I decided to post my notes that I wrote during our cruise aboard the Pride of America departing August 6th. Enjoy this opportunity to see behind the curtain - so to speak. I missed the last two days....I just got too busy to write in this journal. Please feel free to comment below. Also visit our main website at www.cruisetalkshow.com and see ALL the content we posted including videos and photos.
Day one Pride of America 08/06/2011
We flew out of Minneapolis at about 10pm and arrived into Las Vegas at 11:30pm and our departure (transfer) wasn’t until 6:45am the next morning so we decided to take a shuttle to the stip in Vegas to see what was going on and we were amazed to see that this town dos not shut down, its open and thriving all night long. We were very tired of course but gutted it out and walked around the strip until finally we just couldn’t take it anymore and called out shuttle to take us back to the airport at about 4:30am. Our flight departed at 6:45am so we had plenty of time to check in and get ready for our flight to Los Angeles. Once in LA we had a short layover then finally it at about 8:45 it was time to get on the plane to Honolulu. Five and a half hours later we arrived in Honolulu to perfect weather 83 degrees and sunny. The humidity wasn’t too bad at all so it was a very comfortable temperature. I had arranged for us to be picked up by Jay’s Limousine service in Honolulu and Jay himself was there to take us to our ship the Pride of America docked in Honolulu.
We were able to bypass a large number of passengers waiting to check in because we were Latitudes members with Norwegian Cruise Lines. (Latitudes members are people who have cruised with NCL in the past). Having cruised with Norwegian Cruise Lines several times in the past we were able to by-pass a large line of people trying to check-in. We were onboard the Pride of America within about 20 minutes, yet the staterooms were not ready for us so we ate in the Lido buffet for lunch. With Diamondhead off in the distance we had a nice buffet lunch until finally at about 2pm we were allowed to go to our stateroom. Our original room assignment was 8096 which was not bad, an average balcony stateroom. We unpacked and walked around the ship a little. In somewhat of a daze from a lack of sleep we started to really get tired at about 3pm, so we just hung out in our stateroom for a while. Our large piece of luggage, that we sent in advance with a company called Luggage Free, was delivered to our stateroom so we unpacked and relaxed in our room for a while. At 4:30 we had the usual boat drill and at 5:30pm we decided to have dinner in the Liberty Dining Room. I ordered the Lobster and Red Snapper while Terri had the beef. It was a pleasant dining experience, but I wanted to be out on deck when the Pride of America departed so we made sure we were finished with diner to experience the ship’s departure from Honolulu. The weather was perfect, the sunset was beautiful as the Pride of America moved away from the dock and headed out to sea past the beautiful Waikaki scene and the famous and Diamond Head backdrop. Upon our return to our stateroom, I noticed a phone message from the Hotel Manager. He wanted me to call him as soon as possible. I made the return call and he wanted to meet with me in the lobby. Ultimately he wanted to let me know that there was a cancelation in one of the suites and he ask me if I wanted to move into a suite so I accepted the opportunity to transfer into suite number 11006. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to have Terri, my wife, experience a suite with butler service. We quickly threw our stuff together and moved into the suite. We were both extremely tired so we unpacked quickly so we could go to sleep. Tomorrow we are in Maui, and our plan is to have a very relaxed day and get the sleep we need to be rested and able to move ahead with the busy project of creating video content for Cruising Authority.
Day Two – Pride of America - August 7th, 2011 (Maui)
After our very tiring travels on Saturday, we decided to lay low all day on Sunday. We woke up leisurely and spent a lot of time in our suite. We ate breakfast in the Lazy J Steakhouse. I ordered my favorite breakfast, Eggs Benedict, and there was something new on top of the eggs…truffle, which added a sophisticated touch. We walked around the ship a little today, since most of the passengers were on shore excursions. I didn’t produce any content for Cruising Authority today because we were just relaxing. I did some work on the computer, loaded a few photos, and wrote out some of the questions I plan to ask the Captain, Cruise Director and a few other members of the crew. My initial walk around the ship these first two days, experiencing the dining and service onboard has impressed me. After having dinner the first night in the Liberty Dining Room, then the second night in the Skyline Dining Room, I noticed the soups were a bit on the salty side. The first night I ordered the Mushroom Soup and it was a little too salty, and then the second night I ordered the Black Bean soup and it too was salty. The food overall and the level of service, however; has been exceptionally good. I have enjoyed the décor in both the main dining rooms. The Liberty Dining Room has a very patriotic décor with red white and blue, the stars and stripes, paintings and statues of America’s great early Presidents. It was a very classy design to the room, and the staff were all very attentive and accommodating. The Skyline Dining Room had an art deco décor, depicting sky scrappers of New York in the 30’s and forties. Again a very classy design. As odd as it may sound, this Sunday evening while docked in Maui, my wife and I took a walk off the ship to a little mall area and we decided to go to a movie, just like we might do at home on a date night. It’s odd because here we are at this beautiful island of Maui, on a luxurious ship with a plethora of entertainment options onboard, and we end up going to a movie. We saw, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”. After dinner my wife and I did go to the Aloha Polynesia Show and enjoyed it very much. Today we rested, but tomorrow I plan to get to work on producing video and audio content for Cruising Authority. The onboard Group Coordinator and the Hotel Director are working with me to arrange my interviews, which should begin in a day or so. Tomorrow, Monday the 8th, we are planning to go into Maui and explore the sites a little more.
Day Three – Maui (August 8th – Monday)
The Pride of America was docked in Maui all day today. I took some time this morning to steam in the steam room. I really like the steam room on the Pride of America, located up in the Spa on deck 12. We stayed onboard until about 11:30am then we decided to rent a car and explore a little of Maui. Thanks to a great local car rental broker at Discount Hawaii Car Rental, we drove off to a valley between a mountainous region and saw some beautiful rock formations that reminded Terri and I of our cruise on the Yangtze in China, and the rock formations in one of the gorges. We were told that it was a unique day because usually the top of the mountains are covered with clouds, but during the time we were there, the mountain top was visible. We then drove off to the other side of the island just for the drive and to see the sites. We returned to the Pride of America about 3:30pm. Tonight we experienced the Italian restaurant called Little Italy. I had the Salmon and Terri had the Chicken Parmesan. After dinner I set up my video gear for two interviews, one with the Hotel Director and the other with the Shore Excursions Manager. Both were excellent interviews. At 9:00pm we went to the Illusionist show, and finally retired for the evening at 10:45pm.
Day 4 Hilo
Today in Hilo, the Big Island of Hawaii, we stayed onboard the ship all day. Terri and I enjoyed a very pleasant hot tub on deck at 8:00am to wake up after a restful sleep. Next I made my way to the steam room in the spa while Terri headed back to the suite to shower, then we grabbed some breakfast at Lazy J’s. Today we explored the ship, I took some pictures and video. Terri had a Bamboo massage today at 12:45 and loved it because of the soothing oils and tension-relieving therapy for aching muscles. This evening, dinner was very special and romantic. Both Terri and I selected our favorite entrée’s from the menu and had our butler serve dinner on our verandah. It was a beautiful and perfect Hawaiian evening in Hilo as the Pride of America made it’s departure enroute to our next port of Kona. After an exquisite dining experience, we had more interviews scheduled in the Library with the Cruise Director, Hawaiian Ambassador and the Food and Beverage Director. After our interviews, which will be seen on our Cruising Authority talk show videos, Terri and I went to see a show with Second City, a comedy troop that does improv. Both of us were very tired after a full day on the beautiful Pride of America so we retired for the evening.
Day Five - KonaI think it’s a great way to start the day by enjoying a good steam in the spa, which I indulged in again this morning, however; this time I convinced Terri to also hit the steam room. Lazy J’s has such a great breakfast menu, and this time I ordered the crabcake eggs benedict. I wasn’t too sure about the first bite then I added a little salt and pepper with a twist of lemon and ahhh, what a great taste! Terri had the scrambled eggs and bacon. Today in Kona the Pride of America was at anchor while passengers tendered into Kona. I did more video commentary on deck and met up with the Hotel Director and explained to him that I’d like to take some portraits or photos of the Pride of America from the tender before heading over to the port. When the ship is at anchor that’s a great time to get video and photos of the ship clear of any dock. The pictures I wanted to get required a sleight deviation from the usual tender route to port, so the Hotel Director made arrangements for a special tender ride to get the optimal position for photos. I did get some great pictures and then we headed to port for a little walk around town.