Cruise Review - Pride of America and Hawaii
By Janelle Scrimgeour
I recently had the opportunity to experience a 7 night cruise of the Hawaiian islands on board Norwegian Cruise Lines' Pride of America. After a quick flight to Sydney from Brisbane, and then a bit of a longer flight from Sydney to Honolulu, I found myself in Hawaii for the first time - jet lagged, in need of a shower but excited for everything to come!
We spent one night in Waikiki catching up on some much needed sleep, and taking in a bit of shopping before boarding the Pride of America on the Saturday. At the terminal we were met by hunky Hawaiian men (and beautiful ladies for the male cruisers amongst us) for photo opportunities, and then presented with a beautiful fresh lei.
The ship was everything I expected it to be, but also much, much more. I did expect it to be quite "cheesy American" - and it was, especially in its decor (and main clientele). But - you don't board the Pride of America without expecting this and embracing it! And embrace it we did! Everything else about this ship was over and above what I expected.
Firstly - the crew! They were amazing! Everyone was friendly, helpful and just overall fantastic people. On a number of occasions we stayed at dinner longer just because we were having such a great time chatting with the crew! They were sleek and professional in their work, but friendly and approachable in their manner, and I found this to be the perfect combination in terms of offering a great cruise experience.
Our cabins were great - we had twin-share balcony cabins, with comfortable beds, loads of storage space (much more than I expected) and a balcony big enough for 2 sun lounges, a table and 2 chairs. Our cabin stewardess was fantastic and very creative in her towel creatures that she left for us each night!
The food on the ship was amazing - so good in fact that I don't think I could have cruised longer than 7 nights because they would have had to roll me off the ship. I just wanted to try everything, because everything I ate was fantastic. The main dining room was great, and we tried a number of the speciality restaurants including Lazy J Texas Steakhouse, the Asian East Meets West and the Teppanyaki restaurant. While all were fantastic and definitely worth the small surcharge, I would definitely recommend the teppanyaki!
The entertainment was fantastic - we saw one of the theatre shows, a magician and a comedian. I didn't find the comedian that funny - but that could have come down to age gap and cultural differences, as the older American crowd loved him! There didn't seem to be much late night entertainment in terms of parties at the bars (although there is a DJ nightly at the main bar), so I would definitely say that if you are looking for a party cruise, this isn't what you are looking for!
And then there was Hawaii itself - wow! What more can I say! The islands are beautiful, the weather was great (except for one day of rain, but it is winter), and there is loads to see or do. As were were travelling in a large group, it worked out cheaper for us to hire cars and explore the islands on our own rather than do shore excursions, and we did this on a number of occasions. There were free shuttles at each port to car hire places, as well as to different shops like Wal-Mart.
But, we did do a few shore excursions between our group, and the ones we did do were amazing. Some did the helicopter rides over volcanoes, and while these were a bit on the pricey side, everyone said they were worth the money! Others did snorkelling in Molokini and got to witness some of the amazing Hawaiian marine life. Personally my favourite shore excursion was a historical tour of Kona, as I got to find out so much about the history of the island. Overall, everyone in our group said they should have booked a shore excursion in Hilo, as the town itself wasn't anything special and you needed to branch out a bit to really experience that side of the Big Island.
Overall, I loved my experience on Pride of America and in Hawaii. The destination should be on everyone's bucket list, and in terms of the ship I couldn't have asked for anything better. Comfort: tick... Great food: tick... Entertainment: tick... Hawaii: BIG tick!
Today's Cruise Specialist:
Janelle Scrimgeour - Online Marketing Executive for Cruiseabout