< VISTA Restaurant (Main dining) assigned/scheduled seating was a complete disaster! Horrible service, sub par meals. "As You Wish Dining"...Don't count on it
< This boat is WORN OUT!! It is WAY over due for a facelift. Don't know if it's ever been refurbed (heard maybe 2007) from original 2003 when new, but if it has been refurbished all they did was take out the old carpet and furniture and put it in another room. This boat is pretty beat up.
> Some of our cabin furniture was ready for the recycle bin, with deep scratches and gouges in the table, the "imitation" leather chair had tears and the bedding just wasn't new and fresh. Even the pictures on the walls resembled something out of a 60's Sammy Davis movie.
> The atrium appeared old and outdated.
>Exploration Lounge and quiet area was pretty tired as well. It is adorned with leather seating everywhere, most of which in need of repair or replacement.
> The carpet, throughout the vessel, was spent! Stained and faded by severe foot traffic helping show its age!
< VISTA RESTAURANT (assigned or scheduled seating) WAS A JOKE! HORRIBLE SERVICE, UNTIMELY FOOD DELIVERY AND SUB PAR MEALS!
< On board recreation.......again, don't count on it. Deck 10, the sports deck, was so cold and windy EVERY day that only the brave would venture a morning walk. Don't wear a hat, you'll never see it again. Basketball, shuffleboard, and other outdoor activities on this deck simply won't happen while at sea.
< Itinerary says 4 days at sea to and from Hawaii. This isn't true. Those are calendar dates, and in reality you're at sea for almost 5 days or 110 hours. THAT'S A LONG TIME in rough seas!
< My wife being a health Spa fanatic would NOT get in any of the "community" hot tubs. (yes, that swirling hot tub scum was evident in both midship and aft tubs, nasty!) She used the midship pool on the first day and didn't use it again!
< Seriously HACL!!! You can't afford to at least maintain the Ping Pong tables! The table tennis nets needed to be super glued or nail gunned in place in order to use them. The paddles were purchased when the ship was christened! Throw them away and get new ones. (We brought our own, which turned out to be a GREAT plan)
Our group of 5 had reviewed this very site for positive and negative reviews of this particular vessel and cruise. We decided that there wasn't really any bad signs that would inhibit us from taking this cruise to Hawaii.
Embarkation was a SNAP, I mean literally a piece of cake! We arrived at the dock parking lot in our POV and off loaded our luggage where we were met with efficient baggage handlers. From that moment until we were in our cabin was not more than 30 minutes. No lines, little fuss with security and very few people. This was nice. We made a timely pushback from the dock as scheduled at 5pm under a gorgeous rising full moon over the San Diego sky line.
Day 1 at sea: Water Water Water, rough seas and more water. Not much to go on as you read this but the sea was so rough that sitting down attractions were the only way to pass the time. Cribbage anyone? First night entertainment was slightly better than that roadside puppet show you'd see at the county carnival. We opted for the Vista "As You Wish" seating and made our way to dinner around 6pm. We were seated promptly, but that was only the good part of this experience. We had 2 waiters, both of whom seemed to be in training or somewhat lost with there job descriptions. It took, literally, 30 minutes each time for 4 different courses of food to be delivered to our table of 5. That's soup, salad, entree, and desert, followed by a cup of coffee. We spent almost 2.5 hours in the Vista Restaurant waiting for service and food. On top of that, our entrees were room temperature and certainly NOT palatable. First night slow start, maybe, we gave that to them and moved on.
Day 2 at sea: Water, Wind, and still more water, except the wind had increased. Pretty boring day it turned out to be, but that was our choice as we really didn't want to be cabin bound all day. Cribbage anyone? Formal night wasn't going to happen after our first Vista dining experience. We ate at the Lido Restaurant, and as it turned out was excellent!!!
Day 3 at sea: Review Day 2, except we tried the Vista Restaurant for a second attempt. This experience was actually efficient and notable turn-around from day 1. Exceptions being we had different table and waiter assignments. Go figure?
Day 4 at sea: Water is really getting boring and the sea was continuing to toss us around. Still nothing to do but wander the girth of the ship and explore. We were bobbing around in 10-12 foot swells with 30 knot cross wind. Our cabin sliding door was actually whistling loudly by the vacuum being created from the strong wind on the port side of the ship. We could barely open it.
Day 5 Hilo!! Can you say rain.........one of the rainiest places on earth, but this POC (Port of Call) was awesome. Highly recommend the helicopter tour of the volcano and keep your camera with you at all times. There's plenty to see and do.
Day 6 Honolulu.......Not so much fun...college students were out of classes for the holiday break and the traffic in Honolulu is beyond belief. It was literally the worst we have EVER experienced. And I used to live in Southern Cal. We did the Arizona Memorial, which pretty much took up all of our time. Took us exactly 1 hour to drive 6 miles to get lunch. Still the sites were pleasant, but we will never do Honolulu again.
Day 7 Nawiliwili....Kauai, this was the best island by far, rent a car or scooter and enjoy it all. You won't be disappointed. This was also the evening we tried the Vista Restaurant once again, citing a good experience from 3 or 4 days earlier. OH man!! what a mistake this was. We got seated at the same table as our first visit and had the same deplorable waiters. Again we sat for an unnecessarily long time. We even questioned if we could sit at the adjacent vacant table by the window but got denied. About 15 minutes later that table did occupy. All our orders were placed, almost exactly like the first day. And like the first day I ordered a generic green salad, nothing extra, with dressing. The waiter could NOT comprehend what it was I wanted, even after many clarifying definitions. I asked him to disregard my request and move on. Magically a salad showed up??!! I'm thinking someone had to translate my order for him. Remember that table that was by the window that occupied 15 minutes after us? They received their main entree before we did, and they also ordered the same number of courses from the dame waiters. The maitre 'd explained that there was a screw up in the kitchen and that our order was on its way. Oh yeah, our entree showed up! They showed up cold, we couldn't believe it!!!! We each ate a small portion of our meal and got up and walked out. Actually the looks on the waiters faces made my day. The VISTA Restaurant is HORRIBLE! Certainly not worthy of having the distinction of serving world class entrees.
Day 8 Lahaina, Maui.....Well here we go............We were tendered off the vessel while anchored in Lahaina bay. Even though we had rental cars waiting for us there, we caught a glimpse of some advertising for scooter rentals conveniently parked at the dock.....and took the bait. Actually it is a great way to see the island. I made a phone call via the 800 number listed on the ad and was given instructions where to wait. 25m later a van arrived and drove us "across town", (10miles??) to the rental location. This is where you really get a taste of the local economy and businesses. Shortly after we arrived we discovered that the scooters advertised were indeed NOT the scooters we were intending to rent, and even though the engine size was the same, the overall size of the scooter was more fitted for use as a circus ride rather than a SAFE escort around the island. We immediately questioned the availability of the larger version and was told they were not in stock and that what we see is what we get! I'm 6'1" and my buddy is 6'5" and there was no way we could safely manage our way around the island on the smaller versions, which is probably why they were left in stock. We subsequently denied the rental agreements and politely asked to be returned to our pick up location, to which we received a CURT and DISRESPECTFUL reply of "you're on your own!" Remember this, if you get anything out of this review, that ALOHA MOTORSPORTS shouldn't be your first choice when it comes to renting transportation on the islands of MAUI or KAUAI. There attitude towards tourism and their customers has definitely set the bar for the LOWEST of industry standards. Avoid them at any cost! Regardless of this unfortunate error in judgement, we still recorded a wonderful day on the island.
Day 9 at Sea: We left the bay of Lahaina on time and set sail for Ensenada Mexico for 125 hours of rocking and rolling. We experienced, at one point, 66kts of wind head-on through the bow of the ship. That lasted through the night and wasn't very pleasant. The following morning yielded an overcast sky and windy conditions which lasted for the remainder of the 4+ days at sea. Our entertainment was limited to eating and watching the ocean, because going below deck was typically unpleasant.
Day 13 we arrived at the port Ensenada, Mexico. International Maritime Law, (if I heard this right) says that before a vessel can return to the US after leaving a US port, they must first stop at a foreign POC before returning to the US. Ensenada is merely a token POC, barely enough time to get off the ship and have a Margarita. A serious waste of time.
Disembarkation, like embarkation, was a snap as well. Took about 1 hour to gather our gear and wait for our ride.
IN REVIEW: We didn't do any returning shows, because our first viewing was somewhat of a let down, so we elected to avoid any future efforts. Lido "dining" was superb! The focus of a quality cruise like this one should have been is the dining experiences. The VISTA RESTAURANT fails miserably in that endeavor. There is ample room for a great degree of remedial training for the VISTA waiters. (at least the 2 we had experiences with, they failed miserably) Having to get gussied up and looking pretty for a 2+ hour wait for sub standard food really wasn't worth the aggravation. If Holland will change the wiper blades, wax the hood, and put on a new set of tires, this boat wouldn't look like it's ready for the scrap heap. It is truly worn and tired looking. This cruise was clearly geared for the elderly, again the 70+ generation, Rascals and 3 wheeled scooters everywhere! I don't recommend taking ANY kids on this trip, they will have absolutely NOTHING to do while at sea. The pools are heated, but I we just couldn't help but wonder how funky they really were??? POC were incredible, with exception of the scum personnel at Aloha Motorsports, we'd go back. We still managed a wonderful day dispute the deplorable treatment hours earlier. Would I take this Holland trip again?, absolutely NOT, would I cruise Holland again?, probably not. Can I recommend Holland Cruise Line all things considered? I don't think so. Scaled from 1-10 this cruise is about 4.5