I am glad I read the reviews after booking the cruise. Some were downright ugly about the ship. As a first timer, there is nothing to compare against, except my days as a navy ship engineer. Our experience was very positive. The only surprise was the loud flushing of the cabin toilets. Thought my wife was going to come through the closed door.
We flew into Honolulu early and spent 3 days touring Oahu on our own. This was a good move. We were relatively rested when we boarded the ship. The boarding was easy and the line to the check in was not long.
Our first meal was in the Aloha Cafe while waiting for our cabin to be cleaned. What a zoo. Only ate there one other time. Food OK, but hard to navigate through the crowds.
The cabin was great. Had a balcony where my wife could sit out and read when we took down time. The room was small, but not unexpected. Plenty of room to store the luggage under the bed. The bed was one of the most comfortable we have slept on. Room and bath were pretty clean. No complaints. The room steward was overcompensated by the $6 pp service fee. Not much to brag about him. Did what was necessary for us on most days. Wife did enjoy the 2 towel animals. Again the only issue we had was the noisy toilet flushing. Had occasional odor issues from the plumbing.
The dining rooms were very good and the service was as good as you can expect in a busy restaurant. The only one we had an issue with is the Cadillac Diner. This restaurant could not serve a hot breakfast. The eggs were cold. We even sent the first serving back and the ones returned were just as cold. The milk shakes were great. Surprised by the side orders with the fish and chips - mashed peas. We got beans for breakfast.
I booked excursions throughout the ship knowing full well that they were overpriced. Needed them to get an idea of the ports and islands for future visits. Not much excitement. The tour bus drivers were great. Did enjoy the luau on Kauai. Experienced a 5.0 earthquake atop Kilaua. The best experience was seeing the lava flows at night at the east end of Hawaii. Spectacular.
We did not use many of the other services on the ship. One afternoon at the pool. All of the wait staff were pushing drinks (extremely high priced) and bottled water (very high priced). Since we do not drink, this was not a problem for us. The crew, with 1 exception was friendly and helpful. The clerk in one of the stores needs a vacation. she was almost rude.
Overall, this was an exceptional vacation. No disappointments at all.