This was our second 15 night cruise round-trip from San Diego. Our first was in Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas in Oct 07. This cruise was different in that we had only 4 days alongside as opposed to 5, which had included an overnight in Lahaina, Maui. We chose to basically repeat the itinerary because we found this to be an incredibly relaxing itinerary with a great visit to 4 different ports in Hawaii. Our principle pastimes included the use of the gymnasium and the Persian Garden (spa thermal suite) during sea days. We enjoyed food in all the dining locations, especially the Spa Cafe for a healthy breakfast just before workouts. The best value meal in the ship's only pay-as-you-go restaurant, Murano, is one of their lunches for $25 instead of a full cost supper at $45. Otherwise, there are better deals to be had on the first and last nights, typically 30% less if booked those days, or buy purchasing a 3 supper deal for $99/person. We had the classic drink package as a perk and found it excellent; however, it is hard to imagine drinking the amount of water, coffees, cocktails and wine in one day to justify the $50/day/person expense unless you drink more than my wife and I. The only limitations that we remarked on regarding the classic drink package were the choices of wine by the glass or premium spirits, e.g., single malt scotch; however, we found the options available more than adequate. If you like thermal suites in the ship, we would recommend booking access for a couple at the start of the cruise for $189. An excellent deal for 15 days for 2 people.
All of the port excursions we booked were through the cruise line. We had to change some excursions due to the Federal government shut down impacting visits to national sites including the Volcano National Park and the Arizona Memorial.
Our ports/excursions included Honolulu where we did a small circle tour with a visit to the USS Missouri that we found very good, Lahaina where we attended an excellent Luau, Kona where we participated in an excellent excursion to Mauna Kea Observatories at a 14,000 ft altitude and Hilo were we did a tour of a variety of lava fields, Lava Tree Park, visited a historic church and had a great BBQ lunch.