Having just read "MADMACS" review I thought I would give him some insight into his Hawaiian cruise in September as we have just done the same one in reverse.
We cruised with Rhapsody of the Seas but I think Radiance may be a better experience. Don't get me wrong we loved our cruise, but the Rhapsody is getting a little tired and is being relocated next year anyway. We have cruised on quite a few "lines" but must admit I have a soft spot for the "Princess" line due to the quality and variety of food and entertainment and ease of embarking and disembarking.
Our first experience of RCL was a lovely surprise, the staff made the cruise. They had time to talk to you and NOTHING was a problem, the service was exceptional, always smiling faces, wonderful people.
In saying this we prepaid our gratuities and were so glad we did as it would be so hard to know who to tip, even though we did extra tipping for extra service received.
Although the ship seemed near capacity there was always somewhere on the ship that you could find some space of your own.
I personally liked the solarium area (no charge) and frequented the Park café for breakfast and snacks throughout the day.
No children allowed.....although you would not have imagined there were about 100 on board.
We visited Isle of Pines, Vanuatu,Champagne Bay, Apia and PagoPago and decided to do our " own thing" and hired taxi drivers in Vanuatu and Apia .Both were excellent showing us their island and showing us the "island way, one even took us to his village. Be sure to barter the price and talk to frequent travellers on the ship to get some hints as to what to pay etc
Always keep your eye on the time as the ship won't wait for you if you are late and not on one of their land tours.
Isle of Pines and Champagne Bay had beautiful swimming beaches. HINT.. take your own snorkel gear AND shoes to wear in water to make it easier on the feet.
Please talk to the villagers on the small islands who come down to meet the ships and support them with their wares, they are so nice to talk to and not "pushy" and appreciate you taking your time with them.
Don't just walk on their island and takeover their beaches and ignore them.
Now the downside, not many of these. I had read reviews on the food on this ship before I went and it was exactly what was said.
The food in the dining room eventually improved but the first two nights was very ordinary, and the food in the Windjammer café varied very little as did the food in the Park Café although nice and fresh. Always predictable unfortunately. No surprises anywhere, a bit tiring after 16 days.
Disembarking in Hawaii was disappointing, some 2hours later than when we were scheduled. Lack of communication with staff in the "holding" lounges led to passengers left sitting waiting with no explanation as to why we were running so late. I don't know what happened to people who had planes to catch! Luggage collection worked fine.
In closing I must comment on the effort of all staff in keeping the ship so hygienic and clean, always wiping hand rails and regular cleaning of facilities, hopefully keeping the dreaded "gastro" at bay.
All in all a wonderful holiday, would definitely try another ship in the RCL one day.