Sailed on P of A Feb 18. Coming from Massachusetts very glad we came early and stayed in Honolulu overnight. Believe it or not, we never met or laid eyes on our steward. Since we had no special requirements I guess that was okay.
Room was doable and we had 4 people packed in. Also, was clean. Boarding at 5 pm was a snap. Room ready. The main dining rooms do have awful food. If you've had Maine lobster, do not go to lobster night! Awful. We ate at East Meets West 3 times. We felt it was criminal that the food you paid for in the cruise rate was as bad as it was.
Breakfast at Aloha made everyone happy, you could see what you were going to eat before committing. We never ate lunch on board. Nights it is as if no one is on the ship. Lots of older people and this was a school vacation week for a lot of states.
We did not go to any ship entertainment. Thankfully we were tired after renting a car and exploring each island and didn't care about the entertainment More
factor. The Napa Wine bar was our salvation.
Sailing by the active volcano and the NaPali coast were unforgettable life experiences! The only rude staff member was someone at the tour booking desk who would not look on his computer for tomorrow's forecast because "it would take too long". (no one else in line) He was arrogant.
We did have 3 days of rain, so bad on Thursday we didn't get off the boat. Many of the tours booked through the ship went on regardless. Sure glad I wasn't on any of them. We booked a scenic bus tour for the second day on Kahuaii just to see some of the island. It just isn't the same in the rain. Many of the hikes are very slippery. Snorkeling was good on Paragon in Maui ($75 each and we were 4) but the next day on Kona we grabbed a $10 shuttle to a beach we read about in Revealed and saw snorkeling just as good. Another family of 4 saved even more in a cab. Overall, my advice is to book cars and do your thing or you will be on a bus with many people who move slowly. Traffic on the to Lahaina was bumper to bumper starting at around 2 pm. If you go, make sure you leave before that time or you'll panic that you're not going to be able to return the car and get back to the ship in time. Thrifty car rental had the best rates and the worst shuttles. Some people were told the type of car they had reserved (a van) was not available and they should sit and wait until someone returns one. Several other agencies did not have any cars, so you really do need to book ahead. You can always cancel.
Our family saved a lot of money by foregoing a balcony. We didn't think we'd miss it since the ship sails at night and we'd seldom be in our room. We used this money to upgrade our dining. No regrets.
Would I go on Norwegian again? Probably not, but they're the best way to see the Hawaiian Islands. No regrets but also no returns. I think the staff are overworked by people thinking they should get service like on Celebrity. Go for a less expensive room so you aren't bitter. If I'd paid $10k for a suite I'd be writing a very different review. Partly because of the rain, and who can control the weather? Less