We chose this cruise because we were looking for the best way to see Hawaii in the shortest period of time without having to fly between islands (pack and repack, etc). Given that criteria, this cruise was adequate. We have cruised many times (with Norwegian, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princes). It has been several years since our last cruise, so perhaps things have changed in the cruise industry that we were not aware of. I’ll start with the positives about the cruise. All public areas were kept neat and clean. The staff seemed to take cleanliness seriously and went above and beyond to provide hand sanitizer at many strategic places. I especially appreciated the fact that they were spraying hand sanitizer for all those entering buffet area. Our room was also kept very clean by a visit from our room steward twice each day. We had a balcony room which was ample size. We enjoyed the mini fridge and upon arrival we asked for it to be emptied so we could use it for our own things. Embarkation and Debarkation was easy and well-organized. Perhaps some of the best we have experienced with cruises. We also enjoyed the nightly entertainment. We are big Jimmy Buffet and Eagles fans so those tributes were right up our alley. The specialty restaurants we chose were wonderful both with food and service (Jefferson Bistro and La Cucina). We enjoyed the opportunity to try them, but feel like the main dining rooms should provide the same service and quality of food. It appears that cruise lines are using these specialty dining areas as just another avenue to squeeze more money from their passengers.
What was lacking on this cruise (compared to others we have enjoyed) was the quality of food and the service. The menu in the main dining room was not up to par. The menu choices were few and the quality wasn’t anywhere near what you would expect from a Norwegian Cruise. The service in the main dining rooms was extremely poor. Except for a few waiters here and there, the majority of the servers were less than friendly and didn’t seem to care if we were satisfied or not. On this ship you needed to be strategic about when you chose to eat. For example, when we returned from our excursions in the afternoons the ONLY place available for us to eat was the Cadillac Diner. Thank goodness it was open 24 hours a day because there was no place to eat after the evening entertainment either. Is there no such thing as the midnight buffet on cruise ships anymore?
We enjoyed the main show entertainment we were disappointed that there were no out-of-the-way places to go and enjoy music and dancing. Pinks Lounge was just a walk-through and the times we visited the Piano Bar there was no music. On the surface, The Gold Rush Saloon seemed cool, but again when we visited there was rarely anything going on. This ship lacks the club experience.
Overall, given what we paid for this cruise, we were extremely disappointed. If, like us, you simply want to see as much of Hawaii in 7 days as possible, then by all means this cruise works. But I would imagine there are better ways to experience Hawaii. Make sure you investigate all of your options before making this choice.