I have read many reviews about the NCL ship.
-Yes, it needs retrofitting, (doesn't look like that is going to happen for a couple of years yet...) Very tacky, like really, vinyl seats?! Green Vinyl seats?! And the raw raw America went over board...
-Yes, the rooms are small. We had to dance to get by.
So, you are stuck with it if you want to cruise the Islands.
Check-in: SLOW, but they failed to tell anyone standing in the very long line that if you are an NCL Latitudes member (meaning you sailed before with them) you can go to a check-in that had absolutely NO LINE up! We realized that when we checked in.
Dinner: You must book Jefferson's Bistro for the first night. It does a review of all the restaurants, and yes, order as many meals as you want! I loved the fact I could taste the pasta, (which was terrible) and have sushi (which was awesome) and also prime-rib which again was awesome. Well worth it.
We also just went and had sushi, it was very good, but of course you have to pay for it. So, it all adds up!
The steak house was good also. But, I think the buffet had the best buffet food that I have tasted.
Don't like the idea that they close down so early though.
Booze: We got nabbed with wine in our suitcases... Boy the security is really checking for weapons aren't they. We paid the corkage $15 to bring them on.
We also ordered the "buy 6 get 20% off". Also, we did that with beer. Buy 4 get 5, I think it was. We just took it back to our room, and filled with ice to keep cold after we came in from port.
Really take advantage of the 20% off right off the hop. We didn't thinking it would get cheaper near the end. It doesn't.
What side of ship:
Almost all the ports where docked in the industrial area, so it was not a pretty view anywhere. But Port side is best. The sail by on the last night along the Napali Coast was beautiful.
We did not book any with the ship. We rented a car. Sign up for Blue chip. And use Discount Hawaii.
If you want to do a Helicopter ride, do it with no doors! Way better view, but dress warm!
If you want a easy way to see all the Islands this is a good way.