Our cruise earlier this month was close to perfect.
We found the staff to be delightful and we were always greeted with courtesy and treated with as valued passengers. No, I was not referred to as Madame, however, I found the familiar greetings & mild chitchat charming.
Our overall dining experiences were fabulous and the cleanliness of eating areas, serve ware, etc. were exceptional. I attended the dining introductions on the first day which helped us better understand our dining choices and dress codes. We started many dinners with fabulous À la carte pre-dinner sushi.
My husband and I like to dress a little for dinner when cruising so we mostly had dinner at Liberty. I did find that service in the front of Liberty to be a little faster and hotter (I think this was due to the location of the kitchens not the staff). We made reservations after breakfast and we never even had to wait.
The itinerary was ideal. We arrived in Honolulu 4 days early, giving us the opportunity to celebrate New Year’s Eve on Waikiki Beach, enjoy Honolulu and adjust to the time difference.
The itinerary with 2 overnights and late onboard times when visiting ports allowed for a relaxed way to fully experience the Islands. This was the first time we rented cars when cruising and the overall experience was smooth.
1) They drive on the “right” side of the street
2) Hawaiian driving styles are mostly the courteous and not aggressive
We Hiked, saw beautiful waterfalls, a volcano, stand up paddled boarded, snorkeled (we brought our own gear), and whale watched with the Pacific Whale Watch Foundation, enjoyed magnificent views and sunsets, and yes, had some great beach days.
I understand the POA was full for our sailing, but there was never a time that we had to wait more than a few minutes, we could always get a seat where we wanted to be. We never had the feeling of being “herded” on an over-packed ship.
The stateroom was small, enough closet and drawer space for 2 people to fit things comfortably for the week. If I wanted to be picky I would mention that when we unpacked and I went to store my luggage I found a pair of shoes from previous passengers. When packing up I pulled my luggage from under the bed and checked with flashlight to be sure I did not leave anything behind I noticed it appeared below the bed was never ever vacuumed.
I took a few light sweaters for dinner and one sweatshirt – and wound up wearing the sweatshirt every day when in port.
It was too cold to enjoy warm evenings on a balcony, and since there were no sea days I was quite happy with the location and layout of room 7120.
On the last day I went to retrieve a beer purchase I made in port but it could not be found. But within an hour an officer called and quickly delivered it to our stateroom.
We did the Pearl Harbor & & Honolulu City Tour on the last day, which dropped us directly at the Airport. Since our flight was departing until 5:00 PM it just made sense to us – I guess it made lots of sense to the lots of others as well as it was a popular and crowded excursion. Though there were a few delays with a seating technical issue on the bus, and not enough tickets for all of the passengers, we still plenty of time in Pearl Harbor to pay respects at the Arizona Memorial, walk thru the Bowfin submarine and visit the museum.
We would love to do this very same cruise again.