Booking your excursions in advance means better tours and value
If you are reading this post, you are probably one of those savvy Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) Pride of America cruisers looking to avoid falling into the usual traps that plague the naive ship passenger. Be more in control of your once-in-a-lifetime Hawaiian excursions by booking your own excursions based on what you want, not what the cruise ship is marketing to every other cruise ship passenger. Below are some tips to save time and money when it comes to arranging your shore excursions.
BOOK SHORE EXCURSIONS AHEAD OF TIME
One of the biggest time-wasting activities is spending time on your cruise reading reviews and arranging shore excursions. Instead, do your research and book before you get onboard so you already have your itinerary lined up. Get all your logistics figured out beforehand so that you can make the most of the time with your friends and family.
INDEPENDENT TOUR OPERATORS OFFER MORE PERSONALIZATION, HIGHER QUALITY, & BETTER VALUE
Keep in mind that the Norwegian Pride of America works with only a small subset of tour operators that often accommodate insanely large groups of people and are willing to pay hefty commissions to the cruise ship. Many locally run tour operators in Hawaii do not work with the massive name-brand cruise liners. In fact, those with the best curated itineraries and most knowledgeable staff are often independent operators. They are able to offer the most authentic and exclusive experiences, as well as usually offer much better value.
Some cruise passengers fear that booking outside of their ship will mean that they will not arrive back in time for departure. This shouldn’t be a worry, though, because these independent tour operators can be considered more agile and more flexible with the pick-up and drop-off points, and they regularly service cruise ship passengers on Pride of America’s consistent weekly schedule without issue. Shore excursion reviews from previous Pride of America passengers reveal that the most phenomenal excursions were ones that were booked outside of the official cruise line operator.
TRAVELSHACK AS YOUR PORTAL TO SHORE EXCURSIONS
Free yourself from depending on the cruise ship and book through TravelShack, an independent online travel agency. We’ve thoroughly vetted tour operators and have partnered with the highest rated ones that also work well with your cruise ship schedule. Through our comprehensive website, we offer unparalleled transparency and detail about the excursion, plus incredibly easy booking. We have successfully worked with hundreds of cruise liner passengers in arranging high quality and usually small group tours and we ensure the logistics go off without a hitch.
While other cruise ships may also be compatible with TravelShack’s recommended top activities, the Norwegian Pride of America’s consistent schedule makes it easier to point out our specific excursions that work particularly well.
The ship embarks from Honolulu, Oahu on Saturday evening and returns to Honolulu early the following Saturday. Check out our popular Pearl Harbor Tours and Circle Island Tours, day excursions that could even work for the same day as your arrival or departure. If you are spending at least a night on Oahu, you can also consider a Hawaiian luau and sunset dinner cruise.
For Maui, which is visited on Sunday and Monday, we recommend the full-day Road to Hana Tour, which does a circular route around the lush and undeveloped eastern half of the island, with frequent stops at majestic waterfalls and stunning views of the coastline. Transport is included, with pick-up at 7:45-8 am right at the ship pier and drop-off around 4-6 pm. Except for special circumstances with private tours, Sunday is the day to do it since the ship overnights only on Sunday.
Maui is not that large of an island so all our other Top Maui Activities are also great options, as long as you are comfortable with getting a taxi/Uber or renting a car.
Popular excursions include:
- Molokini Snorkel Cruise (20 min away in Ma’alaea, for Monday)
- Helicopter Tour (15 min away in Kahului, either day)
- Pineapple Farm Tour (20 min away in Upcountry, either day)
- Whale Watching Cruise (options include only 20 min away in Ma’alaea, either day, Dec – April only)
- Hawaiian Luau (45 min away in Lahaina/Kaanapali, for Sunday)
For your Hilo stop on the Big Island on Tuesday, we recommend a tour of the world-famous volcano or our Waterfalls & Farm Tour, both of which include pick-up in the morning after you arrive and drop-off back at the pier with plenty of time to board before departure that evening.
For your day in Kona on the Big Island, we don’t currently have an excursion that picks up or drops off at the cruise ship, but check out our Top Big Island Activities, and we often add new activities.
Our popular activities often sell out in advance, especially on busy cruise ship days, so be sure to book as early as possible.
If you decide to book through TravelShack, we promise to support you every step of the way, including detailed FAQs so you can make informed decisions, easy booking that also ensures the tour operator has all relevant details about your party, and post-booking responsive support. As you build your Hawaii itinerary, we hope to have the opportunity to create the most memorable experiences on your trip, whether you want a personal travel agent or just quick online booking.
TravelShack makes it easy to find and book Hawaii’s best things to do. With highly rated tours & activities, you can plan highlights for your trip all in one place. Enjoy discounts, cash back, and free Hawaii gifts, as well as flexible cancellations, no booking fees, and a Best Price Guarantee. Visit the website to line up some incredible experiences for your Hawaiian vacation!