Recent Pride of America Cruise: Pride of America Cruise Review by mar2984
Overall Member Rating
Recent Pride of America Cruise
We flew out of Atlanta on May 26th and spent the first night at the Best Western Plaza close to the airport. We knew we were arriving late in the night and would be heading out early the next morning so we didn't want to spend tons of money on a fancy hotel we wouldn't have time to enjoy. The Plaza was very nice and they run free shuttles to the airport so getting to the hotel was very easy.
On Saturday before boarding we knew we wanted to visit Pearl Harbor. I had forgotten to get tickets the recommended two months in advance when the go on sale but I noticed that they release additional tickets at 7 am (Hawaiian time) the day before so I made sure to set my alarm for that time and was able to log More on and get the time slot we wanted with no problem. We considered renting a car for that day but it turned out to be more of a hassle so we ended up just using Uber. That was our first experience with it and we loved it. So easy!! Don't forget if you have never used Uber your first ride is free for up to $15 with the promo code. I downloaded the App on mine and my husband's phone so we got two free rides.
Pearl Harbor was neat but not what I expected. It seemed to be in need of lots of TLC. There were weeds and shrubs overgrown and over all with the excepting of the USS Arizona Memorial in really needed some updating and care. Seeing the Arizona and watching the actual video of the attack brought tears to my eyes. I am a very patriotic person and I am so glad we were able to visit it in person. I just wished they cared for it as well as National Cemeteries are cared for.
After Pearl Harbor we took another Uber to the cruise terminal. We were one of the first ones to arrive and we checked in, got our free leis, and sat down and watched all the local entertainment that provide until it is time to board.
We were allowed on board around noon (give or take a few minutes I can't remember) and we headed up to the Aloha Café and got some lunch. After that we relaxed on the deck until our rooms were ready which seemed to be around 2ish. We had cabin 7602 which was an obstructed view. I will say this is the cabin to get as only part of the window is obstructed so you have great views on the other half. The rooms were much smaller than what we were use to on Royal. It did have plenty of places to store things though. Also, I am not sure if we just happened to find this by accident or if they really do things different but we were walking down the hall a pretty good distance from our cabin and saw our luggage outside another door. We immediately grabbed it. Just so happens I am pregnant and I knew that losing a luggage of maternity clothes would not be good haha. Royal typically puts them right outside your door.
We ate dinner in the main dinning hall most nights. The food seemed pretty good. I am a pretty picky eater so I didn't feel like I had the options that Royal provided but what I did eat tasted good and was cooked the way I like it. I will say their wait staff isn't as attentive as what we were use to. Some seemed very unorganized and had a hard time taking care of several tables. If you want good "junk" food the place to be is the Cadillac Diner. Everything we tried was amazing and we typically ate there at least once a day!! So I highly recommend trying it at least once. I loved their burgers. They reminded me of what you would get at a steakhouse.
On Sunday we booked The Road to Hana through Valley Isle Excursions. It was a LONG day. I never get car sick and by the end of that trip I really felt like I was going to be sick. The trip itself took about 10 hours. It is on very curvy roads (hairpin turns) and then parts are just dirt which made for a very rough ride. We did see some beautiful scenery but if I had it to do over again I probably would have skipped this excursion and done something else. It did both me and my husband in and we are in our early 30's. I also felt that it wasn't quite as good as what the website had promoted it to be. I will caution you if you think about renting a car to do it on your own. It is very tricky driving and we saw several near misses with rental cars and honestly I wouldn't want to take rental car on the dirt road as I would be afraid of the damage it might get.
On Monday we just took an Uber to a local beach to relax. After the rough day before we needed this to recharge. It was much needed.
On Tuesday we booked the Volcano National Park and Rainbow Falls tour with Roberts. This also included a stop at a very large and overpriced candy store and a Macadamia Farm. Both were neat to see but we didn't buy anything. The views at both the parks were neat though. It just wasn't too adventurous.
On Wednesday we took our only NCL Excursion and that was the Atlantis Submarine It was very neat to see. Over all we were underwater about 45 minutes start to finish. We also did a little shopping that day before we took the excursion. One interesting thing to note is unlike other tender ports in the past this one they actually use the lifeboats to take you to shore. This can be a very slow process so make sure if you have an early excursion not with NCL you get you a tender ticket the night before.
On Thursday we took what we both agree to be the best excursion of the trip. It was a River Cruise to the Fern Grotto and a Luau at Smith Family Luau again through Roberts. Both were excellent!! I had heard mixed opinions about the Luau offered by NCL so we opted for this one and were so glad we did!!! It was amazing. The Smith Properties is gorgeous. Make sure to have your cameras with you. They take you on a tram ride to show you where everything is and then you are free to explore until time for dinner. Again, I am super picky so I didn't care too much for a lot of the dinner but most people loved it. The show is another area and it was so neat to see. Overall this is probably mine and my husband's second all time favorite excursion (nothing has beat Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica for either of us yet).
Friday was another beach day for us.
Overall the trip was great but I do prefer the Caribbean more. There is more to see and do there. Not to mention it is way cheaper. I highly recommend looking for tours outside of NCL as they are usually way cheaper and do the exact same route.
It seems a large majority of people on this cruise are of retirement age. So therefore you don't have much participation in trivia and other fun things we like to do on board. Activities offered are very limited compared to what we have been use to on Freedom of the Seas. So don't go expecting a busy nightlife (and by nightlife I don't mean drinking or partying as we are not into that).
This is one of those trips we can say been there done that and probably won't go back. I was surprised by how poor much of Hawaii is and its lack of upkeep. One side note make sure to bring hand sanitizer as just about every excursion none of the restrooms had soap and some even had a sign over the sink that says water not suitable for drinking. Not sure why they think it safe to wash your hands then lol. So with me being pregnant I took extra precautions in that area. Also most of the ports we docked in the Caribbean were beautiful. These ports with the exception of Kona are like freight ports so there is no pretty view unless you look back the ocean so that was weird for us as well. Hopefully this review will help others out who are struggling with picking excursions and things. I don't mind to answer any questions I can. Hope you enjoy your trip!! Less