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Pride of America 7 day Hawaiian inter-island itinerary


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5 hours ago, farmersfight said:

 

Thanks @NikiPinkston, I had to "swoop in" and grab this tip. I've bookmarked the web page and will read it over carefully. I'm booked on PoA, Oct 23-30, 2021. Hope it goes. Fingers crossed 🤞...

Thank you, farmersfight, so glad you liked my tip!  Have a fabulous cruise!  

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1 hour ago, isosika said:

We are scheduled for this cruise in February 2022.  With cruising pretty much shut down we decided that we might like to go back to Hawaii.  We've been there 3-4 times, including both cruises and land based.  We were looking at a land based vacation when I thought that if we booked far enough ahead we might also be able to throw in this cruise  as a start, just for fun.  We will likely fly in 3-4 days ahead of the cruise, do the cruise, then do 2 weeks on land.  Looking at one week in Lahina, Maui and one week in Kona on the Big Island.

 

A couple of places that we went to that haven't been mentioned are; climb to the top of Diamond Head (take your time, have lots of water, and don't be afraid to stop and rest or head back down;  strenuous but worth the view) and go to the Punch Bowl National Cemetery.

 

Since we will be there at the height of "whale season" we will likely take several excursions for this.  We once had whales under our tour boat and so close out of the water that if your arms were 6' long you could have touched them.  

When we went on the NCL POA 11-Day Explorer in 2016, it included a stop at the "Punchbowl" National Cemetery of the Pacific.  We couldn't get off the bus, but it's a beautiful cemetery & it was a humbling experience, and we enjoyed the stories our guide told us.  Another stop we enjoyed on that tour was the Nuuanu Pali Lookout.

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15 hours ago, dexddd said:

A lot has changed since then.  We first went 2006 when they had three ships.  You must have hit POA with the new car smell.

 

Then the service was poor as they could not staff adequately or sufficiently.  Swore off ever again but reviews gradually got better.  Went again 2016 and it was great and almost like any other NCL ship.

 

Staff was great other than the cranky old guy (my age) working buffet bar.

Yes the PoA was quite new but we found no major issues with the crew - in fact it was quite refreshing to see American faces and strike up conversations about their home state. The only thing we did not like was the food in the MDR - we usually ate our meals at the Diner. But again this is another one of those cruises that is less about the ship and more about the destination.

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On 1/2/2021 at 7:00 PM, BirdTravels said:

Aloha,

 

NCL and the Pride of America is the absolute best way to cruise Hawaii. You are in port every day and have two overnight port calls allowing you do some night excursions and early morning excursions (e.g., sunrise from the top of a volcano and a bike ride down). 

 

For this cruise, it is best to fly in a day or two early to help get you synced with the time zone. It's a 7+ hour flight and 4 time zones. (If you are using the NCL free air, you will have to pay a small supplement for arriving a day early). If you are using the NCL hotel and transfer, it use to allow you to check your bags at the hotel for transfer to the ship. 

 

NCL is like any other cruise line. You can get away with a no additional room charges, or you can rack up the charges on your room bill. Eat at the complimentary restaurants, use the drink package promotion/perk to have unlimited booze, and avoid spending money in the specialty restaurants above the promotion. That's what we do. Use your money to go to a luau (cheaper if you do it yourself before/after the cruise). 

 

Embarkation: It is a late departure allowing people to fly in on day of cruise (not recommended). You can spend the day touring Oahu or go to the ship for a noontime embarkation (that's what we do - get the cruise and free food/booze started). 

 

Wifi: Don't waste your money on wifi. You are in a US port every day. Check your email then. 

 

Hawaiian Adult Beverage Package: Highly recommended (you pay the 20% gratuity on the retail price). Enjoy frozen umbrella drinks daily. 

 

NCL Air: You don't get to chose your flights or airlines. NCL will book you a few weeks before your cruise with the cheapest air carrier. They flights are usually not the best times or routing, but flights to Hawaii are expensive and the free air may be worth your time if you can stand being out of control of your flights. 

 

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Pride of America waiting to sail the Hawaiian waters again. 12/27/2020.

What a wonderful response. We loved POA for or second Hawaii trip we also had NCL hotel package it was great. Thanks for this post.

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Very important topic: Coffee. I've looked at the John Adams Coffee Bar but can't determine if anything is complimentary or if the whole thing is extra charge. I'm not getting drink package but like an espresso before venturing forth in the morning. How about Aloha Cafe and main dining rooms? Do they have complimentary coffee?

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4 hours ago, philv said:

Very important topic: Coffee. I've looked at the John Adams Coffee Bar but can't determine if anything is complimentary or if the whole thing is extra charge. I'm not getting drink package but like an espresso before venturing forth in the morning. How about Aloha Cafe and main dining rooms? Do they have complimentary coffee?

Ah, yes, philv, coffee is a very important topic!  Coffee is complimentary in the buffet & dining rooms and a limited selection of espressos, double espressos, lattes and cappuccinos is available in the dining rooms & restaurants, and they are covered under the Hawaii Beverage Package according to Prof. Cruise (#21 on this list)!  I didn't know this when we went in 2016 but I plan to take full advantage this coming October!  I'm also looking forward to trying an espresso martini.  https://profcruise.com/35-tips-for-your-cruise-to-hawaii-on-ncls-pride-of-america/ 

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4 hours ago, philv said:

Very important topic: Coffee. I've looked at the John Adams Coffee Bar but can't determine if anything is complimentary or if the whole thing is extra charge. I'm not getting drink package but like an espresso before venturing forth in the morning. How about Aloha Cafe and main dining rooms? Do they have complimentary coffee?

 

2 minutes ago, NikiPinkston said:

Ah, yes, philv, coffee is a very important topic!  Coffee is complimentary in the buffet & dining rooms and a limited selection of espressos, double espressos, lattes and cappuccinos is available in the dining rooms & restaurants, and they are covered under the Hawaii Beverage Package according to Prof. Cruise (#21 on this list)!  I didn't know this when we went in 2016 but I plan to take full advantage this coming October!  I'm also looking forward to trying an espresso martini.  https://profcruise.com/35-tips-for-your-cruise-to-hawaii-on-ncls-pride-of-america/ 

philv, I know that you said you aren't getting the drink package, so an expresso at John Adams will cost you. Since it's a "freebie," we're getting the drink package for the first time as we figure that it's worth the price of gratuities.  We'll see how it works out cuz we're not big drinkers but, hey, it is vacation, right? (If the drink package was free at the time you booked, you can always add it if you change your mind.)

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We did the POA with my sister & BIL recently and it was a great trip. We opted for the large balcony and spent each night out there playing cards and enjoying ourselves. Tons of room.

 

I had already been to Maui, so we rented a car for day 1 and drove halfway to Hana to get shaved ice and banana bread. Made lots of stops along the way to see waterfalls, do some hiking and just enjoy the scenery. Then headed over to Maui brewery for lunch and beers. Drove up Mt Haleakala to catch the sunset (saw the sunrise on our first trip there) - make sure you dress warm, it gets super cold.

 

Hilo we did a tour through NCL of volcano national park. It was ok, we had a bad day with rain and the lava had all erupted and emptied out earlier that year so it wasn't as exciting as it normally would have been. But it was still nice to see all the old lava flow areas. On Kona we did the Cloud Forest tour, and it was a nice nature hike.

 

Kauai we had booked a private photography tour that took us off the beaten path for some amazing views and empty beaches. Day 2 we did the mudbuggy tour and got to visit some of the scenes where they filmed Jurassic Park which was pretty neat.

 

And then of course the sail along the Na Pali coast... just wow. Bring binoculars and look for all the hidden waterfalls. I literally took 1000+ of pictures and they don't do it justice. Enjoy!

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, philv said:

Very important topic: Coffee. I've looked at the John Adams Coffee Bar but can't determine if anything is complimentary or if the whole thing is extra charge. I'm not getting drink package but like an espresso before venturing forth in the morning. How about Aloha Cafe and main dining rooms? Do they have complimentary coffee?

All dining rooms will have complimentary coffee. There is nowhere to get espresso without a charge. The regular drinks package does not include espresso drinks. 

 

Consider that you are in port every day. And most of the time, you will be wanting to grab a quick bite and get off the ship to go exploring. Not much time to sit and enjoy a nice cup of espresso. The locals go to a great local coffee shop ashore called Starbucks. 

Edited by BirdTravels
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This was one of our best cruises ever!  We had been to Oahu, Maui and Kauai for our honeymoon.  35 years later decided to revisit, and took our adult "kids" along on the cruise in balcony cabins.  Flew into Oahu 3 days early.  Toured Pearl Harbor, did a luau at the aquarium, ate at Duke's, did an outrigger canoe "ride", then dropped off our luggage at the cruise terminal and walked to see the King Kamehameha statue and Iolani Palace.  Once on board, had no complaints about the cabin, crew or itinerary.  Took a private car 2 day tour in Maui, doors off helicopter tour in Kauai with Jack Harter helicopters, along with surf lessons and Captain Zodiac tour in Kona.  Loved waking up in different port almost every day.  Wonderful island views of  volcanoes during the day, lava flow at night, Kaanapali coast, waterfalls - all great memories created with family.  As we had a late flight going home we took a private car tour of the North Coast for a few hours with airport drop-off at end.  This is one cruise I would definitely do again!

 

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12 hours ago, Sailing12Away said:

I had already been to Maui, so we rented a car for day 1 and drove halfway to Hana to get shaved ice and banana bread.

 

Don't let the locals hear you call it "shaved" ice, it is "shave" ice. Not sure what the difference is, but it is a big deal there.

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1 hour ago, zdcatc12 said:

Don't let the locals hear you call it "shaved" ice, it is "shave" ice. Not sure what the difference is, but it is a big deal there.

Yep, absolutely!  Shave ice!

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Great review pe4all! You mentioned private car tours in Maui and at end of cruise. How did you arrange these? Can you provide more details? Sounds like a great way to see some cool stuff. I really don't want to mess around with rental cars and ship excursions look expensive.

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3 hours ago, zdcatc12 said:

Don't let the locals hear you call it "shaved" ice, it is "shave" ice. Not sure what the difference is, but it is a big deal there.

And definitely not a "snow cone"

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8 hours ago, philv said:

Great review pe4all! You mentioned private car tours in Maui and at end of cruise. How did you arrange these? Can you provide more details? Sounds like a great way to see some cool stuff. I really don't want to mess around with rental cars and ship excursions look expensive.

 

We aren't pe4all, but you should be able to get some good input about private car tours from the (Cruise Critic) Hawaii forum.  From what we have learned over the years, the tours are rather costly (but chalk it up to being on vacation).  Yes, ship excursions are expensive - and crowded.  Rental cars are a popular alternative.

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, philv said:

Great review pe4all! You mentioned private car tours in Maui and at end of cruise. How did you arrange these? Can you provide more details? Sounds like a great way to see some cool stuff. I really don't want to mess around with rental cars and ship excursions look expensive.

In Oahu we used JohnnyCab for all our transportation.  They picked us up (always on time/early) from airport, brought us to our hotel.  Next day from hotel to Pearl Harbor and back.  Third day from hotel to port.  Upon debarkation from port on 4 hour island tour, and then on to the airport.  Only good things to say about them. They answered all our emails/questions quickly, and all was arranged before we left NY.   In Maui we used Marylou's big island tours for 2 days.  They were also fantastic.  They tailored the tour to what we wanted to see/do.  They both get very good reviews on tripadvisor, so you can research them there.  We did not want to rent cars and drive ourselves, and this was a great way for us to see all we wanted to see.  There were also 4 of us, and it worked out cheaper to take private tours than ship tours.  As we get "older" we realize it is better to spend a bit more money at times to get a better product - lol!

Edited by pe4all
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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Silver Sweethearts said:

 

As far as we know, Marylou's tours are only on the Big Island, which is the island of Hawaii, not Maui.

I stand corrected!  Sorry - senior moment. It was 5 years ago.   Still a great tour though.  

Edited by pe4all
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Hi All, I am doing some rental car research in case I end up going in that direction. Is anyone familiar with Car Rental Hawaii by NKT Travel? Website is carrentalhawaii.com. It looks like they specialize in one-day car rentals for cruise ship passengers. It looks very convenient and they say they have good rates with most major companies. Has anyone used them?

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4 hours ago, philv said:

Hi All, I am doing some rental car research in case I end up going in that direction. Is anyone familiar with Car Rental Hawaii by NKT Travel? Website is carrentalhawaii.com. It looks like they specialize in one-day car rentals for cruise ship passengers. It looks very convenient and they say they have good rates with most major companies. Has anyone used them?

 

We rented cars in 3 ports - Honolulu, Maui, and Kauai.  Used Avis each time (not doing a commercial here).  One thing that was obvious was that the rental offices for Maui and Kauai were small, and when the ship was in, the line was s.l.o.w.  Both due to the number of people and that the clerks really don't care to move that fast.  I mention Avis because we had the preferred member program (whatever it's called) and skipping the line made a huge difference.

 

Also, Honolulu traffic is beastly.  And we had to get a cab from the airport back to the port (just be aware).  I went to Diamondhead on the Saturday morning before the departure.  It was packed.  I had to wait for a parking space.  But it was worth it.

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4 hours ago, philv said:

Hi All, I am doing some rental car research in case I end up going in that direction. Is anyone familiar with Car Rental Hawaii by NKT Travel? Website is carrentalhawaii.com. It looks like they specialize in one-day car rentals for cruise ship passengers. It looks very convenient and they say they have good rates with most major companies. Has anyone used them?

I used Dollar in Oahu, the Big Island, Maui and Kauai. Had great service and they were the cheapest. I was on Carnival, not NCL;  on that cruise, there were not a lot of passengers that rented cars at the ports of call. It may be different on the POA.

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We did the cruise in November 2019 for our 10-year wedding anniversary.  Little did we know what would happen just a few months later.  It was fabulous and we have so many wonderful memories.  Our goal was to be off the ship as much as possible -- we  love cruising but we love Hawaii more and this cruise should be about Hawaii and nothing else. 

 

There are several discount car rental services but we used Avis since my FIL was Avis preferred and didn't really see much difference in prices when we compared.  Skipping the line was great.

 

Try and spend as many days before the cruise on Oahu as you can.  You can see Pearl Harbor and get acclimated to the time change.

 

Here is my trip report if you would like to read it.  Keep in mind though that Hawaii is different now and may be different still by September, but hopefully for the better. Enjoy, I envy you already!  🙂  

 

If you can find a FB page for your specific cruise, those can be a lot of fun.

Edited by Beachiekeen
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Such an amazing cruise! 
We went in DEC. 2018, just DAYS before the unlimited beverage package was offered! 😂 (It was introduced Jan 2019) 
We rented a jeep or convertible in each port and did our own exploring. We also downloaded the “Shaka Guide” for each island and were able to explore some unique places and had a person guide for the day! It’s so easy to do and well worth the price!   In Kauai, we were able to park overnight at a shopping Center within walking distance so we could keep our rental for the two days.Kauai was our favourite island! 

They offered some unique experiences onboard like hula lessons. Things we wouldn’t normally do on a cruise, we really enjoyed! 
If you can, add a few days to each end of the cruise. So much to see and do in Oahu. We stayed at Hilton Hawaiian Village and toured that part of the island before the cruise, ( fireworks on the beach!) and added 3 nights at Disney’s Aulani after the cruise. 
This is one cruise that we would definitely do again! 

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On 1/3/2021 at 1:26 PM, philv said:

This is great stuff. Thank you so much for your replies.

Question: What’s the routine for embarkation? We have sailed out of Ft. Lauderdale where you drop your main baggage with porters and then proceed to terminal with your carry on. Same deal?

Same routine. Except you will receive a beautiful floral lei or shell necklace, and have your picture taken with a Hawaiian background and a male and female  hula dancer. 

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