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Hawaii cruise Pride of America


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Even with these days of shutdown and businesses slowly opening up, the prices on Pride of America are still very high.  About $400 per day for balcony.  Also the included perk of free drinks has separate charge for tips based on the value of $99 per day of drinks.  For Hawaii that is non-alcoholic drinks.  That is a lot of drinking of sodas anytime and coffee only with meals. This is besides the usual service tips per day.  

 

With reluctance overall to cruise, the prices for other cruises are very good.  Coastal round trip LA on Majesty Princess is about $100 per day.  This is besides the usual service tips per day.

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The Pride of America has always been pricey because they are an American flagged and mostly American staffed ship and they are the only ship that does the Hawaii only sailing.  We loved seeing Hawaii via the Pride of America even though it's an older ship.  I am sure Princess is great but I would rather have more Hawaii time than sea time.  Everyone has to do what's right for them and their budget.

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1 hour ago, shipsealand said:

Even with these days of shutdown and businesses slowly opening up, the prices on Pride of America are still very high.  About $400 per day for balcony.  Also the included perk of free drinks has separate charge for tips based on the value of $99 per day of drinks.  For Hawaii that is non-alcoholic drinks.  That is a lot of drinking of sodas anytime and coffee only with meals. This is besides the usual service tips per day.  

 

With reluctance overall to cruise, the prices for other cruises are very good.  Coastal round trip LA on Majesty Princess is about $100 per day.  This is besides the usual service tips per day.

POA is the absolute best way to see  Hawaii and is with every penny. 7 days in port every day. Two overnight port calls allowing you to do a luau or maybe a sunrise bike ride down a volcano. No protracted sea days. 
 

The drink package works like any other cruise. (Alcoholic mai tais). Best deal at sea. 

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2 hours ago, shipsealand said:

$400 per day for balcony

 

Please adhere to the conventional wisdom that this is the one cruise on the planet where a balcony is entirely needless. You will always get one on the wrong side for the sole few minutes it actually moves past scenery during daylight anyway. Run to the rails and leave the wrong side balconies for me to bid on at the last minute. I like to watch garbage collection barges from there while the more fortunate are flouncing away on pricey excursions every day. By the way, it is really a quality-made Pride of Germany due to bankruptcy of the intended US shipyard and diversion to Euroland.

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, dumbth said:

Please adhere to the conventional wisdom that this is the one cruise on the planet where a balcony is entirely needless. You will always get one on the wrong side for the sole few minutes it actually moves past scenery during daylight anyway.

 

I knew it! I've never sailed on PoA before but I thought this would exactly be the case. So, I booked an inside stateroom and saved $$ (patting myself on the back...).

 

20 hours ago, dumbth said:

By the way, it is really a quality-made Pride of Germany due to bankruptcy of the intended US shipyard and diversion to Euroland.

 

I'm good with that. The Germans build quality ships (as do the Fins & Italians). At least NCL was able to get her flagged U.S. so that we (the U.S.) can say we have at least one full-sized U.S. flagged cruise ship.

Edited by farmersfight
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, farmersfight said:

 

I knew it! I've never sailed on PoA before but I thought this would exactly be the case. So, I booked an inside stateroom and saved $$ (patting myself on the back...).

 

 

I'm good with that. The Germans build quality ships (as do the Fins & Italians). At least NCL was able to get her flagged U.S. so that we (the U.S.) can say we have at least one full-sized U.S. flagged cruise ship.

Well, that's not really correct.  The hull, and all equipment inside the hull, up to the promenade deck, was built in the US, and while much of the equipment is European manufacture, it was the same as was originally intended for the ship.  Most US flag ships have machinery built overseas.  The hull was temporarily decked over to bring the ship to Germany, and the superstructure and hotel outfitting was done there.  But, and here's a great big but.  While at a wet berth in Bremerhaven, with the ship "dry" (no fuel, water, ballast), a storm came along, the wind caused the ship to list at the dock, and a temporary "access" (large hole) in the side of the ship was submerged, and the ship sank at the dock.  She was on the bottom for about 2-3 months while the insurers argued over blame, and as a result, most of the wiring and electricals below the third deck up (crew, not pax deck) had to be renewed.  She has had problems ever since.  And, the sinking and repair costs drove the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven into bankruptcy as well.

Edited by chengkp75
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35 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

Well, that's not really correct.  The hull, and all equipment inside the hull, up to the promenade deck, was built in the US, and while much of the equipment is European manufacture, it was the same as was originally intended for the ship.  Most US flag ships have machinery built overseas.  The hull was temporarily decked over to bring the ship to Germany, and the superstructure and hotel outfitting was done there.  But, and here's a great big but.  While at a wet berth in Bremerhaven, with the ship "dry" (no fuel, water, ballast), a storm came along, the wind caused the ship to list at the dock, and a temporary "access" (large hole) in the side of the ship was submerged, and the ship sank at the dock.  She was on the bottom for about 2-3 months while the insurers argued over blame, and as a result, most of the wiring and electricals below the third deck up (crew, not pax deck) had to be renewed.  She has had problems ever since.  And, the sinking and repair costs drove the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven into bankruptcy as well.

Yes, thanks.  We first heard this from the Captain on the Spirit. He related this was how the Spirit ended up as part of the NCL fleet.  What a story! 
 

We met many folks off  different ships when we had our vacation home on the Big Island.  The POA passengers were happy for the most part.  The folks on the other  ships,  did complain about not much time on the Islands. Others loved the sea days.  Many were unfamiliar with POA and her cruises. 
 

I think a balcony is a good idea if you can swing it.  It’s a long way to go to get to Hawaii  for most, so enjoy.  The ocean is beautiful even  at night and wonderful at dawn.  Whales can often be seen In the winter, although Spinner Dolphins are more common.  I think the ship does still sail by the Napali Coast on Fridays and then there is the lava flow off the Big Island.  The lava flow, however, is never guaranteed of course, and can start and stop at any minute.  And does. 

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11 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

Well, that's not really correct.  The hull, and all equipment inside the hull, up to the promenade deck, was built in the US, and while much of the equipment is European manufacture, it was the same as was originally intended for the ship.  Most US flag ships have machinery built overseas.  The hull was temporarily decked over to bring the ship to Germany, and the superstructure and hotel outfitting was done there.  But, and here's a great big but.  While at a wet berth in Bremerhaven, with the ship "dry" (no fuel, water, ballast), a storm came along, the wind caused the ship to list at the dock, and a temporary "access" (large hole) in the side of the ship was submerged, and the ship sank at the dock.  She was on the bottom for about 2-3 months while the insurers argued over blame, and as a result, most of the wiring and electricals below the third deck up (crew, not pax deck) had to be renewed.  She has had problems ever since.  And, the sinking and repair costs drove the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven into bankruptcy as well.

 

Great, the only U.S. flag large passenger ship that I'm booked on and you're telling me it's cursed? 😉. Thanks for the in-depth knowledge of the history of the PoA's construction. I was aware that the original owner of the ship went bankrupt while she was under construction in a U.S. yard. Then, NCL bought the unfinished ship and had her towed over to Germany. I'm sure NCL was granted some sort of waiver to allow her to be completed in a foreign shipyard and still remain eligible for U.S. registry?

 

Fascinating story about her sinking at the wet berth. That must've been one heck of a storm with winds strong enough to cause a ship's hull of that size to list at the dock. Wow. Incredible that this incident forced Lloyd Werft shipyard into bankruptcy. Again, wow.

 

When you said she's had problems ever since, I'm assuming electrical problems? As long as they keep those blenders running to make my DoD's (Pina Coladas), I'm good.

 

Thanks again for the great info regarding the PoA.

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We had a fantastic cruise on POA - so much so we are thinking of booking her again when cruising opens up.  We had 2 balcony cabins (as we are balcony snobs on all ships)  and do not regret one penny of what we spent, or will spend in the future.    Especially now - with covid around- we will use our balcony more than ever to stay away from crowds.  jmho

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1 hour ago, farmersfight said:

I'm sure NCL was granted some sort of waiver to allow her to be completed in a foreign shipyard and still remain eligible for U.S. registry?

Yes, since the US government had given loan guarantees to Hawaiian American Cruises for the POA and a sister ship, they were anxious to unload it.  The deal, which required an act of Congress, waived the US built clause of the PVSA for the POA, and also for one current NCL ship (Norwegian Sky/Pride of Aloha) and one new build (Pride of Hawaii/Norwegian Jade) to have the US built clause waived.  Since the Sky and Jade have been reflagged, they have permanently lost their waiver.

 

1 hour ago, farmersfight said:

That must've been one heck of a storm with winds strong enough to cause a ship's hull of that size to list at the dock

It was a "100 year" storm, but remember, with almost no liquids onboard, she was riding very high, and her stability was very low.  The yard went into reorganization, and a few years later, Genting Group, who had owned a majority of NCL bought the majority of Lloyd Werft.

 

1 hour ago, farmersfight said:

When you said she's had problems ever since, I'm assuming electrical problems?

Electrical problems, corrosion issues.  Lots of equipment had to be renewed.  Once the ship was pumped afloat again, the only contractors allowed onboard at first were the Wartsila engine techs, who dried out the engines, put a special preservative oil in them and fired them right up.  The engines have been overhauled several times since then, so the running gear is maintained, but they are still waiting for long term corrosion problems to pop up.

 

Norwegian Sky has had similar issues, after her original yard (Bremer Vulkan) went belly up (she was built for Costa originally), and she sat for 10 months through a cold German winter until NCL bought her and finished her in, of all places, Lloyd Werft.  

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9 hours ago, pe4all said:

We had a fantastic cruise on POA - so much so we are thinking of booking her again when cruising opens up.  We had 2 balcony cabins (as we are balcony snobs on all ships)  and do not regret one penny of what we spent, or will spend in the future.    Especially now - with covid around- we will use our balcony more than ever to stay away from crowds.  jmho

 

Thanks for sharing. Bodes well for my booked cruise on PoA in late October (if she sails, fingers crossed 🤞). I'm a "balcony snob" also, even as a solo cruiser. I made a rare exception to book an inside cabin on PoA since I figured the ship acts more like a "floating, moving hotel" that takes you from island to island during the night. I asked myself, what am I going to be able to see at night from a balcony? I know the ship does an afternoon cruising along the scenic Napali coast but this wasn't enough to sway me to spend the extra $ on a balcony cabin (remember, I am a solo cruiser so I get to pay double for a regular balcony cabin - 100% solo supplement).

 

From you're experience in a balcony cabin on PoA, was it worth it and did you use the balcony enough to justify the cost? Did the ship mainly get underway in the evening/at night? If yes, did that affect what you could see from your balcony?

 

Thanks in advance...

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8 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

Yes, since the US government had given loan guarantees to Hawaiian American Cruises for the POA and a sister ship, they were anxious to unload it.  The deal, which required an act of Congress, waived the US built clause of the PVSA for the POA, and also for one current NCL ship (Norwegian Sky/Pride of Aloha) and one new build (Pride of Hawaii/Norwegian Jade) to have the US built clause waived.  Since the Sky and Jade have been reflagged, they have permanently lost their waiver.

 

It was a "100 year" storm, but remember, with almost no liquids onboard, she was riding very high, and her stability was very low.  The yard went into reorganization, and a few years later, Genting Group, who had owned a majority of NCL bought the majority of Lloyd Werft.

 

Electrical problems, corrosion issues.  Lots of equipment had to be renewed.  Once the ship was pumped afloat again, the only contractors allowed onboard at first were the Wartsila engine techs, who dried out the engines, put a special preservative oil in them and fired them right up.  The engines have been overhauled several times since then, so the running gear is maintained, but they are still waiting for long term corrosion problems to pop up.

 

Norwegian Sky has had similar issues, after her original yard (Bremer Vulkan) went belly up (she was built for Costa originally), and she sat for 10 months through a cold German winter until NCL bought her and finished her in, of all places, Lloyd Werft.  

 

Man, you're like a living, breathing human maritime encyclopedia. Appreciate you sharing your in-depth knowledge & experience about the PoA (and all other maritime matters on these CC boards, for that matter).

 

I guess the demand for inter-island Hawaii cruises was not high enough for NCL America to justify keeping the Sky & Jade under U.S. flag? Kind of surprises me, I thought there would be enough demand to keep 3 U.S. flag cruise ships in Hawaii.

 

Thanks again for your informative replies.

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The POA has been the cash cow of the NCL fleet since it became the sole ship to do the Hawaiian island 7 day itineraries for them and that will certainly continue for the years to come. When I was working onboard we made more in shore excursion revenue than the the rest of the fleet taking a single ship's combined casino and shore excursion revenue. Add on the high fares and it's a money machine.

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31 minutes ago, farmersfight said:

 

Man, you're like a living, breathing human maritime encyclopedia. Appreciate you sharing your in-depth knowledge & experience about the PoA (and all other maritime matters on these CC boards, for that matter).

 

I guess the demand for inter-island Hawaii cruises was not high enough for NCL America to justify keeping the Sky & Jade under U.S. flag? Kind of surprises me, I thought there would be enough demand to keep 3 U.S. flag cruise ships in Hawaii.

 

Thanks again for your informative replies.

In my opinion, NCL brought the three ships on line too quickly, ramping supply way faster than the demand.  The biggest problem, though, was the competition from the other cruise lines, offering 14 day cruises from the West Coast for less than NCL could  offer 7 day inter-island cruises.  During the two years we actually had all three US flag ships, the capacity of the other cruise lines to Hawaii increased by 500%.  This supply drove prices down, to the point where NCL was losing $174 million a year on the three ships.

 

The ships were only really meant to break even, the plan by KT Lim, owner of Genting Group, who owned NCL, was to invest in Hawaii infrastructure (golf courses, helicopter tours, buses, etc), using the US flag, US crewed NCL ships as "cover" for another "Asian invasion" of buying on the islands.  A few years before, there had been a large backlash over Japanese buying of the islands.

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, farmersfight said:

I guess the demand for inter-island Hawaii cruises was not high enough for NCL America to justify keeping the Sky & Jade under U.S. flag? Kind of surprises me, I thought there would be enough demand to keep 3 U.S. flag cruise ships in Hawaii.

The passenger count wasn't terrible with multiple ships but the fares were quite lower and the big issue was staffing all three ships. It was more profitable to ditch two, reduce employee rated expenses and turnover and jack the fares of the sailings up 2-3x. Edited out the part about they wanted to own a lot of the land based experiences because it was just explained above better.

Edited by ohioNCLcruiser
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1 minute ago, ohioNCLcruiser said:

The POA has been the cash cow of the NCL fleet since it became the sole ship to do the Hawaiian island 7 day itineraries for them and that will certainly continue for the years to come. When I was working onboard we made more in shore excursion revenue than the the rest of the fleet taking a single ship's combined casino and shore excursion revenue. Add on the high fares and it's a money machine.

While it is true that the POA is the highest revenue earner in the fleet, her operating cost differential does not make her the top profit center.

 

While you are correct, that manning was, and still is, a major problem, the brochure prices today are not that much higher than they were 10 years ago. 

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1 hour ago, farmersfight said:

 

Thanks for sharing. Bodes well for my booked cruise on PoA in late October (if she sails, fingers crossed 🤞). I'm a "balcony snob" also, even as a solo cruiser. I made a rare exception to book an inside cabin on PoA since I figured the ship acts more like a "floating, moving hotel" that takes you from island to island during the night. I asked myself, what am I going to be able to see at night from a balcony? I know the ship does an afternoon cruising along the scenic Napali coast but this wasn't enough to sway me to spend the extra $ on a balcony cabin (remember, I am a solo cruiser so I get to pay double for a regular balcony cabin - 100% solo supplement).

 

From you're experience in a balcony cabin on PoA, was it worth it and did you use the balcony enough to justify the cost? Did the ship mainly get underway in the evening/at night? If yes, did that affect what you could see from your balcony?

 

Thanks in advance...

 For the Hawaii cruise I happen to agree with you.  As you are a solo cruiser paying double, I would save $$ by not getting a balcony. Just make sure you get an early seat on an open deck to see the Na'apali sail by, which is done in the afternoon.  The ship does turn around, so both starboard and port get a good look-see in the daylight.  At the other ports - yes, the ship sets sail around 5:30-6pm, so you don't get to see much. We sailed by the (then) active volcano at night, and saw the lava flow, which was pretty cool.   We used our balcony after our excursions to relax on, but you can just hang on a lounge chair somewhere and do the same.  I would use the $$ saved to spend on excursions instead.   We had gone to Hawaii on our honeymoon, and we splurged and took our 2 adult kids with us to celebrate our (then) 35th wedding anniversary.  

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On 3/20/2021 at 12:05 PM, shipsealand said:

For Hawaii that is non-alcoholic drinks.  That is a lot of drinking of sodas anytime and coffee only with meals. This is besides the usual service tips per day.  

 

Why do you think that POA is only non-alcoholic drinks?

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Posted (edited)

I'm close to booking the Pride of America for mid-October. 

Circling back to the original poster's point about price, I'm wondering about the flights that NCL offers (currently 2nd passenger flies free). Flying to Honolulu isn't cheap of course but if I'll be in a middle seat on an indirect flight, I'll factor two full airfares into my overall decision.

If people do use NCL's flights, is there a way to "game the system" - figure out which airport to fly from with the greatest change of a direct flight? I'm in the SF bay area so have SFO, OAK, even SMF within a couple hours. 

Thanks for an insight!

 

Edited by markdunn
to clarify my point
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1 hour ago, markdunn said:

I'm close to booking the Pride of America for mid-October. 

Circling back to the original poster's point about price, I'm wondering about the flights that NCL offers (currently 2nd passenger flies free). Flying to Honolulu isn't cheap of course but if I'll be in a middle seat on an indirect flight, I'll factor two full airfares into my overall decision.

If people do use NCL's flights, is there a way to "game the system" - figure out which airport to fly from with the greatest change of a direct flight? I'm in the  bay area so have SFO, OAK, even SMF within a couple hours. 

Thanks for an insight!

 

I did originally book POA air at 399.00 pp but ended up changing to my own air. I wanted non stop flights and choice of seats. I fly out of Dallas and is an 8 1/2 hour flight which is a long time to be crammed in a small seat. You can try to get the flights you want once NCL flights are released, but you will pay more than what they offer you. The main cabin extra seats are worth paying 20.00 more per person each way than standard seats.

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I forgot to add that the final payment for my 11/27 is due 120 days ahead 7/29. If I am not seeing cruises sailing in July, i am cancelling and doing a land trip. I would rather cruise but cruise is too expensive to be unsure if it will even sail. You are lucky you are eligible to pay 60 days ahead, sailing in October, 120 days ahead for me is too iffy.

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2 hours ago, markdunn said:

I'm close to booking the Pride of America for mid-October. 

Circling back to the original poster's point about price, I'm wondering about the flights that NCL offers (currently 2nd passenger flies free). Flying to Honolulu isn't cheap of course but if I'll be in a middle seat on an indirect flight, I'll factor two full airfares into my overall decision.

If people do use NCL's flights, is there a way to "game the system" - figure out which airport to fly from with the greatest change of a direct flight? I'm in the SF bay area so have SFO, OAK, even SMF within a couple hours. 

Thanks for an insight!

 

I don't know so much about "gaming the system" but there are non-stop (best kind of direct flights)

from US cities:

New York (JFK & EWR)

Atlanta

Chicago

Dallas/Ft. Worth

Minneapolis/St. Paul

Denver

Salt Lake City

Phoenix

San Diego

Los Angeles

San Francisco (shortest distance non-stop flight)

San Jose

Oakland

Portland

Seattle

 

Airlines:

Alaska

American

Delta

Hawaiian

Southwest

United

 

What airline NCL books reservations with is uncertain -

NCL may divert Mainland traffic to one common airport for a semi-chartered commercial flight -

Discuss the flight options with NCL for something that is close to your expectations.

 

At this moment the cabin seating spacing is the best for comfort - when cruising starts

again those middle seats will no doubt be filled and welcome to sardine travel !

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This does not impact many...

Alaska Air also flies direct from ANC to Oahu, Kona & Maui seasonally.

Alaska Air recently announced, they will be restarting these routes shortly.

They had ceased operating them due to C-19...

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