Hawaii Cruise Vacations

In the last few years, traveling on cruise ships has become an enjoyable choice for visitors to see the islands. Many major cruise lines spend time in Hawaii every year but it is Norwegian Cruise Line that is dedicated to year-round inter-island cruising.

Cruising in Hawaii allows you to see at least four different islands without the hassles of airport travel or packing and unpacking between islands.

Cruising the islands is suitable for people that need an affordable way to travel to more than one island, or for those that would rather spend their money on off-road adventures while the ship is in port for 96 hours. Being that every island is different, it gives the traveler a perfect way to experience the beauty of the islands in more of a practical way.

Norwegian Cruise Lines or NCL America has three main ships with seven day cruises. They are The Pride of Hawaii, The Pride of America and their newest, The Pride of Aloha. Each ship is a bit different in style and theme and all of them begin their cruises in Honolulu on Oahu. These ships are perhaps not for the professional cruise ship traveler, but more for a traveler that wants to see Hawaii and have a great cruise.

The Pride of Hawaii is a large and spacious vessel which features 10 restaurants, three swimming pools, a full-size spa and lovely public rooms. The ships theme is based on the natural splendor of the Pacific Island volcanic chain. The décor in the staterooms and corridors is based on an effervescent representation of the tropical South Pacific where in the public spaces it is a bit more reserved in style.

There are ten restaurants, twelve distinct bars, three pools, a library and an all-inclusive children’s facility. The public rooms have their own individual flair. There is the main entertainment room, The Stardust Theatre, The Spinnakers Lounge with it’s aquatic feel, The Medusa Cabaret and nightclub with its orange and purple décor and the Aloha Bar or Star Bar with their tropical wicker and wood island adornment.

The ships cuisine in the Aloha Nui Buffet is adequate. There is a carverie for meat and fruits, a sushi and soup station as well as fresh baked goods. There is an omelet and waffle station outdoors but the best food is in the other two restaurants on board, the Grand Pacific and the Alizar. Both restaurants have different surrounding with the same menu featuring large portions of outstanding cuisines. There are also reservation only restaurants with a cover charge. They are Cagney’s Steakhouse, Paniolo Tapas Bar and Restaurant, Jasmine Garden Asian Restaurant and Papa’s Italian Kitchen.

The cabins differ from standard and small to luxurious suites with private hot tubs so take time to find what it is that suits you best. Each standard cabin, although small, is quaint and has all the basic amenities such as a refrigerator, telephone, TV/radio and a coffee maker (which is actually rarely seen on a cruise ship).

They also claim to have the most modern suite complex in Hawaii with 10 Courtyard Villas and two Garden Villas. This suite complex also has a private courtyard and sundeck with an enclosed swimming pool. These guests have a concierge lounge at there service, as well.

There is also a fitness center that is located on the Pool Deck/Sports Deck/ Sun Deck which is large and protected from the wind. This will be the best place to watch sunsets or see a new port as you arrive. If your vacation isn’t relaxing enough and need to spoil yourself just a little bit more, head into the Ying & Yang Health Spa and Beauty Salon where you will find massage and steam rooms.

For those internet savvy cruisers, there is an internet café that offers wireless service but only in the café’s surrounding area.

Attire for cruising is relative to the traveler. You can dress up or down, except after 6pm when blue jeans or shorts are not appropriate in restaurants or public areas. Do remember that the islands are a bit “laid back.” So if you are planning to do a lot of sight seeing or travel on the islands, the locals don’t pay any mind to the Gucci pants you may want to wear.

The next NCL-American Ship is the Pride of America. This ship has over 660 balcony staterooms, eight restaurants, three pools and a general facility for children. There is also the Conservatory which is an indoor live plant and flower garden, a newly added category of family suites, an art gallery and a tennis court.

The Pride of America, as you can guess, praises the United States. The ships décor, although sometimes kitschy, can be fun and colorful. All of the public rooms are devoted to something awe inspiringly American. There is the Capitol Rotunda, the Skyline Dining Room, the Soho Art Gallery as well as the Cadillac Diner which is a must see.

There is also Pink’s Champagne Bar, the Mardi Gras Nightclub, the Gold Rush Saloon and the Napa Wine Bar if you want to tie one on for the evening.

Because it holds a circular auditorium and a handful of conference rooms perfect for lessons and lectures, it is well known for being one of the best seaworthy facilities fitting for meetings and small conventions. It also has a Hawaiian Cultural Center if you want to know more about the islands culture.

The main dining buffet’s cuisine is the similar to that of the Pride of Hawaii’s, it is passable. The finer restaurants are Liberty and Skyline. The four reservation only restaurants are Jefferson Bistro, Lazy J’s, Pacific Rim and the popular Cadillac Diner, serving a variety of cuisines.

As far as entertainment goes, there is a Tihati Polynesian show which is a very talented group of local performers. Other Broadway Style production shows are performed in the main Hollywood theatre.

There is a nightclub called the Mardi Gras Cabaret which has DJ’s spinning into late in the night as well as a cigar bar located on Deck 6. There is also a Diamond Head Auditorium that gives a panoramic view of the ocean.

The ship holds 1069 cabins, 660 of them balcony staterooms with gorgeous views. The standard cabins are similar to those of the Pride of Hawaii’s, small and practical. The Pool/Sports/Sun Deck also has great views with a fitness center, basket ball/volleyball court, a golf driving range, and a batting cage. There is also the Sante Fe Spa for those of you that want that extra pampering.

The last but certainly not least of these island vessels is the Pride of Aloha. If you are looking to immerse yourself in learning about the Hawaiian history and culture while traveling throughout the islands, this is definitely one way to do it. The décor is bright and lovely like the islands themselves and the focus on the culture is apparent from the moment you see the plumeria lei on the ships hull.

There is a three deck high atrium that rises to the deck of the ship to allow the delightful island sun in all day long. The public rooms are the Hawaiian cultural center and the Kumu (Teacher) Cultural Center which depict stages of Hawaiian history. The Aloha Atrium, Blue Hawaii Night Club, Outrigger Lounge, Mark Twain Library, Captain Cook’s Bar, Plantation Club and the Longboard Bar are all based around a mid Pacific island theme.

Like the other two NCL America ships, the main dining buffet called the Huki Lau Café, is fair. The other two main restaurants are the Palace Main and the Crossings. The three reservation only restaurants are the Kahili, the Royal Palm Bistro and The Pacific Heights Pan Pacific Restaurant are all contemporary cuisine and have a cover charge.

There is also Hawaiian inspired entertainment with the infamous and exciting Tihati Polynesian Show or other Broadway style shows with dancing and cabaret. The Zone is the disco and karaoke joint as well as the Blue Hawaii Night Club which has live music for dancing too.

The cabins vary from 121 sq. ft. to 149 sq. ft. with an ocean view. These cabins are nice and have the appropriate amenities. There is also penthouse and owner suites with private decks and a pool or connecting cabins for families.

The Pool/Sport/ Sun deck is similar to the Pride of America and there is also a Steiner Waves Spa. With two pools, four hot tubs and a children’s splash pool you are sure to keep cool. There are kid counselors in the Kids Korner as well as a teen disco.

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