NCL U PHD@SEA 7-Day Hawaii Cruise on Pride of America

Aloha! Growing up, I was fortunate to have travelled and lived in many parts of the world because my dad was a diplomat and one of the places we visited while living in Japan that I vaguely remember and always wanted to return to was Hawaii. You can imagine my excitement when the Norwegian Cruise Line University PHD@SEA program invitation came to my email and had Hawaii as one of the sailings, but that’s not all… It sails on my birthday May 1,!!! WOW does it get any better than this, I asked myself. But of course it does, I was soon to find that out when we got to Hawaii. By the way, the PHD@SEA program is only open to NCL U Freestyle Certified Graduates.



I was so excited and over joyed that when the day for sign up came, I did not get any work done that morning and was simply waiting for 1:00pm to click my mouse and a prayer in my heart to get in. Yippee it worked, I guess you figure that one out since you are reading my blog! Anyway, this was a trip I wanted to go with my kids but since it was an official trip, I was only allowed to invite one guest; I decided to invite my fun girlfriend Lois, I know you are thinking why girlfriend? Hawaii is romantic and I should invite a boyfriend or according to my neighbor make sure you get one there and do something, right? Wrong!! I know I’ve got your juices all flowing but let’s just say I am taking that long desired break from the male species, but that is another blog all together, back to PHD@SEA and Hawaii.



We arrived a day before our Cruise into Honolulu and checked into the beautiful and majestic Outrigger Reef on the Beach Resort. I have been in many Resort and Hotel rooms but to be honest, this one took my breath away! We were in an Ocean front room and the view was simply breathtaking. When you step onto the balcony, it was not just the ocean that captures you or the strong waves typical of the Pacific but the combination of that and the Palm Trees right within reach of my hands… swaying in the gentle breeze painted a picture all too perfect to be real but then it was and I was in it. I took out my iphone, captured the picture and posted it quickly on facebook. I love sharing good things, don’t you? The room was the best for me because it had all my colors, earth colors, brown and green with a soothing feel, the whole day was intoxicating and memories of my Dad came rushing back. Lois was beyond speech, she kept on screaming “Binta we are in Hawaii” “girl this room is too much for one night and girlfriends, next time we are going to couple up” I simply laughed but somehow agreed with her, take someone you love when going to Hawaii!!!  We later went to the Ala Moana Mall with some of our other friends, had an early birthday dinner at a Japanese restaurant, stopped by an Apple store, picked up a birthday gift (ipad) and then went back to our Resort. By the way, the food was fantastic and the waiters all came out and sang happy birthday to me with a cake and candle, Sweet and touching!



The next morning May 1st, my birthday. After answering the flood of phone calls from well wishers, text messages and Facebook well wishers, we had breakfast at the Resort, checked out, a tour of Honolulu and then went to the Port to board our ship the beautiful NCL Pride of America, the only American Flagged ship to sail Hawaii year round. Lois was ecstatic, this was her first cruise and she always called ships; boats up until she saw this one and screamed, “Oh my God it is so big” I simply replied “I know” “Now can you please stop calling them boats?” Lois is from Trinidad & Tobago, so she pretty much has seen a lot of the Ocean and beach, but believe me she loved and appreciated Hawaii and especially being on a Cruise. We checked in, had lunch and went to see our Balcony Stateroom, NCL U did an excellent job for us. We explored the ship, took pictures and that evening we had the welcome reception for all NCL U PHD@SEA Graduates. It was pretty nice!



You see the best way to enjoy and see Hawaii is to go on a 7-Day Cruise, this allows you to explore and get a taste of the five Islands and when you decide on a favorite, you can always go back for a longer stay. There is also value in that you always have your food and your floating resort, which is the ship, no extra expenses. Hawaii Island span more than 1,500 miles creating the largest chain of Islands in the world and the active volcano encroaching into the Ocean creates more of the Island. There is about 130 separate islands in Hawaii but actually only six major ones that are unique with excellent features; Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui and Hawaii Big Island. Hawaii is generally a volcanic Island and has been for a very, very long time and some of the volcano’s are found all across the various islands I mentioned.


On this particular Itinerary, there is no Sea Day, but because the ship was suppose to go to dry dock and rescheduled, we had a Sea day which allowed NCL U to schedule our Classes on this day. We had CLIA classes and I was happy to see that our CLIA Instructor was Mr. Bernie Bloomquest, such a nice and helpful man. He inspired me when I started in this business and his class was the first CLIA class I attended. We did some behind the scenes inspection and I must say I was really impressed and have high respect for NCL and their ships after that inspection. The Kitchen, the food and food preparation was excellent, I am a clean freak and sees dirt even a speck on anything, but I was impressed, highly by the amount of effort they put to provide fresh and well prepared food. I have always loved NCL but I now have more respect for them and feel more comfortable booking my family and clients on their ships and I can now safely enjoy all the lobster I want with peace of mind! ummm love that lobster tail!!!


Our first port was Maui, Maui is the most visited Island in Hawaii. It is home to pineapple, Sugarcane, cattle ranch and rain forests. We rented a car and I drove us around town, checked out some Resorts and then headed to a beautiful private beach, with gorgeous rocks and enjoyed a few hours there. Lois and I will hold hands like little girls and jump up when the waves come in to avoid getting it in my ears, but the pacific being what it is in strength, not calm at all like the Caribbean, it got us a few times and we would laugh and jump higher then when the waves were calmer, we wouldl sink under, giggling, then jump right out again to avoid the waves. It was fun…time forgotten….we were five years old again. We later laid on the sand dug holes, posed for pictures while making silly faces, talked about both important and silly stuff! You see Lois and I always had fun when we get together, even if it is just to the movies! Now who mentioned something about needing a man in Hawaii? Hahahahah!!! Believe me you can have fun in Hawaii even alone, it is simply a breathtaking and majestic place!


Kona my favorite of all the Islands is known for great coffee and big fish! I can attest to that! We went to the coffee house and for a non-coffee drinker, I had 4 cups (small) of hazelnut coffee, bought a bag and influenced everyone in the group to buy one! I know you are laughing; go ahead, knock yourself out, so what if after all these years I suddenly found the right coffee for me? Anyway, we also went to the active Volcano and of course we climbed all the way to the top; I was king of the world for the day! Oh my God… was an amazing sight; seeing all the lava flowing and from the edge below the Ocean rising and washing it all out and the flow continued right back! It was like clash of the titans, FIRE & ICE… two forces of nature tugging it out! I loved it, the image is still in my mind. We also visited the Macadamia Nut factory, I am not a Macadamia person and hold it…. before you think I bought or ate ten bags… I only bought a can for the kids! There, I got you now…. We also went to some great mesmerizing waterfalls.



Hilo is the oldest port of entry and the second largest city in Hawaii. We rented a car went shopping and drove to Princeville, went to a huge cave, the beach, bought some dried fruit; papaya and mango. While in Kauai the ship docked and over night. Kauai is the most norherly of the Hawaii Islands, famous for Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It has high mountains, gorgeous valleys, breezy beaches with no buildings that are allowed to rise above the coconut trees. This excellent feature allows tourists to enjoy the exotic view from the mountains. I found my perfect sunset on this Cruise, we were actually this time sailing right into it, so it was growing bigger instead of smaller! Wooh Increadible!! I am going to save some details, so that when ever you take this Cruise, you can discover the rest of the wonderful things about Hawaii and NCL Pride of America.


This was an excellent Cruise, the ship, the Captain, the staff, the taste of scrumptious and delectable cuisine from the different restaurants; my favorite Lazy G and of course excellent friends that were on the cruise with me. I learnt a lot as usual and in the end I was happy when we we had our graduation and received our certificates. The trip back home was not happy ending for me though; the long flight hurt my ears, let’s just say I cried on the plane but by the time I got home, opened the door to my house, all the pain melted away. You see it was mother’s day and there were balloons, cards, cake and flowers on the kitchen table and my kids shouted happy birthday and mother’s day MOM!!!!  It was the first birthday I celebrated away from them. It suddenly hit me, how blessed I am, I hugged them and started crying; for joy this time! My kids are the best in th world, I know every mother says that, but it is a fact!

Great appreciation to our Travel Partners Norwegian Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line University, The wonderful Staff of NCL Pride of America and thank you for taking the time to read my blog and as always I appreciate comments and feed backs. To experience a Hawaii Cruise or any other Vacation, check out our website, call or email us. More pictures on Facebook! Remember Yero Travels, LLC offers payment option plans with zero interest on Cruises and Vacation Packages, when booked early.

Two Thumps Up to NCL Freestyle Cruising!

NCL U – rah! rah! rah!


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