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Beagleluv6107

Beagle Feels Sincere "Pride Of America" - A Lengthy Trip Report w/Pics

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Hello CruiseCritic Fam!!! It is great to be posting another review, but you may never have read any of my previous reviews. So far, all my cruise reviews have been about Carnival. In April 2008, DH and I were married on the Destiny (now the Sunshine). We were actually married on Limetree Beach in St. Thomas. We decided if all went well and “life” didn’t get in the way, we would celebrate our 10-year anniversary cruising around Hawaii.

 

Thankfully we made it, and decided that the POA was the best way to go. The other cruise lines have too many sea days and although it sounds great, we just don’t have the vacation time. Cost was also a factor. When we started planning, I had no idea how expensive this trip would be… well, I surely had no idea 10 years ago when I said “Hun, let's do Hawaii for our 10th!” It’s a good thing we are doing this right now because when we retire, there’s no way we will be able to afford this. We’ll be back down to the cheap Carib if you know what I mean.

 

A little more background on us. We love to cruise with friends and family. We sailed on the Carnival Pride in 2017 and we had 18 very dear friends on board. I called it the best booze cruise ever. We had so much fun my face hurt from laughing for an entire week. This week on the POA, I anticipated saving money on those pricy drinks because it was just the two of us and we planned tons of activities. No time or money for booze-cruising this trip. Or so I was thinking that during the planning process.

After the cruise was booked, my biggest challenge was airfare and when to fly. The POA departs every Saturday so we decided to fly out from the east coast on Thursday. That would give us all day Friday to sight-see and hopefully recover from that excruciating travel. We had a choice to pay more money and fly non-stop from Newark, NJ or pay less and fly out of Philadelphia with layovers. DH ask for Philly because it is closer to home and that was more important when we return. I asked around and also on CC when would be the best time to book flights. No one could give me an answer. Around the 6-month mark, airfare continued to go up every time I checked so I panicked and booked. At 40 days left the airfare was about 200 less per person. I guess patience would have paid off in this case, but I had no idea. Did I learn a lesson? Probably not, I am an overplanner and a panick’er. My advice would be not to look at prices for flights every day, it will drive you nuts.

 

When I only had about 1 week before departure, I told my boss about my flights. Going out seemed to be fine but he was very concerned with our layover in LAX. We would arrive at 11:13pm and (supposedly) depart at 11:50pm on the red-eye to Philly. He said that was not even enough time for the luggage to switch planes. I spent the entire morning agonizing over the issue and I called American Airlines 3 times. I was reassured time and again that this was in fact a valid connection and not to worry. DH said we should roll the dice. I cannot wait to tell you if this back-fired right in our faces.

 

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After that pricy and painful task of airfare was complete, it was time to research excursions. I wanted to do more physically challenging activities if possible. I think I found a nice balance. Here’s the rundown of what we planned:

 

Thursday, Day 1 – Arrive safely – Find the hotel bar as fast as possible and toast to having survived about 13 hours of travel (11 in the air)

 

Friday, Day 2– Hike Diamond Head, visit the Honolulu Zoo, and walk down Waikiki Beach

 

Saturday, Day 3 – Board the POA and Celebrate Our 10 Year Anniversary!!

 

Sunday, Day 4– Rappell Maul – Booked thru NCL

 

Monday, Day 5– Rent a car and go to Paddle on Maui for stand-up paddle boarding and snorkeling with sea turtles

 

Tuesday, Day 6 – Volcanos National Park tour with Lavaland

 

Wednesday, Day 7 – Secret Waterfalls of Kohala – Booked thru NCL

 

Thursday, Day 8 – Helicopter Tour of Kauai with Jack Harter Tours

 

Friday, Day 9– Hit the beach right by the pier in Kauai

 

Saturday, Day 10 – Debark – Pearl Harbor Early Bird Tour – Booked thru NCL

 

 

There you have it, our plans. Let’s hope everything goes right! All of you know how quickly things can take a turn when traveling!

 

 

Speaking of how quickly things can change… when we were just 18 days from departure our area encountered it’s 4th Nor’easter. This one really hit us hard. I lost power for over 72 hours. Ugh, what really hurt was no TV and WiFi. I burned up all my cell data looking at Cruise Critic on my phone days before this happened, so I couldn’t even play on the cell phone. Here’s a pretty picture I took before shoveling.

 

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All that snow started snapping tree limbs left and right. Here’s a picture of just 1 of about 30 trees down in my home town. I am surprised we had power back on after 3 days. It could have been much worse.

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The POA is the only way to see Hawaii. Cruising in from Vancouver is just too far and not enough time in the islands.

 

wrt to your AA connection, valid connections are anything over 30 minutes. But,,, when you booked the return, the AA website should have warned you that it was a tight connection. An inconspicuous message that says "connection time". We fly to Hawaii often and always give ourselves >1 hour connection to allow for delays over the Pacific.

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I know your all wondering if I will ever get to the actual review. Sorry, but I still have more ridiculousness to share. On March 29th, one week before our departure date, I decided to treat myself to eye lash extensions. Yep, you read that right. I had never even heard of them until reading a review from weetahbugdotcom. I’m always trying a crazy hair-brained scheme of some sort, so this was right up my alley. I DID NOT tell DH because I knew there would be some sarcastic comment, or I should say... words of wisdom about how I should in no way do such a thing. Instead, I let him think I was at work and would see him at my normal time.

 

When I arrived, I was full of anxiety and suggested to the tech that this was probably a bad idea. I went for it anyway. Here is the picture on the salon’s website that made me think this was a good idea.

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After a few hours, this is what I saw in the mirror

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Ok it wasn’t quite that bad but bad enough that I hopped back on that bed and told the tech to cut these things down. I couldn’t be seen in public looking like that. By this point I was so late, I had to confess everything :eek:.

 

After DH got over being lied to, he did laugh and say he wished I would have snapped a real photo of myself before I had her clip them down. I said they were touching my eyebrows and I was in complete panic mode. I was not thinking about a selfie!!!! There is avaluable lesson here folks… You do not have to do everything you read on Cruise Critic!!!!

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Oh, by now it’s 2 days before our departure date and time for packing. DH was in charge of buying snacks for our long journey. I always insist on dieting before vacations but you might think I starved this poor man. Look at what he expected to take in our back packs.

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I created a binder to keep track of everything we were doing day by day. I bought myself a wet-suit top online. I hear the water in Hawaii is always cold. I was pretty happy that when it delivered, it fit perfectly and I proclaimed "I am going to wear this when we paddle board/snorkel". Just at that exact moment, the news reporter on the TV said there was just a shark attack in Hawaii. Apparently a paddle boarder was bitten off the coast of the big island. Oh my, he didn’t just really say that did he??? I switched the channel and tried desperately not to think about it.

 

On the day of departure my beloved in-laws volunteered to drive us to the airport. That will save us at least 100 bucks in parking fees. Way to go In-laws!! That will ensure a great souvenir gift since they saved us all that cash because we didn’t have to pay for parking.

 

I downloaded plenty of shows and movies to my ipad. At 9pm the night before departure, I dropped the iPad shattering a quarter of the screen. Yep, that is so typical of me!!! Luckily, it still worked.

Ok, up next: Day 1

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Can't wait to hear about your POA adventure! We love Hawaii , but have only done land vacations there. I've always wanted to take the cruise though!

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Day 1 – The Journey Finally Begins

We were up at 3:30am and out the door at 4:15. We experienced no lines at American. The weight limit for a checked suitcase is 50 pounds and one of ours ended up being 49.5lbs. Wow, that was close. Maybe we won’t be buying a bunch of souvenirs for the in-laws after all.

 

It was 6am and our flight didn’t leave until 7 so we stopped off for a decent breakfast instead of fast food. I wish I could remember the name of this place.

 

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The flight to Dallas was no problem at all. On our way to the connecting flight we found some fish tacos.

 

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Once we boarded our new, nice, and very big airplane, the pilot came on and said that we would be delayed. There was a mechanical issue. Oh bummer, I’m already going to be on this plane too long. Ugh! We finally took off after a 45 minute delay.The good news is that the pilot made up that time in the air. We were also served free food and the monitors on the seats had free movies!!! Wow, it doesn’t take much to make me happy folks… We were given Turkey Wraps and for free, I was just in so much shock. I guess if you are on the plane for so many hours they must feed you? I surely would not have bothered with an airport fish taco if I had known. :p

When you have 8.5 hours to waste on a plane you amuse yourself taking pictures out the window.

 

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I'll wrap up the rest of Day 1 plus more tomorrow.

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I can't wait for the rest of your review. I would love to visit Hawaii. I can't decide between a land vacation or a cruise.

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Following.

 

We are cruising on POA in Dec. We’re from PA and I check out the airfare prices almost daily, lol.

Loving the review so far! Looking forward to reading the rest.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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I can't wait for the rest of your review. I would love to visit Hawaii. I can't decide between a land vacation or a cruise.

We took the POA but arrived in Oahu 4 days beforehand. I feel like we had a short land vacation plus the cruise. Great way to see Hawaii.

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Following along ... This trip is on my bucket list

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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Enjoying your review so far! We also did Jack Harter Helicopter tour on our POA cruise. Can't wait to see what you thought of it! 34 years ago we honeymooned in Hawaii, and had Jack Harter himself pilot us. On the POA cruise we took our adult kids and did Jack Harter heli again- this time doors off! (Jack did not pilot us this time!)

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I'm going to Hawaii for my honeymoon next April. We are doing a few days in Oahu first and then POA. Of course I have been researching what to do non-stop, so very excited to see what you thought of your excursions. There haven't been very many recent reviews, so thank you for doing this!

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The POA is the only way to see Hawaii. Cruising in from Vancouver is just too far and not enough time in the islands.

 

Hi BirdTravels, I agree completely!

 

wrt to your AA connection, valid connections are anything over 30 minutes. But,,, when you booked the return, the AA website should have warned you that it was a tight connection. An inconspicuous message that says "connection time". We fly to Hawaii often and always give ourselves >1 hour connection to allow for delays over the Pacific.

 

I agree completely with this too, always give an hour!!! ;)

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Can't wait to hear about your POA adventure! We love Hawaii , but have only done land vacations there. I've always wanted to take the cruise though!

 

Hey MandyMommy,

Hope you get to do this cruise. We loved it!

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I can't wait for the rest of your review. I would love to visit Hawaii. I can't decide between a land vacation or a cruise.

 

Hey Taylortime,

If you already love cruising, this is a great way to get around!!

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Following.

 

We are cruising on POA in Dec. We’re from PA and I check out the airfare prices almost daily, lol.

Loving the review so far! Looking forward to reading the rest.

 

 

 

Thanks for following along. It's nice to know someone else checks airfare daily!! ;p

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Enjoying your review so far! We also did Jack Harter Helicopter tour on our POA cruise. Can't wait to see what you thought of it! 34 years ago we honeymooned in Hawaii, and had Jack Harter himself pilot us. On the POA cruise we took our adult kids and did Jack Harter heli again- this time doors off! (Jack did not pilot us this time!)

 

Hey there,

How awesome that you had Jack Harter himself as your pilot!!! That is really cool. It's nice to know all these years later, the company is still doing a great job. Our tour was a thrill of a lifetime. I loved every minute!

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I'm going to Hawaii for my honeymoon next April. We are doing a few days in Oahu first and then POA. Of course I have been researching what to do non-stop, so very excited to see what you thought of your excursions. There haven't been very many recent reviews, so thank you for doing this!

 

Hi Sailor,

When I was in the planning mode, I was trying to find reviews too. Thanks for following along.

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Also curious for a current review, leaving in 2wks. So exciting :)

 

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Forums mobile app

 

Hi Deb and Jack,

Leaving in two weeks? You are the envy of everyone!! Certainly me because I know how much fun your about to have.

 

Hopefully you can see all the pictures. I'm using Shutterfly. They show up on my PC and my iPad but they didn't show up on my work PC.

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