Our trip started in Honolulu with 2 ports in Hawaii, and one each on Fanning Island, Maui and Kauai.
Embarkation was delightfully short and easy. We were on the ship before noon, but rooms were not ready until about 3 pm.
Overall the ship was clean and attractively decorated throughout. The exception was the Blue Hawaii nightclub which was garish, with a cheesy Elvis statue at the door. The Plantation lounge and Outrigger lounge as well as Captain Cook's bar were quite lovely.
Our room was small but perfectly adequate, in bright cheerful colors. I dress for dinner every night in a different outfit, so I was worried that there wouldn't be enough closet space, but there was enough room in the closet for all our clothes and room under the bed for our suitcases as well.
We did not meet our room steward until near the end of the trip and he never introduced himself. There wasn't a notice in the room with his name on it either. Our friends had an adjoining stateroom to ours, and we had another friend down the hall. This friend said he had a fully stocked bar with alcohol, beer and soft drinks upon arrival. We did not, nor did the adjoining stateroom. After about three days, I noticed there was suddenly soft drinks and beer on the shelf above the desk area. A day after that, I noticed there was alcohol in the fridge. The adjoining room never received drinks of any kind during the entire voyage.
Food overall was very decent with some meals approaching excellence. The service at breakfast was abysmal. We often ate in the Crossings Dining room, rather than dodge people at the buffet. There was always a long wait, with food arriving cold on almost every occasion. Warm toast was an impossibility. Once, the toast was so hard and cold it was like Melba toast. There were a couple of outstanding servers, but mainly the staff seemed to be in a daze, unsure of what to do next. I believe there were many new staff on board which may explain this.
The specialty restaurants were very good. The Kahili was beautiful with great service and food, but unfortunately it was very hot in the room, making it difficult to fully enjoy the experience.
The Royal Palm Bistro had tremendous service and outstanding food. The Chateaubriand and onion soup were as good as any expensive restaurant on land.
The Pacific Heights restaurant gets mixed reviews. The first time we ate there, it was just incredible, with the best service and food imaginable. The next time we went, the service was slow, indifferent, and the food lukewarm. We had different servers both times.
The bar service was annoying. On the very first day, we ordered Pina Coladas, only to be told that they were out of the mix, and wouldn't have any until the next day. On another occasion, our favorite wine was highlighted as a special of the day. When we ordered it, we were told they were out of stock. About a week after this, the same wine was featured again, but of course there wasn't any in stock. Getting a drink on deck by the pool was rare. We usually had to get our own from the bar. Another time, I was served a glass of flat champagne. It was pretty obvious as there were no bubbles of any kind, but the waiter still served it to me.
The entertainment was just okay. The most fun was the crew talent night, which goes to show you the level of entertainment available. The balcony of the theatre had terrible sight lines. There was a horrible, persistent smell of sewage in the hall outside the theatre all the time.
The spa was very nice with great service. However, I was very upset to learn that the 18% gratuity automatically added to the spa services bill does not go to the individual who gives you your treatment. You have to tip extra if you wish to reward them, which makes the spa rather pricey.
Ports were nice and disembarkations were handled efficiently. A very nice itinerary, and going to Fanning island was a highlight.
I was disappointed to learn that there was no midnight chocolate buffet or afternoon tea service which is available on other NCL ships. The "coffee bar" was never open.
A lady I spoke to was upset that there was no chapel on board. It has been turned into a Hawaiian museum instead. While the museum was really nice and interesting, I felt sorry for the devout passengers who had to do without their chapel.
Disembarkation was fairly easy and well run.
I would not cruise on this ship again. Last year, our trip on NCL's Norwegian Star was excellent. I was surprised by the difference in quality and service between two ships in the same line.