This is the second installment of our trip aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line Pride of America. It was a babymoon cruise in Hawaii…and if you missed the first part of our review of the NCL Pride of America (POA) you can catch up here.
When we woke up after our first night of our cruise we were pulling into the port of Maui bright and early. Relative to other cruises, this cruise has amazing port times…you get there early, stay overnight and stay late the following day! So many times on cruises the time in port is super limited…you may get there late and leave early. This cruise is amazingly the opposite of that.
We have spent a lot of time in Maui on previous vacations, so we did not feel the need to get off the ship super early and explore. Also we were still tired from our travels and one of us was pregnant so we planned a relaxing morning on board. First we headed to the gym. I am gonna say something about this fitness center that I would rarely say about a cruise gym…Its actually a great size for the ship! It may have something to do with the amount of port time and the overall makeup of the travelers but this gym had plenty of space and never seemed crowded. We went several times throughout the trip. It seemed to be similar in size to the gyms on the NCL Breakway and NCL Getaway which are waaaay too small for their passenger size. For reference, Norwegian’s Breakaway class ships have approximately 4000 passengers and POA has approximately 2000 passengers. So since the gym is similar in size to the larger ships there is a lot more equipment per capita than those cruises.
This gym has two entrances outdoors and one in the stairwell indoors near mandara spa. On some of the newer ships, the gym is situated within the spa…presumably to drive people into the spa. On this ship, it is not inside the spa. Interestingly, it also does not have locker room with a bathroom and showers that are accessible for gym users. Bathroom proximity is uber important to pregnant passengers…so that’s a definite drawback on this cruise.
After gym time we headed to the buffet for breakfast. There are a few options to get a buffet breakfast: the main buffet, inside Moderno restaurant, and outdoors on the aft of the ship. If you saw the view pictured above pulling into port, it is NOTHING like the view off the aft of the ship where we ate breakfast. It was so beautiful here in Maui. It ended up that the view sitting out aft was beautiful in every port. We had breakfast there daily and it was the best place to have breakfast IMHO.
After breakfast we headed to the room, showered, and decided to go to the pool before our Maui adventure.
We sat at the pool until lunch time and then headed to the buffet again for lunch. We forgot to check the schedule for the times the buffet was open, so when we got there we saw this:
Oopsie. We checked the times from then on to make sure we didn’t think we would be eating at a time the buffet was closed! We waited until it opened and then got to enjoy our lunch 🙂
After lunch we changed out of our swim gear and got ready to head to Lahaina. On a previous trip to Maui we wanted to go to the Old Lahaina Luau because it had amazing reviews on TripAdvisor. On that trip we were unaware that the Old Lahaina Luau was booked up well in advance. Travel lesson learned ;). Instead on that trip (2012) we ended up at the luau at the Hyatt in Lahaina. That luau was very fun and enjoyable. We got lucky this trip and I booked Old Lahaina as soon as we booked the cruise. It is easy to book online here.
This part of the trip is where you will see our limited time frame and poor planning come into play. I’m not complaining, just advising anyone else who thinks they may do the same that maybe my plan wasn’t the best. We planned to just taxi to Lahaina. A little bit of pre-research indicated that it wasn’t too far from the port. Our driver was great, the cab-van was clean and its only about 25 miles from the port. When he told us the cost it was $75. Oops. Haha. That’s a little more than I planned to spend on a one way taxi. Obviously it was gonna cost $75 to get back too. Needless to say if we did it again, we would just rent a car in Maui because the cost would be similar and we would have more freedom to get around.
My less than stellar planning didn’t end there. Our taxi friend dropped us off at the beginning of the main street in Lahaina and we walked around in the shops for a while. We went to my favorite shave ice place: Ululani. https://www.ululanishawaiianshaveice.com/
That part was good planning…but we planned to walk to the Luau. I checked on map quest and it was only a mile, so I figured it was NBD. I was wrong. I was wearing sandals and pregnant, and my feet weren’t happy with me when we got there. We laughed about the error of my planning ways and still enjoyed ourselves.
Once we arrived at Old Lahaina Luau and checked in. Of course, I forgot my printed out confirmation. I was worried I would need it but no worries because they had me on the list! Yesssss! Luckily, I had my confirmation email pulled up on my phone just in case. This luau has great reviews on trip advisor.
When you walk in they are serving mai thais and non`alcoholic fruit drinks.
When one makes a reservation here there is a choice to be front row or not front row. Front row is seated on the ground so keep that in mind if you are traveling with someone who has limited mobility, is elderly, or pregnant as it may be hard to get up and down from the ground. So we had elected to sit in the second row at the tables.
After check in they encourage you to walk around and check out some vendors they have on site. They are selling locally made wares. There is also a band playing.
After exploring the property, they encouraged people to come over and watch them dig up the pig. Clearly this was a popular thing to do… and it was very hard to get a view.
During this time the bar was open and there was also a waitertaking orders. So one can either go to the bar and pick out his or her own drinks or have the server bring them to the table. They have a nice looking drink menu and my husband said all the alcohol drinks were good. The non-alcoholic lava flows were amazing!
As the sun began to set the food was served (buffet style).
The performances began after everyone had a chance to serve themselves at the buffet.
After the luau ended we walked outside and our fabulous cab driver was there as promised. We hopped in and took our $75 cab ride back to the port! We had a great first day in Maui.
As we mentioned above, we have been to another luau in Maui in 2012 (Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa). We liked that luau too. Ben and I are split as to which one is “better”. I liked old Lahaina luau better. I thought it’s set up was nicer and the food and drinks were better. I loved that it faced the ocean and you could gaze out at the water as you ate. My husband liked the one at the Hyatt in Lahaina better because there were fire performers…and that is apparently his main criteria for Luau enjoyment. Either one is a fun way to see a luau.
The next morning we woke up and the ship was still in Maui. This day we had planned an excursion through the cruise line with a “Maui Beach Day”. It didn’t start until 1030 so we did the usual and got up and went to the fitness center and then had the back of the ship buffet breakfast. It was another gorgeous morning looking at the ocean and mountains.
As the excursion directions indicated we met out at the pier for the beach day excursion. This was a trip to Wailea Beach. On this beach are several fantastic Maui hotels, and it is a great place to stay when visiting Maui.
Here we are at the pier in front of the ship waiting with the rest of the excursion crew. We rode a bus that sat probably 20 people.
The bus took us to a place in between the Four Seasons Wailea and the Wailea Beach Resort (a Marriott). The beach is gorgeous.
Chairs were included in the NCL excursion, but an umbrella was an additional $20.00. We set up our spot and then decided we were hungry for lunch. Since the area is right between two hotels one could easily go to either one to eat. A third option is a sandwich stand in front of the Four Seasons. We decided to go up to the Four Seasons for lunch. Ben had a Mai Thai in a pineapple….its not really a beach vacation until you have a drink in a pineapple. After lunch we decided to head back to our beach spot. Our lunch was delicious and the cost was as expected for the type of hotel.
We had a great afternoon at the beach. We headed back to the bus at the appointed time (I think 3:30 or 4). It was a great beach day on Maui!
As we arrived back to the ship, we got got cleaned up because we had dinner plans at Teppanyaki which is inside the bigger Asian restaurant on this ship.
After two days on Maui, we were on to the Big Island overnight! Click here to read about our two days on the Big Island and our tour of Volcanoes National Park!