This standard Hawaii round trip left Los Angeles from the Princess Terminal at San Pedro. Embarkation went well enhanced by a early message from Princess speaking about lack of seating in the Terminal and assigning specific check in times by Deck. Yes, there was little waiting area however as a frequent passenger with Princess I was given the earliest group and was able to board at noon. Cabins were ready, baggage arrived shortly (RCI should take note) and off to the Horizon Court Buffet for lunch, which has a very small serving area which causes much crowding and confusion, and after this disappointing experience I seldom returned preferring to eat in the Dining Room which was open for all meals except lunch in Hawaiian ports.
Cabin was fine, same size as on Queen Victoria which I had left the day before with much more storage area compensated for by the lack of a couch found on QV replaced by a club chair. Cabin service even though the attendant had 19 cabins to attend to and had no assistant.
Food was OK, Dining Room service excellent, but neither was up to the standard of Cunard or Holland America that I had experienced in previous weeks. Ship is very large, public rooms are attractive, but there seemed to be more congestion than I experienced on similar sized ships on Cunard and HAL mentioned above.
There were Hawaiian "folklorists", and other lecturers aboard all of whom were good and filled up the 4 sea days before Hawaii and 5 sea days on the trip home. Weather going over was good - cool first two days and then sunny and warm. On way home unfortunately weather was poor throughout the entire crossing.
I do have some "gripes" about the trip however:
The Captain seldom spoke to passenger and basically never on the public address system. This is, I suspect, because his English skills are so limited.
The Promenade outside walking deck was closed frequently making it impossible for "walkers" to get their exercise. On the crossings this may have been due to high winds etc.; however it was also at least partially closed on 3 of the 4 in port days in Hawaii.
Horizon Court - the worst buffet operation I have ever seen on a cruise ship. Not only was the serving area extremely small and congested, but the food served seemed to be poorly prepared and presented, and all too many of the serving dishes were empty too much of the time. Service in the Horizon Court for coffee etc. was very good.
We visited the usual Hawaiian ports of Hilo, Honolulu, Lahaina, and Nawiliwili and had a four hour "service call" at Ensenada Mexico the afternoon before our arrival at Los Angeles.
Disembarkation was fairly smooth but did not begin until about 9 am which is later than on most lines.
All in all a "good" premium level cruise - not as good as HAL and Cunard, better in my estimation than Celebrity.