We booked this cruise to Hawaii as we began to anticipate the grace of God in granting my husband a 5 year cancer free CT scan in early April. Five years ago, that seemed like more than impossible. Scan after scan revealed that God had done "immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine." When your oncologist is surprised that is proof that only God could do this. So, we planned this cruise over my husband's birthday to celebrate...with a long and relaxing way to get to Hawaii!
I read an unfavorable review by another cruiser and so it is easy to see that the same trip for one is completely different for another. We enjoyed every moment of this trip. We were blessed to meet 6 new friends at our assigned early dining table...and have a wonderful waiter and junior waiter. What fun we had!
We also loved meeting new people to join up as teams at Trivia...everyone was so inclusive and friendly! Our embarkation/disembarkation was smooth and we decided on the trip to return to the airport via Princess transfers. Good move. This was less expensive (which isn't always the case) than catching a cab or van. We experienced a temporary "loss of luggage" when the bus driver could not find our suitcases but then finally did in a compartment housing luggage for another drop off. Minor glitch.
Our Princess excursions had a few issues but we enjoyed them nonetheless. It was interesting to read the review for the Beach Snorkeling on another review because we were on that exact same excursion. Goes to show that 2 people can witness the same thing and see 2 different things. Yes, the "beach" was not what we pictured. Yes, the surf was rough (in fact I didn't last long because I ended up motion sick from the experience--and yes, I mean sick.) This excursion was a reach for me but I wanted to do it for my husband. I will always remember his concern for me as we entered the water...but most of all I will remember his huge smile and "babe, thank you so much for this...I saw a huge turtle and followed it for a long time...and I got to see the octopus that Paul (one of the guides) coaxed out of its hole! It was awesome!" I also heard the conversation the other reviewer mentioned about the sand on the wet suit...Paul was totally joking with Marilyn. Paul was our van driver and despite my nausea, I enjoyed his humor a lot! He even commented to me when we returned to the ship that he wondered if I was OK because I was not smiling at his jokes. I told him I had gotten sea sick and he told me to drink ginger ale...which they had already provided. The other guide, Colin (who was in our van) was the one who took me back to shore with reassurance that i had not interrupted the group as I apologized...he told me "no, this is what we do...whenever you have had enough we get you back safely!" Colin was also the one who searched for a plastic bag for my trip back to ship (yup, still feeling icky.) It was interesting that the other negative review mentioned the guides looked like "surfer dudes." When I first saw them at pick up I leaned over to my husband and said "they are the real deal...should be a great time!" It was a highlight for my husband...and worth my need to sleep off the effects;) I am not challenging the other review...their experience was their experience...we thought Paul was hilarious and the other guides so attentive. To hear Paul say he loves what he does was telling to me...because yes, it is obvious that he loves the ocean...but to take 2 tours a day off a cruise ship and make sure they are safe and have an enjoyable time is saying a lot. All of his comments as we arrived about how we were going to do everything was because it could be dangerous...in fact he had to "rescue" several people in our group who got to far into the current. Enough said.
We do not need night life so having 4 days to relax to Hawaii and returning to LA was a gift to us out of our way to busy lives. Cell phones in the safe (except for US ports) is why we love cruising. The staff was wonderful. The CD even led Sunday worship. This is a trip we will remember forever (despite finding our camera did not make it into our suitcase)...we have limited cell photos...and new friends that we be so forever!
Our weather was perfect and seas were fairly calm (although Pacific swells made for constant motion that was more of an issue for me after my snorkeling issue.) Another lesson learned. Loved this cruise.