining package that was included when booking so we ate at Cagneys first and last night and the Bistro midweek. Both were very good and I rated Cagneys above the steakhouse on Princess. We also tried the Italian {as this was the cheapest to not include on the dining package} and the food was also good. We ate in the Liberty dining room twice and the Skyline once, preferring the dcor in the first, but the food was the same. Wife had a bad chicken dish on one night which went back but the replacement was good and the rest of the meals were of a similar standard to R.C. and Princess. We did book our times in advance and were glad on a couple of occasions but on the overnights in port the restaurants were not even half full. We used the buffet each morning, which was just above our room, {no noise issues} to make a quick exit for the shore and found the food to be above average for a buffet and plenty of variety. Lots of fresh fruit and an omelette station. Never had any problem getting a table, which was a first! This is a biggie for us---My wife has never had a decent cup of brewed coffee on a ship until now! Yes, we had to pay a small charge for it at the coffee bar, but the secret is that this ship uses fresh milk and not that long life stuff. If they can do it then why cant others!! As a result it made my life, especially with the early rises in the morning, so much better too! {Hope someone from R.C. and Princess are reading this} Due to the nature of this cruise and our difficulty in staying awake past 8pm {blaming the time difference and the fresh air, not the age} we only saw a couple of shows near the end. You always know when a comedian has been good when your sides are sore and everyone is laughing leaving a still full theatre, thankfully that was the case with this American one. The last night show was the usual singing, dancing and clapping the crew but was enjoyable. We hired a car for the 2 days in Maui and would do it again. Picked up by courtesy bus and 5 minute transfer to the airport where all the major ones are located. Had booked in advance so took about 20 minutes before we were driving out. Sat Nav proved very good when it worked and saved us potentially falling out when we went wrong as we had someone else to blame. Drove to the Haleakala crater park and got in for free due to the government shutdown. Spent a few hours walking into the crater and enjoying the spectacular scenery. Fantastic weather helped. Thoroughly recommend! We then drove back down and took the road to Hana but only until about half way as the roads were getting busy and difficult to pass on with larger vehicles. Returned to the airport and parked overnight {$15}. Took the courtesy bus back to the ship. If hiring a car and parking overnight at the airport than try and park close to the rental places on the opposite side of the road which makes it easy to use the free shuttle back. Drove to Lahaina the next morning after courtesy bus back to airport. Lovely small town from which we had booked a 2hour whale watching trip. We got lucky and saw several large whales, several of them breaching right out of the water! Had a leisurely explore of the town thereafter, lots of unusual galleries, and had intended to go to a beach nearby but never quite made it. On the big Island we again hired a car for Hilo. Drove to the Volcano national park and spent most of the day travelling to and walking around the different viewing points. Saw the recent lava flows and the damage done to the crater rim road by the power of nature. At Kona, on the other side of the big Island, we tendered to the small town. We had booked a Norwegian excursion but it got changed slightly due to the recent eruption. We had a large minivan and a good driver/guide who took about 10 of us to a coffee farm, black sand beach where we watched the green sea turtles coming ashore and a historical site of refuge which was very peaceful and had great views along the coast. On to our final stop, and our favourite! We booked car hire for the first day in Kauai and drove up to the Waimea Canyon, stopping for photos along the way. Only one real road so difficult to get lost on and well maintained. Drove to the end at Na Pali coast lookout which had a breathtaking view. We watched the helicopters and small planes flying below and I then told my wife we were going on one the next day! {hadnt wanted to say before in case the weather was bad, or she said no, and we had to cancel!} We drove back down to sea level via a nice caf next to the visitor centre at Kokee Lodge and went to Poipu beach park. When we got to the sand a volunteer had a Monk seal roped off, which we were told gets there most days at 8am and stakes his place for the day! He certainly enjoyed all the attention. Nice little area with restrooms, ample parking and picnic tables, coffee shop and ice cream nearby. We also saw several of the state birds, the illusive Nene geese near the car park. On our last day we got uplifted early from the nearby small shopping mall and taken to the airport for our hours flight over the island. The weather was thankfully calm and clear. The plane took 8 but only 4 had booked so we all got to sit on the best side. Better still I got to sit up front with the pilot! {wife thought I had arranged it but really didnt!} We flew over all the Jurassic Park sights, saw a whale in a bay below as well as the Waimea Canyon and to top it all the Na Pali coast. Words could not do this justice. Got dropped off back at the mall and walked to the nearby beach in front of the Marriott for a couple of hours before the ship left at lunchtime. On the return route the ship goes around to view the Na Pali coast in the late afternoon. The weather again behaved and we were treated to some spectacular scenery before setting off for Oahu. Easy disembarkation at your selected time and we were picked up and taken to the Park Shore hotel at the end of the Waikiki hotel strip near the zoo for 3 nights. Walked up Diamond Head, went to the Polynesian culture centre on the other side of the Island for the full day and Luau. {expensive} and enjoyed the beach. Flew home via 3 days in San Francisco where we did all the tourist stuff. It rained a lot but after the weather we had in Hawaii we couldnt really complain! We read lots of reviews beforehand, made good use of this info and that of a cruising Hawaii book that proved invaluable. As a result we had a fantastic cruise and holiday and hope to return in a few years once our daughters wedding is paid off!
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