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bosnatis

Reiview NCL Pride of America Suite 13002 April 4th, 2015

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We are a family of 5 with an 8, 12 and 13 year old boys. I spend about 5 months researching on cruise critic, Hawaii magazine and trip advisor. I booked all rental cars through the Avis website except for Kona we used http://www.hawaiidiscount.com with Enterprise due to no shuttle avaiable with Avis. We did not do any shore excursions as our research lead us to doing everything ourselves to save money and do it at our own pace and times. I will note that we woke up every morning around 5:30 am to get breakfast and off the ship as soon as possible.

 

OAHU

 

We arrived on Thursday, April 2nd on a United flight into Honolulu from Atlanta with a stop in San Francisco. One of our 4 bags did not make it on the flight but was delivered by 10 pm. We walked to the Avis counter across the street and they had our Jeep waiting for us. Sign up for Avis Preferred so you just go to the tent, show your card and they hand you the keys. Off we went to the Equus Hotel (my review of this hotel on trip advisor) which on about 15 minutes from the airport. Check in was quick and easy. We hung out and had free happy hour Mai Tais in the lobby. It was dinner time so we went to the Steak Shack (Review on trip advisor) in Wakiki about a 15 minute walk. We stopped at the corner of our hotel room at an ABC store to get soda, beer wine and snacks for the next few days. Friday we went to Pearl Harbor which we had purchased tickets ahead of time for the tour. They are free except for the convenience charge $1.50 and the audio tour $7.50 per person. We had 8 am tickets. We arrived at 6:30 am and about 200 people were in line. Even of you have a ticket you must wait in line until they open the gates at 7 am. We were in by 7:05 am. Once inside go to the line on the right for your Arizona tickets if you purchased them online or getting them now. Online guarantees you a set time if now the next avaiable time will be given to you. Then if you want the audio tour go to the line on the left. All lines go very quickly in the morning. We walked around and did most of the audio tour before out Arizona tour. We did the Arizona tour then finished the audio tour. We were done by 10:00 am and would highly recommend this tour. You can also do the sub tour and other tours avaiable. We then drove to Hanauma Bay, actually right past it on a scenic stop(free parking unlike the Bay which charges per person or car. On the right of the stop you can climb down a trail (very easy) and do some awesome snorkeling and nice pictures. This was our favorite place so we visited it after our cruise. We saw hundreds of fish and 4 turtles in the water while snorkeling. We then headed to Sandy Beach and got our first shaved ice from one of the trucks. They were awesome. It was 3 pm so we headed back to the hotel to get ready for Germaine's luau. We bought our tickets ahead of time online at http://www.hawaiidiscount.com $74 for adults and $53 for kids with a $25 fee. Much cheaper than the cruise luau and you can do something else on the cruise port day. My review for Germaine's is on trip advisor. We orginally were scheduled to do the luau on Thursday but we changed it to Friday. We were going to drive but instead rook the bus which is free and fun. The bus picked us up at 4:30 pm from the hotel across from ours and we were back at the hotel at 9:30 pm. I would recommend this luau. On Saturday morning we went to Diamond Head and arrived at 6:30 am and it does not open until 7 am. When we arrived we were able to park in one of the 11 parking spots for free in front of the tunnel gates. At 6:58 am the guard let the walkers in before the cars. We walked .20 miles to the entrance of the park and paid $1 per person. We walked up in about 25 minutes and took beatiful pictures from the top and even saw the Pride of America coming into port. We were back at the bottom by 8 am. We went back to the hotel and checked out and dropped off our car at Avis. I arranged transportation to the pier with Alex at Kings Airport Shuttle ( 1-808-352-4670) $25 which was much cheaper than anyone else for 5 people. He was on time and very informative. We arrived at the pier at 11:30 am and everything went very smooth. We checked in went through security and turned in our luggage. We were taken to a special area for suite guests and given drinks and a few snacks before our butler took us on board the ship. Our luggage arrived to our room about 5 pm. We stayed in suite 13002 which is a deluxe penthouse category SD. Time to go as we are boarding our plane back home. I will continue in 14 hours.

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Have fun trip back home. Looking forward to your review.

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Great start to your review. We are also a family of 5 and will be sailing in cabin 13008 in a few weeks. Can you tell me where your 3rd child slept? Did you open the couch in addition to the murphy bed? I'm concerned that might make moving around quite challenging and was wondering if the couch (without opening to a bed) would be big enough/comfortable enough for an 8 year old to sleep on.

 

Thanks in advance for any information you can provide!

 

:-) amcb

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We had the couch pulled out every night for my 12 year old. They could sleep on the couch itself. I believe your room is 200 Sq. ft. smaller so it might cause an issue.

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Looking forward to your review!

We were also in cabin 13002! Awesome balcony! (Accept the filthy glass)

If you had Lucy for your room steward you were lucky, like us!

We consider her the best we've had in 6 cruises! Love her!!

Edited by silvercrikhix

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We did not have Lucy and our steward was non exist and did not even do the basics. We ran out of towels, they never filled our ice bucket, did not empty the refrigerator and the balcony floor was a mess when we arrived. Good thing is this was the only issue we had our entire trip.

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We had the couch pulled out every night for my 12 year old. They could sleep on the couch itself. I believe your room is 200 Sq. ft. smaller so it might cause an issue.

 

Thanks so much! That was my sense given the pictures and video I've seen of the actual cabin. It seems like there wouldn't be much walking around space with the couch pulled out. Great to know the couch itself would work. :-)

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Thanks so much for your review...I'm looking forward to reading more! I appreciate that you are giving specific details on what you did (ie...the shuttle). So helpful when we are starting to plan our trip!

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We ate lunch at Cagneys for after we boarded the ship which is included for suite guests. We went to the cruise critic meeting at 3:45 pm in the Shuffles card room. 45 invited and confirmed guests, 26 showed up. Most of the ship officers were present. Kaj the officer in charge of hospitality was the most pleasant and talked to us for about 20 minutes. The cruise director Malu spoke for a little bit letting us know what we can expect and thanked us for cruising NCL. We did the drill after the meeting and went to the Hollywood theater to meet. We went to our huge balcony for sail off at 7 pm. Measuememts for the room were 24x15, balcony 27x14, bathroom 12x6 and closet 4x5. At 8 pm we went to the Hollywood theater for the Experience Entertainment show which basically told us what we had in store for the week. By that time it was off to the cabin to get ready for Maui the next morning.

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The ship docked at about 7 am and 8 am we were allowed off the ship. We were up at 5 am in order to eat at Cagneys when they opened at 6:30 am. Great selection of breakfast off the menu or buffet. We were off the ship at 8:05 am with no lines or waiting. On other cruises suite guests get priority disembarkation but not on the POA because it is not necessary except for Kona which is a tender port. Avis picked us up and my Jeep was waiting for us with the keys in it. If you are a preferred member you go to the tent and off you go. Today's plan was Road to Hana. It was a long drive and really nothing to do or see except for the view. The drive was easy except for a few spots that were one lane and on the cliff. We did the drive because everyone said you had to do it. We were done by 4 pm and back on the ship. We stopped at a local Kmart and bought snacks for the next day. We packed a lunch each day in order to keep the day moving quickly. Mostly PB&J sandwiches. We purchased water at the ABC store by the hotel which was a good idea for the road trips except for the $12.99 per 24 pack price. We later found out Kmart had the water for $5.99. We bought 4 cases for the entire trip. We parked the car in an NCL lot right next to the ship which had a security guard and was free. We ate dinner at the Key West bar, burgers, hot dogs and fries. At 8 pm we did the Up Close magic show with Charles Bach. This magician was awesome. We ended up seeing 3 of his shows. They all lasted 45 minutes which was the time for all the shows. It was now time to go to sleep to get ready for day 3, the 2nd day in Maui. A picture of the Freestyle daily day 2.

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Sorry about the quality of the Freestyle daily but at the end of the review I will scan them and email them to anyone who wants a copy

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I forgot to mention what worked well as far as packing and what did not. First of all we over packed like everyone else. We were gone for 12 days and had enough clothing for 20 days. We eah hasd a pair of flop flops, a pair of sneakers and the water shoes. We used the laundry service on the ship on Tuesday for $25 all you can fit in a bag they provided us. We put 30 articles of clothing in the bag and they were back in our room on Thursday afteenoon. You just leave it on your bed in the bag by noon Tuesday. Just an FYI, they place a sticker on each article of clothing to account for it. They use the best adhesive in the world. Not a problem but I am still finding stickers on some of them a week later. We pack 4 bags each day for our day trips. A backpack cooler with 6 waters, a beach bag with snorkeling gear, cameras, phone and chargers, a jumbo size ziploc bag for 5 towels and a large ziploc bag for our water shoes. These can be found at your local supermarket. These are not found with the regular paper products. The water shoes were awesome at all the little beaches we pulled over in for swimming when the beach had rocks or climbing through trails. We had to use two bags for the shoes because with the salt water they get a rough smell to them no matter how well you rinse and dry them. We packed a highlighter to highlight what we wanted to do daily on each freestyle day. We had a multi plug power cord for the room and for the car to charge our Gopro, cameras and phones. I also packed a inverter for the car in order to use the power cord in the car. If staying a in suite no need for Qtips, shampoo, conditioner or lotions. The room also had a very good hair dryer. By the way our room was twice the size of our hotel room with a separate shower with a door, toilet with a door, double sinks and a jacuzzi tub. Talk about being spoiled, like they say once in a suite always in a suite. We had on board credit so I got a bucket of beer every few days for $35. This was for 6 beers and included the automatic 18% beverage gratuity. I was surprised how many guests did not know that this was included with every beverage order automatically. My wife would order the drink of the day which came out to about $7 instead of the $12 for other drinks. I also packed 10 bottles of soda, small aluminum ones for the kids. We also bought 2 liter bottles of soda at each port at the local ABC store or Kmart. The kids would go to the basketball court each day and the wife and I would sit on the balcony and enjoy an adult beverage after boarding the ship after each port. We had lanyards for each kid so they could carry around their room key safely. We found these at the local dollar store in Georgia. We had a large Rubbermaid container we used to pack our sandwiches daily for each port along with snacks. We figured we spent enough money on the cruise so we would pack our own lunches. Much cheaper than eating at a restaurant each day. We did splurge a few times to eat local food at a food truck on the North Shore in Oahu. More on that later. We had the usually stuff such as sunscreen and a first aid kit. In case you did not notice we did plan our trip.out to the max with the help of other reviews and forums on cruise critic. All I can say is it worked well.

Edited by bosnatis

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Enjoying your review. I didn't think you could take food off of the ship. How were you able to get the PBJ sandwiches off of the ship?

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We had no problems and we were not hiding it. I was told the only thing you cannot bring on or off the ship was alcohol.. We had chips, snacks, sandwiches, water and sodas everyday in our beach bag or jumbo ziploc bag.

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Enjoying your review. I didn't think you could take food off of the ship. How were you able to get the PBJ sandwiches off of the ship?

The POA gets all its provisions in Hawaii, so the food has already gone through strict Hawaiian agriculture inspections. My sister-and-brother-in-law did this, also.

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thank you for the review. we go in august so I'm still in the research everything phase.

 

great tip about bringing food for the day trips = thanks

 

look forward to the rest of your review

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Day 3 and 2nd day in Maui

 

We woke up at 5:30 am packed the the usual, sandwiches, snacks, water and beach gear. We had breakfast at Cagneys at 6:30 am and we're off the boat by 7:45 am. We walked to our Jeep took the top off and headed to Iao Valley. It was an easy 15 minute drive to the park. You usually pay for parking but the attendant said something was wrong with his computer so we parked for free. We then took the easy trail towards the needle. What a beautiful picture opportunity. We then took the trail since it was a loop, and saw a nice small water fall. We then headed to Lahaina and stopped at a scenic over look that sometimes has views of whales. No luck for us but nice pictures. The scenic stops are marked and easy to find and park. We then drove through town (lots of shopping, we did not participate😃) and saw the awesome banyan trees. One thing we did notice is that none of the attractions on the island are marked. We bought Franko's maps which looked nice but they do not have miles markers on the map so it really did not help. We finally found the trees in town and they were well worth it. We then headed to the beach and did some snorkeling. The snorkeling was ok because of the waves. The beach was just on the main road and we pulled the Jeep on the beach, swam and had fun with the larger waves doing some body surfing. We also ate our sandwiches on the beach. We then headed to Makena beach. No snorkeling here and more of a resort area. Nice water. It was now 2 pm and we were not impressed with Maui so we headed back to the ship to watch the College basketball championship game at 3 pm. We stopped at the Cadillac diner to get a quick bite to eat before we headed to the Gold Rush Saloon on deck 11. This was the only place on the ship showing the game. The saloon was the happening spot on the ship. After the game we headed to the room to enjoy a few drinks and relaxing time on the balcony. First and third picture are from the Iao Needle. The second one is from the beach. The fourth of the Freestyle daily from day 3. We did not do any of the shows this night as we wanted to be in bed by 9 pm so we could get up nice and early.

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Edited by bosnatis

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Day 4 Hilo

 

Did the usual packing and eating breakfast at Cagneys. We were off the ship at 8 am and took the Avis shuttle to get our Jeep. It was a very short ride to Avis and check out was quick once again meeting at the tent where they had the car waiting for us. Off to Volcanos National Park which was a 35 minute drive. The park has an entrance fee of $10 per vehicle. First stop was the visitors center to watch a 25 minute video that plays at the top of every hour and half hour. It was a informative and interesting video. We left and went and saw the two steam vents that were a one minute drive from the center. Next we drove to the trail and walked to the Thurston Lava Tube on the Crater Rim trail. On the way they have many lookouts where you can take some nice pictures. After you cross a street you go down a trail with some steps to the lava tube which looks like a cave. Well worth the short and easy walk. We then went to the Jaggar museum and lookout by car. The museum is informative and only takes about 15 minutes on a self guided tour. The best vantage point for the crater is from the observation deck next to the museum. Great pictures and awesome view. We then went to Akaka Falls which was about an hour drive. We paid $5 for parking at the Falls. Just go to the end of the parking lot and they have a small parking lot which had about 20 parking spots. Lots of people were parking a few blocks before hand for free. The walk on the trail is short and a loop. This was the first and only day we had rain the entire trip. We all really enjoyed the trail not only because of the falls but because of all the plants and flowers. The falls were cool as the kids said. After the falls we went to Mauna Loa nut factory for a short shelf guided tour. The tour is free, outside and very, very short. We went to the gift shop which had lots of flavors of nuts. They had 6 different flavors they were sampling. We stopped at a local store to load up on snacks for the next day. We then headed back to Avis to drop off the car and take the shuttle at about 4 pm and were back at the ship well ahead of the 5:30 all board time. This was so far the best day, not for long. Once on the ship we stopped at the Key West bar (on deck 12 a very close ro our room) and got some burgers, hot dogs, fries and adult beverages. The boys went to the basketball court and we hung out on the balcony for a few hours until 6:30 pm. We headed to the Wonders Magical Experience with Charles Bach at 7 pm. He was awesome to say the least. We all really enjoyed the show which lasted until 7:45 pm. We ate dinner at the Aloha cafe buffet which had many different choices to chose from. We then walked around the ship and played some shuffle board then headed to the room in order to be asleep by 10 pm. Great day all around. First two pictures are of the crater, next four are of the falls and the last one was steak and eggs from Cagneys.

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Edited by bosnatis

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I forgot to attach the picture of the Freestyle Daily for day 4. I am also attaching a few pictures I forgot to add to earlier days. Second picture is of Wakiki beach by the Steak Shack. Third ones of the Steak plate from the Steak Shack. Fourth one is Wakiki from the plane. The fifth one is when we were on the top of Diamond Head with the Pride of America in the background headed to port on Saturday morning. Next is the walking trail from the snorkeling spot next to Hanauma Bay I talked about in Oahu. This is were we saw the turtles while snorkeling.

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Would love to hear the rest of this review! We are booked in this suite end of this month.

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