Not Your Dad's Pride of America! 4-9-11 review!

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#1
6,697 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Day One…and a little extra…

Okay. As this is a cruise review I won’t go into detail about our pre or post cruise adventures. I’ll limit the commentary to the fact that we decided to break up the long flight from Boston to Hawaii with an overnight in San Francisco. Our layover was 11 ½ hours, which allowed us plenty of time to sleep. Our flight out in the morning departed at 9:00 am and had us arriving in Honolulu at 11:00 am…earlier than we could have managed flying the same day from Boston. We felt this worked for us as we arrived in Honolulu on Wednesday morning and by Friday we were feeling pretty much in sync with island time (6 hours difference from home).




I’d booked the Waikiki Marriott without knowing it was the hotel that NCL uses, but got a good rate (booked a year out) and was very pleased with the location. Being down toward the Diamondhead side of Waikiki it was a bit less congested. It was across the street from the beach, but with no other hotel blocking your view, it felt waterfront. I would choose that hotel if we stay in Waikiki again.




My final mention on the “before” is to say we did the Oahu Circle tour on Thursday figuring it was a good way to see the highlights of the island (we didn’t want to rent a car) and on Friday did a mountain biking ride through the Ka’a’awa Valley which was truly excellent. It was on the Kauloa Ranch where you got to check out where movies were filmed (Jurassic Park, Godzilla, Mighty Joe Young, Lost, etc) before hitting some great single track. It was a spectacularly breathtaking valley and however you choose to check it out I would do so (the ranch offers ATV, horse and bus tours).



I was really looking forward to the cruise and being able to unpack and stop living out of suitcases! We’ve all heard the negative reviews about NCLA and the American crew. However the reviews have improved during the last couple of years, so I went into this cruise with optimism. Frankly any cruise is bound to be better than being at work!

Saturday we got to the ship without a hitch. Walked downstairs and grabbed a cab (there are numerous shuttles that you can book to save money as an alternative). We arrived at the pier by 11:00 (we were anxious) and check in was a breeze. Here we experienced something we’d never seen before. A gentleman (from NCL) was standing in front of our seating group extolling the virtues of NCL and Freestyle, explaining how the dining worked, directing folks to menus, engaging folks and telling some humorous jokes. We thought this exceptional…especially when he introduced himself as the comedian, Tim Kaminski. I’ve never seen this level of attention pre-cruise before and it was a really great way to start the trip. Also, being that this was Hawaii, they had people passing out pamphlets with Hawaiian phrases, orchid hair picks for the women and a man and a woman dancing hula along with a band. Truly a fantastic way to begin the trip.

While still in the waiting area it was explained to us that the blowing of the conch shell means something significant is about to happen, so when I heard the blowing of the shells I knew the moment had arrived. It was time to board!

I am unfamiliar with the Pride of America, but knew that one main dining room would be open for lunch. We headed straight back and were the first ones seated at the Skyline restaurant. NCL has adopted a fixed lunch menu with a lot more choices than previous menus so we were pleased. Having a lot to choose from with increased quality is a good thing! We both enjoyed our meals and then set out to explore before we could go to our cabin at 2:00. We booked a stern balcony, cabin 9204. I’d read that these were some of the smallest cabins around…having sailed the Spirit I don’t think they’re any smaller than that.



We found (when our luggage arrived) that there was plenty of storage (didn’t use all available drawers!). I was initially dismayed at the lack of storage in the bathroom until I’d recalled reading on Cruise Critic that the PoA had a medicine chest. Sure enough one of the mirrors swung open, revealing shelves, so all was good.

This is a port intensive cruise so the Cruise Critic meet and greet is held on embarkation day after the muster drill. I have to admit I didn’t think many officers would show up. I know that embarkation day is their busiest and wouldn’t have blamed them at all for not taking time out of their crazy schedules to meet with us. I couldn’t have been more surprised. All of the senior officers were there including the Captain, Hotel Director, F&B director, Executive Chef, etc.



The Captain introduced himself to the group saying, “Hi, I’m Buz.” How cool is that? The Captain was specific in his address to us. He indicated that NCL’s Hawaii fleet of the past did have some challenges, but feel the product is now impressively refined. He told us of the challenges working with a mostly American crew but as the crew has gained experience, the service has improved.

As the meet and greet wound up, they asked us to come back on Friday to give them our feedback. They truly wanted to have an opportunity to talk with us and find out what we thought. We left the meet and greet very impressed with this initiative! They also explained some things during the meeting…like they want the Waikiki Bar, deck 13 aft to be their version of the Epic’s Spice H20, and that we wouldn’t be seeing lava. The day of the devastating earthquake in Japan, the Big Island too experienced a bit of a quake (nothing compared to Japan!). The 4.2 shake that occurred there shook up Mauna Loa and the place the lava had been escaping into the sea has been sealed. Who knows what Mother Nature will bring in the future, but for the time being there is no lava sail bye.

We went up to the Waikiki Bar for sailaway and caught a beautiful sunset as we left Honolulu. So far the islands had already enthralled us and we’d only experienced one of them.


Dinner was at the Aloha Café (buffet). DH has been addicted to the Indian fare served at NCL’s buffets ever since sailing with HD Sean W. on the Spirit back in 2009. Sean had instituted the “Taste of India” luncheon on the Spirit, showcasing the skills of their Indian chefs, and hounded us until we gave it a try. DH has been hooked ever since. Figuring that the PoA had an American crew, DH wasn’t expecting much when he saw the Indian food in the buffet. He was pleasantly surprised to find the food as good as any he’s had on any NCL ship and couldn’t wait to try it again. I had to give the pizza a go (my “go-to” food) and found it to be very, very good. Thin crust, nice amount of sauce…a couple of slices of pepperoni with a little salad hit the spot. In fact the PoA pizza may deserve a “Best in Fleet” award, a spot previously held by the Gem during her inaugural season.

We managed to go to the opening night show and am I glad I did. It was Tim the comedian performing and he is the funniest comedian we have ever seen. DH is a pretty hard sell and he was laughing so hard through Tim’s show that I thought he’d cry. I’d pay to see him perform in Vegas. NCL has truly scored with this entertainer! I did observe one thing that made me wonder if what I’d heard about the PoA and less than “par” service was true. A waiter in the theater stood there chatting up guests for a good 10 minutes before moving on and taking drink orders…hmmmmm…it was a long time to be chatting when you had a theater full of thirsty guests. I wondered if this meant we were in for slow service this week? We’d have to wait and see.
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Cruises gone by...
NCL Majesty 05/02, NCL Majesty 06/03, NCL Majesty 06/05 ,NCL Majesty 06/06, NCL Spirit 04/07, NCL Majesty 06/07, NCL Majesty 10/07, NCL Gem 01/08 (Mmm.. New Ship Smell), NCL Dream 5/08, NCL Dream 6/08, NCL Dawn 10/08, NCL Gem 01/09 (best cruise yet! ), NCL Pearl Alaska 6/09 (WOW!),NCL Spirit 09/09 , NCL Gem 1/10, NCL Epic 6/10...Most Excellent!, Mahalo Pride of America 4/11, NCL Star Panama Canal 10/11, NCL Spirit 2/12, NCL Sky 5/12, NCL Epic Med 10/12, Breakaway One Night from Rotterdam 4/13, Breakaway TA 4/13, NCL Star Norway & Faroe Islands 9/13, NCL Gem Eastern Caribbean 1/14, NCL Jewel...GV to Alaska! 6/14, NCL Dawn Bermuda 10/14, NCL Pearl 3/15 - Awesome Southern Caribbean Cruise!, 10/15 Escape One-Nighter, 10/15 Escape Inaugural Crossing, Celebrity Silhouette Scandinavia and Russia, 5/16, NCL Dawn Fabulous Repo 10/16, NCL Jade British Isles 05/17

256 days and counting...

Cruise on deck!

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Travel Blog -->http://cubechick.wordpress.com/

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#2
Bermuda
3,668 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
I'm eating dinner whilst reading this - and I'm still hungry for more!!

Great so far!!

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NCL Norwegian BREAKAWAY 03/2017 - Florida & Bahamas from New York
NCL Norwegian JADE 10/2016 - Transatlantic from Barcelona to Tampa
NCL PRIDE OF AMERICA 03/2016 - San Francisco-Hawaiian Islands-Honolulu

NCL Norwegian ESCAPE 10/2015 - Maiden Transatlantic Crossing from Southampton England to Miami
NCL Norwegian GEM 06/2015 - Canada & New England from New York
NCL Norwegian BREAKAWAY 16/01/2015 - Two-Nighter CTN from New York
NCL Norwegian JADE 10/2014 - Greek Isles from Venice Italy
NCL Norwegian SUN 01/2014 - Southern & Eastern Caribbean from Miami
NCL Norwegian GEM 12/2013 - One-Nighter CTN from New York
NCL Norwegian DAWN 03/2013 - Western Caribbean from Tampa
NCL Norwegian EPIC 10/2012 - Western Mediterranean from Rome-Barcelona & then TA to Miami - B2B
NCL Norwegian STAR 01/2012 - Western Caribbean from Tampa
NCL Norwegian EPIC 10/2011 - Transatlantic Barcelona to Miami
NCL Norwegian EPIC 08/2010 - Western & Eastern (due to Hurricane Earl) Western (again) Caribbean with Nassau - B2B from Miami
NCL Norwegian SUN 12/2009 - South America Holiday - Santiago/Valparaiso to Buenos Aires (review http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...8168&highlight=)
NCL Norwegian JADE 12/2008 - East Mediterranean Holiday from Barcelona
NCL Norwegian PEARL 03/2008 - Southern & Western Caribbean - B2B from Miami
NCL Norwegian SPIRIT 12/2006 - Southern Caribbean Holiday from New York
Hurtigruten FINNMARKEN 12/2004 - Norway - Kirkenes-Bergen-Kirkenes
Hurtigruten FINNMARKEN 07/2003 - Norway - Bergen-Kirkenes-Bergen
RCCL Enhancement of the Seas 12/1997 - Western Caribbean
Star Princess 11/1989 - Eastern Caribbean
RCCL Song of America 10/1988 - Western Caribbean
#3
Arizona
275 Posts
Joined May 2008
I can't wait to read the rest of your review.....we are going in February and I'm hoping that the lava sail by is going again but if not...well what can we do about it Mother Nature has other plans....thanks so much for sharing
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Shannon


Princess - 8/01 - Alaska
Disney Magic - 8/08 - Panama Canal
NCL - Pride of America - 02/12 - Hawaii

#4
Chicago
9,559 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Please hurry with the other installments! I really hate serials....
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Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~Kahlil Gibran

Sounds of the wind or sounds of the sea make me happy just to be. ~June Polis

Dude, don't you understand the first rule of holes? When you find yourself in a hole stop digging. Take it from a fellow Gopher.
~Planer's Edge


A passport, as I'm sure you know, is a document that one shows to government officials whenever one reaches a border between countries, so the officials can learn who you are, where you were born, and how you look when photographed unflatteringly.
~Lemony Snicket


Cruised:
M.V. Hobart Star 1974 (Blue Star Line)
T.S.S. Festivale 1993 (Carnival Cruise Line)
S.S. Norway 2003 (Norwegian Cruise Line)
Queen Mary2 2006 (Cunard Line)
Carnival Imagination 2009 (Carnival Cruise Line)
M.V. Norwegian Sun 2010 (Norwegian Cruise Line)
Carnival Destiny 2011 (Carnival Cruise Line)
Norwegian EPIC 2013 (Norwegian Cruise Line)
Carnival Breeze 2014 (Carnival Cruise Line)


#5
Southeast Wisconsin
782 Posts
Joined May 2005
I'm looking forward to reading more. We're thinking of booking this cruise for March of next year.

We sailed with Tim Kaminski on the Jewel last March. We really enjoyed his shows and he did get out and mix with the passengers.
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Carnivale 3/82
Starward 3/84
Norwegian Sun, 4/02
Norwegian Jewel, 3/06
Norwegian Sun, 3/08
Norwegian Jewel, 3/09
Norwegian Jewel, 3/10
Norwegian Pearl, 5/11
Norwegian Pearl, 3/12
Norwegian Sun 3/13
Norwegian Getaway 3/15
Norwegian Escape 3/16
#6
6,697 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Thank you for the kind remarks! Second installment:

Day Two…Maui

Okay, so we weren’t quite on island time yet. We were up around 6:00 and went out onto our balcony to watch our progress into the harbor. Of course part of the reason we were awake was that a door between our balcony and the next had been left open. As we pulled into the harbor, the door began swinging wildly in a huge pendulum arc, knocking chairs and loungers about. We’d have to leave a note asking the room steward to lock that for us!




Each morning that we reached a new island one of the two Hawaiian Ambassadors sailing with us would go the to outdoor area of the Aloha Café and give a presentation about the new island. From our balcony on deck 9 we were able to hear these talks and find out nuggets of information (when arriving in Hilo we’d learn that Mauna Loa means Long Mountain). We really liked having them onto the ship sharing Hawaiian culture with us. Throughout the week they offered Hula lessons, lessons on making lei’s and gave informative talks. This was part of what made Hawaii really special for me; learning about the culture and history which is so different from the rest of the United States.

In doing extensive research for this trip it seemed to me that the three big things to do while visiting Maui are to go to Haleakala and watch the sunrise (or sunset), drive the road to Hana, and visit the town of Lahaina. We were doing none of them! Another thing I’d noticed in my research was that people tended to really hit the islands, doing two or three things a day. Well, DH and I, although we wanted to experience the islands, wanted a more relaxing trip than that. With that in mind we scheduled one excursion each day (all through NCL.com before we boarded) leaving the rest of the day open to “whatever”.

This first morning we were doing the Waterfalls and Rainforest Hike. We were divided into two small groups and went off with our trusty guide. On the way to the area where we would hike we stopped to pick up sandwiches and water shoes (I would recommend that they get your meal choice and shoe size ahead of time to eliminate this stop). They do provide everything you need. Backpacks, rain ponchos, water, bug spray (you will need it!!!) and lunch. It’s not an overly aggressive hike from a physical standpoint (with the exception of one steep decent/climb), but there are slippery streambeds to cross. Our guide, Helga, was very knowledgeable about the flora that we were seeing and was very helpful. It was a nice walk and the waterfalls and scenery lovely. DH wished it were deeper into a rainforest rather than traipsing around a ranch, but we’d recommend the hike.


Banana Plant


Second Waterfall on hike


Century Plant


Ginger


Last waterfall (you could walk behind it)


Back at the ship we found that the connecting balcony door remained open. So DH went into MacGyver mode and dug around to see what he could use to lock the door himself. He found a bottle opener that we carry with us that with a little persuasion from him became an Allen wrench. Viola! Of course, just moments after he’d locked the door (and finished patting himself on the back) the steward’s supervisor came with the key to lock the door. He was a bit perplexed that DH had managed to lock the door himself!

We relaxed until 7:00 when we made our way to the VIP cocktail party. This was up in the martini bar on deck 13. The Captain and all senior officers were there of course. We always look forward to this as a chance to meet fellow passengers and the officers. The set up was a bit different that we’ve experienced in the past with appetizers set up (elegantly) on the bar instead of passed service. I spied celery stalks with something purple piped onto it…I wondered if this was poi, but was too chicken to try! We had a lovely conversation with Peggy the bartender (until she got busy). She’s all the way from Atlanta and has been with the PoA for 5 years and just loves it.

Dinner was at Jefferson’s Bistro and what a fantastic experience that was! Our waiter, Chris (four years with the America) was the best waiter that we’ve ever had on an NCL cruise. Not only was he extremely knowledgeable about the Jefferson’s Bistro menu, he gave us great suggestions on wine and on dining at the other venues. For example he explained that the Kona lobster we were seeing advertised as being served in the Bistro on Wednesday was in fact Maine lobster. A man on Kona raises them and the PoA picks up 75 lobsters each Wednesday. Wednesday is also “lobster night” on the PoA (that means spiny lobster in the main dining rooms), realizing we were from the east coast (and can have lobster any time) he suggested dining at East Meets West that night as the other restaurants would be packed. I’ve simply not encountered another waiter on a cruise ship who knew so much about what the ship had to offer. I in fact filled out my first S.T.Y.L.E. card ever (in 17 cruises) for him!

I have to say by the end of this first full day on the ship my concerns about potentially slow service had vanished. Yes, the staff is more “chatty” than an international crew, but that is the charm. As they’re American and English speaking you have something in common right off the bat. Everyone we met was friendly and made our encounter with them special. And with the exception of that one waiter I saw the first night, everyone kept an eye on what was going on around him or her and worked with efficiency. This would be one of our most pleasant cruises in terms of crew interaction.

Back to our dinner at Jefferson’s Bistro, the food itself was very good (as usual) but I have to mention the au gratin potatoes they serve with the beef tenderloin. They are to die for! A gooey, cheesy mound of yum that is just (to me anyway) better than the little potato tower traditionally served with the filet. Chris said that they’d modified the recipe to use less blue cheese because it’s more in keeping with American tastes. All I can say is I wish I’d see these potatoes pop up on the rest of the Fleet!
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Cruises gone by...
NCL Majesty 05/02, NCL Majesty 06/03, NCL Majesty 06/05 ,NCL Majesty 06/06, NCL Spirit 04/07, NCL Majesty 06/07, NCL Majesty 10/07, NCL Gem 01/08 (Mmm.. New Ship Smell), NCL Dream 5/08, NCL Dream 6/08, NCL Dawn 10/08, NCL Gem 01/09 (best cruise yet! ), NCL Pearl Alaska 6/09 (WOW!),NCL Spirit 09/09 , NCL Gem 1/10, NCL Epic 6/10...Most Excellent!, Mahalo Pride of America 4/11, NCL Star Panama Canal 10/11, NCL Spirit 2/12, NCL Sky 5/12, NCL Epic Med 10/12, Breakaway One Night from Rotterdam 4/13, Breakaway TA 4/13, NCL Star Norway & Faroe Islands 9/13, NCL Gem Eastern Caribbean 1/14, NCL Jewel...GV to Alaska! 6/14, NCL Dawn Bermuda 10/14, NCL Pearl 3/15 - Awesome Southern Caribbean Cruise!, 10/15 Escape One-Nighter, 10/15 Escape Inaugural Crossing, Celebrity Silhouette Scandinavia and Russia, 5/16, NCL Dawn Fabulous Repo 10/16, NCL Jade British Isles 05/17

256 days and counting...

Cruise on deck!

None!

Travel Blog -->http://cubechick.wordpress.com/

Travel photos -->http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/collections/
#7
Washington State Ellensburger
14,302 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Hi Aimee
Yep-sounds like you guys felt about NCLA just as we did. That cruise for us is #1 on our list and your review echos much of what we thought! Wonderful Wonder Wonderful
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When there's a leak in the bottom of a cruise ship, it's one hull of a problem
#8
6,697 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Monte, you're so right. Hawaii was simply magnificent. Bermuda had been number one on our list of the islands we've visited, but Hawaii just blew our socks off. I never expected (all of the islands) to be so exquisite. In fact our favorite was the Big Island which left all of the crew perplexed. Later I heard that the Big Island hadn't changed much in the last 20 years...so maybe that's why!

You throw in the great crew of the PoA and you can't lose!
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Cruises gone by...
NCL Majesty 05/02, NCL Majesty 06/03, NCL Majesty 06/05 ,NCL Majesty 06/06, NCL Spirit 04/07, NCL Majesty 06/07, NCL Majesty 10/07, NCL Gem 01/08 (Mmm.. New Ship Smell), NCL Dream 5/08, NCL Dream 6/08, NCL Dawn 10/08, NCL Gem 01/09 (best cruise yet! ), NCL Pearl Alaska 6/09 (WOW!),NCL Spirit 09/09 , NCL Gem 1/10, NCL Epic 6/10...Most Excellent!, Mahalo Pride of America 4/11, NCL Star Panama Canal 10/11, NCL Spirit 2/12, NCL Sky 5/12, NCL Epic Med 10/12, Breakaway One Night from Rotterdam 4/13, Breakaway TA 4/13, NCL Star Norway & Faroe Islands 9/13, NCL Gem Eastern Caribbean 1/14, NCL Jewel...GV to Alaska! 6/14, NCL Dawn Bermuda 10/14, NCL Pearl 3/15 - Awesome Southern Caribbean Cruise!, 10/15 Escape One-Nighter, 10/15 Escape Inaugural Crossing, Celebrity Silhouette Scandinavia and Russia, 5/16, NCL Dawn Fabulous Repo 10/16, NCL Jade British Isles 05/17

256 days and counting...

Cruise on deck!

None!

Travel Blog -->http://cubechick.wordpress.com/

Travel photos -->http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/collections/
#9
Heart of Texas
2,293 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
I am enjoying your review and pictures!!! We will be in cabin 8206, an aft with a large balcony one deck below you...How large is the balcony?? Any Pictures of one?

I have to agree with you about Tim Kaminski - He was the comedian on one of my Hawaii cruises and last year on the Jewel - He is hilarious and you see him all over the ship at any given time getting to know the passengers. Hope he is there when I cruise again Hawaii is one of my favorite destinations - I would love to go every year and I know I would find a new adventure each time, so much to see and do!!
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2006 Pride of America, 2007 Pride of America, 2008 Pride of America, 2009 Star Alaska, 2010 Jewel, 2011 Carnival Triumph, 2012 Pride of America, 2013 Epic, 2014 Pearl, 2015 Med Epic, 2016 Getaway, 2017 Escape, 2018 Getaway, 2019 Dawn
#10
Blue Bell, PA, USA
519 Posts
Joined May 2003
Loving your review. I have been a little uneasy about booking this ship, although I would love to go back to Hawaii. Just told DH he needs to see this review. Sounds like they have really made this ship a winner. I think we are going to book.

Thanks!
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Kathy Wagner

1990 Dawn Princess
1997 Sun Princess
1998 Dawn Princess
2002 Monarch of the Seas
2003 Norwegian Star
2003 Island Princess
2004 Seven Seas Navigator
2004 Radisson Diamond
2006 Carnival Legend
2006 Wind Star
2008 Norwegian Star
2008 Norwegian Majesty
2009 Carnival Pride
2009 Norwegian Majesty
2010 Norwegian Sun
2010 HAL Veendam
#11
Sacramento, California
575 Posts
Joined May 2007
What a great review with fantastic pictures!! We're staying in the exact cabin (9204) later in the year. Do you have anymore pictures of the cabin and the balcony? I've heard the balcony is larger than port and starboard cabins?
#12
6,033 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Thank you for a wonderful review. We could not agree more. We enjoyed PoA more than the other NCL ships BECAUSE of the cohesion among the crew.

We stayed in a stern balcony (BA) on deck 10, and were able to hear the Hawaiian Ambassador's amplified talk every morning, more clearly than when we were up at the outdoor buffet, because at the buffet people were talking! Our balcony was almost as large as the main part of the cabin, really huge. It had shade and sun with a canopy over half of it. The cabin was 135 sq ft and the balcony was 108 sq ft.
#13
3,963 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
Welcome home Aimee. Glad you had a great time.
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ML







'89 Carnival Holiday, '91 Carnival Fantasy, '96 Carnival Fantasy, '01 Sovereign of the Seas, '03 Carnival Victory, '04 Jewel of the Seas, '05 Majesty of the Seas, '06 Carnival Victory, '07 Monarch of the Seas, '08 Monarch of the Seas, '08 Norwegian Dawn, '10 Carnival Inspiration, '10 Carnival Triumph, '11 Norwegian Star, '12 Liberty of the Seas, '12 Explorer of the Seas, '12 NYE Carnival Valor, '13 Carnival Imagination B2B, '13 Norwegian Jewel, '14 Carnival Victory, '14 Freedom of the Seas, '15 Adventure of the Seas, '15 Majesty of the Seas, '16 Navigator of the Seas

UP NEXT: '17 Oasis of the Seas
#14
6,697 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
TSUmom and jack300s here are a couple more pics of the cabin...not the best pics, but you'll get an idea of the balcony size. At 100 sq feet or so, it really made the room!





KatWag I hope you do book! You won't regret it!

Glad you felt the same we did about this trip, flashdog_1!

Thanks ML! We really did have just a fabulous time!
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Cruises gone by...
NCL Majesty 05/02, NCL Majesty 06/03, NCL Majesty 06/05 ,NCL Majesty 06/06, NCL Spirit 04/07, NCL Majesty 06/07, NCL Majesty 10/07, NCL Gem 01/08 (Mmm.. New Ship Smell), NCL Dream 5/08, NCL Dream 6/08, NCL Dawn 10/08, NCL Gem 01/09 (best cruise yet! ), NCL Pearl Alaska 6/09 (WOW!),NCL Spirit 09/09 , NCL Gem 1/10, NCL Epic 6/10...Most Excellent!, Mahalo Pride of America 4/11, NCL Star Panama Canal 10/11, NCL Spirit 2/12, NCL Sky 5/12, NCL Epic Med 10/12, Breakaway One Night from Rotterdam 4/13, Breakaway TA 4/13, NCL Star Norway & Faroe Islands 9/13, NCL Gem Eastern Caribbean 1/14, NCL Jewel...GV to Alaska! 6/14, NCL Dawn Bermuda 10/14, NCL Pearl 3/15 - Awesome Southern Caribbean Cruise!, 10/15 Escape One-Nighter, 10/15 Escape Inaugural Crossing, Celebrity Silhouette Scandinavia and Russia, 5/16, NCL Dawn Fabulous Repo 10/16, NCL Jade British Isles 05/17

256 days and counting...

Cruise on deck!

None!

Travel Blog -->http://cubechick.wordpress.com/

Travel photos -->http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/collections/
#15
Washington State Ellensburger
14,302 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Swimfins outside--NO DIVING OFF THE BALCONY
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When there's a leak in the bottom of a cruise ship, it's one hull of a problem
#16
Arizona
275 Posts
Joined May 2008
Thanks for the pictures of the room....I'm looking at changing our room from 10046 to 9702 so this helps a lot....really loving your trip report.....thanks!
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Shannon


Princess - 8/01 - Alaska
Disney Magic - 8/08 - Panama Canal
NCL - Pride of America - 02/12 - Hawaii

#17
6,697 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Day three…a little more Maui!

This morning we caught the morning Molokini Crater Snorkel. In doing my research I’d read that it was better to go in the morning as in the afternoons it can be extremely windy. Also I’d read that the water temperature is on the chilly side. As I’m a huge wimp when it comes to cold water and we wanted to maximize our time in the water, we purchased shorty wetsuits before the trip. I’d also read that because of the popularity of this spot, the snorkeling could be pretty crowded. However we booked it anyway since we’d also read that it was some of the best snorkeling in the world.

A tour bus took us a short way to the harbor. The Pacific Whale Foundation operates the tour. You can book directly with them (and save some money) however we ended up being happy that we booked through NCL. The first reason was because we didn’t have to figure out how to get to the harbor and secondly because our tour left about a half hour later than the other PWF tour that morning. That meant that as we arrived at the crater (about a 45 minute boat ride) three of the six boats that were there were leaving. Within 20 minutes two other boats left (including that other PWF boat). So for a good forty minutes or so it was just us and one other smaller boat. Granted our boat had close to 100 snorkelers on it (2 tour buses full) but the area is big and having those other boats leave was a huge plus.

Before arriving at the crater the crew passed out muffins, bagels and juice for breakfast (which I hadn’t known about and thought was a nice touch). They also passed out snorkel gear and urged everyone to rent a wetsuit shirt ($10 each) because the water was only around 72 degrees. I was feeling pretty darn good about my wetsuit purchase! When I slid into the water without the cold knocking the breath out of my body I was even happier! My first thought when I put my face into the water was, “Wow!” All of the coral and the clarity of the water really did make you feel like you were looking into an aquarium. The snorkeling was stunning and far surpassed anything we’d experienced in the Caribbean. The variety of the coral was amazing and the water was nice and calm making for easy swimming. They let us snorkel here for about an hour and fifteen minutes, and we were in the water every moment.







From here they took us to Turtle Arches for a chance to swim with Hawaiian green sea turtles. The water here was a smidge warmer, but not as clear, the snorkeling more crowded and the current stronger. Soon after getting into the water, all around us we could hear cries of “There’s one!” and “Here’s another one!” but DH and I didn’t see one turtle! Until we had just climbed back onto the boat that is! This one turtle popped up right next to the stairs at the back of the boat as if to wish us well. That completely made our day!




At this point lunch was served. Deli platters to build your own sandwiches and pasta salad were provided. Also the bar was opened and all-inclusive. A pleasant surprise and a Maui beer tasted good after all of that exercise! I would give this excursion 4 ½ stars out of 5. Only docking them a half because on the way back to the ship there’s a forced shopping stop at the PWF store. At this point all I wanted was to get back to the ship and clean off so I didn’t appreciate the stop at all (and I have to confess I’m not much of a shopper).

Back at the ship we took some pictures as we sailed away from Maui.




It would be a low-key evening after all that activity today! Dinner was at the buffet again and a chance for DH to have more of his beloved curry. We were seated near the crepe station and I watched intrigued as other passengers had desserts whipped up fresh right before their eyes. I’d have to keep that in mind for another night!

After dinner we spent a pleasant hour in the Mardi Gras Lounge watching an Eagles tribute by Toby Beau. Toby and his wife comprise a two-man band with her playing keyboards and him guitar. It was a good show with each of them giving you a history of the Eagles in between the songs they played from each album. We’d missed his Beatles tribute the first night and were glad that we’d caught this performance. It was a nice way to wind up our day.



Tomorrow we were looking forward to Hilo and Volcanoes National Park.
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Cruises gone by...
NCL Majesty 05/02, NCL Majesty 06/03, NCL Majesty 06/05 ,NCL Majesty 06/06, NCL Spirit 04/07, NCL Majesty 06/07, NCL Majesty 10/07, NCL Gem 01/08 (Mmm.. New Ship Smell), NCL Dream 5/08, NCL Dream 6/08, NCL Dawn 10/08, NCL Gem 01/09 (best cruise yet! ), NCL Pearl Alaska 6/09 (WOW!),NCL Spirit 09/09 , NCL Gem 1/10, NCL Epic 6/10...Most Excellent!, Mahalo Pride of America 4/11, NCL Star Panama Canal 10/11, NCL Spirit 2/12, NCL Sky 5/12, NCL Epic Med 10/12, Breakaway One Night from Rotterdam 4/13, Breakaway TA 4/13, NCL Star Norway & Faroe Islands 9/13, NCL Gem Eastern Caribbean 1/14, NCL Jewel...GV to Alaska! 6/14, NCL Dawn Bermuda 10/14, NCL Pearl 3/15 - Awesome Southern Caribbean Cruise!, 10/15 Escape One-Nighter, 10/15 Escape Inaugural Crossing, Celebrity Silhouette Scandinavia and Russia, 5/16, NCL Dawn Fabulous Repo 10/16, NCL Jade British Isles 05/17

256 days and counting...

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#18
Uncasville, Ct
206 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
Wonderful review. This makes me look forward to our cruise all the more. Especially since you were in our cabin. We're sailing 6/11/11. I've started counting the weeks/days - leaving 6 wks 5 days (Fri 6/10) from today. Can't wait to keep reading as you write.

Lorie
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NCL Getaway - Feb 2018

Past Cruises
Celebrity Reflection - Feb 2017
Silver Shadow - July 2016 - 30th Anniversary
Celebrity Summit - Jan 2016 - Brothers 50th B'day
Norwegian Breakaway - Sept 2015
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NCL Epic - March 2014
Ruby Princess - Feb 2013
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Golden Princess - Feb 2006
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#19
Carmel, IN
2,875 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
My mom is planning "the trip of a lifetime" cruise for their 50th anniversary on the Pride, and I am looking for advice if there is a better side of ship port or starboard to pick for cabin? Just wondering for views of islands as sailed etc, or which side ship usually docked on at each island.
Any details you recall would help.

Your review to start is a great start for me to pass advice on. Especially the dining choices. My dad is a lobster lover, so let me know where his best choice and day to get the real "Maine-Kona" stuff is. Unless it was the Bistro on Wed? Thanks
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Carnival 2001 to present:
Destiny 5X, Miracle, Liberty 3X, Legend, Victory 2X, Glory, Legend upcoming to Alaska.

RC Adventure of the Seas 4/6/08
NCL Southward 7/1985
#20
6,697 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Originally posted by Buffettfan 225
My mom is planning "the trip of a lifetime" cruise for their 50th anniversary on the Pride, and I am looking for advice if there is a better side of ship port or starboard to pick for cabin? Just wondering for views of islands as sailed etc, or which side ship usually docked on at each island.
Any details you recall would help.

Your review to start is a great start for me to pass advice on. Especially the dining choices. My dad is a lobster lover, so let me know where his best choice and day to get the real "Maine-Kona" stuff is. Unless it was the Bistro on Wed? Thanks
Well the ship docks on both port and starboard so no help there. Also the ports are very industrial and not all that attractive. I think the best view was what we had from the stern while in port, which was mostly the harbor. The ship sails at night, so there isn't a lot of island viewing while at sea (except for that last day). At least that was the case for us. The ship sails at 6:00 and the sun was setting for us at 7:00.

That said if she prefers a side, I'd recommend the port side as that is the side that gets the best view of the NaPali Coast on Friday (and as viewing lava is currently not a factor). You spend about 45 minutes cruising slowly up the coast and that is a sight not to be missed. When the captain turns the ship around, allowing a view from the starboard, he picks up speed and heads away from the coast.

Yes, the "Maine-Kona" stuff was at Jefferson's Bistro on Wednesday. There is a surcharge of $10 (in addition to the $20 they charge per person) for the lobster.

HTH!
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Cruises gone by...
NCL Majesty 05/02, NCL Majesty 06/03, NCL Majesty 06/05 ,NCL Majesty 06/06, NCL Spirit 04/07, NCL Majesty 06/07, NCL Majesty 10/07, NCL Gem 01/08 (Mmm.. New Ship Smell), NCL Dream 5/08, NCL Dream 6/08, NCL Dawn 10/08, NCL Gem 01/09 (best cruise yet! ), NCL Pearl Alaska 6/09 (WOW!),NCL Spirit 09/09 , NCL Gem 1/10, NCL Epic 6/10...Most Excellent!, Mahalo Pride of America 4/11, NCL Star Panama Canal 10/11, NCL Spirit 2/12, NCL Sky 5/12, NCL Epic Med 10/12, Breakaway One Night from Rotterdam 4/13, Breakaway TA 4/13, NCL Star Norway & Faroe Islands 9/13, NCL Gem Eastern Caribbean 1/14, NCL Jewel...GV to Alaska! 6/14, NCL Dawn Bermuda 10/14, NCL Pearl 3/15 - Awesome Southern Caribbean Cruise!, 10/15 Escape One-Nighter, 10/15 Escape Inaugural Crossing, Celebrity Silhouette Scandinavia and Russia, 5/16, NCL Dawn Fabulous Repo 10/16, NCL Jade British Isles 05/17

256 days and counting...

Cruise on deck!

None!

Travel Blog -->http://cubechick.wordpress.com/

Travel photos -->http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/collections/