I started 2020 out with a BANG……in Hawaii!!! January 3rd, I got on a plane (see previous post for that drama story) and headed to Honolulu, where I spent the night in a lovely hotel in the middle of downtown. After a good night’s sleep, I boarded the Norwegian Pride of America cruise ship for a week of island hopping in paradise! It was a fabulous cruise – one I just might be inclined to do again, someday…..if I run out of other amazing places to visit! 🙂
this wasn’t my first time in Hawaii – I was there in 2009 for a four day visit and stayed just on Oahu. I loved it and wished I had more time and could see the other islands. So, I put a return visit with the intent to do an Island Hopping tour on my Bucket List. I recently discovered that Norwegian Cruise Line has a ship that starts in Honolulu and ends in Honolulu with no other side trips and no “at sea” days. It is a seven day cruise focused just on the Hawaiian Islands! Other cruise lines go to Hawaii, but they start or end in a foreign port, include other country stops, and have multiple full days at sea making the cruises longer and usually more costly. The Pride of America allows full days in each port and travels from island to island over night, so no wasted “at sea” time. Also – if hopping the islands outside of a cruise, you need to spend much of your time in airports and would need to book hotels on each island. This Norwegian option is a perfect way to see the islands with little to no wasted time and you stay on the ship, so no need for moving luggage from hotel to hotel or finding restaurants. Perfect……at least I think so!!!
But…..I also found that the main advantage of doing this particular cruise was also a small negative…….I found I actually missed having at least one sea day! I really enjoy doing the activities and spending time on the deck when not in port on cruises. With this cruise, I was doing shore excursions each day and by the time I got back on ship, I had dinner and was too tired to really get out and do any of the activities. I did see a couple shows and did spend time on deck, but missed that makes a cruise so relaxing over all! But……that small negative was FAR out shined by the ability to be on shore exploring each of the islands every single day of the cruise! It was truly amazing!
The cruise left Honolulu on the 4th and made stops at Maui (2 days), Hilo on the Big Island (1 day), Kona on the Big Island (1 day), Kauai (2 days), and returned to Honolulu where I had a full day to explore before my 9:00 pm flight.
Here are photos from the ship:
View from my Honolulu hotel balcony – Ohana Malia, Waikiki
It was a really nice hotel and comfortable room!
I would definitely consider staying there, again!
During the check in process, we were given lei’s and got to have our photos taken with a gorgeous Hawaiian…….I don’t remember seeing that girl there until I saw the photo – I think they photo shopped her in! LOL
When I got on the ship on the 4th, I went right for the upper deck – pool side – while we waited for our rooms to be ready!
While on deck, we were entertained by some beautiful Hawaiian music!
And were welcomed aboard by the Hawaiian Ambassador, who gave us a Hula lesson…..I failed miserably!
And we saw the first of many beautiful rainbows……
……and crew members! Yummy!
We got the announcement that the cabins were ready, so I went to my room to freshen up! It was a comfortable room with a balcony!
I enjoyed many sunsets sitting on my balcony after a long day of adventuring……
…..and sunrises on that same balcony every morning!
And, the daily towel animals were awesome……..a favorite part of any cruise!!!
The first night’s show was a celebration of all the Polynesian Islands and it was spectacular!!!
This was a smaller entertainment venue on the ship
The central services area was stunning…….everything on the ship was based on American decor – Federal style, Colonial style, Presidents, etc……
The Pink Lounge
One of the specialty restaurants was the Cadillac Diner……unlike most specialty restaurants, there was not an extra charge to eat there – it was actually one of the FREE restaurants, but it was very small and didn’t accept reservations, so it took me a few days to get in there!
I had these pulled pork sliders and a milkshake at Cadillac Diner – delicious!
One of the perks I got when I booked was to eat free at up to three specialty restaurants that charge extra…….I only took advantage of one: Cagney’s Steakhouse – OMG – it was AMAZING – the photo above is my wedge salad
My main course was filet mignon and lobster…….to die for!!!
And a raspberry creme brulee for dessert!
The main dining room was very nice, too – I ate there a few nights at share tables so I could have some interesting conversations and meet new people!
Seared Scallops appetizer with two different sauces
A cold lemon chicken and orzo salad
Chocolate Caramel Creme Brulee
roast beef and polenta
mint chocolate mousse
All the food was delicious…….even the buffet was one of the best I’ve ever seen on a cruise ship!
Wanna play a giant game of chess on deck???
Or maybe checkers on the other end???
And, I took a lot of balcony selfies……
And other selfies……
So much for my time on ship……..next posts will be about each of the ports……first up will be Maui…….I’m hoping to do that post in the morning! Keep an eye out for it! 🙂 Aloha!!!