Took advantage of the opportunity to do the 4 repositioning (Vancouver to Victoria to San Diego)+ 14 days Hawai'i (from and to San Diego).
Group of passengers on the 4 day cruise was very different from the usual HAL niche: several children and babies and a much younger crowd. This leg of the trip was not a typical HAL cruise as the activities were very different. It was still an enjoyable cruise.
300 stayed on for the next leg and 1100 new passengers came on. Average age and passenger mix was more typical of most HAL cruises.
Having read the flooding incidents that had occurred in previous cruises we were a bit worried as to what types of problems the ship might have.
(Zaandam had been scheduled to go in dry dock early October and this was cancelled, giving way to the 2 week cruise to Mexico).
Overall there were some negative problems but certainly not to the extent as to what previous passengers experienced.
Some toilets overflowed but the problem was limited to a single bathroom. There were vacuum problems with the flushing of some toilets: it was intermittent and finally got settled.
Since dry dock had been cancelled the maintenance was occurring during the cruise:
-Carpet changing in some areas: no major mishaps.
-Curtains & cushions... changing: not unpleasant.
-Lower promenade deck removal of paint from the railing: daily occurrence which was noisy and messy. This started early in the morning; some inconveniences for passengers who had staterooms nearby.
Overall it was a very good cruise. Food was good. Personnel was friendly, helpful and went out of their way to make our cruise wonderful.
One disappointment was the fact that we did not stay long enough on some islands.
Why does the ship take 4 days to go to Hawai'i but needs 5 1/2 days to come back (we could have sailed around Hilo to see the volcano at night or stayed overnight in Honolulu and have spent a full day in Lahaina).
Answer: by sailing at 16-18 knots instead of of 20+ it saves fuel and reduces carbon footprint.
Shows were OK but not great.
Smoking is still permitted in the Casino (some parts are non smoking but it reeks of cigarette smoke). Casino has no doors so there is cigarette smell in the halls and the shops. Why not put doors, or better yet, do as other cruise lines did...ban smoking in the casino.
Enjoyed lectures by Dr. Losey (guest lecturer) and Kainoa (on board guide).