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Opinions About Pride of America

#1
Hello,
I am a cruise virgin and thinking of taking a cruise next year to the Hawaiian Islands. Norwegian seems to be the only line that has Hawaii cruises shorter than two weeks, and it looks like the only NCL ship that goes there is Pride of America. Does anyone have any positive or negative opinions about this ship or this cruise?
 

PEB

Well-Known Member
#5
Ok what do I know about the Pride of America? Well I did work on the ship so I do have some idea of the ship and its route. The ship was refurbished in 2008 and it does have many different sizes of cabins from extremely small to some very nice suites. As far as the crew go you have some very dedicated crew members and some that are there to play and party. The ones that like to play and party do eventually get weeded out and let go.

The majority of the crew want you to have a good time and will do what they can to have that happen. The one thing I had problems with while working for the cruise line was that the higher ups really did not care for the passengers as much as the crew did. I got in many discussions with the management there about what passengers like to see on a cruise ship and how they liked to be treated. I told them many times they should read reviews from the various cruise sites to see what they were doing right and what they were doing wrong and the reply I always got was the people on the cruise boards do not know what they are talking about and that corporate knows best.

Now for some more pleasurable comments. Seeing the islands by cruise ship including the Pride of America is an excellent way to see the islands. It will give you an idea of what is available, which is different in many ways on each island, and can make you want to go back. It can be a very relaxing way to move from island to island. The ship is NOT a bad ship and is in good shape. The food was good not great and yes due to my rank while working on the ship I did get to eat in some of the passenger dining rooms. The food for the crew in the crew dining areas was not what I would call even close to the passenger food standards but then you do not have to worry about that.

Each island has unique things to see on it. Kauai is the most beautiful of the islands. The big island is the most diverse to see, from snow caped mountains to rain forests, to desert and a live volcano. Maui is different in weather from one side of the island to the other. Where the ship docks can be very windy yet on the other side it can be very calm. Maui also has some great tours available. Oahu of course you have Honolulu, Waikiki but to me the most important thing to see is Pearl Harbor and the Punch Bowl.

Would I take a cruise on the Pride of America? Yes I would. Would it be my favorite cruise line? No but then it would still provide me a great way to see the islands and it would not be the worst trip I had ever taken. One comment I would say that came out of the review posted earlier is that the humpbacks are only in Hawaii from late fall to early spring so there is no guarantee you will see them.

If you want less then a 14 day cruise I would say go with the Pride of America. There is no reason that you can't have a great cruise with them. After all Hawaii is the point of interest and the Pride of America is the taxi. They do have some great crew members.
 

nmnita

Active Member
#6
Hello,
I am a cruise virgin and thinking of taking a cruise next year to the Hawaiian Islands. Norwegian seems to be the only line that has Hawaii cruises shorter than two weeks, and it looks like the only NCL ship that goes there is Pride of America. Does anyone have any positive or negative opinions about this ship or this cruise?
wow, lots of both pros and cons. I will start by saying, yes, they are the only line that cruises out of Hawaii and does islands in a 7 day intinerary. The rest leave from other places, that is why they are 2 week cruises and you spend at least 1/2 the cruise at sea. Long story, why this is, so I won't bore you with details.

When NCL first stated the Hawaii itinerary there were nothing but problems. They are the only line that has a 80% American crew and they do work a little differently than the foreign crews. You may not get as pampered as on other lines, but the positives: 1-this has changed some over the years and the reviews are much more favorable. In fact many cruisers are on their 2nd and 3rd Hawaiin cruise. The ship is nice, and the island choices are fantastic. Because it is what is known as a port intensive cruise there are not as many ship activities as on some itinerarings. I will also add, the dining rooms can get a little crowded as everyone is getting back on board at a similar time and they are hungry.

If I was a newby at Hawaii and wanted to see as much as possible, in a week for as little money as possible, I would not hesitate to book the POA> Most of the negatives or cons you will get are from people who either cruised them early in the experiment or are used to having outstanding service. think of this more as a hotel at sea.

Nita
 

khan034

Active Member
#9
I too was concerned about the vast diffrences in reviews of the ship, but working in the service industry (HVAC Mechanic) I have come to realize there are 2 types of people, those that are well grounded and can laugh at small inconvieniences and those that go through life living in a bubble holding dear to unrealistic expectations. Life is full of experiences and what you make of them!

I am also a cruise virgin, though I have been on boats in the ocean, never has one been a cruise ship. I am booked on the Pride of America sailing on 9/17/2011.

It looks like a wonderful ship, and I know I am going to have a great time in Hawaii.
 
#10
That's great Peb, thank you for the inside knowledge. My family is taking our first cruise next year in January on Pride of America...me, my husband, twin 2 year olds and my parents. Wish me luck...I'm hoping that with having a fantastic ship and crew to look after us and with each island being so different, that hopefully there will be something to make each of us happy! Wish me luck!
 

els689

Active Member
#11
We did POA in 2009. This is a cruise that is more "port rich" meaning that you take the cruise for the ports not for the ship. Don't get me wrong, tho, the ship is very nice. The crew were wonderful. Food was pretty good, pretty standard cruise ship fare. The ports are what make this trip truly shine. By all means...take POA to see Hawaii. It is a great time!
 

nmnita

Active Member
#12
very true, doing POA is port intensive and the reason for choosing to cruise in Hawaii is to see as much as possible in as short of time as possible. It is not the average run of the mill cruise.

Nita
 
#13
I was thinking about going on this cruise line myself but soon as I found out from a friend that he got attacked by some locals while onshore, I quickly changed my mind. One of his fellow vacationers got his teeth knocked out...has to have reconstructive surgery. If that isnt bad enough he got his phone and wallet stolen. I reconsidered not going on this cruise.
 
#14
yes, hawaiin cruises you are stuck with ncl, do not pay service fees, they are not mandatory, ncl stinks as a cruiseline, but makes a fine taxi, lousy food, and no service, so get past this, you are told, go to locals for tours,
 
#15
you do not know what standard cruise ship fare is, ncl is bad food, princess is mediocre soy oil cooked, and holland is aweosme food, everywhere, cannot see how any one can love NCL not at all, the hotel director was a blatant liar, promising to get my on board credit straightened out, she failed, i never got it,
stuck in barcelona no flights, no train, we went ncl, again, i asked for resolution on my last on board credit, never receivied it, nor this, they claimed i was sent 100 for my trouble, never got it,
now stuck again for hawaiin adventure, again i asked and again they said i would get it, and never did, each time i didnt receive my money i withheld service fees, they say mandatory, these are lies, revoke all service fees, as food is bad on jade sun and pride, serivde bad all three, those who claim love or affection toward ncl, work for ncl.. the hotel director grabbed me , grabbed my arm after we checked out and were on land, such abuse,
 
#16
Oh, my. Have been researching the POA for more than a year now in preparation for our cruise in August, and have read every review I can get my hands on. I must say I have never seen anything like your comments. So many unfortunate incidents which happened to YOU. Bad cruise line, bad luck, or maybe just some lack of research and understanding on your part. I have no problem with anyone who gives a balanced and thoughtful review of what they thought worked and what they saw as improvements needed, but when comments are over the top, they just lose all credibility, at least with me.

We have yet to sail the POA, but we have sailed 6 other NCL ships as well as many other cruise lines including your beloved HAL, which by the way would be at the bottom of our list of lines to cruise on. NCL is our favorite. No problems with food or service. We LOVE the crews. Everyone has their favorites when it comes to cruising and there is a cruise line for every one. NCL is really the only game in town if you want to maximize your time in Hawaii. The time which would have been spent on sea days to and from on another line, we'll spend on a land vacation in Hawaii post cruise. The ship is recently refurbished and reviews are generally favorable. We are taking this cruise to see Hawaii. Not much interest in seeing shows, playing trivia, etc. We don't think we'll have any regrets.
 
#17
Thought I'd come back with an update for anyone who is considering the POA. We did our POA cruise in late August 2014 flying in a day early and spending one night at the Hilton Hawaiian Village pre cruise. We knew jet lag would be a problem as we are from the Chicago area, but thought 1 extra night there would get us acclimated. Wow were we wrong. We were wiped out and ready for bed soon after our early dinners. We finally regained some steam around mid week. If I had a do over, I would come in 2 or 3 days early to get fully acclimated before starting the cruise. You really need all your energy for 10 to 12 hours of exploring on some days.

We thought the ship was in excellent shape. New suites had just been added, but we did not get to see any. We loved our aft facing cabin which was great for the Na' Pali Coast sail by. We mostly had lunch off the ship at some lovely beach location. One very special dinner was had with a beach view in Maui. We had no problem with service. Favorite place on the ship was the outdoor aft dining/lounge area adjacent to the buffet and Moderno, one of the for fee restaurants. A free mini buffet was set up in Moderno each morning and it was possible to grab breakfast there and take your plate through the door onto to outdoor area. This area is shaded and provides a gorgeous view. It also has large curved couches and chairs, and bar service, soft lighting and entertainment in the evenings. A great place for a quiet sail away or meal.

We were much too tired to take in any of the shows or parties, but there was plenty of entertainment for those who wanted it. We mostly ate in the Buffet for dinner. It was just so easy to grab something tasty there and then enjoy it on the aft deck. We did have dinner at three specialties, the steak house, the French and the Churriscaria. All had great food. Well worth the up charge which is around $20 to $30 pp for most places on the ship.

We did a rental car in Maui for both days, parking overnight at the port. We did a road trip up Haleakala, my favorite place in the islands. Beyond Haleakala we took in a winery before back tracking and taking a detour through some beautiful rural country, ending up in Paia on the "Road to Hana" and not far from the ship. Here we had a very special dinner at Mama's Fish House with beach view. Very expensive, but totally worth it. The second Maui day, we drove to the West side of Maui to the Kaanapali area for a little shopping, beach time and lunch at Duke's outdoor patio.

In Hilo, we had booked a small group tour for Volcano National Park and other sights. This tour is strictly family operated and takes only 6 people per vehicle. Mom, Dad and son conduct the tours personally, so only 18 people max. They book up very quickly as they are very highly rated. We thoroughly enjoyed it. The closest you will get to having knowledgable family take you around. The second Big Island port day in Hilo, we took a cab to pick up a Catamoran snorkel trip to Captain Cook monument. This Bay area has incredibly clear and calm water. Great for kids. For sailaway, we went to our fav place, the outdoor aft lounge area for some coctails while enjoying the view of the Big Island which is visible for quite some time. It was a clear day, and I think we were able to pick out both Moana Kea and Moana Loa.

On Kauai, we did a helicopter tour of the island. We had seen the North Shore and Waimea canyon by car on a previous trip. If it is in your budget I would highly recommend this. Words cannot describe the views of these totally inaccessible areas like the Napali Mountains and Waimea Canyon. We had planned to pick up a car rental for the remainder of the day and the following morning, but we found we just wanted to relax. Instead we walked over to Kalapacki Bay Area which has lots of shops along a beautiful shaded beach. We ate at Dukes and just relaxed and people watched. The second day, since we were leaving port early for the afternoon long Na Pali sail by, we just shopped a little and then returned to the ship. We did the sail by from our aft balcony.

Debarkation the following day was very easy and we took a cab to HHV for one more night. Thr following morning we picked up a rental car at the airport and headed to the Northshore for three nights at Turtle Bay resort. Then we moved over to the Windward side for a couple nights in a private rental with views of Kaeohe Bay and mountains. Oahu is much more than Waikiki and I definately recommend seeing the rest of the island which has many incredibly beautiful areas and things to see.

If I can answer any questions for anyone, let me know.