5 Reasons to go on a Hawaiian Cruise – Not sure what to do or where to go in Hawaii? Consider a Hawaiian cruise! See 5 reasons why I highly recommend it.
I have wanted to go to Hawaii since I was a little girl. My parents always said they thought it would be boring and I wouldn’t like it. Then when I was 17 they went for a business trip. They came back and said how much I would love it, and they wished they had taken me when I was younger. For our honeymoon we debated for a long time if we wanted to go to Hawaii or on a cruise (something else I always wanted to do). In the end the cruise won out. But for the last 15 years, we have talked about going to Hawaii. The main problem was we didn’t know which island to visit. We would do research and wanted to see parts of all the main islands. Finally for our 15th anniversary this year, we booked a Hawaiian cruise on the Pride of America with Norwegian Cruise Line. It was finally happening, we were going to Hawaii.
Norwegian Cruise Line is the only cruise line that has a ship designated to just cruise Hawaii. There are a few other ships that stop at an island or two, but then go elsewhere. A full 7 days in Hawaii for our 15th anniversary! We had an amazing time, and are so glad we went. See the 5 reasons why you should go on a Hawaiian cruise.
See All The Islands
The thing that stopped us from visiting Hawaii for so long, was we didn’t know which island to visit. We wanted to see the volcano on The Big Island, we wanted to snorkel in Maui, and wanted to see the beauty of Kauai. Trying to do all of that on one trip, flying between the islands seemed daunting. But with going on the Pride of America, we were able to do that and more. The cruise leaves from Oahu and stops in Maui, Hilo on the Big Island, Kona, and Kauai, before heading back to Oahu. We had almost 2 full days in Maui and Kauai, so we were able to see and do a lot. We were able to get a taste of everything, so now when we go back, we know where we want to explore and spend more time. I see Kauai in our future for sure.
The Hawaiian islands are beautiful, and have activities for everyone. If you love hiking and outdoor activities, you have plenty to keep you busy. If you want something a little bit more low key, you can lay on the beach or walk around the cities, or visit fruit of coffee plantations. Each island is different and something new to see. The ship sails by the Napoli coast on Kauai, so you can see the majestic beauty of that from the ship, you don’t have to take a separate boat tour while on the island.
Pride of America is a ship that holds about 2400 people. But you don’t feel packed in and like you are fighting the crowd. There are plenty of pool chairs and pool space for everyone. With countless bars on board, you can always find a drink easily. Each night in the theater, there is a show you can go to. Everything from comics to magicians to song and dance shows. We saw Charles Bach perform on the ship, and he has had shows in Vegas and many other places. They have talented performers, and very entertaining shows. I can’t always get my husband to go to a show at home, but he enjoyed them on the ship.
If you decide not to get off the ship at a stop or come back early, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy on board. There is more than just sitting by the pool. You can find a game room, library, ping pong, shuffle board, and more. The staff also puts on trivia contests, crafts, games, a daily movie, and other challenges. My husband just may have won the Sudoku competition one day! And there is shopping! Did you forget your Hawaiian shirt at home? No fears, you can pick one up on board. Or toiletries you may have forgotten, snacks and more. I was eyeing the jewelry store myself.
Pride of America just underwent a huge renovation in March 2016. They invested over 30 million dollars to refurbish the ship. Pretty much everything from top to bottom was redone – rooms were painted, new bedding, new flooring. All of the restaurants were completely redone and updated. The common areas were completely overhauled as well. And it was well worth the money, the ship looks brand new.
When you stop on the ship, everything that you need is there, in one place. Your room, food, shopping, entertainment…everything. And it goes from port to port for you. So you can go to your room, unpack your stuff, get comfortable and stay in the same place for 7 nights. Each room has a closet full of hangers, shelves, drawers, and other storage for you. So you can empty your suit case, push it under the bed, and forget out it until Friday. Each morning a cabin steward will come make your bed for you, put out fresh towels, and tidy up. Then while you are eating dinner they will be back to turn down your bed for the evening. Definitely catering you could get used to.
One nice thing about Norwegian Cruise Line is they have anytime dining. So if you are hungry early, you can eat when you want. Or if you stay on the island later into the evening seeing the sites, you can still eat when you get back. You aren’t tied into a certain time. The ship stays in port in Maui and Kauai overnight, so you can eat early, and go back out later if you want. Super easy to make the trip yours.
If you aren’t sure what to do on each island, you can let the excursions desk help you. They have planned different excursions for each stop. They have something for everyone and every fitness and interest level. You can book a helicopter tour with them, snorkeling, or a bus tour of the city. They make it easy for you. And the staff there is always willing to help if you have questions. When you book an excursion with the ship, they take care of transferring you back and forth from the ship, so you don’t have to worry about being late or getting lost.
Pride of America has countless dining options. They have 2 main dining rooms, that are casual dress, and you can be seated at any time. Then they have the buffet for those that just want to grab something quick. We found a burger gar, a 50’s style diner, a gelato place, a spot for cupcakes and more wandering around the ship as well. And to top it off they have 5 specialty restaurants. The specialty restaurants do cost more, but are so worth it. I am actually going to do another post in a couple week just on the food. So stay tuned, because it just might be what convinces you to go on a Hawaiian cruise!
The main dining room is open for breakfast and lunch, so if you want a sit down meal you can head there. If you don’t want much, or are in a hurry the buffet is a good option for breakfast and lunch. The Cadillac Diner is open 24 hours a day, so if that 2am French fry craving strikes, head there! Trust me, you will NEVER go hungry while on board the ship.
Saves You Money
Going to Hawaii is expensive. We looked at hotels on most of the islands and it was hard to come by anything decent that was less than $250 a night. And we didn’t want to stay in the same place each night, so flying to the different islands, renting a car, eating out every meal; it adds up fast! The price of the Norwegian cruise includes all of your lodging, meals, and transportation to each island. So all you have to pay for is the activities you want to do. In the end we were able to see more than we ever would have on our own, for a fraction of the price.
One thing that we would never do on vacation is go to a show every night. But on the cruise ship, we could go see the comedian, magician or whatever show was going on that night at no cost. We aren’t really the type to head to the bars and go dancing all night long, although that is an option! So getting to have free entertainment after dinner, instead of just going back to the hotel was definitely a perk.
We had an amazing time on our Hawaiian cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line, we could not have asked for a better time. The food, the ship, the islands, it was all amazing. So if you want to experience Hawaii, I can not recommend Pride of American and Norwegian Cruise Line enough!
**I received a discount on the price of the cruise for writing this review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
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Monday 30th of October 2017
this ship seems to have more "additional fee dining areas" than "regular dining areas"..... or is this an incorrect perception on my part? Do you recommend buying any of the dining "packages" in advance? I will be tra veling with 3 adults and 1 teen-age boy.
thanks for your response to this inquiry
Monday 30th of October 2017
Michele - This ship does have a lot of additional fee dining areas. They have the main dining room (2 levels), a diner and the buffet area for meal times. I would definitely recommend one of the packages. The food in the fee areas was so much better, it was worth it. I wrote about some of the dining options on this post as well, not sure if you saw it. https://dinnersdishesanddesserts.com/dining-guide-pride-of-america/
Friday 18th of November 2016
I adore Hawaii but never thought about how many advantages there are to cruising all the islands!
Wednesday 16th of November 2016
Hawaii is such a magical place and it sounds as though you got a wonderful taste of the islands on your cruise!
Carrie @Frugal Foodie Mama
Tuesday 15th of November 2016
It looks like a cruise is the way to go if you are wanting to get a good sampling of what Hawaii has to offer! :) And it totally makes sense why it is much more budget friendly than trying to do all that island hopping on your own.
Saturday 12th of November 2016
I haven't been the biggest fan of ocean cruising, mainly because I don't like all the time at sea. But it sounds like your itinerary afforded you plenty of time off the ship to actually explore. Having two days each in Maui and Kauai is enough to cover some ground on those islands.