Hawaii, June 12,
by Carin Rhodes
Our first cruise/first trip to Hawaii. We flew to Oahu, June 11 and then sailed the islands starting June 12 on Pride of Aloha. I want to thank you for your informative website. I had six months to research everything about Hawaii that I wanted to do, but was not sure what a cruise ship would entail. I read your entire site, followed your advice and had a wonderful time. I did pack way too much, though.
For first time cruisers, the freestyle dining and cruising offered by NCL is great. It is relaxing, and worry free. I did hear a lot of complaints from more experienced cruisers who would have preferred the same dinner seating each night, getting to know their
servers and their fellow dinner partners. But as we were cruising with our two children (10 and 12), we appreciated the flexibility of choosing a sit down meal, a buffet, dressing up or just going casual. The food at both the Crossings and Palace were excellent.
The Children's program was a lot of fun for our kids. They couldn't wait to ditch mom and dad at 7 p.m. and enjoy the planned activities until 10 p.m. while my husband and I enjoyed the nightly shows in the Stardust Lounge. The Kids Crew program offered Spy Night, Pirate Night, a talent show and more. The counselors quickly knew the kids by name and really seemed to enjoy their jobs.
Shore excursions were pricey, but with a little research, we were able to book a few trips on our own independent of the cruise ship.
Example... Cruise ship price for Pearl Harbor tour $70.00 per person;
booked on our own $15.00 per person (The Arizona Memorial tour is a free tour, you are only paying for transportation). Plus, we had an excellent guide and he drove us around Honolulu after our tour and gave us a brief history of Honolulu/Oahu, showed us important landmarks, and sights of interest. Through the cruise, though, we went kayaking and snorkeling in Maui (excellent guide named
Jason). I had never snorkeled before and was nervous, but he was patient and had me swimming with the sea turtles like a champ within 10 minutes. We also took tours to Fern Grotto, various waterfalls, the Atlantis Submarine. Everything we chose was well run, and made us glad we had chosen to splurge for the extras. My only complaint was that the cruise director did not offer advice on places to go in port if you were not going on an excursion. The shore excursion desk was not helpful in that area either. If you were not paying for a tour, they were not very helpful in helping you explore on your own.
The ship was loaded with activities everyday. You could not fit them all in. We had a Hawaiian Ambassador (Kawiki) on board who taught daily hula classes and craft classes. My kids enjoyed making ribbon and shell leis. There was an art auction, dance lessons, self help classes, etc. So many things to choose from or just lay by the pool and bask in the gorgeous Hawaiian weather.
The ship was also very clean. There were hand sanitizing stations on board at the embarkation and disembarkation points, outside each restaurant, before each buffet line. The staff was constantly cleaning and polishing. Our cabin stewardess (Amy) kept our room spotless and stocked with towels. Room service was wonderful. My only complaint was that the air conditioning was too cold. Things ran so smoothly. Our luggage arrived to our room before we did, and it was waiting in the terminal for us right when we disembarked.
We will definitely sail with NCL again. But I would like to try a different cruise line just to see what all the grumbling was about.
Thank you again for helping make this cruise a memorable one!!
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