October 1 thru 8, 2005 - NCL Pride of America.

Itinerary and Overview

  • Sat - Depart Honolulu 8pm
  • Sun - Hilo 8AM - 7PM
  • Mon - Arrive Kahalui 8AM
  • Tue - Depart Kahalui 6PM
  • Wed - Kona 7AM - 6PM
  • Thu - Arrive Nawiliwili 8AM
  • Fri - Depart Nawiliwili 6AM
  • Sat - Arrive Honolulu 7AM

This is a cruise Marsha earned from Carlson's Golden Circle. This is the 3rd year in a row she has earned this award.

This cruise on NCLS Pride of America turned out to be much nicer than we expected. The POA is one of only 2 US flagged cruise ships. As such she has to meet different standards than the foreign flagged ships. The biggest standard is that only about 25% of the crew can be green card holders. We talked to the hotel director on board and he discussed the issue. He said that the cruise lines can attract employees from most of the rest of the world away from the 4 nd 5 star resorts, thus getting high quality, experienced personnel. In the US they have to beg people to take these jobs. Normally when talking to the waiters and crew on the ship they have been with the cruise line for years and almost all plan on continuing. Here, almost all of the staff had been with NCL for less than a year and most were planning to leave when their tour was up. On this cruise they were 15% understaffed. This showed in service times. Most items related to service were slow. They eventually came but not when you would expect it on a cruise. When the food came it was very, very good. There are a lot of balconies on the cruise ship and we had one. Cabin size was adequate but not huge. There are not an abundance of activities onboard as they expect Hawaii to be the attraction. There are numerous shore excusions or just get off, rent a car and go on your own. We loaded the Hawaii maps into our portable GPS and it led us all over the islands very reliably.
We did not take too many pictures of the ship as we had just been on it and you can find those pictures here
Our ship and Hawaii pictures from this trip are here

We went on this cruise looking at timeshares. We had seen many advertised at what seemed very reasonable prices, less than $10,000 purchase price and annual fees less than $600. What we found was interesting. If you want a Timeshare with everything you need to pay the price for a Marriott, Embassy Suites, etc... $18,000 and up. However, if you are willing to settle for something a little bit less there are a lot of alternatives in Hawaii. A little bit less meaning a more remote location, have to drive to the beach, no AC, etc... Also Hawaii timeshares are desireable properties in the timeshare trading market and so can be exchanged almost anywhere thru RCI.
Remember this is our list and our evaluation so what is evaluated is what is important to us. We are torn between two different properties, Lawai on Kaui and Sands of Kahana on Maui. Lawai is much more what you want Hawaii to be, quiet, relaxed and uncrowded. Sands of Kahana is very nice and Maui has a ton of things to do it is high rises and traffic jams on Maui. If the Gardens at West Maui had BBQs we would probably get that in a heartbeat. With no further ado here is our list of the properties we went and saw.