Well, I wanted to write a review after our cruise, since I had read so many before I made my stateroom selection and excursion picks, so here I go. First let me say that if you are traveling some distance (I was coming from the East coast of the United States) it is probably worth while to fly to Honolulu First Class rather than coach if you can swing it financially. The extra leg room and seat room is worth it in my opinion, not to mention the meals, drinks and two pieces of checked luggage per person.
The Cruise Suite Stateroom Room (10678) itself was a little smaller than what I had imagined based on internet pictures, but was adequate for my wife and I and my 23 year old daughter (you could probably do 4 people if you had children under the age of 16), but 5 people would be pushing it in my opinion. There are essentially two bedrooms (one smaller ,and one larger with essentially a king size bed),and a small living room area. Each room had its' own TV (the living room had a bigger TV screen).
MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT,THE SELLING FEATURE OF THIS SUITE IS THE BALCONY AND THE VIEWS FROM IT (I would recommend the Family Suites on decks 9 or 10 aft). If your family likes to lay out on a balcony with great views of the Hawaiian islands most of time, for parts of every day and night on this cruise, this is the room for you. If not, look elsewhere for another room on the ship. There is no hot tub on the balcony in this suite, but THE BALCONY IS OVER 5 TIMES THE SIZE OF A REGULAR BALCONY, AND WRAPS AROUND THE SHIP ON THE SIDE THAT YOU ARE ON (I did some comparison measurements). We were on deck 10 aft under the Moderno café, and noise was NOT an issue.
I did have a few napkins fly onto our balcony from above, but I considered it a minor inconvenience. THE ONLY REAL NEGATIVE OF THIS ROOM ,IN MY OPINION, IS THAT THE BATHROOM IS TOO SMALL (THE SHOWER IS ACTUALLY SLIGHTLY SMALLER THAN A PHONE BOOTH--if you remember phone booths). Overall, I would give the room an A minus (the minus is for the bathroom).
We had a great steward who made sure we had plenty of towels and ice (I love cold stuff, so ice was important for me).
We also had a fabulous butler (he would bring goodies to the room everyday, without me even asking for it, including fruit, candies, cookies, chocolate covered strawberries, cheese cake, tea sandwiches, hors d'oeuvres, cheese tray with bread, crackers & caviar to name a few. A bottle of Chilled Champagne, bowl of fresh fruit & cheese tray with caviar was there to greet us on our arrival to this Suite in addition to some complimentary bottled water (our butler got us more the complimentary bottled water, but be aware that most of the bottled water comes with an additional charge (you have a mini-bar in the room ,but if you use anything they will charge you for it).
We were treated like royalty soon after we signed in. They took us up to the Napa Wine bar where we were given Champagne, then taken to Cagney's Steak House for Lunch (we liked their flounder) before being allowed to go to our room (Cagney's is used exclusively for suite occupants for breakfast and lunch, if you want to dine there--there is an additional charge for dinner if you decide you want this option). Also if you need a boat tender (like in Kona), suite occupants are taken to the head of the line.
Let me say a word about shore excursions, I saved approx. 30% to 40% for essentially similar, if not identical excursions, by using Roberts Hawaii 1-800-831-5541, and I had excursions for 3 adults for every day of the cruise except the day that we set sail, so it was a decent cost savings for me ( I had to use NCL, and they subcontract out to Polynesian Adventures, on the Saturday that we left the cruise ship, because Roberts didn't offer what I was looking for--and I didn't detect any noticeable difference in quality). I got into Honolulu two days before the cruise started, and did a Luau (we did the Luau at the Hilton Hawaiian village which was very good, although I wanted the one in Paradise Cove or Polynesian Cultural center, but couldn't make that happen because of transportation and time issues, but my wife and daughter (and I) were happy with the Hilton Hawaiian Village luau), Pearl harbor (you can book a tour (for an additional charge) or get some of the 2000 free tickets they give out every day, but you better be there before 7 AM to get them (I would also rent the audio tour for $7.50 per person which I thought was very informative (the free tickets get you onto the USS Arizona memorial and not the USS Missouri or the Bowfin, but I considered this more than adequate, and it took about 3 to 4 hours to go thru the buildings with the audio tour.
We also climbed up Diamond head to its' summit where the views are indeed spectacular (Oahu charges you a dollar a person to do this),but it is no cake walk. They do have a railing that you can hold onto up and down (and I used it). You can take the bus ($2.50 per person each way) to Diamond head ,but will need to walk about a half mile to get to the entrance at its' base to pay the dollar to get you in or you can take a cab all the way in (it costs about $20 from the Hilton Hawaiian village in Waikiki to diamond head plus gratuity one way, and there are usually cabs waiting at the base of diamond head to take you back to your hotel--for another $20 + gratuity of course). If you are able to make arrangements with a flat rate cab company beforehand you might do a little better (Johnny cab 808-722-4610 did great for us from the airport to our Waikiki hotel ($30 + gratuity with luggage--2 per person), and from the hotel to the cruise pier ($25 + gratuity with luggage--2 per person). Make sure the person you are dealing with is reliable. If they don't get back to you within 1 business day, I would think twice before booking with them. On the morning of the day of the Cruise we walked along Waikiki beach and went in the water, it was relaxing.
Let me also say a word about the shows on the ship (Hollywood theater 7 & 9 PM). They are a nice way to end the day, and I would consider them good , and entertaining , but not great. If you are looking for Broadway quality, you are in the wrong place. I liked the magician that they had, and I think he did a good job entertaining, but Harry Houdini he is not (actually no one really is).
I thought the food at the Aloha café, Maderno café, Cagney Steak house, Cadillac diner & Skyline was decent (that is to say,pretty good) (again not great), but I am no connoisseur.
My wife and daughter did a wine tasting tour on the ship for $20 + tax per person in the Napa Wine Bar on Friday of the cruise and they loved it.
So bottom line is if you want to have a vacation to fondly remember it's going to cost you, but if you do your homework you can lessen the blow.
If you can swing a Suite financially, it is definitely the way to go (I have done two cruises, one regular stateroom and one suite, and the suite was 10 times better in my opinion).
Well, I'm going to stop here, and hope that this helps other people like previous reviews helped me.
Aloha and Mahalo