Pride of America
Norwegian Cruise Line’s 2,186-passenger Pride of America is the only ship based in Hawaii year-round. The ship sails round-trip from Honolulu and stops at all the major Hawaiian islands, and there is a warm and welcoming aloha spirit — including cultural ambassadors — on board.
And, following a spring 2016 dry dock, Pride of America has a much more modern look. Decor got an upgrade throughout the ship, including all new furniture, updated lighting, and flat-screen TVs in every stateroom. A new look for the main dining room and specialty restaurants, including La Cucina, will be matched with revamped dinner menus in fall 2018.
The pool deck also got a refit, with a refinished pool and new lounge chairs; and the Mandara Spa has nearly doubled in size, boasting floor-to-ceiling sea views from manicure-pedicure stations, a meditation room, and a series of new treatments and luxury salon products.
What We Love
Moderno Churrascaria: The Brazilian steakhouse is a carnivore’s fantasy, with so many meats carved tableside you’ll be begging for mercy. It’s totally worth the $24.95 upcharge. Tip: Book ahead to dine on embarkation night for a magical view of Honolulu during sail-away.
Nā Pali Coast: The ship’s itinerary saves the best for last. Late afternoon on Friday the Pride of America sails past the spectacular Nā Pali Coast of Kauai for a breathtaking view of the dramatic lava-carved cliffs. The experience is best experienced from decks six and above (though the uppermost decks draw the biggest crowds), with a cocktail in hand.
Best Known For
All Hawaii, All the Time: The line boasts that you have 100 hours in port on the week-long itinerary, offering plenty of time to experience the islands’ beaches, volcanoes, and rain forests. Those hours in port include overnights in Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island, providing extra time to see the sights without rushing back to the ship.
Loose Schedule: The flexibility of freestyle dining is especially useful on overnight stops. With no reservations needed in the complimentary dining venues, passengers can wander in whenever they like for an afternoon snack or late-night treat.
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Who It's Best For
Older Couples: Much of the onboard entertainment is geared toward folks who appreciate the music world’s oldies and goodies (though on a fall 2018 sailing, we did catch a particularly enjoyable comedian for young people and old couples alike), and while there are a few families and groups of friends, most passengers come in pairs.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
This Is No Party Ship: Things quiet down pretty early on board, with most passengers retiring to their cabins after a long day on the beach or exploring in port.
Hawaii Is Expensive: Prices in town come with sticker shock, and some excursion costs are flat-out eye-popping. Budget tip: With some advance planning, it's easy to DIY outings and avoid the NCL upcharge. Car rentals are largely affordable — on Kauai for instance, free shuttles to the agencies are waiting in port when you disembark — and give you free-rein of the islands, away from pricey tourist hubs.
Dana McMahan is a Detroit-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for the Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post.
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Pride of America at a Glance
- Line: Norwegian Cruise Line
- Class: America
- Number of Passengers: 2186
- Ship Size: Large
- Launch Date: 2005
- Refurbish Date: 2016