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Sailing Pride of America March 21

#1
This will be our first sailing on a Norweigian ship, after many on Carnival. It's seven days cruising Hawaii. Any suggestions, tips? Anyone going on this sailing?
 
#2
We did this cruise last August and loved it. NCL has the only USA flagged ship in the POA and it has a mostly American crew. This cruise is very port intensive and with the overnights in Maui and Kauai you will probably find you actually spend very little time on the ship. If I can answer any questions on the ship or the itinerary, please ask. My only advice would be to do lots of research on each island so that you have a good idea of what you want to see and do.
 
#3
First, thanks for your reply. Here's our situation: We've stayed on Kauai for a week before and love it; we're actually going to fly there after the cruise for another week. And we've scheduled excursions through Roberts for four of the land side days.

We've just never cruises NCL, so I was mostly curious about the ship. I've read some problematic reviews of the American crew, which I find saddening. And this freestyle thing also is a bit different. We're longtime Carnival cruises, so this is different.



We did this cruise last August and loved it. NCL has the only USA flagged ship in the POA and it has a mostly American crew. This cruise is very port intensive and with the overnights in Maui and Kauai you will probably find you actually spend very little time on the ship. If I can answer any questions on the ship or the itinerary, please ask. My only advice would be to do lots of research on each island so that you have a good idea of what you want to see and do.
 
#4
First, thanks for your reply. Here's our situation: We've stayed on Kauai for a week before and love it; we're actually going to fly there after the cruise for another week. And we've scheduled excursions through Roberts for four of the land side days.

We've just never cruises NCL, so I was mostly curious about the ship. I've read some problematic reviews of the American crew, which I find saddening. And this freestyle thing also is a bit different. We're longtime Carnival cruises, so this is different.
I just responded on another thread with our experience on the POA in August. You might take a look in case there is any useful info for you.

I will say that after sailing with Carnival, Princess, Royal, HAL and Celebrity, we have found that NCL is the best fit for us. We love Freestyle. You can dress up if you feel like it, but it is never required. You are not tied to any schedule. We find the entertainment to be superior to most cruise lines, and we love the friendly crews. Food is highly subjective, but we have always found the many included venues to be mostly good, but do enjoy a few nights at some specialtys for a change of pace and a quieter atmosphere. The food quality there is excellent, and on the POA, I think we had the best server at Le Bistro I have ever encountered anywhere, land or sea. A dining package to cover all 7 nights can be bought for about $119 per person, but usually 3 nights is enough for us, and we just pay as we go, and only spend an additional $150 to $180 total for the both of us.

I have said many times that NCL has the happiest crews in the business. Maybe it is just the natural disposition of Filipinos? They seem to mostly love their jobs, and it shows. I was a little concerned, as I read the same reports about the POA that you did. The crew is mostly American, and young, so expect pretty much what you get at home. That said, we had no complaints.

Don't expect the POA to be like every other cruise you've had. Many people comment that the POA is "like a floating hotel". Some take this to be a negative comment, but what people mean is that all the bells and whistles found on some cruise ships would be totally wasted on this itinerary. We found the same to be true of our port intensive Alaskan cruise. There for Alaska, not the ship. Most are there to see and experience the islands to the max. The ship is just turned into a convenient place to eat and sleep until the next day's adventure. The overnights on Mauai and Kauai make it possible to pack in a lot of touring. We would leave the ship early in the am and not return until late. Most of the time, after a quick dinner we were too tired for anything but bed.

Have you considered rental cars for the cruise and even for your post cruise stay in Kauai? Very easy to drive in the islands and the shuttles pick you up at the piers. You can see so much more than what a tour can offer in most cases.
 
#5
We considered one for Maui but ousted booked the Roberts excursion there on day 1 and plan a city bus across the island to snorkel on day 2.

We are renting on Kauai for our time there.

We to plan to use the ship as a hotel, as you said. We considered flying but the ship was cheaper. Go figure.

I do appreciate all your input. And we may just do a few of this dining extras.
 
#6
Where is your Robert's Maui tour to? And you mentioned a city bus "across" the island?? This is the first I have heard of this, unless you mean a city bus in the port area to somewhere nearby.

I agree that a cruise is the best way to see all the islands in a week. Nothing in Hawaii is cheap. Have you considered just skipping the last night on board in Kauai and eliminating the need to fly back for your land vacation? Of course you would miss the NaPali sail by that afternoon, but if you are staying on Kauai a few days, you can just book a water excursion near Princeville that will take you down the Na Pali coast, and much closer than the ship gets. A radical thought I know, but just thought I'd mention it. I know some "miss the ship" by design in Hilo and catch up the next day in Kona. Don't know if not being on the ship for official debarkation in Honolulu would be a problem? But I don't see why, as these are all US ports. Of course you'd have to let the ship know so they are not concerned they are leaving you behind in Kauai or that you have stowed away for another week's cruise in Honolulu.
 
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#7
We thought about just staying there but it's whale season and the ship is a good venue. Last time there we dove off a boat off the Na Pali coast from near Port Allen. We also flew Birds in Paradise at the airport near Port Allen too.

On Maui the municipal bus goes down the easy coast or with a transfer down and then up the west coast. Though err may just rent a car.