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WrittenOnYourHeart

New to NCL - Just booked Pride of America

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Hi all!

 

I’ve just booked Pride of America for July 2021 for the first part of my birthday trip (I will go to Disney’s Aulani for a few days after) to celebrate my 50th birthday! I’m in an ocean view cabin with the beverage package and the shore excursion credit as my perks.

 

I’ve cruised Royal (3 of the Radiance class ships), HAL (once to Alaska), fathom (to Cuba and then Cuba/DR when it existed), and mostly Disney (all their ships), so I’m not new to cruising, but I’m new to Norwegian. I’m also gluten-free due to a wheat allergy.

 

What tips do you have for a new NCL cruiser?

 

Thanks!

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The Hawaii cruise is a bit different, a floating hotel that gets you around the islands.  Many people rent cars for excursions and DIY.  Make sure you contact the access desk (someone will chime in I'm sure about the phone number) so they can tag your reservation.  I believe you will meet with the Maitre d' to go over menus and select what you are able to eat.

Just be prepared there isn't much pixie dust, and that the crew on the POA is mostly American so the level of service might not be what you are expecting compared to a Disney or RCCL Caribbean cruise.

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1 hour ago, Sauer-kraut said:

The Hawaii cruise is a bit different, a floating hotel that gets you around the islands.  Many people rent cars for excursions and DIY.  Make sure you contact the access desk (someone will chime in I'm sure about the phone number) so they can tag your reservation.  I believe you will meet with the Maitre d' to go over menus and select what you are able to eat.

Just be prepared there isn't much pixie dust, and that the crew on the POA is mostly American so the level of service might not be what you are expecting compared to a Disney or RCCL Caribbean cruise.

 

Thanks. I don’t even consider RCCL to have pixie dust, so I can deal with that.

 

Driving is NOT an option. I live in NYC and have not had a car or driven since 2006. Being solo in a place like hawaii in a rental car is NOT the place to start again. Fortunately I am not allergic to ship-based excursions.

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4 minutes ago, WrittenOnYourHeart said:

 

Thanks. I don’t even consider RCCL to have pixie dust, so I can deal with that.

 

Driving is NOT an option. I live in NYC and have not had a car or driven since 2006. Being solo in a place like hawaii in a rental car is NOT the place to start again. Fortunately I am not allergic to ship-based excursions.

You have picked the absolute best way to see Hawaii. In port every day (and 2 overnights). Lots and lots of shore time. 

 

Aulani is a wonderful, self contained world. But is far from Waikiki (which is o.k.,,, not missing a whole lot there). And it is a long, long way from home (long flight plus 6 hour time difference), so flying in a few days early is the right way to do things.... along with immediately trying to sleep on Hawaiian time.

 

Think about booking a tour out to the Polynesian Cultural Center on the North Shore. Or,,, just sit back and sip tropical drinks with Micky and Mini (who are always around the property). 

 

Then enjoy your freestyle cruise. 

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27 minutes ago, BirdTravels said:

You have picked the absolute best way to see Hawaii. In port every day (and 2 overnights). Lots and lots of shore time. 

 

Aulani is a wonderful, self contained world. But is far from Waikiki (which is o.k.,,, not missing a whole lot there). And it is a long, long way from home (long flight plus 6 hour time difference), so flying in a few days early is the right way to do things.... along with immediately trying to sleep on Hawaiian time.

 

Think about booking a tour out to the Polynesian Cultural Center on the North Shore. Or,,, just sit back and sip tropical drinks with Micky and Mini (who are always around the property). 

 

Then enjoy your freestyle cruise. 

 

Thanks!

 

Aulani is actually after the cruise to chill. I will definitely fly in a couple of days early though and stay somewhere in Honolulu.

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3 hours ago, WrittenOnYourHeart said:

Hi all!

 

I’ve just booked Pride of America for July 2021 for the first part of my birthday trip (I will go to Disney’s Aulani for a few days after) to celebrate my 50th birthday! I’m in an ocean view cabin with the beverage package and the shore excursion credit as my perks.

 

I’ve cruised Royal (3 of the Radiance class ships), HAL (once to Alaska), fathom (to Cuba and then Cuba/DR when it existed), and mostly Disney (all their ships), so I’m not new to cruising, but I’m new to Norwegian. I’m also gluten-free due to a wheat allergy.

 

What tips do you have for a new NCL cruiser?

 

Thanks!

 

I have sailed both DCL and NCL while having celiac and both are very similar. You will preorder the night before at dinner (if you do the MDR) just like you do on DCL and it will be attached to your record so when you go to dinner the next night, you will get what you ordered. For the buffet it is harder, you can ask to speak with a chef or a head person and they will advise you what’s safe. For the specialty restaurants you tell them you have the allergy and they work with you to get you a meal. Even teppanyaki is safe.

its pretty easy and painless.

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6 minutes ago, IamAlyce said:

 

I have sailed both DCL and NCL while having celiac and both are very similar. You will preorder the night before at dinner (if you do the MDR) just like you do on DCL and it will be attached to your record so when you go to dinner the next night, you will get what you ordered. For the buffet it is harder, you can ask to speak with a chef or a head person and they will advise you what’s safe. For the specialty restaurants you tell them you have the allergy and they work with you to get you a meal. Even teppanyaki is safe.

its pretty easy and painless.

 

Thank you!!

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We did 3 Robert's Tours when we were on the POA, highly recommend them. 

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Highly recommend the sunrise Haleakala bike tour on Maui.  The biking is pretty much coasting downhill and seeing the sunrise is spectacular although a bit chilly.

 

Then on Kauai look into the lava tube water tour.  You ride in inner tubes through lava tubes and 5 caves.  Very safe and quite an adventure!

 

Both tours can be booked privately but since you’re traveling solo, you will probably feel more relaxed with ship tours.  Both of ours were and did not feel crowded.

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25 minutes ago, mertziek said:

Highly recommend the sunrise Haleakala bike tour on Maui.  The biking is pretty much coasting downhill and seeing the sunrise is spectacular although a bit chilly.

 

Then on Kauai look into the lava tube water tour.  You ride in inner tubes through lava tubes and 5 caves.  Very safe and quite an adventure!

 

Both tours can be booked privately but since you’re traveling solo, you will probably feel more relaxed with ship tours.  Both of ours were and did not feel crowded.

 

Thanks!

 

I have been looking at a sunrise excursion, but not cycling. I’m not the best bike rider - I did forget! Ha!

 

I’ll look into that Kauai tour. I definitely want to do the one that goes to movie locations.

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Posted (edited)

I thought state law forbids a drink package in Hawaii or are we talking sodas?

Edited by pspercy

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Posted (edited)

We ate the majority of our meals at port(s) if that gives you any idea of the quality and service in the dining rooms.

 

Other than that the cruise rocked...

IMG_6659.jpg

Edited by need2cruisesoon

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I have to respectfully disagree with the food comments.  I thought it was great, but then we tend to not be very picky people and if we see something we don't like, we politely tell someone.  We only ate in the main dining room two nights on POA and we actually preferred to eat in the buffett all the other nights.  Found the selection to be more diverse, not as crowded and tasted just as good.  One night was even luau themed and they had roast pig, and several other quasi Hawaiian dishes.  Even poi if I recall correctly.  I highly recommend on Maui renting a car on your first day and doing your own tour, so you don't worry about getting back late.  Rent your car from the Maui airport is the easiest and if you make it directly with the car company, they will send a van to pick you up directly at the port otherwise you have to walk out to the street and get an uber at the strip mall across the street.  Download one of the tour apps from (I think) Shaka that uses GPS to give you a narrated turn by turn tour along popular routes such as up to the summit of Haleakala or the Hana highway.  It even has Hawaiian music in between stops and has suggested stopping points for things like "last gas before the national park" or shopping recommendations in little mom and pop stores.  In Maui we also did the Molokini crater snorkling excursion which although there was alot of people, was still fun.  They give you plenty of time and if you wait a few minutes to get in the water, the crowd thins out quickly.  We liked it so much we're planning on going back next winter with my brother and his wife.

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10 hours ago, AllenO said:

I have to respectfully disagree with the food comments.  I thought it was great, but then we tend to not be very picky people and if we see something we don't like, we politely tell someone.  We only ate in the main dining room two nights on POA and we actually preferred to eat in the buffett all the other nights.  Found the selection to be more diverse, not as crowded and tasted just as good.  One night was even luau themed and they had roast pig, and several other quasi Hawaiian dishes.  Even poi if I recall correctly.  I highly recommend on Maui renting a car on your first day and doing your own tour, so you don't worry about getting back late.  Rent your car from the Maui airport is the easiest and if you make it directly with the car company, they will send a van to pick you up directly at the port otherwise you have to walk out to the street and get an uber at the strip mall across the street.  Download one of the tour apps from (I think) Shaka that uses GPS to give you a narrated turn by turn tour along popular routes such as up to the summit of Haleakala or the Hana highway.  It even has Hawaiian music in between stops and has suggested stopping points for things like "last gas before the national park" or shopping recommendations in little mom and pop stores.  In Maui we also did the Molokini crater snorkling excursion which although there was alot of people, was still fun.  They give you plenty of time and if you wait a few minutes to get in the water, the crowd thins out quickly.  We liked it so much we're planning on going back next winter with my brother and his wife.

 

Thanks. As I said above, I do not drive. Have not driven since I sold my car when I moved to New York in 2006.I still have a license, but... A rental car in a place like Hawaii is nowhere to start driving again after what will be 15 years at that point. I have the Shore Ex credit as one of my perks because I got 2 and it was the only one I'd use (not being allergic to ship excursions like most people on this site in general are) since I am spoiled to Palo on Disney's ships and no other specialty restaurant will measure up to that and I like to unplug as much as possible on vacation (plus I should be able to get service in port, so...) no need for the internet.

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On 4/14/2019 at 1:35 PM, TYTY said:

We did 3 Robert's Tours when we were on the POA, highly recommend them. 

 

Which ones did you do?  Thanks!

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In Oahu we did the Peral Harbour, USS Arizona & Honolulu City Tour.  In Maui we did the Heavenly Hana Tour and in Kauai we did the Waimea Canyon Tour and also the Smith's Family Luau.  All were very professional and were in the small shuttle buses, no big buses!  Also much cheaper than the excursions going through NCL.  

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8 hours ago, TYTY said:

In Oahu we did the Peral Harbour, USS Arizona & Honolulu City Tour.  In Maui we did the Heavenly Hana Tour and in Kauai we did the Waimea Canyon Tour and also the Smith's Family Luau.  All were very professional and were in the small shuttle buses, no big buses!  Also much cheaper than the excursions going through NCL.  

Thank you so much!

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On 4/15/2019 at 4:25 AM, IamAlyce said:

 

I have sailed both DCL and NCL while having celiac and both are very similar. You will preorder the night before at dinner (if you do the MDR) just like you do on DCL and it will be attached to your record so when you go to dinner the next night, you will get what you ordered. For the buffet it is harder, you can ask to speak with a chef or a head person and they will advise you what’s safe. For the specialty restaurants you tell them you have the allergy and they work with you to get you a meal. Even teppanyaki is safe.

its pretty easy and painless.

Hi - we have booked this cruise for Sept 2020 and I am a newly diagnosed coeliac (we spell it differently in NZ) - how do you deal with the meals on the first night?  Should I contact them beforehand?  Thanks for your help 

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On 5/23/2019 at 4:23 AM, kiwi_family6 said:

Hi - we have booked this cruise for Sept 2020 and I am a newly diagnosed coeliac (we spell it differently in NZ) - how do you deal with the meals on the first night?  Should I contact them beforehand?  Thanks for your help 

Yes, contact them beforehand.  They will satisfy your needs.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/14/2019 at 8:14 AM, WrittenOnYourHeart said:

 

What tips do you have for a new NCL cruiser?

 

 

 

I'm new to NCL also, will be on Pride of America last week of August this year. The best advice I can give you is spend a lot of time on this forum.....searching, asking questions, taking notes. These folks that are experienced cruisers have a world of knowledge and are eager to help. Good luck on planning your cruise!

 

Excursions we are taking:

Best of Maui

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Kilauea rim)

Luau Kalamuku and Plantation Train

Pearl Harbor/Oahu Circle Tour (on our own day before cruise)

Kona Brewery (self guided lol)

Edited by rtread
add to

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We did the Pride of America 2 years ago.  I believe it was the absolute best way to see the islands.  The ship excursions will be fine and you will get to see so many amazing things.  Before we sailed, I also read all the posts on these boards.  I was prepared to be disappointed with the service from the crew because they were all Americans.  I am not sure what the other members experienced, but my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the American crew.  We could understand all of them and would ask them which state they were from to start a conversation.  They had much more personality and we enjoyed the humor and quick come backs.  It can sometimes feel with an international crew that they are groveling for a good review.  That was never a feeling on Pride of America.  It was not a ship with all the new bells and whistles, but we really enjoyed everything about it.  I do not enjoy eating in the buffet, so we often went to the 50's coffee shop cafe for breakfast.  It was never busy and there were tables to eat at outside.  Do not worry about negative comments about your cruise.  There are people who will complain about everything.  Enjoy every minute!  It was a trip of a lifetime for us

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My NCL tip is, If they are still offering the lei making classes on the ship, go if you can.it was   Fun and you end up with another beautiful lei, or two.

its such a port intensive cruise, with so much to see on every island, rest up!  

 

Ive Done POA 3 times, love the cruise, love Hawaii.  

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We just did the May 18-25 sailing. Our daughter is gluten-free and they were very attentive to the dietary restrictions. Most of it is obvious to her- such as don't get the bun with the burger.

 

We booked one excursion through NCL (Maui - PWF Molokini snorkel), and one Roberts Hawaii excursion (Kauai - Waimea Canyon, Wailua River & Grotto Tour). I highly recommend both.

 

We go to Hawaii about every 2 years on average, so this cruise was a nice way 2 experience all of the islands in one trip. We didn't do an excursion on the big island as we have done most of the island before, and wanted some relaxation days to just sit by the pool or on the balcony.

 

Other's had recommended renting a car. However, on our first day in Maui my wife and daughter wanted some beach time, so we took an Uber to-and-from a beach about 8 miles away near Paia.

 

Feel free to ask any questions about our experience. We would definitely do it again, but a Mediterranean cruise is next on our bucket list.

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On 5/23/2019 at 4:23 AM, kiwi_family6 said:

Hi - we have booked this cruise for Sept 2020 and I am a newly diagnosed coeliac (we spell it differently in NZ) - how do you deal with the meals on the first night?  Should I contact them beforehand?  Thanks for your help 

Hi, they will have some meals that are marked on the menu as Gluten Free and you can choose from one of them that first night. You can also speak with a chef if you want to order something different but usually they have a variety of choices. I try and just pick something easy like a salad and a plain meat or fish that first evening and from then on you can preorder your meals.

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