Our first cruise and the POA tour of Hawaii seemed like a great way to see the Islands quickly with no hassle.
First, we are a little surprised that some people have commented on the condition of the ship. Maybe it was because we are cruising "virgins" but we thought the ship was in very good condition and well maintained. A little tired in a few places but not bad overall and very clean.
The quality of the food was very good, but the choice was a little limited in the restaurants. In fact apart from the "plastic" feel we would have preferred the choice offered by the cafe. Although it was advertised as free dining, we found that for the 2 main restaurants we had to book and wait about 30 to 45 mins every night.
99% of the staff were enthusiastic and happy. But 2 of them had never heard of the word please and thank you, were very officious and had not learnt how to smile. Like most things - spoilt by a few exceptions.
The entertainment in the evening was very good - no complaints. Randy Meyers on guitar was great.
We took 2 shore excursions - MAUI PLANTATION & IAO VALLEY - don't bother! A quick trip to a garden/old plantation which was Ok but nothing special and then to a rock in a valley - really, I am not kidding. The highlight of the trip was the coach driver, without his humour and commentary we would have been asleep, save your money.
The second trip was a full day - WAIMEA CANYON, WAILUA RIVER & FERN GROTTO and as we had just intended to use these trips to see a bit of the islands this was OK'ish. But, don't get to excited about the river cruise and fern grotto - you may be disappointed.
For anyone who likes a bit of peace and quiet from time to time, stay away from the main pool area in the afternoon. The music IS very good I must say, but Soooooooo LOUD! There are quiet places on other decks - but you have to look for them.
Highlights were - cruising past the lava flows from the volcano on Big island at night - stunning (and free!) and seeing whales on the last evening.
We had a stateroom with a balcony - don't have anything less - you will need somewhere to get away from it all and the rooms are on the small side.
Our overall view ? Good value, nice ship with mostly hard working and very pleasant crew. Some costly and poor excursions. Only 1 pool that was usable and was very crowded and noisy.The emphasis on shopping all the time became boring.