By: Lin Fernandez Humble, Vice President
This past New Year’s we decided to take our family on a Hawaiian cruise. Naturally, we chose Norwegian’s Pride of America to embark on this adventure. My two young boys were thrilled with the idea of traveling to Hawaii and looked forward to the many activities that both Hawaii and the Pride of America had to offer.
On this journey, we were accompanied by my parents and mother-in-law. The seven of us flew direct from Houston, Texas to Honolulu where our journey began. We embarked on the Pride of America soon after we landed. We were greeted at the terminal by local Hula dancers and fresh flower leis for all of us. Aboard the ship we were greeted by friendly crew members right away. We immediately explored the ship and enjoyed a delicious BBQ on the pool deck.
The next day we arrived in Maui where we explored the famous Road to Hana, a 68-mile stretch, winding road. This drive is known for its endless sites of beautiful waterfalls, lush greenery and hiking spots. We stopped at one of the hiking stops and were able to enjoy Hawaii’s beauty first hand. The waterfalls were stunning and the vegetation was so colorful and vibrant. After our hike, we reached a series of curbside “restaurants” where we enjoyed a delicious Thai BBQ. We then headed back the winding road enjoyed more of Hawaii’s beauty. Back on the ship, we enjoyed a delicious dinner and watched an authentic Polynesian group as they performed an amazing show on stage.
The next day at Maui, we took a Catamaran excursion which took us to a great Snorkeling site. Even my 6-year-old was able to snorkel in the peaceful waters while enjoying an array of colorful fish and sea turtles. On our way back on the Catamaran we were lucky enough to watch a group of whales up close. It was spectacular.
The next day we visited Hilo where we took the Volcano and Rainbow Falls excursion. Our adventure began on a tour of a Macademia nut factory where we got a chance to sample some delicious macademias as well as the most delicious macademia ice-cream. We then visited the Volcanoes National Park. Here we got a chance to view an active volcano. This was very exciting for my boys as they got to experience not only smoke from the volcano but also the smell. We then stopped at the Thurston Lava Tube where we were able to walk through an actual extinct lava tube. This was fascinating for all of us to experience. The last stop was at Wailuku River State Park and Rainbow falls where we got to see an 80-foot cascade up close and personal. These falls were breathtaking, an amazing beauty that Hawaii has to offer.
Our next port of call was Kona. Here we rented a car and drove to Hapuna Beach. My boys enjoyed this stop the most during our entire trip to Hawaii. It was on this beach that they learned to body board. The waves were just big enough for two small boys to enjoy.
We then ate lunch near the port at Huggo’s. The location was terrific. We were able to enjoy watching a school of Dolphins flip through the air right as we sat Oceanside. The food was also terrific.
In the afternoon we drove to Kahalua Beach Park for some amazing snorkeling. Again, the boys were able to see an array of colorful fish and even got a chance to see a barracuda.
The next day we arrived in Kauai, the garden island. Since we are all avid golfers, this day we signed up to play a round of golf at Kauai Lagoons Golf Club, a “Gold Medal Golf Resort” Golf Magazine winner!
The cruise ship’s PGA golf instructor went above and beyond the call of duty. He helped the boys with their swing and made terrific souvenir videos of our golfing adventure. The course was beautiful and challenging of course! It was like golfing in paradise. My oldest son enjoyed it tremendously and even had some amazing PGA-like strokes!
That night we took Norwegian’s excursion to a traditional Luau. The weather was not cooperating that evening as it was raining cats and dogs! Norwegian, however, provided us plenty of staff with umbrellas to keep us dry. They had thought about every detail. Norwegian took us the Luau Kalamaku. The Kalumaku Luau was truly spectacular! The stage was filled with graceful Hula dancers and energizing fire dancers. We were all fully entertained. It is definitely the best Luau I have experienced in my life!
The next day we rented a car and drove the island of Kauai. It is a beautiful island with abundance of waterfalls, tropical forests and beautiful beaches. The next day we returned to Oahu for our flight home.
Taking the Norwegian Pride of America was the best way for us to see the islands of Hawaii. We got a taste of each of the islands and now know where we would like to revisit and perhaps spend more time. I think that the cruise ship is a great experience for an island hopper. We didn’t have to wake up early to take any interisland planes or bus rides. We simply went to bed in our cabin every night and woke up in another island. The convenience of unpacking only once specially with little children was priceless.
The staff and crew of the Norwegian Pride of America were all fabulous. I must add that one of the staff really went above and beyond to make this vacation truly amazing for all of us. We met Mario Escalante, the (second in chain) Chef aboard the ship, the first morning after we arrived. My youngest son has a significant intolerance to dairy and unfortunately is the pickiest eater in the world due to a series of Gastro-intestinal issues he has had since birth. My son only will eat Pancakes in the morning. If there are no pancakes he would rather starve. Unfortunately the pancakes on the ship were made with dairy products. So, we were led to the head Chef in the buffet that morning, Mario Escalante. Mario was truly empathetic with our situation that he personally made my son his dairy-free pancakes! He didn’t have to do that, but he went out of his way to do so. He actually personally made pancakes for my son every single morning for the duration of the cruise. He looked for us every morning and as soon as he would see us he would make him a fresh stack of Dairy-FREE pancakes. He was so kind and understanding that my son wanted to take a picture with him to remember him always!
Thank you Norwegian for a memorable cruise to Hawaii!
Lin Fernandez Humble
Vice President, Affordabletours.com