Pride of America Pointers
I recently sailed on Pride of America(POA) visiting the largest four Hawaiian islands. In my opinion, this cruise is the best way to see lots of Hawaii without having to pack, fly and change hotels every few days. The ship allows over 100 hours in port leaving plenty of time to explore each island. Because this is a port intensive cruise, Pride of America really is your floating hotel, restaurant and entertainment venue. Being flagged in the USA, the ship follows different regulations that foreign registered ships need not worry about. So that you have an ultimate cruise on Pride of America and will probably spend a significant part of your days off the ship, I am offering some tips to help you navigate the ship and plan your day without wasting a lot of time.
- Be aware that the UBP (Ultimate Beverage Package) is now offered on POA . This is a recent change.
- Hawaiian laws disallow a casino and playing bingo for money. There is a no-fee bingo option offered on board.
If you need to gamble, this ship isn’t for you. Honestly, this cruise is really all about the destination. I am happy to report that although the UBP is not offered, that there is still bar service and everyday there is a drink of the day with special pricing.
- Although POA doesn’t sail until 7:00 pm, the muster drill takes place at 4:30. That still leaves you plenty of time to explore Honolulu. Of course, you can get on board around 11:30 and start your vacation right away.
- Don’t expect porters outside the terminal. You will take your luggage to a room at the end of the terminal where it will go through security screening.
- If you have carry-on luggage, you can drop it off at the East West dining room that is located right in the Capitol Atrium.
- Rooms became available later in the afternoon and when ready, the deck number of cleaned rooms was announced starting at 2:30.
Around the Ship
- The library contains many volumes and also exhibits on the SS America. It’s a great place for quiet solitude.
- Smokers get prime real estate on the aft upper deck at Waikiki Bar.
- Enjoy the view at the Aloha Lana’i on Deck 11 Aft. It’s a nice place to enjoy your meal from Aloha cafe or sit and have a drink from the bar. Sometimes, there is even live music.
- If you like music with your dinner, grab some food from Aloha Cafe and enjoy it in the Gold Rush, where there is usually nightly entertainment starting during the dinner hour.
- Check out the Sun Deck to see if there are any cabanas available. This are available to all on a first-come, first-served basis.
- While viewing the lava flows, most people go to Deck 6, but Deck 12 has a better view and the Sun Deck has the best view. Viewing is from the Starboard side.
- Choose a port side balcony for optimal viewing of the Nā Pali coast.
- If you like the thermal spa, be aware that there are only five heated chairs there and there is no view from that room.
- This is a port-intensive cruise, so you will spend plenty of time in port. Don’t wear yourself out trying to do everything.
- The sun is as intense as the cruise, be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen and a hat. Drink water and bring insect repellent.
- Wear sturdy shoes when visiting the National Parks, which have some rugged terrain.
- Bring along your National Park Pass or buy a Hawai`i Tri-park Annual Pass. Each National Park costs $25 per car.
- If you can handle your own luggage, you can participate in the popular self-assist walk-off.
- There is luggage storage at the terminal if you want to see some of Honolulu before heading to the airport.
- The ship offers excursions that will give you a tour of Honolulu and take you and your luggage directly to the airport.
- If you are a shopper and have a late flight, there is a free shopping shuttle to Maui Divers Jewelry that takes you around to their stores for the day and brings you back to the port to pick up your luggage. Ask the shopping guide on board for details.
Do you have any tips?