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papa B me

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

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12 hours ago, Pittypatbr said:

Thanks so much PapaB.  I really appreciate all the tips and reviews.  It sounds as though you have an attitude similar to mine, so I expect we will feel the same way about the trip.  We sail on March 23, so we are short-timers now.  Can't wait.

 

Have a great time.  I think with a great travel attitude it's hard to have a bad trip.  Feel free to ask any last minute questions if I can be of help.

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9 hours ago, Von & John said:

Papa B  --  about how long did the actual canal tubing last?

The actual tubing was about 45 minutes.  The total trip from start to finish is about 3 hours with the drive back and forth, the scenic picture stop and picnic lunch.  It was a great excursion.

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Thank you Papa B me for all the info - so glad you had a good trip.  Now very excited for ours.

 

Safe travel home.

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4 hours ago, cruiselover40 said:

Thank you Papa B me for all the info - so glad you had a good trip.  Now very excited for ours.

 

Safe travel home.

You're Welcome

 

Have a wonderful trip.

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Thank you so much Papa B for giving your time and documenting your Hawaii/POA experience.

It really does give a lot of clarity in regard to what to expect, particularly on the POA.

 

Four or Five days in Waikiki followed by the POA has been on our bucket list for a few years now.  As you commented, it is quite an expensive cruise (works out to be about $500 AUD per day for us Aussies) so we have to weigh up whether we do the POA for 7 nights or another ship locally for 14-18 nights for the same cost with no 10 hour flight each way to contend with.

 

Your review has certainly tipped the scales in favour of the POA option.

 

Thanks Again.

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3 hours ago, MikeC1610 said:

Thank you so much Papa B for giving your time and documenting your Hawaii/POA experience.

It really does give a lot of clarity in regard to what to expect, particularly on the POA.

 

Four or Five days in Waikiki followed by the POA has been on our bucket list for a few years now.  As you commented, it is quite an expensive cruise (works out to be about $500 AUD per day for us Aussies) so we have to weigh up whether we do the POA for 7 nights or another ship locally for 14-18 nights for the same cost with no 10 hour flight each way to contend with.

 

Your review has certainly tipped the scales in favour of the POA option.

 

Thanks Again.

Mike,

I struggled for years whether to go to the expense and endure the flights to Hawaii.  There are so many places to go and see.  I really am glad I finally decided to take this trip.  The combination of the history, beauty, and variety of things to do make this a must do trip.  And personally I feel the Pride of America is a great way to experience Hawaii.  I wish you the best in your decision making.  Thanks for following along.

Brian

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Thanks so much for sharing your experience and tips!  

 

 

 

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Disembarking:

I realized that I hadn't shared our experience of disembarkation.  Our flight wasn't until 6:30 pm on Saturday so we really didn't have any rush.  On Friday evening, both Thomas the concierge and Peter our butler encouraged us to go to Cagneys for breakfast instead of our normal room service.  So we put all our luggage out on Friday night before midnight and so only had backpacks to carry down to Cagneys.  We go there about 8:00 and they were quite busy but we had a nice leisurely breakfast.  The steak and eggs is fantastic as the steak is a petite filet.

 

While we were eating Thomas came up and encouraged us to let him excort us off as the lines were pretty long for disembarking.  So we did and it saved us a good bit of time.

 

I had decided to rent a car for the day so that we wouldn't have to worry about what to do with luggage and we would have the freedom to explore some more in Honolulu.  I highly recommend this.  I think it was about $60 for the day for a mini van.  When we walked off the ship we decided to check with the Taxi's for cost to the Alamo airport car rental instead of Ubering as we had upon embarkation.  To my surprise it was $10 cheaper.  I think this is because we had to order an UBER XL to get something large enough for 4 with 8 pieces of luggage.  All the taxi's were mini vans.  So we were off the ship and in our rental car in about 30 minutes.

 

We decided to head to Waikiki for some last minute shopping since we still need a couple of things for kids/grandkids.  One of my disappointments in missing Kona is that is where I planned on getting a Shaved Icee.  So to my joy as we were walking the shopping district in Waikiki we came across a shaved ice stand.  I wish I thought to take a picture but it was amazing.  My wife and I shared one.  It isn't a snow cone-ha.  Lots of fruit as well as frozen yogurt in the center.  

 

There is a hidden gem of a restaurant for lunch that sits right on the water.  It is in the back of the Outrigger Reef Resort.  This resort sits next to the condo we had rented pre cruise and we had eaten there the week before.  It literally sits right on the beach.  So we had another nice lunch.

 

We got back to Alamo about 3:30 and took the shuttle to the airport.

 

The airport has a really large outside garden area in terminal 2 with trees, fish ponds, japaneese garden etc...  My wife and I spent over an hour just walking and sitting in the gardens vs sitting at the gate.  To our surprise virtually no one was using this area.  And it was only a 5 minute or less walk to our gate.  I highly encourage you to utilize these gardens.  It made waiting for the flight so much nicer.

 

Wishing I was back in Hawaii vs the 30s here in Tennessee this week.

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Thanks for the great review and tips.  I leave tomorrow for our trip and would have forgotten the binoculars!

 

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26 minutes ago, coffeyk said:

Thanks for the great review and tips.  I leave tomorrow for our trip and would have forgotten the binoculars!

 

You're welcome!  Have a great trip.  You should get a great deal of use of the binoculars looking for whales and the Napali Coast.

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Was the captain or staff eating breakfast the last day?  On our trip they were in there and their wives came on board for breakfast.  The Captain's wife was pregnant at the time.

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1 hour ago, dexddd said:

Was the captain or staff eating breakfast the last day?  On our trip they were in there and their wives came on board for breakfast.  The Captain's wife was pregnant at the time.

I didn't see him.  He may have been earlier as we didn't come down until 8:00.

 

A funny story though is that we had Cagney's reserved one night for 7:45.  The show ended about 7:15 so we went directly there to see if we could go ahead and be seated.  The Matre'd looked up our reservation and seated us in a somewhat out of the way table and said this is normally the captains table and his staff but she wasn't going to make someone staying in the DOS wait for a table.  Don't know if he showed up or not as I could see the entrance from where I was seated and don't know if what she said was true, but it made me feel good about their service at the time.

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On 2/28/2019 at 8:32 AM, papa B me said:

Unfortunately you can't order off the Cagney menu for room service.  There are cards in the room to order off of for breakfast and then you hang them on your door.  It is somewhat limited.  You can write in simple things on the card.  For instance I write in things like bacon, my wife writes in granola to go with her yogurt.  So simple additions are fine.  But you can't order like Cagneys Eggs Benedict or the Filet and eggs I had yesterday in Cagneys.  

 

 

Thanks!

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On 2/19/2019 at 5:36 AM, papa B me said:

After booking this cruise over 2 years ago, it's hard to believe the time is almost here to leave for our first trip to Hawaii.  It will be our first cruise with NCL as well.  We will fly out tomorrow morning(20th) from Knoxville TN to Dallas then on to Honolulu.  We are flying business class with American.  We have a 3 night pre cruise stay on Waikiki in a condo at Waikiki Shores that we booked through VRBO.  We are told this is the only condo building that sits right on the Ocean vs across the street from the Ocean.  I will post about our stay and our planned excursions to the Polynesian Cultural Center, Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, etc...

 

I plan on posting daily(I wake up a lot earlier then my wife-ha) as internet allows.  My reviews tend to be detail heavy as I've found that others have helped me so much in the planning process that I like to provide as much information as possible for others in the planning process.  I'm going to try for the first time to post pictures.  

 

We will be in the Deluxe Owners Suite so I will try to post tips about suite perks, butler, etc...

 

For perspective on how I view things:  My wife and I are 55 years old with 4 grown married children and 4 grandchildren(and 2 more on the way). We started traveling solo about 6 years ago twice a year with either some type of cruise or all inclusive resort.   We have found we love river cruises(been on 3 with Uniworld) and found we love small ship sailing(was on Silversea last August). Have been on Royal Caribbean(200 ton ship) and sailed with Carnival a number of times 20+ years ago.  We chose NCL for the fact that the POA is the only ship that sails in Hawaii only.  The reviews of the POA have been mixed at best but it is the only game in town if you don't want the long sailing from the West Coast.  I tend to be a glass half full reviewer when it comes to travel as I feel so blessed to do the trips we get to do in the way we get to do them so I really focus on the positives realizing there is nothing perfect.  But I will try to give a balanced review.

 

I'll be happy to answer any questions for those considering the POA or those who are already booked on the POA for a future cruise.  I look forward to sharing our journey with those who are interested.  Time for last minute preparations and then let the games begin!!

 

Brian

Thank you for your very helpful review as I have been thinking of this cruise/cabin for awhile. My husband is a

piano player as are quite a few of my extended family. Is the piano a player piano or manual and (silly question probably) is the piano bolted down for those choppy sea days ? Thanks again.

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Sailing the POA in July this year, so your tips are great. What is the logistics for getting on/off the ship during the overnights? Are you allowed to get on/off at any time of day/night, or do you have a 'curfew' of sorts where you have to be back on board the ship by 10pm for example?


We were hoping to rent a car the first day in Maui similar to yourself, and want to book a sunset Halekala and star gazing tour. Just wasn't sure if we had to be back on the boat by a certain time of night.

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On 3/14/2019 at 1:08 PM, Peachypooh said:

Thank you for your very helpful review as I have been thinking of this cruise/cabin for awhile. My husband is a

piano player as are quite a few of my extended family. Is the piano a player piano or manual and (silly question probably) is the piano bolted down for those choppy sea days ? Thanks again.

It is a player piano and can be played manually as well.  I can't say it was bolted down with certainty but I can say we had some pretty choppy seas and it didn't move at all.  I was really surprised how much I enjoyed the piano.  Good luck with your planning.

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8 hours ago, Sailing12Away said:

Sailing the POA in July this year, so your tips are great. What is the logistics for getting on/off the ship during the overnights? Are you allowed to get on/off at any time of day/night, or do you have a 'curfew' of sorts where you have to be back on board the ship by 10pm for example?


We were hoping to rent a car the first day in Maui similar to yourself, and want to book a sunset Halekala and star gazing tour. Just wasn't sure if we had to be back on the boat by a certain time of night.

There is no curfew for the overnights.  You can come and go as much as you like from the time they announce they are docked and open until the all aboard time.  I would highly recommend a car for your first night.  It really provides a great deal of flexibility to adjust to weather and the experiences you want to have.  Have a great trip.

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PapaB, do any of the specialty restaurants require a sports coat and/or tie?  We would prefer not to pack one, as we are trying to pack light.  My husband will have slacks and a dress shirt but wasn't sure if he might need the coat.

 

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7 hours ago, Pittypatbr said:

PapaB, do any of the specialty restaurants require a sports coat and/or tie?  We would prefer not to pack one, as we are trying to pack light.  My husband will have slacks and a dress shirt but wasn't sure if he might need the coat.

 

No, there isn't any need for a sports coat or tie.  I didn't take one.  Slacks and a dress shirt are fine for every venue.  There is a night that they announce is dress up on night on the ship and I saw a few with jackets/suits and more formal dresses but they were really in the minority and the announcement made it clear it was optional.  This was by far the most casually dressed ship at all times that I've been on.  Shorts, tshirts, polo shirts, etc... are the norm in all venues except the two that do require the long pants and collered shirt.  After a long day of touring it was nice to not have to spend a great deal of time dressing up.  Have a great trip.

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On 3/16/2019 at 7:53 AM, papa B me said:

There is no curfew for the overnights.  You can come and go as much as you like from the time they announce they are docked and open until the all aboard time.  I would highly recommend a car for your first night.  It really provides a great deal of flexibility to adjust to weather and the experiences you want to have.  Have a great trip.

Thank you! We're definitely going to get a car for the first day in Maui. It's nice to know that we can stay out as late as we want.

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I'm trying to book our car, and I'm getting very confused. I keep getting conflicting information from the rental companies about who does and does not still offer the shuttle service between the dock and the rental place. What was the car rental company you used again? And do you recall which other ones had shuttles?

 

We were going to have the car for just the first night, and drop it back off around 10pm or so. When I spoke with Budget, they told me "the gate closes at 5pm" and I would need to get an Uber to get back to the dock. What gate would they be talking about? And why would I be allowed to return the car at 10pm if there was a closed gate as of 5pm? Like I said, I'm so confused!

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Enjoyed your review - we spent a week in November 18 at Waikiki and have talked about returning to spend 3-4 days at Waikiki again and then take the POA cruise and spend another couple of days post-cruise.   Just curious if the choppy seas was a common thing in that area or just a one-off thing?   Of course, I'd never be in a suite as airfare alone to get there is quite hefty - and the 27 hour airport-to-airport flight was a bit exhausting.  Usually I only sleep, change and shower in my quarters on ship but if the waters are frequently choppy, I'd rather be inside, low and mid-ship 🙂

 

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Posted (edited)
On 3/27/2019 at 6:49 PM, Sailing12Away said:

I'm trying to book our car, and I'm getting very confused. I keep getting conflicting information from the rental companies about who does and does not still offer the shuttle service between the dock and the rental place. What was the car rental company you used again? And do you recall which other ones had shuttles?

 

We were going to have the car for just the first night, and drop it back off around 10pm or so. When I spoke with Budget, they told me "the gate closes at 5pm" and I would need to get an Uber to get back to the dock. What gate would they be talking about? And why would I be allowed to return the car at 10pm if there was a closed gate as of 5pm? Like I said, I'm so confused!

 Both Maui and Kauai had shuttles but if I recall they only ran till about 8 pm for Alamo.  It is possible to find overnight parking fairly close to the ship.  It may cost $20 a night or so.  If you decide to do that just ask the shuttle driver when you are picking up the car where they would recommend you park it.  It's also possible that maybe Budget has a drop off place and a box to drop the key but the lot itself is closed so no shuttles after 5.  If that is the case it would be fairly easy to drop it off then Uber back.  I used Discount Hawaii rentals which handles all Islands and all rental companies.  They have a number you can call with questions and/or an email you can use for questions.  I think they can probably clear up the confusion.  Good luck

Edited by papa B me

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On 3/27/2019 at 8:02 PM, Shih-tzu said:

Enjoyed your review - we spent a week in November 18 at Waikiki and have talked about returning to spend 3-4 days at Waikiki again and then take the POA cruise and spend another couple of days post-cruise.   Just curious if the choppy seas was a common thing in that area or just a one-off thing?   Of course, I'd never be in a suite as airfare alone to get there is quite hefty - and the 27 hour airport-to-airport flight was a bit exhausting.  Usually I only sleep, change and shower in my quarters on ship but if the waters are frequently choppy, I'd rather be inside, low and mid-ship 🙂

 

From talking to staff it is pretty common to have choppy seas.  Not fall down choppy but there were a night or two that you would sway a bit while walking and certainly it was felt throughout the ship.  So low and mid-ship is definitely a good idea if you are sensitive to the movement.  There was one night where the concierge said that a number of people he had talked to were staying in their room for the evening as they weren't feeling well from the movement.  I would highly recommend the cruise.  Good luck in planning.

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On 3/2/2019 at 8:01 AM, papa B me said:

We rented cars in Honolulu, Maui, and Kauai.  The logistics are really quite easy.  You will want to make sure on Maui and Kauai that you choose a company that provides a shuttle back and forth from the dock.  On both of these islands it is about a 10 minute or less shuttle ride to pick up the car and drop it back off.  We didn't keep ours over night in Maui and Kauai but if you do the shuttle driver can tell you what your options for over night parking will be.

 

I used Discount Hawaii Rentals for all of my bookings.  They offer all the different rental companies and all of the islands.  It was really easy.  Below is a link to their website

 

http://www.discounthawaiicarrental.com/

 

You will have cell service all of the time you are in port and most of the time for hours before you get to port and after leaving.  You will not have service at times in between islands when at sea.  All of my posts have been on my IPad utilizing my Verizon cell.  So I did not purchase the internet package.  

 

You can also use your phone the whole trip for Navigation when you rent cars.  Never had any issues.

 

Hope this helps

 

Brian

Thanks for the link on Discount Hawaii Rentals, I just used them for a land-based trip and they were the cheapest of three sites I've been checking. 

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