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Aloha is Love - Review of POA in Hawaii with Pics, Menus & More


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Thanks for your review. My DH and I have done this cruise 3 times we liked it so much, the last time was 9 years ago. We would love to go again but it's crazy how much more expensive it is now!! I'm sure we will bite the bullet to go again one day. It's been nice going along for the ride. [emoji41]

 

 

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It's definitely pricey - the most expensive trip we've gone on so far. But as you probably know, definitely worth it as well! It would be awesome to be able to afford a back to back.

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After finishing our treats we walked back to the ship. All aboard was at 1:30 and we were surprised to be back on the POA at noon, given all that had already happened. This was the only day that had any feeling of a sea day. There was a buffet and cook out set up near the pool, music was blaring and everyone was gathered in their swim suits. After some crappy weather in Kauai, the sun had decided to come out as we were preparing to leave. We spent some time on the pool deck eating, laying out in the sun and dipping into the water when the heat became too much. I learned on this cruise that I really do not like sexy leg contests and staff versus passenger volleyball games in the ship's only pool. It was a good time return to our cabin, change, grab the cameras and find a good spot for the Na Pali coast sail by and narration.

Edited by sjmbruce
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The Freestyle Daily noted that the Na Pali coast narration started at 5:15. People were finding their spots long before this. The top deck on the front of the ship seemed to be most popular (port side of course). We were there before 5:00 but couldn't find a front row view. We went a deck lower where these previously mentioned cabanas are:

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Unfortunately there were people in each on of these laying on the loungers thinking they were going to have these spots all to their own. We tried to be as polite as possible and went all the way to the side so they could still lay down and see the coastline, but as time went on more people lined up and the original couples had to rearrange their positions. I'm not sure what was right or wrong here. The couple that was there first obviously got there early to have that spot, but during such a magnificent sail by I don't know if it was appropriate for them to expect to have that large of a public space all to their own.

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The POA started sailing by the Na Pali coast before the 5:15 narration started. It wasn't the most beautiful portion of the coastline, but it would be worth it to find a spot before 5:00.

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During the sail by, dolphins swam in front of the ship. I caught just the tail end of them so I ran from our spot to the top deck, forward. Although I didn't see the dolphins again, I did wiggle in to take a few pictures from this position. I actually preferred our shady area on the next deck down on the side of the ship. I thought having the sun shining on the coastline but not glaring above us made for better viewing and pictures, but I am definitely not a professional.

The narration was really informative and I enjoyed hearing about the natural aspects of the coastline as well as historical points of interest. The nearby Forbidden Island was most intriguing.

The water is so blue! And the scenery was about to get even more amazing.

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Edited by sjmbruce
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The Freestyle Daily noted that the Na Pali coast narration started at 5:15. People were finding their spots long before this. The top deck on the front of the ship seemed to be most popular (port side of course). We were there before 5:00 but couldn't find a front row view. We went a deck lower where these previously mentioned cabanas are:

ry%3D400

Unfortunately there were people in each on of these laying on the loungers thinking they were going to have these spots all to their own. We tried to be as polite as possible and went all the way to the side so they could still lay down and see the coastline, but as time went on more people lined up and the original couples had to rearrange their positions. I'm not sure what was right or wrong here. The couple that was there first obviously got there early to have that spot, but during such a magnificent sail by I don't know if it was appropriate for them to expect to have that large of a public space all to their own.

Tough call for those people with the loungers. I suspect they ended up standing at the rail because the view through the glass isn't very good. We were on a ship leaving NYC and people had pushed the loungers up to the railing but eventually stood along side of it to see over the railings. People eventually pulled the loungers back so they could get some space at the railing. I trust there wasn't any confrontation on POA when people started blocking their view.

 

We lucked out on this because we booked a balcony and our TA at NCL told us to get one on the Port side. It was awesome having a front row seat so to speak. We were on deck 9 and were NOT able to hear the narration. We could hear it but not loud enough to understand. I did put together this two part video.

Part 1 is a time lapse of POA leaving Kauai. The 15 minute process in 14-15 SECONDS. Part 2 was some scenes along the Na Pali Coast.

If you click on "Show More" to expand the description box you'll see links to two other ways the coast can be enjoyed. The hike ain't gonna happen to this body (check out minute 2 to 3). The speedboat approach, maybe.

FWIW, our review for the cruise can be found here.... Hawaii Cruise

Thanks much for your review which we followed right up until we went off on our own adventure in early May.

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Thank you so much for this spectacular review. We will be boarding the POA tomorrow and can't wait for our own adventure. We have already spent the last few days in Waikiki and I was getting sad about checking out tomorrow, then I remembered we have a whole week on the ship! Haha. I was able to make and change some plans based on your review. I really appreciate it.

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The Freestyle Daily noted that the Na Pali coast narration started at 5:15. People were finding their spots long before this. The top deck on the front of the ship seemed to be most popular (port side of course). We were there before 5:00 but couldn't find a front row view. We went a deck lower where these previously mentioned cabanas are:

ry%3D400

Unfortunately there were people in each on of these laying on the loungers thinking they were going to have these spots all to their own. We tried to be as polite as possible and went all the way to the side so they could still lay down and see the coastline, but as time went on more people lined up and the original couples had to rearrange their positions. I'm not sure what was right or wrong here. The couple that was there first obviously got there early to have that spot, but during such a magnificent sail by I don't know if it was appropriate for them to expect to have that large of a public space all to their own.

We pushed the lounger on our Deck 13 balcony all the way to the glass and I stood on mine for much of the narration. I didn't care that the people on Deck 14 could see how much of a dork I looked [emoji1] Also couldn't make out what Kaulana was saying in the narration bc folks were talking, I think I shushed a few of them haha

 

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We just got off. We did the helicopter in Kauai with island helicopters. They were great! They pick you up at the port and returned us to our car rental destination.

 

The awful smell is still there, really bad near the Moderno! UGH!

 

It's a very exhausting cruise, go, go, go!

 

We did a sunrise tour and Hana highway in Maui which didn't leave much time to explore on our own. 🙁

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Tough call for those people with the loungers. I suspect they ended up standing at the rail because the view through the glass isn't very good. We were on a ship leaving NYC and people had pushed the loungers up to the railing but eventually stood along side of it to see over the railings. People eventually pulled the loungers back so they could get some space at the railing. I trust there wasn't any confrontation on POA when people started blocking their view.

 

We lucked out on this because we booked a balcony and our TA at NCL told us to get one on the Port side. It was awesome having a front row seat so to speak. We were on deck 9 and were NOT able to hear the narration. We could hear it but not loud enough to understand. I did put together this two part video.

Part 1 is a time lapse of POA leaving Kauai. The 15 minute process in 14-15 SECONDS. Part 2 was some scenes along the Na Pali Coast.

If you click on "Show More" to expand the description box you'll see links to two other ways the coast can be enjoyed. The hike ain't gonna happen to this body (check out minute 2 to 3). The speedboat approach, maybe.

FWIW, our review for the cruise can be found here.... Hawaii Cruise

Thanks much for your review which we followed right up until we went off on our own adventure in early May.

 

The people lounging during the sail by of the Na Pali coast did eventually stand up - and you're right, probably for a better view. It also allowed for a few more people to get a spot right at the railing. Definitely no confrontations at all. Your videos are awesome, thanks for sharing! I hope you had a great time!

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Thank you so much for this spectacular review. We will be boarding the POA tomorrow and can't wait for our own adventure. We have already spent the last few days in Waikiki and I was getting sad about checking out tomorrow, then I remembered we have a whole week on the ship! Haha. I was able to make and change some plans based on your review. I really appreciate it.

 

Thanks for reading! I too remember being sad while checking out of our hotel, only to remember that there was a whole cruise ahead of us. Then I was sad disembarking the POA but at least had one more day of plans. Enjoy your cruise!

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We pushed the lounger on our Deck 13 balcony all the way to the glass and I stood on mine for much of the narration. I didn't care that the people on Deck 14 could see how much of a dork I looked [emoji1] Also couldn't make out what Kaulana was saying in the narration bc folks were talking, I think I shushed a few of them haha

 

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

 

Haha don't worry, you'll probably never see any of those people again!

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I just read, straight through, all the posts in this thread. Thanks so much for posting, especially all the pictures.

 

We've got both a Hawaiian cruise on the POA and an Alaska cruise on our cruising "to do" list. I'm kind of leaning towards doing the Alaskan cruise first, just because I feel like I want to see it before it changes too much (climate change, etc.). But, boy, reading through this thread definitely makes me want to go to Hawaii sooner rather than later!

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We just got off. We did the helicopter in Kauai with island helicopters. They were great! They pick you up at the port and returned us to our car rental destination.

 

The awful smell is still there, really bad near the Moderno! UGH!

 

It's a very exhausting cruise, go, go, go!

 

We did a sunrise tour and Hana highway in Maui which didn't leave much time to explore on our own.

 

I'm glad Island helicopters worked out for you, if I could do it over again I'd probably go with them. It is definitely a very tiring itinerary. We were up by 6:00am most days and exhausted by dinner. Hawaii was an awesome trip but we now need a vacation from our vacation!

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I just read, straight through, all the posts in this thread. Thanks so much for posting, especially all the pictures.

 

We've got both a Hawaiian cruise on the POA and an Alaska cruise on our cruising "to do" list. I'm kind of leaning towards doing the Alaskan cruise first, just because I feel like I want to see it before it changes too much (climate change, etc.). But, boy, reading through this thread definitely makes me want to go to Hawaii sooner rather than later!

 

Thanks for reading! I have a few more posts to finish in order to wrap up the review, but every time I sign on here I seem to get distracted with a million other things (today it's finding new car insurance, yuck).

 

Hawaii is so amazing, there is no doubt about that. We did Alaska first though. Like you, I was worried about it not being the same by the time we made it up there. My husband wasn't really into a "cold weather" cruise but we found a great deal and I had to go. I'd recommend going to the Alaska board on here and reading all of the reviews posted at the top (we went with Princess, but my Alaska review is linked in my signature if you're interested). Whatever your decision, you can't go wrong with either cruise!

Edited by sjmbruce
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The deck certainly gets crowded. We wound up near some chatty folks which sadly made it hard to hear the narration. Hopefully, the cruise will work on the volume, but if you're on port side, you might consider listening from the TV in your room. The views are awesome!

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Just returned from our Hawaii trip (we stayed on after the cruise). The ship is different (we're Princess cruisers), but I have no real complaints. Want to say first off that our interactions with the crew were awesome, they were friendly and attentive. Not sure where other's concerns lie, but we are also there to be happy and have fun.

 

We loved the islands and this itinerary was great!

A short list then our narrative:

Recommended - Brazilian steakhouse onboard, attending some events hosted by Hawaiian Ambassadors (they are great), snorkeling if you like, rent a car to drive around Kauai.

Notes - our room was very small, but we weren't there much, no plugs on the bed side of the room (CPAP users, make sure you have an extension cord!!!!)

 

Arrived a day early and did Waikiki Beach and Hard Rock Cafe - the manager there is SO friendly! Arrived at port around noon, boarding took 45 min or so (usual) and no surprises. Roamed the ship waiting for room to be ready and went to Meet and Greet. 1st day in Maui went to Wailena Beach and saw many turtles while snorkeling from the beach swim out to the rocks early, it gets strong in the afternoon.

 

image.jpeg

 

We then went to Haleakala national park for sunset. Overall a great day!

 

2nd day in Maui, did the Molokini Crater Snorkel. Lots of folks there, but great viewing. The 2nd stop was cancelled due to strong currents, but it actually was the same spot off the beach we'd been to the day before.

 

Hilo - saw lava splash, did some tourist stops, hiked the lava tubes, saw rainbow falls. LONG bus day, but worth it. Listen to your driver and get back on time, it's a tight itinerary and some were left behind.

 

Kona - Catamarin sail and snorkel - again lovely water and wildlife. Great crew!

 

Kauai - drove to Waimea canyon - with a rental car you can go all the way to the top and it's definitely worth it. Drove down, went to Puka Dogs which was YUMMY! Then went to Spouting Horn.

 

image.jpeg

 

Parked and snorkeled at Poipu Beach - from the bathrooms, snorkel to the right (a lot more there). But turtles came up for a nap on the left so we enjoyed seeing those also! Nice to have a car and some time to ourselves and flexibility this day.

 

2nd day - did the movie tour - fun! Cruise the Napali coast - beautiful. Recommend listening from your stateroom TV if you're on port side.

 

Enjoy your trip!

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I am the worst review finisher ever! Hopefully a few pictures of the gorgeous Na Pali coast will make up for it. If I ever went back to Kauai, I'd like to do a lot of hiking here. There were waterfalls that were so far away neither one of our cameras could really do them justice. And there's an awesome, isolated beach that you can hike to.

 

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Edited by sjmbruce
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This is an excellent time for a photo with your family, friend or group. Professional photographers were making the rounds and there were plenty of friendly passengers willing to take a picture for you. Although I wasn't dressed up at all, my husband hadn't changed from our time at the pool and was still in flowered swim shorts and a bright orange Hawaiian shirt. I did begrudgingly let someone take a picture of us, but that shall remain buried on the SD card forever. Here is me, to show how windy it was.

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Get on a good swim suit cover up and pull your hair back for a great picture.

 

It was such beautiful, unreal scenery. For me, it was only comparable to Alaska.

 

The ship, as it turned around to sail away from the coastline:

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Edited by sjmbruce
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We ended our day by eating at Jefferson's Bistro again. I think I mentioned that we enjoyed the atmosphere and food so much that we chose to eat here again instead of repeating Cagney's.

Random thought: Although we could have tried three different specialty restaurants, we chose not to visit some at all. Moderno's focus is on meat and I don't really eat it, so it would have been a waste. There are a lot of restaurants like Teppanyaki around, and we recently dined at one. I didn't think the on board version would be much different. La Cucina's menu didn't speak to us so we skipped it.

Back to Jefferson's....We had the same waitress who remembered how much my husband loved escargot and sent out an extra order for him. I was happy that I finally was able to see the Na Pali coast after two scheduled excursions to the coastline had been cancelled. I was full of seafood and delicious desserts. But it was back to bed for an early morning of leaving the POA, a visit to Pearl Harbor and counting down to our flight home.

Edited by sjmbruce
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Just returned from our Hawaii trip (we stayed on after the cruise). The ship is different (we're Princess cruisers), but I have no real complaints. Want to say first off that our interactions with the crew were awesome, they were friendly and attentive. Not sure where other's concerns lie, but we are also there to be happy and have fun.

 

We loved the islands and this itinerary was great!

A short list then our narrative:

Recommended - Brazilian steakhouse onboard, attending some events hosted by Hawaiian Ambassadors (they are great), snorkeling if you like, rent a car to drive around Kauai.

Notes - our room was very small, but we weren't there much, no plugs on the bed side of the room (CPAP users, make sure you have an extension cord!!!!)

 

Arrived a day early and did Waikiki Beach and Hard Rock Cafe - the manager there is SO friendly! Arrived at port around noon, boarding took 45 min or so (usual) and no surprises. Roamed the ship waiting for room to be ready and went to Meet and Greet. 1st day in Maui went to Wailena Beach and saw many turtles while snorkeling from the beach swim out to the rocks early, it gets strong in the afternoon.

 

image.jpeg

 

We then went to Haleakala national park for sunset. Overall a great day!

 

2nd day in Maui, did the Molokini Crater Snorkel. Lots of folks there, but great viewing. The 2nd stop was cancelled due to strong currents, but it actually was the same spot off the beach we'd been to the day before.

 

Hilo - saw lava splash, did some tourist stops, hiked the lava tubes, saw rainbow falls. LONG bus day, but worth it. Listen to your driver and get back on time, it's a tight itinerary and some were left behind.

 

Kona - Catamarin sail and snorkel - again lovely water and wildlife. Great crew!

 

Kauai - drove to Waimea canyon - with a rental car you can go all the way to the top and it's definitely worth it. Drove down, went to Puka Dogs which was YUMMY! Then went to Spouting Horn.

 

image.jpeg

 

Parked and snorkeled at Poipu Beach - from the bathrooms, snorkel to the right (a lot more there). But turtles came up for a nap on the left so we enjoyed seeing those also! Nice to have a car and some time to ourselves and flexibility this day.

 

2nd day - did the movie tour - fun! Cruise the Napali coast - beautiful. Recommend listening from your stateroom TV if you're on port side.

 

Enjoy your trip!

 

It sounds like you had an awesome cruise! I am definitely jealous that you were able to see lava splash.

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The only NCL excursion we chose to book was Pearl Harbor with airport drop off. We chose to do it this way because it seemed too much to take a cab to the airport, rent a car, drive to Pearl Harbor and drive back to the airport, all with our luggage and within a day, especially since we had already done the rental car thing on Oahu a week ago. Going through NCL was more about convenience, luggage storage and a ride to the airport.

 

While I don't regret going to Pearl Harbor on a tour like this one, I kind of regret going to Pearl Harbor on the last day. While I don't know how we could have had an easy beach day, going to this site made for a somber last day. If I could do it over I'd do Pearl Harbor before the POA, then tack on extra time at the end of the cruise so we could go to our favorite pre-cruise beach on Saturday, spend one more night in Waikiki, and fly home Sunday.

 

Pearl Harbor with NCL was easier than I expected. Our tickets were waiting in the room for us on day one with instructions on when and where to meet on the last day. Later in the week we received another envelope with special tags to put on our suitcases. Friday night we left our suitcases out in the hall, but kept our backpacks and carry on luggage.

 

Saturday morning we met in the Hollywood Theater and were lead out as a group. We picked up our suitcases, which were in the same room as everyone else's but were in a specific tour area. There was a NCL employee there to tell us where to wait and which bus to get on.

 

A random tip is to use the bathroom before you pick up your suitcases. Our driver stopped for a break at the request of some passengers, but it was at a sketchy park bathroom with no toilet paper or working sink.

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After boarding the bus, we went on a tour of Honolulu including the King Kamehameha statue.

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The Iolani Palace was across the street.

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There were a few opportunities for pictures, such as downtown Honolulu with Diamond Head in the background. We sat on the left side of the bus.

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We also did a drive through of The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at the Punchbowl crater.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Thank you for reviewing a MaryLou tour. I was definitely going to book through her for a private tour for my family of 4 - just in case we wanted to spend more or less time at a site. Loving your whole review - we go Christmas week, and as I am a planner, I am ready to book our excursions now!

 

 

 

We took this cruise in January and booked with Mary Lou. We had her son Kyle both in Hilo and Kona. He was awesome and I plan to book with him again when we return next January.

 

 

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After the Honolulu tour (which was a little too long, in my opinion) we went to Pearl Harbor.

You can't take any bags or purses into Pearl Harbor, including camera cases. There were lockers available for a fee. Our driver/guide said he was locking the bus and had never had a problem with theft. While our luggage was underneath the bus, our carry ons, back packs and my purse were with us and we opted to leave them on the bus.

 

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We walked into Pearl Harobr and our guide handed out our tickets for the USS Arizona Memorial. He made sure we knew when and where to get in line. When I was planning everything, trying to figure out Pearl Harbor was actually kind of stressful but it ended up being pretty easy.

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The movie was actually pretty good and informative. Be sure to get in line on time, the earlier the better. My advice is to sit in the front of the theater on the left hand side if you want a specific seat on the tender boat, as these seats are the closest to the exit and the first on the boat.

 

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The memorial was beautiful and the architecture was perfect.

 

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