My teenage daughter and I travelled together on this cruise. Our goal was to relax and see the volcanoes of Hawaii. We booked a mini suite with a balcony which gave us plenty of space and the option of enjoying the privacy of our stateroom or taking part in activities in the public areas of the ship.
I was hoping that my teen would join in the activities for her age group but as most of the things on offer were quite sedentary (craft activities and video games) she quickly became bored and refused to go.
I found a few actives to occupy me for the first few days, but was disappointed by the lack of variety and that many activities were repeated. There was too much bingo and basket weaving. A lot of the lectures seemed to be aimed at selling you something rather than education or entertainment.
A few light hearted sporting activities would have been welcomed to burn off the big meals. Perhaps one of the many bars could be sacrificed to make way for a More
multipurpose indoor sports court. Less
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Cabin review: Sapphire Princess Mini-Suite with Balcony Dolphin E723
E723 - Every fixture and fitting in this mini suite constantly rattles and vibrates, including the beds and the light fittings. We found it very hard to sleep with the constant jarring and noise.
We asked passenger services if maintenance to secure the light fittings to stop the noise, This was done, but the fittings were loose and rattling again after a few days due to the constant vibration.
Port and Shore Excursions
It would have been nice to have had some time to explore the city rather than just be driven around in circles, dropped at the cultural centre for a show and then returned to the ship.
Don't bother booking this one, you won't get what you think you are paying for. Cost $414 per person over the age of 12 years, for this price we were expecting premium service.
The waterfalls are lovely, the Hawaiian BBQ is just some marinated meat cooked on a gas BBQ similar to the one you probably have in your back yard.
The helicopter tour was the most disappointing of all. Our group was over booked (I suspect he company took advantage of the fact that both my daughter and I are light weight and of small stature to jam more people in) and instead of there being 3 people plus a pilot in the helicopter, 5 people plus a pilot were squeezed into the helicopter. My 13 yo daughter was jammed in a centre seat with no hope of seeing anything out of the window around the passengers either side of her. We made a complaint to the Princess Tour desk who gave us a written response that stated "window seats could not be guaranteed due to the weight and balance of the aircraft" which essentially means that passengers who are light weight and small in stature will be given second preference when seats are allocated. If we had known that we were paying a premium price for a second rate tour we would have made our own arrangements with a professional tour operator.
Diamond Head Crater
This tour was reasonably good, if not a little over priced for a bus ride and a guided walk up a steep hill. The guide was very knowledgeable about the area we visited and the view from the top of the crater makes the steep climb worthwhile.
Once we returned from the excursion we found that the Iolani Palace was just a short walk from the cruise terminal and that a self guided tour was available at a fraction of the price of the tour offered by Princess Cruises.
By far the best thing we did while on this cruise!
The ride in the small tender boats is enough to make anyone sea sick.
Once you reach the port you will find a great little village with a market, museums, shops, cafes and restaurants.