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


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After Breakfast, Peter met us and the other couple we are traveling with at our suite and walked us all the way off the ship to make sure we were at the exact spot our shuttle for Dollar car rentals would pick us up.  It arrived in about 2 minutes and then a 10 minute drive to the airport to their rental lot.  Was seamless.

 

As a side note, so far both in Oahu and now in Maui our IPhones have worked perfectly for GPS navigation.

 

We have gone back and forth on what to do today between the Road to Hana and Lahaina or just staying close to the ship.  We opted for a little of the first two.  We headed out on the Road to Hana with "Twin Falls" being our stop for about a mile hike round trip and to see the falls.  There was light rain on the way but none once we got there.  It is an easy hike but very muddy.  I highly recommend bringing a pair of hiking shoes if you plan on doing any hiking(unlike the people I saw in flip flops at both Diamond Head and Twin Falls.  Here's a taste of Twin Falls:

 

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After hiking the Falls we decided we wanted to experience more of the road to Hana to see if the road was as bad as others have said.  I live in East Tennessee and drive Mountain roads frequently but have to say Road to Hana lived up to it's reputation.  I was the driver and made the executive decision around mile market 10 to turn around and head back.  We did get a number of beautiful scenic stops:

 

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It took about an hour and a half to make our way from where I turned around to Lahaina.  We decided to wait for lunch until we go there.  It is a quaint little town with many shops and restaurants on Front Street.  Parking was easy in a lot that cost $10 for 3 hours.  We picked a restaurant with a table right on the water.  by the way for much of the drive we could see Whales spouting.  Couldn't see the whales themselves but their blow spray.  After lunch we shopped for several hours.  So we headed back to the rental car drop off about 4:00.  This is normally about a 30-40 minute drive but took us nearly 2 hours.  There was a severe accident that tied up traffic for hours.  This is another reason I'm only willing to rent a car and DIY tours with overnights.  Had this been tomorrow we could have missed the boat.  We are using ship excursions on the days we are only in port for the day.  All in all this was a great and relaxing day(other then the 2 hours in traffic). If you want a low key day in Maui with shopping and great view I would recommend Lahaina.  Here's a picture of the view from our lunch table and a shot of the street with the sign for the restaurant we ate at:

 

 

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Think it is usually either James or Thomas as concierges.  We had Thomas and he did a good job.  Saw him everywhere.

 

He lives in Hawaii so really helpful if you have any last minute questions.  He meets his wife at one of the stops about 1/2 through but I can't recall which island.

 

Your room is aka The Grand Suite IIRC?

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Wondering if you know the answer to this question — if we rent a car for two days in Maui is there someplace near the ship to park overnight?  And where exactly does the ship dock? You describe being 10 minutes from the airport but that doesn’t seem like it would be Lahaina.  Thanks!

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1 hour ago, AllisonJames said:

Wondering if you know the answer to this question — if we rent a car for two days in Maui is there someplace near the ship to park overnight?  And where exactly does the ship dock? You describe being 10 minutes from the airport but that doesn’t seem like it would be Lahaina.  Thanks!

The POA docks in Kahului by the airport, an industrial area of Maui. You can park at the airport overnight and take the shuttle back to the ship is my understanding. Some people on FB also report parking at the Maui Beach Hotel nearby but it’s about a 15 minute walk in a sketchy area. We plan to park at the airport. We are going to drive the 2nd day also but we will stay closer to the ship. 

 

Thanks for the great report papa B, you’re off to a great start!

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3 hours ago, dexddd said:

Think it is usually either James or Thomas as concierges.  We had Thomas and he did a good job.  Saw him everywhere.

 

He lives in Hawaii so really helpful if you have any last minute questions.  He meets his wife at one of the stops about 1/2 through but I can't recall which island.

 

Your room is aka The Grand Suite IIRC?

It is Thomas and he has been very helpful.  He took the time to find out where we were at for dinner last night and stopped by to check on us.

 

Our Butler has been Peter who has been one of the best butlers we've experienced.

 

The suite is known as the Grand Suite but the only place I've seen or heard that is the plaque on the door.  I'll post some pictures of the suite and talk about amenities later in the week as well.

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1 hour ago, Beachiekeen said:

The POA docks in Kahului by the airport, an industrial area of Maui. You can park at the airport overnight and take the shuttle back to the ship is my understanding. Some people on FB also report parking at the Maui Beach Hotel nearby but it’s about a 15 minute walk in a sketchy area. We plan to park at the airport. We are going to drive the 2nd day also but we will stay closer to the ship. 

 

Thanks for the great report papa B, you’re off to a great start!

I agree that it would be best to park at the airport.  We rented from Dollar and their last shuttle to the ship is 9:30 pm.  So you can stay out pretty late and still have a shuttle back.  I would assume other agencies would have late shuttles as well.

 

Thanks for the great feedback and following along.

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For those following along that are either already booked or thinking of booking, I'm waiting to post about restaurants, service, suite amenities, butler, concierge, etc... towards the end of the week when I can give a more complete picture of our experience.

 

However, since you are following this thread I'm assuming like me you've been reading reviews of POA.  I've been on cruise critic and trip advisor long enough now that you really have to take the negativity with a grain of salt.  And as I've said I'm really a glass half full kind of guy when it comes to traveling reviews since I feel so blessed to be able to do what I do.

 

With that said, I just want to give you a heads up that so far I'm amazed at the amount of reviews that say the food is inedible, the ship is old and in need of updating, the service is awful, etc....  This has not been the case at all.  So far we've enjoyed our food, everyone is helpful and the ship looks fine.  I think the issue is that since this cruise tends to be on the more expensive side that people have expectations this is going to be a 5 star experience.  They don't accept that it is on the more expensive side due to the uniqueness of the itinerary and the lack of casino, etc.... to make more profit.  For example, many cruises are docked in places like Miami, New York, Seattle, etc... to get provisions.  POA is only docked in Hawaii with probably only Honolulu for provisioning.  And I will say Hawaii is in the top three places I've been as for as expensive(Switzerland and Australia being the other two). So when anything isn't up to their expectations they over emphasize the negative.

 

For example, at both dinners so far at our table for 4 they either forgot my soup or brought the wrong soup.  When he forgot the soup, I just asked and he stopped what he was doing and went and got it.  When he brought the wrong soup I tasted it and decided I really liked it and kept it and didn't say anything.  I believe a lot of reviews would take these kind of incidents and say the service is terrible and this is a 2 star experience.  For me it didn't negatively affect my meal in any way so what's the big deal.

 

So again, if you have been reading the reviews, don't panic.  This is an enjoyable ship, good food, fantastic itinerary, good service.  More to come on all of this at the end of the week.

 

Thanks agains for following along.

Brian

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Papa B that is great to hear!  And I agree 100%.  Although things like broken plumbing would certainly be a concern , I myself am not concerned about the ship at all.  I am only using it to see Hawaii, that is what this cruise is about, not the ship.  It IS expensive so I understand people wanting the ship to be 5-star, but you make a good point--you are paying to see Hawaii via a cruise ship, that's how one should approach it.

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Wow!!  What a day!

 

Occassionally when traveling it seems that all things line up to be a perfect day and this was one of those for us.  I decided months ago that on the days that weren't over night I would go ahead and book NCL excursions to avoid the stress of worrying whether we would get back to the ship in time.  Plus we had some OBC that made that decision easier.  So this is the first of three excursions we booked.  Being our second day in Maui I wanted to be on the water.  I also wanted to snorkel.  Many of the snorkeling excursions I've been on have been a bust so I wanted something different.

 

After looking at all the options I chose the Zodiac Molokini Crater snorkel and turtles tour.  I figured at worst we would get a nice boat ride out of it.  To begin with the weather was absolutely perfect.  That is one of the challenges of picking an excursion based on this type of review.  You may come like yesterday and the seas were too rough to even snorkel at the Molokini Crater. So let the buyer beware.  Also the time of year makes a big difference as well. During the winter months it is whale watching season so there is a chance of seeing whales on the way out to the snorkel site which is a couple of miles off shore.

 

So first we did have several whale sightings including their tails in the air but no jumping like a Pacific Life moment.

 

Second the snorkeling at the reef at the crater was simply the best snorkeling and one of the most beautiful reefs I've seen.

 

Third the captain did something he's never done before since the weather and water conditions were so perfect.  He took us to the back wall of the crater that goes down about 400 feet in crystal blue water conditions.  Hard to describe other then magical.

 

We then went back towards the coast and anchored in an area where turtles are at.  The winds had picked up some and he warned that we might not want to try it as the currents were really strong.  I felt confident he would come and get me(ha) so along with a couple of other brave souls we ventured out.  With in a few minutes we spotted several turtles and with our excitement others joined us(including my wife).  As a matter of fact she got so excited that she almost patted one on the head.  It was a lifetime memory.

 

Finally they took us to a spot they felt whales would be close by and dropped a microphone into the water where we could listen to the whales sing and talk.  Amazing.

 

Practically speaking you don't have to be a great swimmer for this tour.  They encourage you to use flotation devices even if you are experienced for a more relaxed snorkel.  I chose a "noodle" which was nice to have.  They do serve a light lunch on board the Zodiac as well.  I can't recommend this excursion enough even if it isn't perfect conditions.  It's such a unique place visiting the crater in the middle of the ocean.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Beachiekeen said:

Papa B that is great to hear!  And I agree 100%.  Although things like broken plumbing would certainly be a concern , I myself am not concerned about the ship at all.  I am only using it to see Hawaii, that is what this cruise is about, not the ship.  It IS expensive so I understand people wanting the ship to be 5-star, but you make a good point--you are paying to see Hawaii via a cruise ship, that's how one should approach it.

 

So shortly after this reply I went to the restroom and the toilet wouldn't flush.  Went to the second half bath in this suite and it wouldn't flush.  It was an ironic moment based on the post I had just made.

 

A few minutes later the butler delivered breakfast.  He explained that on POA there are 7 different plumbing zones on the ship.  I think he said ours is zone 2.  He said it is a constant battle with people flushing things other then toilet paper and it will clog the system so they will have to shut down the affected zone and clear it.  This amazes me since there are signs on the toilets telling you not to flush anything other then toilet paper(So I'm more annoyed with people who do these things then NCL for the problem).  It was repaire in about an hour so not a big deal.  I certainly understand how big a deal it would be for people where it took days to fix.  But in this case it was just an ironic blip this morning.

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I understand that there are all kinds of opinions on what people like and don't like regarding cabins.  Many feel that since there aren't in the cabin long they would rather have an inside or less expensive cabin so they can travel more often. While others like myself find the right cabin/suite/room can make or break a trip.  There are also many diverse opinions(sometimes strong on the NCL board) regarding Butler service(I'll share our butler experience later in the week).  So I'm reluctant to share much regarding our suite but have decided that there may be others like me out there that were looking for information about this suite.

 

We are in the Deluxe Owner Suite.  There is only one of these on the ship.  It has a large living room, dining area, and bar area.  It also had a "player" baby grand piano(this is even a little over the top for me-ha).  It has a half bath at the foyer entrance and an extremely large bathroom with jacuzzi tub, separate shower, and separate water close with additional sink.  There is also a makeup are(my wife enjoys) and a walk thru closet. However the highlight for me is a 400 square foot balcony with 4 loungers, table and 4 chairs and large jacuzzi(that I just got out of to post this - stupid me-ha)

 

It is on deck 12 on the starboard side(so far in Honolulu and Maui this has been a positive).  There are only a dozen or so suites in this section so it is very quite.  I love the location.

 

It does come with a butler(ours is Peter).  I'm going to wait till the end of the week to post on this subject.  But I will say Peter cares for I think a total of 11 cabins all on deck 12.

 

I wish I took pictures before we moved in but thankfully my wife doesn't read this so she won't know I posted pictures with our stuff laying around.-ha.

 

The next few posts will be a few pictures

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42 minutes ago, papa B me said:

For those interest in this suite or suites in general feel free to ask questions and I'll try to answer in between my hot tub runs-ha

 

Thanks for this great thread and all the cabin pics! We will be in that same suite in 2020 so any tips/advice appreciated! Question: Will the sofa bed sleep 2? We have our family of 4 (older teen girls) staying there and would love to know if we should request a roll-away or if the sofa will suffice. Also, we had a great butler named Peter on the Breakaway. Same person or different I wonder?

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5 minutes ago, HBCcruiser said:

 

Thanks for this great thread and all the cabin pics! We will be in that same suite in 2020 so any tips/advice appreciated! Question: Will the sofa bed sleep 2? We have our family of 4 (older teen girls) staying there and would love to know if we should request a roll-away or if the sofa will suffice. Also, we had a great butler named Peter on the Breakaway. Same person or different I wonder?

I don't think you will need a roll away.  It is actually a King size pull out.  I've never seen that before.  There is plenty of room for a roll away but if the girls don't mind sharing(my 3 girls still don't mind even in their 20s/30s ha) then it will be good.

 

Peter said he had been on this ship for 10 years I think.  But if I think of it I'll double check to make sure I didn't misunderstand that he had been with RCL for 10 years

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Just now, papa B me said:

I don't think you will need a roll away.  It is actually a King size pull out.  I've never seen that before.  There is plenty of room for a roll away but if the girls don't mind sharing(my 3 girls still don't mind even in their 20s/30s ha) then it will be good.

 

Peter said he had been on this ship for 10 years I think.  But if I think of it I'll double check to make sure I didn't misunderstand that he had been with RCL for 10 years

 

Thanks! How awesome that it’s a king! There are probably a lot of Peters but I guess you never know. Did you get the drink package? When we purchased the cruise they didn’t offer it and I really don’t want to pay close to $1000.00 per person for unlimited booze. What are your thoughts? Thanks for responding BTW. Enjoy that cabin, hot tub and cruise!!

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