Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cruise Recap- NCL Pride of America May 2-9

As promised, here is a recap of our recent cruise.

I left the office on April 30 thinking I had a 50/50 chance of losing my job. I didn’t give it much thought while on the cruise. As it turns out, the cuts weren’t as drastic as expected, but I was affected.

I went into the cruise with not so high expectations. I had some really bad reviews of the cruise, but, on the hand, I had read some very positives. In the end, the quality of the service, the food and the pleasure we had on the trip far exceeded my highest expectations.

The down side to the trip was that we did not plan our excursions ahead, meaning there were so many things we did not get a chance to see or do. But that’s the downside to the cruise. Your time is limited at each port (with the exception of an overnight stay on Maui and Kauai). What the cruise allowed us is a feel for each of the islands.

Day 1

We drove to Charleston, WV from Columbus, via Dayton (to drop of the dogs) and arrived there at about 10PM on Friday night.

Our flight was scheduled to leave at 6:30 AM on May 1. That meant very little sleep. Personally I was so excited, that I got no sleep. In fact, I slept very little on the trip to Hawaii.


We connected in Houston to Continental Flight 1, arriving in HNL at 12:30 PM HST (six hours behind EDT). The flight was smooth, and wasn't near as long as I had expected.


We claimed out baggage was was greeted by NCL and were bused to the ship.


Embarkation went really smooth, and we were on the ship within 30 minutes of arriving at the pier. Just as we boarded, they announced that cabins on Deck 9 were ready. Perfect!


The cabin was great. It was a bit small, but then again, the cabin’s only a place to sleep. (The king size bed was super comfortable. If I could have only have found a way to get it home).

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We went to the muster drill at 4PM. By the time we got back to our cabin, our bags had arrived. We unpacked and set out to have dinner (Aloha Buffet) and to explore the ship. We also booked our excursion for the next day (Mauna Kea)

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We were two hours late leaving HNL as we were waiting for some more passengers whose flights were delayed. They were lucky, since we had to wait for them as they booked their entire package thru NCL. Some were not so lucky and had to find a way to join the cruise in Hilo the next day. 

The bed was calling my name by 9PM. It had finally caught up with me. I slept like a baby, and having the cabin door open as we sailed made it even more relaxing.

Day 2- Hilo

I was up early, as I was everyday of the cruise. I really enjoyed watching the sun rise over the Pacific, while enjoying my Kona coffee.


We went up and had breakfast at the Aloha, and then went down to prepare for debarkation at Hilo. That was a bit of a mess, complicated by the fact that we were late docking. We located our tour and we were. At the time, it was sunny and beautiful in Hilo. As it turns out, during the day, a volcanic haze settled in, and it was something we actually had to deal with on every island with the exception of Oahu.

The view from Mauna Kea was incredible.

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We were back at the ship by 5PM. We had dinner on the deck of the Aloha. With the clouds and haze it want such a beautiful afternoon in Hilo, but it had still be a great day.

Overnight sail from Hilo to Kahuilu (Maui).

Day 3- Kahuilu

Another beautiful sunrise as we were getting ready to dock in Kahuilu.


We arrived on time, and debarkation went really smooth today.

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My appointment: a ride of Haleakala. I opted to rent a bike and do it on my own. The excursions did not appeal to me. Don’t bus me up, and let me ride down on cruisers. Or should I say coast down on cruisers.

Ever since I took up cycling a couple of years ago, I’ve been wanting to ride up Haleakala for the challenge of the ride.

We got our rental car, picked up the bike, and headed for Paia. After a brief stop at Hookipa Beach.

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Time to start the climb. (The others were going to drive the Road to Hana, and drove part way up the climb). They drove back down and we made arrangements to meet in Paia. The weather started cloudy muggy.


The most frustrating part of the whole trip… I forgot my camera in the car in my rush to get started. But I will always have the experience. The ride up did get cooler, and the clouds did break a bit. I went up to 9000 ft (approx) and decided I should ride back down as to not miss the meetup with my group.

Our meeting time was perfect. I arrived about five minutes before our predetermined meet time. Got loaded up, and then back to the ship and what became a difficult time in trying to locate a parking space for the rental car. It was then time for a long shower and a huge dinner. It was prime rib night at the Aloha. Then we went to shore to have a few drinks at a local bar (those 4.75 beers on the ship were getting expensive).

We were in bed by 9:30 PM. Had to rest up for another day.

Day 3- Kahuilu

Another early start. We had to make the most of the time we had available since 4:30 was the all aboard.

Started out by going to… Wal-Mart. Yikes. I can do that at home.


Picked up a few souvenirs, then off the Iao Valley State Park.

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We dropped off the rental car about 3PM. We were back to the ship with plenty of time left. So I decided to get into my swimsuit, get some sun, and see us sail away to our next stop- Kona

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