This cruise was the trip of a lifetime and our first cruise (I cruised with a very good friend). When we arrived in Oahu the night before our cruise it was late and all we wanted to do was get to our hotel and go to bed. We had the TV on and saw that an earthquake had it Costa Rica but thought nothing of it. Little did we know a tsunami was heading towards Hawaii.
Thankfully, we're both calm in emergencies, so we did what we had to do to get through the crisis (which, thankfully, turned out to be a non-crisis). After reassuring friends and family we were fine, we decided to make the most of the tsunami excitement and walked along Waikiki Beach taking in the beautiful weather and the people before the tsunami hit. As I said, it was a non-event and we joined the other harried travelers after the warning ended trying to get to their destination. Our destination was the pier to embark on our cruise.
We waited in line for over 3 hours. But again, we made the most of it chatting about our experience of the morning and getting to know our future cruisers in the queue for embarkation. And it was heaven when we embarked. Not having been on a cruise before, we were impressed. A previous reviewer described the ship as being "old and out of date." What?! It was beautiful and very modern. Despite everything the crew had been through that day, they were pleasant and went out of their way to make us feel welcome. I just want to say I never met a crabby/rude/impolite crew member the entire trip. The crew should be proud of the service they provided; they left no stone unturned when it comes to customer service.
Now, I've read some reviews of this cruise and I am stunned at the negativity of these reviews. I said while cruising, and I will repeat here, if you are bored on this cruise, it is your own fault. Get involved in the activities! There are so many events happening on the ship and at each port there is not enough time to do them all. We went to bed exhausted every night. The entertainment in Pink's Champagne Bar was awesome, as well as the shows in the Mardi Gras Club and Hollywood Theatre. Every night there was something different. I don't know what other reviewers were expecting, but we thought the events were top notch. I'm a firm believer that the more you do, the more fun you'll have.
The food was awesome. Everywhere we ate, the food was delicious and we actually lost weight on the cruise, and we never went hungry. How awesome is it that you can eat whenever you want and whatever you want?!
Wow, the cabin was small; but then we expected that and made the most of it by being organized. We also did not spend much time in our room, but it was very comfortable, we looked forward to the towel animals each night, and like magic, we had a clean room every day. Yes, it was small and compact, but very utilitarian.
Shore excursions were also very organized and our tour guides very informative regarding the Hawaiian culture. The luau was a bit disappointing, but then we'd never been to one and it was a great first time experience. Again, a great way to learn about the Hawaiian culture.
My only complaint was the picture taking. We quickly learned that every time we sat down to dinner, there was a ship photographer wanting to take our picture. By the third night, we were politely declining having our picture taken as we'd had enough.
Seven days was a perfect time period for a cruise. By the seventh day I was ready to not be shepherded around anymore. It is quite the process embarking and disembarking the ship with security and all, and we were glad to be done with it; the crew did a very good job organizing 2,200 people on and off the ship.
We were also surprised how rough the waters were when we were traveling at night between islands. The first night out of Maui, it seemed there were a lot of passengers getting ill and we were all trying to get our sea legs. I was under the impression that passengers barely felt the ship moving. I don't know if this cruise was the norm as far as movement or if the waters are usually calmer.
We thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise....and Hawaii! I would highly recommend a Hawaiian cruise; you will not be disappointed and will have the time of your life. If you want to have a blast, hang out with an awesome crew, meet a lot of interesting people from all over the world and see Hawaii on your own terms, this cruise is the bomb and it ROCKS. :0)