You would be forgiven for thinking a tropical destination such as Hawaii would be crawling with cruise ships of all sizes in ports across the four major islands. While several ships visit the destination from the US West Coast at different times of the year, only a single ship is based in the destination year-round.
Norwegian Cruise Line launched the brand new ship Pride of America in 2005, sending it straight to Hawaii where it remains to this day. Now well-established, the ship is extremely popular with Australians who love its sampler-style itinerary, which showcases each of the US state’s four major islands over a week-long holiday, departing from the Honolulu Cruise Port.
Come onboard with Cruise Advice for a tour of some of the features on the 15-deck vessel.
Staterooms & Suites
Fresh from a bow-to-stern renovation in March 2016, Pride of America received updates to every one of more than 1,000 staterooms and suites, including new flooring, a bright and fresh colour scheme, furnishings and fittings. Technology was enhanced, most notably by the addition of an enormous new flat-screen television which adorns one wall.
Staterooms across the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet are being improved and standardised as part of a fleet-wide US$400 million (AU$519 million) refurbishment program. This means travellers on any Norwegian ship will benefit from a similar standard of accommodations once the entire refurb program has been completed.
For those interested in cruising Hawaii in luxury, the Deluxe Owner’s Suite (below) is one of the uppermost categories on the ship and features a Master Bedroom with King Bed and walk-in closet, with separate bath and shower in the main bathroom. Up to four guests can be accommodated in this category, with another two guests sleeping on a double-sofa in the living room. Extra features include a CD/DVD library, private balcony with hot tub, dining table and even a Baby Grand Piano. Full butler service is also provided to guests in this suite.
At the refreshed East Meets West sushi and sashimi bar, diners can watch on via a new Open Kitchen as chefs prepare their selections in front of their eyes. The venue, located on Deck 5, is a more casual dining outlet, offering guests the option of dining near the window or directly at the counter. Each dish is served a la carte, with the total bill charged to their stateroom.
Traditional Italian cooking techniques are employed by the chefs at La Cucina, one of the more popular specialty dining venues on Pride of America. Guests can enjoy classic dishes such as Lobster Fettucine or the lesser-known Osso Bucco among the many selections. A wide variety of pasta and veal dishes can also be found on the menu.
Previously operating under a single cover charge, La Cucina has now had its pricing structure modified to a la carte, with individually priced items. It is positioned on Deck 11 to maximise ocean views late in the day.
Located on Deck 5, John Adam’s Coffee Bar is also freshly made up and even boasts an expanded menu of coffee options, however guests can still finely tune their order to their specific tastes. Seating is a bit limited but the takeaway options mean guests can enjoy their hot drink wherever they can find a spot. Alongside the drinks selection, a number of pastries and cookies are also freshly made each morning.
Ultra-colourful, the Mardi Gras Cabaret Lounge & Nightclub puts on a huge party every night and as such, is often packed with revellers. Featuring plenty of lively music, the decor in this venue unsurprisingly reflects the popular annual New Orleans celebration.
None of the restaurants and bars on the ship were spared from the renovator’s touch during the ship’s recent transformation, also benefiting from new lighting and flooring, updated furniture and a new paint scheme.
Offering plenty of seating, the Aloha Lanai Bar is often crowded of an afternoon both in port and when at sea, with groups of all sizes enjoying a tropical drink or two before dinner. Favourite menu items including the classic Hawaiian Mai Tai as well as Surf Rider’s and the delectable Polynesian. The venue offers seating for 186 guests as well as plenty of standing room to enjoy the ocean views.
Anybody who has been to Hawaii can attest to the standout role that the iconic Royal Hawaiian Resort plays to the Hawaiian landscape. You can see it as you fly in, the property also known as the Pink Palace reflects an old-world Hawaiian charm and luxury.
On Pride of America, this heritage is celebrated in the form of Pink’s Champagne Bar and has been decorated to suit. This venue is located on Deck 6 and is reasonably large with seating for over 100 people at a time amid plenty of colourful floral schemes around the room. A wide variety of sparkling wines and champagnes are on the menu.
Hawaii is nothing if not an amazing destination for the whole family to visit, and the same attitude can be taken to the Pride of America vessel. Positioned on Deck 12 and catering to 72 young people at a time, the Connections Teen Club is a private space for the older kids to spend time among others their own age and away from Mum & Dad. The space offers activities such as a dance floor and video jukebox, table football and air hockey, along with their own private bar serving non-alcoholic drinks.
For the younger kids, again a separate space is on offer for them to enjoy. Always supervised by trained crew members experienced in working with kids, this venue features a paddling pool, soft play area, movie room, jungle gym and games area and computer games.