This was seamless for us. As I mentioned before we stayed at the Marriott Beach in Waikiki. The shuttle to the ship leaves from there. Norwegian gives you a loading time when you check in and we had received 12:00 noon. In the morning we walked down to the restaurant that is in the hotel complex and had a very good, very expensive (this IS Hawaii) breakfast. Afterwards we walked along the beach. Now, this is where the sadness comes in. There are a lot of people living on the beach right across the street from the hotel we stayed at. I don’t imagine it is much different anywhere else though. There was an encampment of about 20 homeless people occupying one of the covered shelters on the beach. And I saw several homeless people just wandering around. I noticed later that every day on the daily news sheet the ship hands out you are warned to watch your belongings and be vigilant of your surroundings. We didn’t have any trouble with the homeless people. They didn’t beg or even approach us. It just makes you feel sad and kind of, well, ashamed that you have spent so much on your vacation and they are living with nothing. Honolulu is the most populous city in Hawaii. And that makes it just what it is, a city with all the foibles of any city.
Anyway, we arrived safe and sound back at the hotel, collected our luggage and headed to the lobby to await our shuttle. And to enjoy the pigeons that were enjoying us in their lobby! Norwegian takes a full bus to the pier so we actually were allowed to board an earlier bus. Arriving at the pier we found ourselves inspected, photographed and standing in line. Then I noticed that we had priority boarding because I had joined the Norwegian Latitudes Reward program when I booked the cruise. We skipped over to that line, bam, we were done checking in and onto the ship.
This was our first time to have a balcony. We’ve gone from an inside cabin with no windows to twice taking a cabin with a “seaview” and now we have moved up to the balcony suites. Ah-h-h-h-h, yes. Moving in the right direction. However, the smaller suites are really small! I didn’t realize, but should have, that they take your balcony out of the space you would of had in a cabin with just a window. Regardless, we considered it one of the best things we did. However, and this is another tip for you, most of the disembarkations on Pride of America are done on the port side. That means usually your view is of a dock, a working dock with all kinds of shipments coming and going. If you want the view of the islands instead book the starboard side. You won’t miss a thing and you’ll have something pretty to look at all the time. Not only that as hard as I had tried to figure out which way the ship was going to circle the islands, I didn’t guess right. The starboard side had the traveling view too. Now, we did occasionally see a whale on our side, but you have to go at the right time for that to be a factor. I will discuss this when we get to Maui.
Stepping upon the Pride of America is like having a huge party for being an American. The main lobby is done in Colonial America decor. They have the John Adams coffee bar and the Thomas Jefferson Bistro. Having been raised in Virginia that made me homesick every time I walked through it. So, silly. Now, I’m planning a trip to Williamsburg to get a fix. Dastardly cruise ship! Match that with the hula dancers swaying away on the steps up to the sixth floor and you’ve got quite a combination.
We were soon settled in our cabin and ready for a little refreshment. We didn’t sail until later that evening so we had plenty of time to explore the ship. And then we said good-bye to Honolulu and headed for Maui.