NCL Cruise was from Sept 5 to Sept 16th 2013
My wife and I celebrated our 30th anniversary on September 10th while on this cruise. We are in our mid 50's and pretty active. We live north of Detroit, MI.
Please excuse some of the messy notes below. I entered them on my iPhone and pretty much pasted them here.
Thursday - Flight - 6 hour time difference MI to HI. $9+ for turkey sandwich in LA airport. Got into Honolulu around 3am Michigan time (9pm Hawaii time). Had travel arranged to hotel with A8 taxi service. We did not want to mess with possibility of getting on a shuttle that would take hours to drop others off at their hotels. $35 total. They were waiting when we arrived. Worked out perfectly. Highly recommended. Driver gave us lots of info on the ride to the hotel. We went to bed shortly after getting to our hotel, the Aqua Palms, because had 6:30am tour with Roberts Hawaii to Pearl Harbor. Room was somewhat dirty but comfortable and a good price compared to others. The hotel was across from Hilton Hawaiian village. I was surprised how very few Caucasians there were in Honolulu.
Friday - Pearl Harbor - Changed from a Roberts Hawaii full day to 1/2 day tour a couple of days before we left. Did Arizona memorial but not Bowfin sub or Missouri ship tours at Pearl Harbor. Glad we did only 12 day since we were pretty worn from the previous days travels. Spoke with concierge at the hotel who recommended lunch at steak place on Waikiki beach $6.95 each. It was just a short walk from the hotel, was very good and gave us a good idea of what the beach was like.
Saturday - Took bus from near our hotel for $2.50 each to Diamond Head. It let us off at the entrance to Diamond Head and we hiked to the top. We then went to the Farmers market across the street from Diamond. It was interesting to see. The hotel got us a ride to the ship around 11:30 on Saturday. We had Ocean view room deck 7 (room 7201). I was at first disappointed with room. The head of the bed was up against the window which made it somewhat useless and the view was a bit obstructed with a life boat to the left. However, we turned the bed 90 degrees and then was OK. But, if you had more than 2 in the room this would have been difficult with the other two beds that folded down from the wall. There was no couch in the room which we had on other cruises.
Check in was very simple with basically not wait. We immediately went to the buffet for lunch. For some reason they did not have food trays so you would have to take multiple trips to get drinks, salad, etc.
Thoughts about NCL.
No live music for shows. Our past four cruises had an orchestra for the nightly shows. There was no hounding to get our pictures taken. This was sometimes ridiculous on our other cruises. There also was no overselling of drinks at dinner which was nice.
Mostly Australians on board, got to port round 11:30 and checked right in.
Went to show 1st night. There was a comedian that was pretty good but we left early.
Willie K - excellent ukulele and guitar and singer.
Sunday- Did best of Maui tour with Roberts Hawaii. Plantation tour was a bit hookie but coconut cutting demo was interesting, Iao Needle was beautiful. Then the Maui ocean center had great displays of ocean life.
Monday - 8:30 12:30 Maui Haleakala crater tour. Picked up sandwiches during lunch on ship the previous day to bring with us on our tour on Tuesday. Roberts allowed people to eat on the bus.
Tuesday - 9:30 4 Hilo volcano tour, macadamia plant, candy shop. 10PM live volcano from ship disappointing because we couldn't see much of anything. On most occasions you can see the lava flowing.
Wednesday - Kona off ship 8am. Walked around Kona for about 3 hours. Saw several large turtles just off shore. Picked up a strawberry kiwi and Maui gold pineapple from the farmers market in town. They are open Wed and Sat. and ate them later that day. They were both amazing. Went to Kona brewery and sampled 9 diff beers at bar. $9 for 4 maybe 4 oz glasses. I got 4 seasonal beers and my wife got 4 light beers. Also tasted a dark porter that was excellent. Tours were at 10:30 @ 3 and limited to 15 people. We missed the first tour and chose not to do 3 tour.
Back on ship around noon for lunch.
4 seasons show "Oh What A Night" was very good. I didn't realize that Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons had that many hits. Went to Dancing with the Stars afterwards. Very funny. NCL employees were paired up with travelers.
Thursday - Waimea canyon tour 8:30-1:30. Roberts driver Larry was excellent with lots of stories about the islands, culture etc. Went to a spouting hole which is a hole in lava at shore where water shouts up out of it. Pretty cool . We could not see the canyon at all. Driver said it sometimes clears up quickly. Bus was loaded and ready to leave the canyon when it cleared up. It was great to see.
Did Smiths luau also with Roberts on Thursday night. We wanted to do the Polynesian Village Luau on Honolulu last Friday night but they were closed for an anniversary party. Smiths Luau was OK. We were taken on a tour of the ground on a tram like thing. We were on the last/third cart on the tram and could not hear the driver, who was providing lots of info, at all because the speakers did not work on our tram. I mentioned this to him and he said they needed to look into it. The food was served buffet style and was fair and the entertainment was OK.
Friday - Kauai walked to the shops from ship. There really wasn't much to see of do there. Comedian Michael Somerville, who had been on Letterman and doing again end of Sept., was very funny. Oh What A Night 4 Seasons excellent as they did some more songs.
We watched Carrie Stone - Guitar player/singer who played nightly a couple of times.
Debarkation - carried our own bags. We Had diff last cruise. Used Roberts again to airport. Easiest debarkation ever. No lines or waiting.
Overall we had a great time but we considered NCL to be the worst cruise line that we have been on. Not really bad just lots of little things that the other lines do that they do not. Like tiny pieces of bread at dinner, no trays at the buffet that I mentioned earlier, very small pieces of dessert at dinner, and many other things. Maybe they just do this for the Hawaiian cruise. I would hope. The crew was very good. I had read a few reviews that said otherwise. Although my wife mentioned that she overheard crew members, a couple of times, complaining about things within earshot of vacationers including us.