We flew into Honolulu a day early (if you have the time I highly recommend doing that). We live in Northern Michigan and by the time we got to our Hotel room we were exhausted. I was so glad we didn't have to go straight to embarkation - I didn't know how much patience that would require. We had the cruise line make our air reservations and book us at the Waikiki Marriott for Friday (now I wish we'd come even earlier). We bought transfers to the Hotel from the cruise line and I don't recommend that. It took them 2 hours to drive us from the Airport to the Hotel - we waited for passengers - we waited while they drove everyone else in the bus to a different location - we were too tired for that and would have been a lot happier paying someone to take us directly to the Hotel. The Marriott is gorgeous - high rise - lots of amenities - right in Waikiki and we had a gorgeous view.
Because we had the pre-cruise hotel room thru the cruise line at the Marriott - they took our luggage right from our room to the ship for us and also gave us a shuttle ride to the ship and we got to use a special Marriott line for embarkation which was much shorter than the regular one. So - that made embarkation a breeze.
We had a balcony cabin - which I recommend for this Cruise especially and the cabin was really nice. Lots of clever places to put things - a comfortable bed and I loved the balcony. It was covered and it was not hanging over the edge of the boat - there was deck below - the deck was on 6 and we were on 8 so I felt like if I somehow fell off - I could survive.
This was our third cruise - first with Norwegian and first with Freestyle. Turns out we really don't like freestyle. We like walking into the dining room and going straight to our table and getting waited on by our new best friends. You got seated pretty quickly in the main dining rooms - but it just wasn't the same. The crew was friendly and I thought very good but we didn't have anyone more than once and never connected.
The food left a lot to be desired. I can't comment on the restaurants that you pay to use - but we tried the buffet, and both main dining rooms. We didn't feel like the menu choices nor the quality of food could compare to what we had on Princess and Holland America in the past.
But - this Cruise is unique - it takes you to the Hawaiian Island's and you don't really spend a lot of time on the ship.
We thought the crew was great - our steward took wonderful care of us- it was a pretty ship - the cabin was very nice - it's a great way to get a 'flavor' of the Islands.