PRIDE OF AMERICA
The best thing about cruising Hawaiian Islands on Pride of America is, I get to discover the best of exotic and incredible places, while cruising in comfort.
Hawaiian Islands Cruise in Brief
The Novergian Cruise Liner – Pride of America, offers ultimate holiday cruise around the Hawaiian Islands. The cruise start and end in Honolulu and offers an amazing mix of experience taking you through Hawaiian Islands. Cruising Hawaii’s Paradise as you visit beautiful white sandy beaches, magnificent views to exquisite cuisine. You get to visit the four major islands of Maui, Hawaii (also known as “The Big Island”), Kauai and Oahu on this incredible Pride of America. This vibrant cruise liner newly refurbished in 2016 provides guests a collection of amenities with more than 15 restaurants and exciting nightly entertainments. What a perfect combination to discover paradise and cruise in luxurious style that will remain with you forever.
These beautiful islands of Hawaii are most beautiful destinations in the world. Each islands have an unique taste of its own – golden beaches, mersmerising landscapes and incredible nature. They are so unique and different. My thought of flying to each island was not on my list of travel itinerary. The process of going through each airport security systems, disembarking and embarking on each flights, checking-in and out of each hotels, packing and unpacking luggages on each destination would definitely be my “holiday in Hell”. Cruising was the only option and the friendliest way to see the Hawaiian Islands in comfort and has been on my priority-list for sometime. My desire of visiting different islands were something exotic, enticing and filled with unexpected surprises was something I wanted to experience. Embarking on a cruise meant, I could learn about the Hawaiian culture through the eyes of native ambassadors on board the ship. I wanted to enjoy port stops in Kahului, Maui, Lao Valley and the old whaling town of Lahaina. My ambition was visit Volcanoe National Park and fly over the active volcano in Kona and Hilo. Also, to fly over Nawiliwili, Kauai and embrace the spectacular canyons, cliffs and waterfalls the “Garden Island” as it is well-known for. Finally, I wanted to see the breathtaking Na Pali coast. All these have enticed me to explore the Hawaiian islands as I sit back with a refreshing beverage and taking photographs of amazing colours and incredible views that lies ahead.
As the Waikiki shores meet big waves in the Pacific while absorbing the sunshine, shorelines, and poignant wartime history of Honolulu before setting sail on a seven-night cruise through the tropical paradise of the Hawaiian Islands. Aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America, I dreamily drift to colorful jungles and black sand beaches, deep canyons and towering volcanoes, and sprawling coffee plantations and small sleepy towns. From the lush isles of Oahu, Maui, and Kauai to the Big Island of Hawaii, Pride of America have created a mesmerizing menu of included and optional excursions to immerse myself in the seas and sights of the 50th state. To see the spectacular sunrise over the gigantic Haleakala Crater, board a helicopter to soar over rainforests and bubbling lava, or simply park myself on deck with a glass of bubbly while navigating through Hawaiian islands will complete my hunger for this paradise islands.
Leaving the vast and populated with high-rise buildings and white sandy beaches of Honolulu, I began my cruise onboard the Pride of America in Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii. Within minutes of security clearance, I found myself inside this mega cruise-liner. As I stepped inside, I was totally immersed into the colour, culture and flavours of Hawaii. Ease into this warm embrace of Hawaii’s “Aloha Spirit” and donning a flower lei on arrival definitely kick-start my love affair with the Pacific islands. I found myself indugled in Aloha mood and was already in so much fun. This was a perfect start to my magical cruise. Departing, Honolulu in the early hours of late afternoon, I get to enjoy the views of Honolulu as the cruise-liner slowly leave the shores, into the open sea. Relaxing at the top-deck as we cruised away, while enjoying the magnificent views of the foreshore, creating a picture perfect backdrop. The thought of visiting different Hawaiian Islands and getting close to lush rainforest, magnificent waterfalls, embracing the soaring cliffs of the Napali Coast and flying over Kilauea Volcano, the most active volcano in the world gave me a sight of relief. Am gonna have a great time on the cruise and the adventure that awaits for me ahead.
Aloha! while onboard this mega cruise-liner, you’re entertain from the beginning of the cruise to the end. The Capitol Atrium, with its soaring Tiffany-style glass dome and grand staircase, you’ll know the granduer of this spectacular cruise ship. While cruising the paradise in style, there are 16 dining choices and 12 bars and lounges. There are excellent family accommodation, spacious suites and lots of private balconies. It is perfect for whale watching, witnessing Kilauea Volcano and taking in the dramatic views of the Na Pali Coast. Yes, there is so much to do while you’re at sea. The variety of activities they offer onboard for guests to experience and enjoy are endless. You get to choose what you enjoy from live entertainment, shopping, gambling to island-spired activities or do nothing at all and relaxed by the pool-side while enjoying the endless ocean views. All these activities and entertainments are all inclusive, apart from beverages and specialised restaurants. Without a doubt, cruises are all about eating and drinking.
While onboard, apart from making myself familiar with the ship’s layout as my first priority. I casually wander to various areas of the cruise-ship during the journey. To make it more fun and enjoyable during the cruise, I tend to socialise with others in attending various fun activities. This certainly help me discover a whole new world of fun activities and meeting other cruise enthusiast from all walks of life. I was able to choose which activities to attend from the cruise-program which are delivered to rooms daily or on onboard tv activity program. For non-social interactions, I tried my luck at the onboard casino, gone shopping, watching movies at the cinema, sun bath by the pool side, gym and more.
Wine & Dining
The cruises are all about dining and drinking. Apart from attending all onboard attractions and activities at no cost but when it comes to tasting some of the cuisines onboard, dining in A’ la-carte and specialised restaurants were my favourite part of the evening rather than dining at smorgasbord restaurants. The cruises are all about eating, drinking and being entertain from live shows to clubs, bars and many more.
While on cruise, the offshore attractions and tours are endless on every island destination visited. As cruise-liners are aware of every island’s major attractions, they offer variety of official excursions on what there to see and do in every islands visited. To gain a better experience on each port of call, the best option is to do both official and non-official guided tours. This means that it can be cheaper and do things in your own phase.
Kahului in the island of Maui is the largest town and commercial centre of the island of Maui in Hawaii. On my first full day in the Valley Isle, I met the conservation naturalists of the Maui Ocean Centre, home to the world’s largest collection of live Pacific corals, Hawaiian green sea turtles, sharks and thousands of vibrant tropical fish. By the end of the day, as the sun sets over the Pacific, I took a gentle stroll to nearby Whalers Village and then venture into old town Lahaina to dine at one of the many restaurants. The following day was another full day to indulge myself on my own terms to do as little or as much as I want in paradise. Rising early, I went on a self scenic drive – “Road to Hana”.
Road to Hana
Not knowing what to expect on this route but more I kept driving along this road, it was breathtaking but it was terrifying on ever turn. This road is famous for its curve and bending narrow roads, lush tropical rainforest, incredible jaw-dropping cliffs, tumbling waterfalls, lave cliffs and rugged northern coastline. Though, I enjoyed the drive with incredibly breathtaking views, I was totally wide awake and nervous throughout the whole drive. As I navigate through very sharp bends, curves, along very narrow road and jaw-dropping cliffs made it very uneasy, frightening and terrifying experience. This drive is not recommended for those people who are prone to motion sickness or suffer from back problems. It is unbelievably very windy and some part of the road is unpaved and is totally dangerous during wet season.
Hawaii (the Big Island)
Arriving in the next port of call, was Hilo, in the island of Hawaii – known as the Big Island. This island is the largest settlement and census-designated place in Hawaii County. The town overlooks Hilo Bay, at the base of two shield volcanoes; Mauna Loa – an active volcano and Mauna Kea – a dormant volcano. Much of the island is at some risk from lava flows from Mauna Loa and tourism is less noticeable here in Hilo but there is plenty to do. However, it has its share of some of the world’s most extravagant and spectacular natural beauty and attractions.
Taking an all-day official off-shore excursion, meant that I was insured and the cruise-ship won’t leave if there was a delay on the tour. Our guide was a local resident who has lived most of his entire life on the island and been operating his private tours for 20 years. With someone with that tourism background, I knew I was going to get what I wanted to see and experience.
Gardens & Waterfalls
Our first visit within 10-15 minutes drive was the botanical garden and the waterfall. Here was the chance to see this breathtaking view of the Rainbow Falls and unique plants which are native to the island. Been a keen gardener back home, to me this was the place where I would have love to spend most of my time exploring this pristine natural gardens.
Continuing our tour, was the Kilauea volcano . We headed up the windy road to the top of the mountain. The view on the top was incredibly breathtaking, at the same time we could see the vast destruction that the volcano has done over the years and can see how mother nature can be cruel in its own way. It is still an active volcano today and the volcano continues to take centre stage with its eruptive performances. Accepting the natural phenomenal that it occurs, it is mind bubbling and I was amazed how this vast land has been filled with hot lava and ashes completely destroying the biodiversity and the ecosystem.
Our final tour ended with a visit to the Macadamia factory. Hawaii is renowned for its leading producers of Macadamia nuts in the world. Here you, get to have a first-hand educational tour of how the plants are first taken care of in the nursery to its final consumption by human beings. The process involved behind the scene is profoundly labour-intensive and how we don’t realised the time and work involved. Yes, a teacher may teach, a doctor may help patients, a lawyer may fight for justice and pilots may fly aeroplanes but the farmer feeds them all.
Hawaii (the Big Island)
Still on the Big Island, we had an over-night cruise from Hilo to Kona. Kona is a moku or district on the Big Island of Hawaii. Famous for its Ironman World Champion Triathlon held there and active volcano that is still spitting out lava. Kona offers the quintessential Hawaiian experience. Sunny, warm weather and crystal blue waters entice visitors to partake in a variety of surfside fun, snorkel, kayaking trips and many more fun and adventure activities. Here, I decided to take a helicopter flight to see the eye of the active volcano. It was evident that volcano eruption has caused the lava to flow through this massive hectares and hectares of land, causing vast destructions throughout this entire land, once abundance with plant life, towns and villages.
Kona Volcano Flight
It was time to take a helicopter flight to see the birds-eye-view of the eye of the volcano and the vast destruction from above. Launching off from the heliport, located in the heart of barred land, surrounded by black lava rocks resulting from the volcano eruption over the years. The aerial perspective got me above some of the most dangerous terrain around the volcano. Seeing the eye of the volcano and the sea of lava that goes for miles and miles from above was most impressive and beautiful in a terrifying way. Luckily, it was a perfect day with the smoothest air and best visibility. Taking this flight was the best way to see the best view of the volcano and the experience was beyond, something that will last with me forever.
Our final cruise of Hawaii’s paradise was Nawiliwili, located on the island of Kauai. Named after the Wiliwilli trees, this town has the most picturesque harbour. This port of Kauai is the gateway to what I believe to be the Hawaiis undisputed and most beautiful island. Known as the Garden Island, the name truly defines the islands phenomenal natural nature, from the dramatic mountains of Kokee to the cool rainforest of Haena. Here I took a helicopter flight over the Na Pali coastline and the breathtaking and terrifying cliffs and terrains.
Na Pali Flight
Taking this scenic flight and sightseeing the major facets of Kauai in a two-hour helicopter flight took me to the most remote, beautiful and majestic areas of the island. With headphones supplied, I was able to communicate directly with the pilot to answer any questions during the flight. Taking this flight narrated by the pilot added a unique experience as I marvelled and mesmerised everything below while enjoying the whole experience on air. This was by far the best experience I’ve ever had. It is the most efficient and unforgettable way to see all the nature in its glory that she offers. The flight took me through some of the most terrifying, yet most beautiful and incredibly breathtaking waterfalls and terrains. The views from above were unbelievably amazing and every direction captures the scenery of long dropping waterfalls, incredible Na Pali coastline, landscapes and lush tropical botanic kingdom. Yes, there is so much that can only be seen from above.
Now, it was time to say a fond a hui hou… until we meet again. Cruising back to Honolulu, capital of Hawaii, in the early hours of morning (7am). As I soak up the panoramic views of inviting deep blue waters, reflecting on how this seven-day cruise not only gave me the incredible experience of a lifetime but a great opportunity to see some of Hawaii’s Paradise. From most amazing cascading waterfalls, active volcanos, golden sandy beaches, history and cultural sites to pristine and unspoilt nature of this mix island adventure and carefree cruising. Each of the islands are unique and have its history with modern blend with traditional Hawaiian culture in the most wonderful way, giving each island an unique charm for its visitors that sure to stay with me forever.