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puddles99

Cruisin' Like a Hawaiian - Pride of America 05.04.2013 Review

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Chapter 9: Circling Oahu & Sad Goodbyes

 

While on board we made the decision to book the much recommended Circle Island Tour - through NCL which includes luggage storage & airport transfer. Our flight didn’t depart until nearly 11:00pm, so we had all day to say a long goodbye to Hawaii. This tour includes buffet lunch at Kualoa Ranch, drives by Diamond Head Crater, and stops at Hanuama Bay, Halona Blow Hole, Aloha Tropical Farms, Sunset Beach, North Shore, and Dole Pineapple Plantation. It was a nice way to see the areas of Oahu we had not yet ventured to, but if I had to do it again, I would just get a day room and laze on the beach until it was time to head to the airport.

 

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When we got to the airport, we discovered that we had to wait outside for about 45-minutes because the US Airways terminal / agriculture checkpoint didn’t open until 6:15pm. We sat outside with our luggage and enjoyed the breeze. Once the check-in opened, we got through pretty quickly and then headed to the Kona Brewing Company for dinner. Service was slow, but we had all the time in the world. We had wings to start and DH had a burger while I ordered an encore Hawaiian Luau pizza - I was so happy that I didn’t have to leave the islands without having another!

 

Our flights & car service home were uneventful and we arrived home around 6:00pm on Mother's Day (May 12th) to lots of hugs and with many fond memories and dreams of someday returning to paradise.

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The Epilogue

 

I wanted to be sure to share details about our cabin, a few shout-outs to crew members who made our experience phenomenal, & some tips about the ship (but feel free to ask questions about anything I don't think to cover here.

 

Our Cabin - Deluxe Forward Penthouse With Large Balcony - 10000

 

What can I say? This was an awesome cabin. It was spacious, had all the amenities we had any use for, and quickly felt like "home." The only thing that was a little off was that the balcony door in the bedroom didn't shut properly (but we just used the door from the living room). Because of the room's location, it has a little private alcove at the entrance. You can only access this cabin from the starboard hallway on deck 10.

 

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Edited by puddles99

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The Epilogue (continued)

 

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Bedroom door closed & curtains drawn for privacy.

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The Epilogue (continued)

 

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I also wanted to note that the pre-cruise concierge notes all seemed to make it to the on board crew, our pillow & extra towel requests had been taken care of, our spa and chef's table requests were addressed as soon as we boarded, our afternoon snacks were just as we requested (no canapes, mostly fruit instead), etc. Our Butler, George Rodrigues, was a true Vacation Hero and took care of us throughout our cruise.

 

Our room steward - Erlito Zata - was also a Vacation Hero. He was friendly, quick to serve, and had a great sense of humor. He quickly figured out how much I adore a towel animal zoo & he did not disappoint!

 

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I'd also like to give a shout out to Travis in the Cadillac Diner, Darnell in Liberty, and to Silas Cook who was a fantastic Cruise Director. After an upcoming vacation, Silas will be relieving Sinan on the Gem and we're hoping he's still aboard when we sail the Gem in November. He really was great.

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Hey Puddles99, thank you for a fabulous review! I have a question for you, do you happen to recall if the Italian specialty restaurant was open on your cruise? It doesn't appear in the dailies from an April cruise (from another CC cruiser) and I wondered if it was open in May when you were there? We were hoping to eat there. If not, I appreciate your food pics from Cagney's and Jefferson's Bistro to compare.

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The Epilogue (continued)

 

Here are some other tips about the ship & crew:

  • The forward and aft stairs are marked in red starry carpet while the mid-ship stairs have blue starry carpet.
  • Fresh popped theater style popcorn is available - self serve - in the Gold Rush Saloon starting at 5pm each day.
  • As has been reporting in the past, no laundry special was offered.
  • You can save state tax on ship purchases if you wait until the ship sails out of port to finalize your transaction.
  • Securing a window seat in one of the MDRs requires that you eat dinner at 5:30pm or be prepared to wait.
  • Attend your Cruise Critic Meet & Greet and end-of cruise follow-up session if at all possible. This crew really does want to hear from you and takes feedback seriously.
  • The crew on board has no control over what corporate does or says - including the mis-information about Moderno. They feel horrible when it happens and it frustrates them to no end. So if you're not happy with bad information you receive pre-cruise, don't take it out on the cruise; they're just as unhappy about it as you are.

The Coast Guard was aboard the week we sailed for an annual inspection which was keeping the crew a little extra busy, but from what the Captain told us at the end of the cruise, the ship & crew passed with flying colors. This doesn't surprise me in the least and we found this to be a great crew. No, they don't dote on you quite the same way as you may find on other ships that don't employ such a high ratio of US-citizens, but they still care about doing a good job & want their passengers to have a great vacation. Kudos to the crew of the Pride of America for ensuring we had a wonderful vacation. We hope to return someday!

 

THE END

Edited by puddles99

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Hey Puddles99, thank you for a fabulous review! I have a question for you, do you happen to recall if the Italian specialty restaurant was open on your cruise? It doesn't appear in the dailies from an April cruise (from another CC cruiser) and I wondered if it was open in May when you were there? We were hoping to eat there. If not, I appreciate your food pics from Cagney's and Jefferson's Bistro to compare.

 

Yes, it was open - we just didn't happen to eat there. DH is of the mind that he can get plenty of good Italian at home and didn't want to pay the upcharge at sea. I'm going to get working on scanning in the dailies from our cruise and will check to see if its listed - I never actually looked! :)

Edited by puddles99

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Puddles99...fantastic review....and like your photos too!

 

I would also be interested in your posting of the dallies .... and also, the pre sail away get-together on the bow for latitudes was neat-o !

 

What time did that take place?

 

 

Chuck and Mary

Edited by Molokai-Chuck

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Thanks Puddles99 for a great review!! Great photos too!!

Good to see you and your hubby were fond of the 'amber nectar'. How much was it for a beer onboard the POA?

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Just figured out how I might get DH to Hawaii...... He's obsessed with war movies :rolleyes:

So....... Pearl Harbour and Helicopters!

 

Jo :)

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Thank you for the great review! I am going to start working on DH today for the trip! :D

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I was wondering if the luau with robert was with smith or not. Did it say smiths when you booked or did it say islands best luau?

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Puddles99...fantastic review....and like your photos too!

 

I would also be interested in your posting of the dallies .... and also, the pre sail away get-together on the bow for latitudes was neat-o !

 

What time did that take place?

 

Sorry for my delay in posting the dailies - life got in the way yesterday :rolleyes: I'll get to it this week, I promise!

 

The Silver / Gold / Platinum Sail-Away party was at 1:45pm on Friday and lasted for about 45-minutes or so. Once we got out to open sea, the Captain asked the crew to bring everyone back inside. There was also a Latitudes Cocktail Party on either Sunday or Monday, but we missed that one.

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Thanks Puddles99 for a great review!! Great photos too!! Good to see you and your hubby were fond of the 'amber nectar'. How much was it for a beer onboard the POA?

 

I'll pull out my receipts and let you know (I don't have them here in the office with me ;))!

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Just figured out how I might get DH to Hawaii...... He's obsessed with war movies :rolleyes:

So....... Pearl Harbour and Helicopters!

 

LOL! I love it - I bet you could come up with all kinds of ideas. There is a "movie tour" on Kauai and there may be one offered on another island, too.

 

Thank you for the great review! I am going to start working on DH today for the trip! :D

 

You won't regret it!

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I was wondering if the luau with robert was with smith or not. Did it say smiths when you booked or did it say islands best luau?

 

When we booked, it said, "Islands Best Luau" but I confirmed with Roberts that it would be Smith Family for our dates. I would recommend confirming before booking - just in case!

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Just figured out how I might get DH to Hawaii...... He's obsessed with war movies :rolleyes:

So....... Pearl Harbour and Helicopters!

 

Jo :)

 

 

Woohoo to thinking outside the box!! Pearl Harbour is an amazing experience. Hubby would be a dolt to miss it. hehe

 

Puddles - amazing job! And heroic effort weeding through thousands of photos to post the best of the best! Next time you go to HI, I'm so in!!! :D

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Loved reading every one of your posts and viewing your photos. We both live in eastern PA. I can't wait til I get home tonight and show my DH your

fabulous photos. honeymoon27 posted the dailies from April. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1841259

Now I have to get my excusions approved by my DH and booked!!

Thanks again for all you have given back to this CC board.

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Thank you for taking the time to make this post. (This was a lot of work)

 

I really enjoyed reading this and seeing all the wonderful pictures. :)

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Chapter 8: Ziplines, Luaus, & Helicopters (continued)

 

After an amazing morning, we returned to the ship for lunch, a shower, and some down time - including about an hour of wandering the shops near the harbor - before meeting our Roberts Hawaii bus for the Smith Family Luau.

 

Puddles99, I just searched in vane for the Roberts Tour site for a bus to the Smith Family Luau. Where did you find that?

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Puddles99, I just searched in vane for the Roberts Tour site for a bus to the Smith Family Luau. Where did you find that?

 

It's this one: http://www.gorabbitgo.com/kauai/luau.php I would recommend emailing or calling to check they're using Smith Family for your dates to be sure. The cost includes transportation, dinner, & show (and the unlimited drinks!).

Edited by puddles99

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Thanks for this great review. It is really helping with our planning for our POA cruise.

 

I'm so glad its helpful! I've gotten so much value from the reviews of others so I am glad I've been able to pay it forward.

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Thank you for taking the time to make this post. (This was a lot of work)

 

I really enjoyed reading this and seeing all the wonderful pictures. :)

 

Oh thank you! It was time consuming, but a lot of fun. And now I have a head start on the story for my scrapbook, too! :D

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It's this one: http://www.gorabbitgo.com/kauai/luau.php I would recommend emailing or calling to check they're using Smith Family for your dates to be sure. The cost includes transportation, dinner, & show (and the unlimited drinks!).

thanks I never saw the drop down for the cruise ship until you sent me this link!! Aloha!

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Good to see you and your hubby were fond of the 'amber nectar'. How much was it for a beer onboard the POA?

 

I finally pulled the receipts - sorry for the delay! A 22oz Stella draft was $5.50 from the Gold Rush Saloon. Not a bad deal at all!

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Which of the various Zip Line Trips in Kauai did you experience? I see three on the NCL Shore Excursions page. Which town does the POA tender in on the Island of Kauai?

 

Thanks!

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I finally pulled the receipts - sorry for the delay! A 22oz Stella draft was $5.50 from the Gold Rush Saloon. Not a bad deal at all!

 

Good value indeed!! I think our tipple will involve buckets o' Bud!!! And the best part of it is that my DW traditionally foots the bill for all onboard consumption so the bigger the bill the better lol!!!!

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Which of the various Zip Line Trips in Kauai did you experience? I see three on the NCL Shore Excursions page. Which town does the POA tender in on the Island of Kauai?

 

Thanks!

 

We did the "Kauai Canopy Zip Line Adventure" - booked through NCL since that included transportation. I think there were only two offered for our sailing date (the one we did and a "Tree-tops" excursion that included rope bridges).

 

The ship docks in Nawiliwili, Kauai and its an easy walk to shops, restaurants, or a beach.

 

Does that help? Keep the questions coming! :)

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The ship docks in Nawiliwili, Kauai and its an easy walk to shops, restaurants, or a beach.

 

Thats interesting as I was under the impression that Kona was the only port that had shops etc within relatively easy walking distance. What about the other port stops in Maui and Hilo Puddles99? Big thanks for the great review and additional information!

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Thats interesting as I was under the impression that Kona was the only port that had shops etc within relatively easy walking distance. What about the other port stops in Maui and Hilo Puddles99? Big thanks for the great review and additional information!

 

Because you tender into what seems like the "heart" of Kona, there is much to do there - definitely more within walking distance than any other port. In Kauai, you can walk to a little shopping area with a few restaurants, bars, etc and I think it's the Marriott resort / beach that's right there & easily accessible. I even heard that the snorkeling was pretty good at that beach (but of course I can't vouch for that).

 

To me, neither Maui or Hilo seemed walkable. You would need a shuttle or taxi to get to any activities or sights in those ports (or to go pick up a rental car).

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Puddles99,

 

Thank you for the great review. Me and my wife sailed on POA in April 2007. We are booked for Thanksgiving 2014 and we are taking our two daughters who we let them pick this trip from a few choices. We are looking forward to the trip and your review is helping us in our planning.

 

Acejr371

Edited by acejr371

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Excellent review, thanks! So ready to go back!!!

 

Me too! But I have a feeling it will be a while until we can return - we have too many other adventures on our to do list!

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Puddles99,

 

Thank you for the great review. Me and my wife sailed on POA in April 2007. We are booked for Thanksgiving 2014 and we are taking our two daughters who we let them pick this trip from a few choices. We are looking forward to the trip and your review is helping us in our planning.

 

Acejr371

 

I'm so glad to help. It sounds like you're doing what we hope to do - return in a few years with our daughters in tow. I look forward to reading your review when you return!

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For those waiting for the dailies - please accept my apologies. This was a rough week at work and I just never got to scanning them. I'm headed out of town for the weekend but left them in the middle of my desk so I see them first thing Tuesday - I'll get 'em done, I swear!

 

In the meantime, there are April dailies posted in a review in the Hawaii Port of Call forum & I think someone provided a link earlier in this thread.

 

Sorry about that!

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How was the food in the main dining room? It wasn't very good on our January cruise so we switched to specialty restaurants for the last 4 nights of the cruise. We talked with ship officers about it several times and they were very gracious and interested in our comments.

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Great review and pictures! I'm looking to start planning our trip for Jan '15, so much info to go through and lots of decisions to make. :eek:

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