I must admit that I have never seen a cruise that creates such a difference of opinions. Having read a number of reviews, I sometimes wonder if we were on the same ship!
We were on the cruise that left on 27 July. At that time, a hurricane was heading towards the Hawaiian islands. I was extremely concerned that we were going to be cruising in the middle of the hurricane. I enquired about the storm upon embarkation, but the staff there didn't know much about it, so I remained nervous. We set sail and arrived in Maui the next day. Early that morning, the captain announced that we would only have one day in Maui instead of two as we had to sail at 11.00pm that night to avoid the storm. We spent the next day at sea and totally avoided any bad weather. I must congratulate the captain and crew for putting safety first at all times. The crew did a great job of trying to keep everyone entertained for the day on board which was not scheduled. Considering the cruise was full and it was More
school holidays, it turned out to be a fun day. The next day we resumed the itinerary.
Our balcony cabin was small but adequate - the only comment I would make is that the cabin steward was rather terse and unfriendly, but he did the job. I found the public areas to be in good condition. We mainly ate in the Liberty restaurant and found that perfectly fine. I thought the charges for the specialty restaurants were quite high. We normally don't go to the shows as I find they are on at inconvenient times when we like to eat, so I can't comment on the quality. We very much enjoyed a quiet drink in the Nappa Wine Bar and the entertainment in Pink's Champagne Lounge.
To get the most from the port visits, you really need to do shore excursions. In most of the ports, there is very little to see or do on your own around the dock area. The highlights were the lava flowing into the sea at night on the Big Island and the sail past of the Napali Coast on Kaui.
My one criticism was that NCL advise not to leave a debit card as a holding card and so we gave them a credit card. They assured us that we could change cards before the day before the end of the cruise and charge the debit card in the end. We went to Guest Services to sort this out on the last day of the cruise and were given the paperwork confirming the cards were changed. This was important to us because the debit card was loaded with US dollars. When I purchased the debit card, the exchange rate to the Australian dollar was at parity. On returning home, we found that they had charged the credit card and not the debit card. This meant that it cost us an extra $50 due to the exchange rate on the credit card. This,along with a few other minor things, showed that the Guest Services staff could do with a little more training.
Overall, we enjoyed the cruise and would recommend it. Less