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Pride of America Live Feb 23-March 2 with Waikiki precruise

papa B me

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Getting back we walked the beach and then explored Waikiki shopping area which is a shoppers paradise. Everything from tshirts to Gucci. Waikiki is about 2 miles long and about 4 blocks wide.  So it's easy to walk most places.  We ended our day with dinner at Duke's on Waikiki.


Tip:  If you want to eat at Dukes, make reservations on line well in advance.  I made a reservation at least a month ago and the earliest we could get was 7:45.  They told me to get there early and they might get us in earlier.  We got there about 7:15 and they seated us.  Dukes is a typical tourist restaurant with a roving Hawaiian trio coming to your table and all the stereotypical Hawaiian decor.  But we were surprised that all 4 of us thought the food was really good and worth the experience.


We walked back the half mile or so to our condo and it was really beautiful all lit up.  Then in bed as jet lag is still playing havoc with our systems





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18 minutes ago, Beachiekeen said:

Oh wow, I had no idea we would need a res at Duke's thanks for the tip!  It all looks great so far!


Question:   how long do you think it took to hike Diamond head start to finish?


Keep it coming, hanging on every word!

I think it took us about an hour and a half.  My wife and I didn't stop and rest any on the way up but we spent a good bit of time at the top.  Coming down is a lot faster then going up.  We were at Diamond head for a total of I think 2 hours but utilized restrooms, looked at the souvenir stand and got the Pineapple treat at the end(don't miss out on it)


Off to the Northshore and Polynesian Cultural Center

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Your post on Diamond Head brought back memories of our first trip to Hawaii with our children.  Our then - 7 year old son was so proud of hiking to the top and the certificate he received from our tour company.  I am a bit clastrophobic and hated that tunnel but made it.  I was also surprised at the number of people hiking in ridiculous attire such as flip flops or sandals with heels and kept waiting for someone to trip and break an ankle!

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Your pre-cruise posts brought back many great memories.


The hike to the top of DiamondHead for one, we bought our t-shirts and got a certificate at the top when we did this, it was some type of fund raiser for locals.


Oh my Dukes, and the memory of Hula Pie for us, as well as the sunset.

Love your pictures


Thanks for taking us along.


Safe travels.


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Today was a great day at the Polynesian Cultural Center.  It is located on the Northshore.  It took an hour and a half to get there from Waikiki at about 1:00 in the afternoon and a little less then an hour coming back at 9 pm.  


It consists of 5 major components:

#1 It has various Polynesian exhibits from Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji, etc...It provides the history and culture.  There are many hands on exhibits.  Think of it as a living museum

#2. A shopping market place with various shops offering Polynesian souveniers

#3 Various Restaurants including two different buffets that can be included in packages with one of them including Prime Rib and Crab legs

#4. Guides as part of a package either for a small group or private(depending upon package

#5. A major Polynesian cultural show called "The breath of LIfe"


Again there are a variety of packages.  We had an Ambassador Package that included all the above with a private guide and the prime rib/crab leg dinner.  I believe this was $150 per person.  There are less expensive packages or ala carte pricing.  There is much more to do here then a person can do in a day.  So we really just had a quick overview as we didn't arrive till about 2:30


The guide, the show, the food and all the staff were incredible.  Incredibly well organized and well done.  Below are a few pictures:




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After a short visit to Pearl Harbor in the morning we finally move to the main event as we embark on the Pride of America.  I will post one last pre cruise post with our Pearl Harbor experience.  


By the way, the weather has been perfect so far with temps in the high 70's with sunny to partly sunny skies.  Hopefully we will continue to experience great weather for the cruise unlike those who posted who were on the cruise with all the weather disruptions.


Thanks for hanging in there with me for the pre cruise and I hope some found it helpful.

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Pearl Harbor:

As I was planning our trip for some reason I found planning Pearl Harbor the most confusing as I read various threads and reviews(It might have just been me).  In the end it went quite smooth and didn't have to be as confusing as I made it.  The only part of Pearl Harbor I would highly recommend you plan in advance is reserving a space for the Arizona Memorial tour.  The Memorial itself is still closed as they repair the ramp from the dock to the memorial.  I've read it is to reopen in March but there is no mention of it by the guide or anywhere at Pearl Harbor.  In stead you have the harbor ride with guide down battleship row, past the memorial and back.  It is quite moving.  Below are some tips and observations:


#1. Reserve our Arizona tickets a Recreation.gov.  I believe they start posting availability about 90 days in advance.  You pick your day and time and number of tickets.  I believe it is $1.50 reservation fee per ticket


#2. At the same time rent the audio self guided tour which I believe was $7.50.  These are extremely easy to use.  


#3. You can't take any backpacks, purses, bags of any sort into Pearl Harbor.  You can only take your camera, wallets, sunglasses, etc...  I saw them turn away several trying to get them in.  There is a storage locker facility if you dont' have a rental car to leave things in.  Parking is right at the site and free so easy to leave things in the car and go back and get them if needed.  You can take a bottle of water in with you.


#4. There is no reason to book tours of the Missouri Battleship or Bowfiin submarine in advance.  You can make that decision when you get there.  We ended up not touring them so didn't look at what the cost to tour them was.


#5. To pick up your tickets just go to the ticket window where they will ask you if you have reservations.  They will pull them up, give you the tickets, and an explanation of where to go to catch the boat to the Arizona and how best to tour based on the time.  The audio headsets are picked up right next to the ticket window.


#6. With your tickets they will give you a map showing where the sites are for the audio tour.  It also has a coupon on the back of it for a free souvenir mug if you spend $25 or more at the gift shop.  If there are two or you and you end up spending $50 or more they will give you two mugs since it is per person.  But you do have to ask.


#7. I encourage everyone to not miss this even if you only have a couple of hours to tour.  It is truly a moving experience.



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Returning Rental Car and Embarkation:


We left Pearl Harbor about 1:00 and headed back to Alamo to return the rental car.  I had somewhat stressed about this with 4 of us and 8 pieces of luggage.  But it wasn't a problem.  I ordered an UBER XL which is the large vehicles.  In about 5 minutes the driver was there with a Suburban that easily accommodated us.  It was $40 for the approximately 20 minute drive to the port.  There were taxis sitting in the parking lot as well.  I'm assuming they were more but didn't ask.


POA departs from Pier 2.  If you use Uber/taxi they will know this since they are picking up people all day on Saturday to and from the POA.


Upon arrival we were dropped off right in front of the entrance.  As soon as we walked in there were plenty of NCL staff giving directions.  You drop your luggage off, go to a table to complete the health questionnaire, walk through security, then they will ask you if you are in a suite or not.  If you are in a suite you will go to a different area where there are snacks and drinks as well as the stations to check in.  I had checked  in on line including giving my credit card information so we had a sea passes within 5 minutes.  While sitting there Thomas the concierge came and introduced himself and invited us over for snacks/drinks and a quick orientation talk.  Then had a staff member lead us onto the ship and to our suite.  All decks were available for check in around 2.  


We got to our suite and our luggage to our surprise was already there.  We walked into the Deluxe Owner suite and all I can say is WOW.  I'll be posting pictures and discuss the suite and amenities later in the week.


We dropped our carry ons off at the cabin and heade to the buffet for a quick lunch.  Cagney's was already closed(included for suite guests for breakfast and lunch) as it is a venue used for safety muster drill.  But the buffet was open till 4.  So we met our friends who are traveling in an aft cabin and had our first NCL/POA meal.  They are big travelers on Royal Caribbean and felt that lunch was comparable in quality and choice.  All 4 of us enjoyed the lunch.


We came back to the suite to unpack.  We had about an hour before the mandatory muster at 4:45.  The muster was quite easy and efficient and lasted about 15 minutes.  

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First Evening:


About 15 minutes after the muster they had a video presentation on Hawaii about the islands we will be visiting, some history, shore excursions available, etc...  We felt it was worth going to.


The 4 of us then went back to our suite to hang out on the balcony(again wow) for sail away.  Sail away was close to 7(some reason I thought it was suppose to be 6).  So it was dark but was pretty leaving port.


We didn't have dinner reservations and didn't feel like getting cleaned up for dinner so thought we would just go to the Cadillac Diner which was a 50's style diner with comfort type food.  We looked at the menu and my wife was less then enthused so we decided to go to the MDR.  NCL is freestyle dining so you can go any time to the included dining options without reservations.  There are two MDR's that have identical menus.  The only difference is dress code.  The Skyline is totally casual(shorts acceptable).  The Liberty is long pants/collard shirts for men, etc...


They were quite busy being the first night and so many arriving at the same time after sail away.  Took about 5 minutes to check in.  They gave me a pager and told me would be 15 to 20 minutes.  It ended up being about 5 minutes.


Again we found menu varied and thought the food was good.  So not understanding yet the overly negative reviews about food.  Is it Silversea(luxury line) quality-no.  But I don't expect that.  But it certainly was a nice pleasant dinner and all enjoyed what they ordered.



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18 minutes ago, snow1 said:

Thanks papa B me.  We are going in November.

Which ports did you have to tender in?



Which sailing, we are going in November too. 


The only tender port  is Kona on the Big Island.

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Thanks for taking us along this is just what I needed. A couple of weeks ago we had a Polar Vortex and now we are having a Boom Cyclone and I still have 2 1/2 months to wait for our next cruise. We did the 11 night land and sea trip with POA in 2015 and loved every minute of it except the long flights from Michigan. Looks like you are off to a good start have a great cruise!  Be sure to have breakfast in Cagneys.

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10 hours ago, Ocala Cruisers said:

Papa B. Thanks for the review. We are going in October. I will wear my Vols hat also.

Was tough day for us Vol Fans yesterday.  I was at Pearl Harbor when I looked at the Vol-LSU score.  So it at least put it in perspective.  You will love this trip.

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