We couldn't have asked for a better cruise! After reading a number of negative reviews on this ship our expectations were fairly low so we were delighted when this cruise proved to be nothing like anything we'd been anticipating.
We found our cabin, although quite small, to be very comfortable with lots of storage. It was spotlessly clean and our cabin steward was eager to please at all times. We were impressed when we were boarding that as he showed us to our cabin he already knew our names - we'd told him our cabin number and he welcomed us on board and used our surname! It is only a little thing....but it is what I expect from 5-star service and not necessarily for passengers located on Deck 4, as we were, and not in an owner's suite. So this was a nice start :)
Bathroom was small also but the ribbed shower curtain was a definite plus - no wet curtain sticking to you as you shower. We've been on other ships where that shower curtain (un-ribbed) is nothing but a nuisance.
We'd arranged for a Cruise Critic Meet and Greet which Leonie (Group Service Co-ordinator) organised for us in the Napa Wine Bar. Two Officers came and met with us, Dallas (Hotel Director) and Frank (Food and Beverage Director), and talked about the ship and answered any questions we had. It was lighthearted, very informative and a great way to begin our cruise. It was also a lovely to meet the eight other CC folks and we seemed to bump into them fairly often throughout the cruise and managed to catch up for dinner with some them of them at various times which we enjoyed very much.
As it turned out all of us who attended the M&G were also invited to an Officer's table for dinner on the Tuesday evening after our day in Hilo. What a lovely surprise! We were split up at different tables and at our table was Steve (in charge of staff) and Brian (in charge of fire safety). It was a wonderful evening in the Liberty Main Dining Room. Our table shared good food and lots of laughter. It was lots of fun and very memorable. (Thank you POA!)
The food served in the Dining Rooms was good to very good. Not 5-star fine dining by any means but fresh, attractively served and very enjoyable. We mainly had our meals in the Liberty and somehow we always had good service although I did hear stories of long waiting times. Apparently the first evening in Kauai the service was very slow due to the fact that the one of the main dining rooms was closed as a huge number of people were ashore for a luau. This night we had chosen to have a quick light meal at the Cadillac Cafe as we'd done a sunset cruise on a catamaran sailing past the Na Pali coast and they had served a delicious chicken and salad meal before we docked at 6pm.
We tried the Lazy J Steakhouse one evening and the steak was "to die for" - absolutely melt in your mouth fillet steaks and definitely worth the cover charge. We enjoyed this restaurant as service was exceptional and food mostly great. We did not enjoy the prawn cocktail - prawns tasted very watery and did not have much flavour - probably frozen and thawed.
All, and I do mean ALL, the staff were wonderful. We did not come across one member of staff in any area of the ship who was unhelpful, surly or less than friendly. Without exception they were eager to assist and always smiling.
We had been a little worried about the tendering process at Kona as on various other ships we've been on tendering sometimes proved to be a long drawn out process. Not here! Smooth and quick and no waiting time at either end.
I wish I could say the same for the initial embarkation in Honolulu. Two hours is an awful long time to stand in a queue! Maybe the fact that Apec was starting in Honolulu that morning had something to do with the slowness of being able to board....but maybe not. Maybe its a current occurrence. I would have thought though that since the POA does this week after week that they would have a smooth system in place. Even to have had the rows sign-posted better could have helped. It wasn't until we were finally near the front of the queue that we could see the sign that said "Latitudes".....hmmm, if only that had been at the end of that long row!! That is my one and only complaint otherwise everything was
just perfect. The ports, the cruise, the ship, the passengers, the cabins etc etc was perfect, perfect perfect.