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17 Hawaii Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

Selected cruise for its Hawaiian ports and warm weather plus sailing on the Grand via San Francisco. Amazing cruise, amazing service by Grand Princess staff, and beautiful islands. Highly recommend Grand Princess for its world class ... Read More
Selected cruise for its Hawaiian ports and warm weather plus sailing on the Grand via San Francisco. Amazing cruise, amazing service by Grand Princess staff, and beautiful islands. Highly recommend Grand Princess for its world class service, wonderful and warm staff, and clean ship. Though it's an older ship, staff work hard to maintain the Grand Princess, and officers and staff were present throughout the ship 24/7. Had an excellent cabin steward and professional and wonderful dining room wait staff. Amazing trip onboard the beautiful Grand Princess! Like our waiter, Jonel Bola said, "The Grand Princess is known for #1 service out of its entire fleet of 18 vessels." The entire dining room staff was amazing and wonderful to all its dining passengers. The food was good, plenty of desserts to choose from, and staff are generous with service, extras/portions, drinks, and smiles! All staff throughout the ship were kind, courteous, warm, and provided consistent service and were very hard working. Service throughout the ship was consistent and amazing! Ship Captain, JP Bryant, was very nice and courteous and always greeted passengers pleasantly. This was a 16-day cruise! Have done shorter and longer cruises, but a 16-day is a perfect amount of time for a winter getaway! I highly recommend the beautiful Grand Princess! Others might be concerned that it's an older ship but I find it to be quaint, comfortable, has character, beautiful, has internet service, and has excellent and consistent customer service. I've sailed on the Grand 6 times and each time I've experienced consistent customer service! And, if something wasn't right, staff will work quickly and very hard to make the problem right! No complaints when I'm on the Grand! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We had an amazing time on the cruise! We’ve never been to Hawaii before but have been on other NCL ships. This ship is smaller and older but still nice and feels more homey than other ships we’ve been on. The food was pretty ... Read More
We had an amazing time on the cruise! We’ve never been to Hawaii before but have been on other NCL ships. This ship is smaller and older but still nice and feels more homey than other ships we’ve been on. The food was pretty decent in all the free locations and very good in the paid restaurants. We really enjoyed the stake house. The Japanese restaurant was also very yummy. The entertainment and shows were great, the one that stood out was the magician Kyle Marlett. Best magic show we’ve ever seen! They Comedian was also very funny. The crew was pretty great. Most of them being American. You can tell they work hard long hours. We did some activities off the ship. The black sand beach was fantastic. Overall we were very happy with the cruise. No other cruise let’s you see Hawaii like NCL so it’s worth the money. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was our second cruise in the Grand Princess (and 13th on Princess). Overall we were very pleased, but of course there were some concerns. THE GOOD: -- excellent cabin steward; very helpful as we prepared to host a cocktail ... Read More
This was our second cruise in the Grand Princess (and 13th on Princess). Overall we were very pleased, but of course there were some concerns. THE GOOD: -- excellent cabin steward; very helpful as we prepared to host a cocktail party; great attitude -- superb entertainment, as is usual for Princess -- service in the dining room was excellent - attentive and prompt -- enjoyed meals in both specialty restaurants -- the daily LGBT gatherings were fun, with over 20 folks a couple of times; fun to meet people from across the country -- the variety of excursions offered on the four Hawaiian Islands was good. We loved the submarine dive in Maui. -- the New Years Eve parties were a lot of fun -- although a water leak in the 14th level Horizons Court closed half of it for most of the cruise, the dining staff responded well and opened other dining rooms for added hours to compensate, resulting in a minimum of inconvenience for the passengers THE NEGATIVES: -- the ship was always cold! Not just cool, but so cold that folks were wearing jackets to the shows and lounges. The first night our cabin would not get above low 60's - maintenance adjusted the settings as we were comfortable the rest of the cruise. -- food in the main dining room was not as good as on previous cruises (fish was overcooked and dry) -- young children screaming during dinner in the specialty restaurants really detracted from what was otherwise a very nice experience. I would love to see a policy of no babies (perhaps under 2) in the surcharged restaurants -- I did not like the Latin focused ballroom dancing lessons, much preferring traditional ballroom that I have enjoyed on previous Princess cruises -- although we have enjoyed days at sea in the past, including trans-Atlantic crossings, with ten days at sea (four over and six coming back (with a four-hour stop in Ensenada) became too many days out of a fifteen-day cruise. We will certainly cruise with Princess again, and even on the Grand Princess since it remains based in San Francisco and is very convenient for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
My experience on Pride of America was great. The food was fantastic and the shows on board were great. My room was small and the bathroom was definitely to small', but I got use to it. I love sitting on the balcony because I get a ... Read More
My experience on Pride of America was great. The food was fantastic and the shows on board were great. My room was small and the bathroom was definitely to small', but I got use to it. I love sitting on the balcony because I get a chance to read my book as well as to having a goof drink. I also enjoy watching the sun come up and to go down. All and all, my cruise experience was great and look forward to traveling with Norwegian Cruise Line again. The specialty dinners were great. I did the package of 3 Dinners and I spent my other times in the Skyline Dining Room. I choose the 12 bottles of water which in came in handy because I was always thirsty. My SEVEN DAY experience to Hawaii was fantastic and I got to experience several island in the region. I loved every moment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Hawaii's islands were on my bucket list for my retirement. I could check it out from the list. This cruise characterized in a large population of disabled people and seniors. For the cruise excursions, it took a long time to ... Read More
Hawaii's islands were on my bucket list for my retirement. I could check it out from the list. This cruise characterized in a large population of disabled people and seniors. For the cruise excursions, it took a long time to get off or get into the bus at each location. The same was with tender. We had an interior cabin and although it was quite small, it was a great place to sleep without the sleeping pills; the cabin was very quite. However, after 15 days on the ship, my husband and I are taking a break from the long destination's cruising that have 9 days at sea, when the weather is not perfect. Very smooth embarkation; however, the police at the San Pedro, Los Angeles' port was very aggressive and, when my daughter helped as with the loading of our baggage, she get a $93 ticket for leaving the driver seat. That fact a little sour our experience with embarkation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
the ship was very clean and the personnel were very cordial. the food had such a wide variety, and the pizza was so tasty. lemonade was available 24/7, the room was very well kept (thanks to Mel) and the halls/corridors we kept very ... Read More
the ship was very clean and the personnel were very cordial. the food had such a wide variety, and the pizza was so tasty. lemonade was available 24/7, the room was very well kept (thanks to Mel) and the halls/corridors we kept very clean with very few room service trays cluttering them. there were numerous events aboard to attend, so time flew by. the weather mother nature left us somewhat dreary, but the crew kept our spirits high, with help from the bartenders. I was confused a little between where to find the comedy club vs the MadHatter club, only to find this area has two names for the same club. the only other thing I hoped for was a bulletin board where we could leave messages for other cruisers. the hub chat was disappointing, some times IM's would be up to 6 hours late. but for only a few dollars for the entire cruise it was not a waste of money spent. Behind the fun tour was very interesting, and exciting. Jaime our entertainment director was awesome, and very well spoken. She kept herself visible at all times, I don't know when she slept. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I should start out by saying that this was my first NCL cruise. I have cruised three times prior on Carnival and loved it. My parents took this same cruise and they loved it. My husband and I took this cruise for our honeymoon, as we ... Read More
I should start out by saying that this was my first NCL cruise. I have cruised three times prior on Carnival and loved it. My parents took this same cruise and they loved it. My husband and I took this cruise for our honeymoon, as we wanted to see as much of Hawaii as possible. And this cruise is a great means to that end. You get to see 4 islands and have plenty of time at most of them to do whatever you want, especially since you are in port for two consecutive days at Maui and Kauai. One note about the ports, they are all industrial ports (with one exception). There isn't much in walking distance from the ports, so you will largely have to rely on free shuttles, taxis or a rental car. The only port that isn't industrial is Kona, which doesn't really have a port due to the protected reef. We actually had to tender (i.e. take a smaller boat to the dock from the cruise ship) to get ashore. As others have said, the staff on this ship is not of the caliber you've experienced on other ships I suspect. Most of the staff are American. The first two staff we talked to (both bartenders) complained to us about their job and working the bar. Additionally, throughout the cruise I heard staff complain, be reprimanded and generally not care. This isn't true for all staff, but I certainly never noticed any of this poor morale or behavior on Carnival. The entertainment is sub-standard. The comedian (Michael Somerville) was great! But that was about it. The staff shows, magician and musicals were poor, even for a cruise. The food wasn't all that great either. The buffet was standard and nothing to rave about. The food options in the complimentary dining rooms was limited and not overly impressive. However, Moderno and La Cucina were amazing. That is their Brazilian steakhouse and Italian restaurant, respectively. The food at both these places was fantastic. We also ate at Teppanyaki (which was hard to get a reservation at); it was not that great. We did not try the Bistro, but it always looked packed. At the end of the day, the cruise served a purpose: to see the Hawaiian Islands. Having never been to Hawaii before, it was what we wanted. I would not recommend this cruise if you've never cruised before (it will give you a bad impression) or if you've been to Hawaii before (you won't enjoy it). Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This old lady holds up remarkably well...yes age is apparent but not really noticeable...a few stains here and there and rust is normal....food is best at the Crown Grill, Sabatini's is overly rich in butter and garlic...I find the ... Read More
This old lady holds up remarkably well...yes age is apparent but not really noticeable...a few stains here and there and rust is normal....food is best at the Crown Grill, Sabatini's is overly rich in butter and garlic...I find the MDR's noisy and the food soso...the Horizon Court is awful BUT great salad fixings that are very fresh for a perfect lunch...the ice tea can range from great to hints of chlorinated...yuck...coffee is decent However, the real magic was my full suite aft...quiet...roomy...with an incredible wrap around balcony...spent many hours dozing, reading, eating and gazing at the sea...the screw cavitation rumbled, the stern moved and the wake white noise all rocked me to sleep at night and my frequent naps...I found the rest of the ship crowded and noisy...the music mediocre, the entertainment corny...lots of selling of stuff...stores overpriced...excursions overpriced...spa massage average and overpriced with irritating sales job...there is a great hideaway, starboard deck 15, just outside with really comfortable chairs, shaded and not crowded...great for the kindle crowd...enjoyed the elite lounge canapés at 5:00 pm where I met new friends for the cruise with great drink specials...I rented convertible on Big Island through Hawaii Discount rentals...perfect choice for the day...also went with Blue Hawaiian Helicopter tours (significantly cheaper than Princess) for a bedazzling tour of Kauai ( best island for Helicopter tour)...a must do...shuttle to and back to pier with great staff...I enjoy sea days and there were plenty (9-10) as opposed to destinations...but Hawaii is magical except for Honolulu where I remained aboard...hot and humid except for the cooler less touristy Hilo...Lahaina, Maui is quaint mostly shops and beaches but a great cool park right by the tender pier...great for stretching out and watching the surf and water roll in....Ensenada is funky Mexico...crowded and poor...grab a cab (extremely cheap $2.00 per person) and go to downtown for beer, margaritas, guacamole and nachos with new found friends from the ship.... I must admit that my voyage would not have been lovely if I hadn't been a full suite aft (Dolphin deck vista largest and best value) morning breakfast delivered, In room dining from MDR menu, free laundry and dry cleaning, chocolate dipped strawberries every afternoon, private elite lounge for cocktails, quiet, roomy with an impeccable at your service stateroom steward...It felt like my own yacht many times...it is the only way to do it...re-booked the same suite for the Mexican Riviera next year...I will do Hawaii again Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
we did the 10 days from vancouver to Hawaii this fall. loved the 6 sea days. the staff on this ship are so attentive and personable. lots of fun activities. Steve the CD and Jeremy the AD were both a blast and planned a great trip for us. ... Read More
we did the 10 days from vancouver to Hawaii this fall. loved the 6 sea days. the staff on this ship are so attentive and personable. lots of fun activities. Steve the CD and Jeremy the AD were both a blast and planned a great trip for us. food was exceptional and the nightly shows were a good mix to make everyone happy. our favorite part was the sea days. just miles of blue water, sitting on deck, napping. forced relaxation. would definitely do this trip again. we are a lesbian couple and were concerned about how we would be treated, especially when i dressed in a tux for formal night. at all times we were treated with the best service and respect. highly recommend this cruise line for gay and lesbian travelers. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Overall, it was a great cruise. The ship is clean and well maintained. The crew was very good. The food was just so-so. The Cadillac Diner was horrible. Cagney's was very good. La Cucina was OK. Teppanyaki was very good. ... Read More
Overall, it was a great cruise. The ship is clean and well maintained. The crew was very good. The food was just so-so. The Cadillac Diner was horrible. Cagney's was very good. La Cucina was OK. Teppanyaki was very good. Jefferson's Bistro was horrible. Moderno was OK. The salad bar in Moderno was excellent. Aloha Cafe was very good. We never ate in the Main Dining Room. Royal Caribbean's specialty restaurants and entertainment beat NCL. The excursions were great. We did Haleakala Crater, Best of Maui, Circle of Fire helicopter, Pearl Harbor and USS Missouri, and Waimea Canyon. Recommend them all. The ship's itinerary was changed to avoid a hurricane. Changes to excursions, etc. was handled beautifully by the ship. No inconveniences at all. Gary should be the Cruise Director. He was the only one who made you feel special, or that you were part of a larger group. Funny guy and super nice. Royal Caribbean goes all out to get you going. The "washy washy" crew at Aloha Cafe were creepy. Hand sanitizer in some old spray bottle? Hard to avoid them to get to the Purell stand. One commented that we were avoiding "human interaction". No, we were avoiding him and his creepy "washy washy". The iConcierge on the iPhone did not link up our previous reservations and excursions. Did not use it to make reservations. It needs improvement. Definitely recommend this cruise to see and get the most out of Hawaii. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This hands down was the greatest vacation I have taken. It was our 6th cruise and we have stayed at all inclusive resorts and other vacations as well. Definitely the best way to see the Hawaiian islands. You hit Oahu, Maui, Hilo, Kona, and ... Read More
This hands down was the greatest vacation I have taken. It was our 6th cruise and we have stayed at all inclusive resorts and other vacations as well. Definitely the best way to see the Hawaiian islands. You hit Oahu, Maui, Hilo, Kona, and Kauai all during the cruise with no days at sea. We did three port excursions which were fun (molokini crater snorkel, volcanoes national park tour, and Pearl Harbor tour after the cruise). We rented a car which was very easy to do with discount Hawaiian rental.com. Everywhere except for Oahu there was a free shuttle to take you to the car rental. The rentals were not priced too high averaging about $35 a day. We toured majority all of the islands except for Hilo this way. So many beautiful sights to see and do. We went to a coffee farm, Kona brewery, and snorkeling at the Kahalulu beach for pretty cheap. The ship was nice. I have been on carnival, Royal, and Disney and it was still a good ship. Nice and clean. They were putting down new carpet the week we were there. Compared to other ships within Norwegian its small but you aren't on the ship often. We got the specialty dining package as a promotion and the restaurants were great. The only issue is don't expect the same fine dining service you may encounter at fine dining restaurants. They were a little more lax on the ship from a service side. Our stateroom host was wonderful and always available for anything we needed. Definitely partake in the pub crawl/beer tastings on the ship if you like alcohol. Starts the cruise off right Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We were probably the unique visitors from Brazil at Pride of America in Hawaiian islands between May 2nd to May 9th. We can tell you that it was the most amazing and beautiful experience in our recent years and in life. The Hawaiian ... Read More
We were probably the unique visitors from Brazil at Pride of America in Hawaiian islands between May 2nd to May 9th. We can tell you that it was the most amazing and beautiful experience in our recent years and in life. The Hawaiian islands are definitely the combination of biodiversity, safety and beauty located at fascinating places. And in Pride of America we also had unforgettable great moments with all the happy crew and several sincere "alohas". We certainly met happy people living in this fabulous scenario! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Crusing for me is one of the best ways of spending my vacation time. My partner enjoys it as well. This cruise was the longest we have ever vacationed. As you can imagine we loved having other take care of the chores while we endulged. ... Read More
Crusing for me is one of the best ways of spending my vacation time. My partner enjoys it as well. This cruise was the longest we have ever vacationed. As you can imagine we loved having other take care of the chores while we endulged. There were some highlights. Alison Farr played spectacularly on piano with fellow inspiring violinist for several concerts. I was messmerized and thrilled by their flawless interpretations. Another gift of the voyage was a former airline captain who kept audiences in stitches on several occations with his commentary and naughty film publicity clips. The people onboard were mostly mature and cultured guests. Only on rare occation did I witness passengers behaving poorly. One such occation, followed an accupuncture talk, where a senior citizen cut in front of the few people waiting to make appointments with the ship's therapist, ignoring those clearly waiting before her. The ship's staff did not ask her to wait for her turn. Another complaint was that a couple of the guests with electric wheelchairs would drivers into other passengers. Nobody was injured, but nerves were freyed. There were multiple stories told about ill-tempered passengers who hogged laundryroom equipment. One such incident only ended after the ships armed security staff had interviened. For myself, the one incident that could have been handled differently, was Cunard's standard response after having damaged my new luggage. It was considerate of Cunard's staff to use a piece of silver duct tape to close the hole they made in the $150 luggage. But, it seems odd to be told by the perser's staff that one's only recourse is to file a insurance claim, providing I had the forethought to protect my investment from Cunard's carelessness. All in all, there are a lot of words above devoted to describing what passengers might see on any cruise. I would like the reader to take away the notion that I was generally happing with staff's service, decor, weather, safety, and much more. I recommend going on this cruise. Do not let my discription of the few Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Background: This cruise was a RSVP charter. This was our seventh cruise, six of them RSVP charters (one on Princess and six on Holland America) and we had one four-day cruise on the Queen Mary 2. This was out first time in Hawaii. ... Read More
Background: This cruise was a RSVP charter. This was our seventh cruise, six of them RSVP charters (one on Princess and six on Holland America) and we had one four-day cruise on the Queen Mary 2. This was out first time in Hawaii. Pre-cruise - Honolulu: On Thursday we flew Continental non-stop from Newark to Honolulu and stayed at Park Shore Waikiki Beach hotel for two nights. The hotel is on the beach and the last hotel before Kapiolani Park. Our hotel package included a Dollar rental car that we picked up at the airport using the Dollar shuttle bus. The hotel's location was convenient and the hotel comfortable, if basic. Valet parking was $20 per day. The staff was very efficient and friendly. Someone at the front desk recommended the Side Street Inn on Da Strip (614 Kapahulu Ave. Honolulu) for dinner on our first night - it is off the main drag and well worth the walk - delicious food and lots of it and there were a lot of locals eating there. On Friday we were up early to see the sunrise from the beach and after breakfast joined a group of friends on a hike up Diamond Head. After a shower we walked over to Duke's at the Outrigger Waikiki hotel where we had a very nice lunch! After lunch we took a drive along the south shore to the Halona Blow Hole and along H3 back to Waikiki. Early evening trying to catch up on lseep. On Saturday morning we drove to Pearl Harbor and got tickets for the 8:15 am ferry to the USS Arizona, before any cruise ship excursions arrived (the Zaandam was also in port). We bought tickets for the USS Bowfin and USS Missouri and may have tried to do too much since we had to check out of our hotel at Noon. Maybe we should have skipped the USS Bowfin - but it was still worthwhile. We were back at the hotel at 12:10 pm, retrieved our luggage and returned the rental car to the airport location where Dollar called a cab for us as they do not have shuttle service to the cruise port. Embarkation: We arrived at the Pier 2 sometime after 1 pm and were checked-in in no time and were on board where the RSVP staff and volunteers welcomed us with leis. Cabins were not available yet so we checked our carry-on luggage near East Meets West on deck 5 and then headed to the Aloha Cafe for lunch. They started announcing cabins being available by deck and by the time we had finished our lunch, our deck was called. The cabin: We were in cabin 7052, an Obstructed Ocean View cabin with the obstruction being a small rescue craft - not one of the big tenders - which allowed plenty of light in and also a reasonable view. The cabin can accommodate 4 - two lower beds and two upper bunk beds. I don't know if I would want to be in this size cabin with 4 people! The bed was made up as a queen with the head of the bed in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows - which I don't like since I hate when my pillows fall off the end of the bed (I solved that problem by storing my suitcase between the bed and the window) The cabin was a bit smaller that what we are used to but it was fine. The bathroom was compact -with the shower being a tight fit and neither of us is that big. The shower had soap and shampoo dispensers and there was a soap dispenser at the sink. Three sets of towels were frequently replaced. Two beach/pool towels were also provided. There was a small TV (not flat panel) but we hardly ever watched TV. There was a small stocked refrigerator which we did not even bother getting emptied to use for our own stuff. There were a couple of bottles of water - for purchase. Our cabin did not come with a coffee maker (only in balcony cabins apparently). Inside a cabinet above the desk there is a safe that is locked with a self-selected 4 digit code. There were two outlets for US plugs at the desk and another under the TV shelf on the opposite wall. I don't know if it was particular to our cabin, but it creaked a lot! We did not think that we had rough seas but the captain did say at the end of the cruise that the stabilizers were engaged most of the cruise. There were big swell warnings out for the north shores of most of the islands while we were there. The other ships that we have been on have all creaked when it wasn't quite smooth sailing but this seemed to be going on all the time while at sea. Post-embarkation: Our luggage arrived soon after getting to the cabin and we started unpacking. There was adequate storage for two on a seven-day, informal cruise. The closet had adjustable shelves and ample hanging space - hangers are the type where rings are attached to the rod and the hangers detach/slip into the rings. There are 2 deep drawers on either side of the cabin - at the desk and under the TV. Our rest of the luggage easily fitted under the bed. We did not meet our cabin steward Ben until the next day. He did tend to the cabin well and we had no issues. He kept brining more beach towels to the cabin! There was a note in the cabin stating that if there were not two beach towels in the cabin when you disembark that you would be charged $25 a piece. By the end of the cruise we had 8 clean beach towels in our cabin. At 4:30 pm we had the lifeboat drill - we assembled at our station outside on deck 6. You don't take your life jacket to the drill. At 5:00 pm we had a Cruise Critic meet-and-greet in the Lanai Bar and Lounge with about 40 people attending. Coffee and cookies were provided and we paid for alcoholic drinks (on some HAL cruises we have had an open bar with hors d'oeuvres). Captain Buzz and Hotel Manager Carey welcomed us aboard and introduced their senior staff to us. I was impressed at how many staff were present at the meet-and-greet. They regarded Cruise Critic so highly that they asked if it would be OK to have a follow-up meeting with us at the end of the cruise to get our feedback and answer any questions that we may have. After exploring the ship, it was soon time for us to set sail so we head to the upper decks and the magnificent sight of sailing out of Honolulu leaving the lights of Waikiki behind us. The ship: There is only one word to describe the decor: pretty bad! I am used to the classic style of HAL so the Pride of America was quite a shock to the system. From the bright colors in the cabins and in the Aloha Cafe to the fake brick walls in the Lazy J Texas Steakhouse and by the atrium elevators on deck 5 it was just a bit too much. The Mardi Gras lounge was also just gaudy. The only time we spent in there was one night during a theme party where the lights were low, thank goodness. There are a few bright spots of which the Lanai Bar and Lounge was the classiest; Jefferson's Bistro wasn't too bad as was the Liberty dining room (if they could just get rid of the bright red neon ceiling lights!) and the Napa Wine Bar. The layout took a little while to get used to but that could partly be because I have become so accustomed to the layout of HAL's larger ships. It was a bit annoying not being able to get to the Liberty dining room without having to go to deck 5 first - but I have seen that kind of issue on other ships too. We had the opportunity to see a few different cabins and I am rather glad we did not book a balcony cabin as categories we would have gotten had rather small balconies. We attended a party in a penthouse cabin and I was not impressed by it - it was big but ugly. The bathroom was really nice, surprisingly..On the last day we popped into an empty two-bedroom suite to take a look - nice size but way too much orange decorations. The crew: As this was a primarily American crew I was not quite sure how they would react to a gay charter but was pleasantly surprised by them. They were as friendly as we could have wanted and seemed to really enjoy having us onboard. From the front desk personnel to the crew spraying hand cleaners at the Aloha Cafe they were all friendly and helpful. They may not always have been as polished as the crews we have seen on the other cruise lines but they were very eager to please. One would see odd things such as big Igloo coolers and milk crates parked for hours in the corridors while the stewards were cleaning cabins - it seemed a bit tacky. There were a number of gay and lesbian crew members and it was a nice to see them enjoy the experience of being part of the majority for once. I never experienced even a hint of negativity from the crew towards the passenger complement. We heard the usual comment from ship crews on gay charters: that they never work as hard as on a gay charter, that everyone is so nice to them and everyone smiles and are out to have fun. Oh, and that they make a lot of money when we are on board. (Alcohol sales are much higher on a gay charter than on a regular cruise!) Micah at the Lanai Bar and Lounge was my favorite bartender - he makes a mean Mai Tai - and he was usually assisted by the lovely Sandra and always fun Daniel. Bartender Juan at he bar outside the Aloha Cafe was great too. RSVP charters have numerous dance parties mostly outside on the upper decks and on the POA it was held midships around the South Beach Pool. The waiters were kept very busy working those areas, if not a little over-eager pushing drinks but a simple 'not now, thanks' was all it took. At times it seemed as if the crew was enjoying the parties even more than the passengers were - it was a nice break from their regular routine. Dining areas: In chronological sequence we experienced different dining areas: First up was the Aloha Cafe for lunch on embarkation. It did not seem overly crowded and the food was nice and fresh. I was quite impressed with the Indian food selections and tried it most days. We actually ate all our lunches and breakfasts there when we ate on board. The fresh fruit selection was great; especially the pineapples. Some of the selections did seem of lower cost and quality such as the yoghurt and breakfast sausages. The Aloha Cafe crew was quick to bus tables and one time that I had to leave my plate of newly acquired lunch to get something else, I mentioned it to a server nearby and was assured that my plate would still be there when I got back. It was. Later-on we discovered the joy of taking our food outside on deck 11 and also found a pretty good selection of food at the outside stations - and much shorter lines. At times in the Aloha Cafe we encountered some blunt responses - like when I asked if they had ham for the made-to-order omelets and the response was 'NO!' or when a friend asked for sprinkles with the ice cream and got the same 'NO!' even though sprinkles were available before. For dinner the first night we ate in the Skyline main dining room. The food and the service were bad. A friend ordered the shrimp cocktail and did not eat much of it - it was tiny shrimp on a bed of lettuce. He and I ordered the leg of lamb and it was just boring. The dEcor did not enhance the dining experience. The second night we opted for the Liberty main dining room and things were a lot better. The service was a bit better and the food was much better even though the assistant waiter could not get an order straight. I ordered a steak dish (medium rare) and he delivered goulash, which he insisted was what I ordered. That was soon sorted out and we ended up with an extra serving of the pretty decent steak. The Asian noodle salad I had was quite good too. The third night we decided to have the prime rib in the Aloha Cafe and were pleasantly surprised by the dining experience: the food was good and eating outside was very nice and relaxing. Juan and his bartenders were quick to serve us and were also very entertaining (as I think we were to them too) since it was rather quiet out there. Next up was the Lazy J Texas Steakhouse where the service was rather slow and the steaks not much better than at Applebee's. The shrimp cocktail was better than in the Skyline dining room. We also ate in Jefferson's Bistro which was the more stylish and refined dining venue. The food was decent and the service was good; the main server chatted with us explaining that the charter was a great challenge for them to step up the levels of service that they usually provide. We returned to the Liberty dining room on the last night of the cruise and the food was once again not bad. (Note: none of the food compared well with what we have had on Princess, Cunard or HAL) Service was reasonable but still lacking the small touches such as not serving coffee when desert is served - I had to ask for coffee after desert was served. Entertainment: RSVP brings its own entertainers onboard and some of the usual ship's entertainment is also presented. The only ship's show I attended was the Polynesian show which was a bit campy yet very enjoyable. The islands: Maui: We had a rental car from Thrifty the first day and took a shuttle bus from the cruise terminal to the airport location. My partner and I drove up to Iao Valley State Park in the morning, did some shopping at Macy's at the Queen Ka'ahumanu mall (where I bought a nice Hawaiian shirt and a not-so-touristy HIC T-shirt). We picked friends of ours up back at the ship and drove to Little Beach for the afternoon. It was a mix of cruise ship people and locals hanging out at the beach. As was apparently what happens on a Sunday afternoon, a drum circle formed late in the afternoon with some very 'happy' hippy types dancing within the drum circle. After leaving the beach we stopped of at Ed Robinson's Diving Adventures in Kihei so that the two of us going scuba diving early the next morning could get our gear sorted out. That allowed us to sleep a little bit later as we only had to be at the boat slip at 6:30 AM, instead of 6:00 AM! The night in Maui was also Halloween and there was a party at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center welcoming the RSVP cruisers. After dinner and a quick nap we changed into our costumes and boarded the shuttle busses to the party. We had a great time there and saw some impressive entertainment too but around 2 am we called it a night. My scuba buddy and I ended up getting three hours of sleep before heading out to go scuba diving at Molokini crater. I read about Ed Robinson's on the Cruise Critic scuba diving boards and they were as good as everyone has said. We were done with scuba diving before lunch and returned our rental car on the way back to the ship, had lunch and tried to get a nap. Back in the cabin there was a message to come down to the front desk as they were holing something for me. When I checked, it was my iphone charger that I had left in the rental car and Thrifty was nice enough to deliver it back to the ship. Hilo: My partner and I booked the NCL 'Circle of File' helicopter excursion over the Kilauea volcano for 9:00 am. Blue Hawaiian Helicopters picked us up at the ship and shuttled us to the airport. The excursion was totally worthwhile even if we paid more for booking it through NCL. We flew over the Big Island, the volcano's caldera and along the lava flow which is hidden in lava tubes - but we did see a section where the tube collapsed and got a glimpse of the red-hot lava flowing towards the ocean. We circled the area where it reaches the ocean a few times before heading back to the airport and some good views of the Pride of America docked at the cruise terminal. Back at the airport we picked up our Thrifty rental car and after lunch back on board we met up with our friends and drove out to Volcanoes National Park to get a different perspective. We drove around the park, walked through a lava tube and stopped at the steam vents along the way. Back in Hilo we searched out Richardson Beach Park that the Blue Hawaiian excursion leader told us about - it is a black sand beach about two miles form the cruise port and seemed to be more popular with locals than with cruisers. There were huge waves crashing on the area but the main swimming section is quite protected. There was not a lot of lava flowing into the ocean but it was still an amazing sight sailing past it at night. We opted for Deck 12 aft and had a good view. We came to Hawaii to see volcanoes and we were not disappointed. Kona: My diving buddy and I signed up for a scuba excursion through HAL. Getting on a tender for our early excursion was easy and we were met by a representative from Big Island Water Sports. What was a little odd was that after we were all loaded into a minivan we then had to provide payment for the equipment rental that was not included in the excursion price. So about 14 cash or credit transactions were negotiated while we were just sitting in the van. The excursion was very good though. Back in Kona we tendered to the ship to shower and I decided to take up the excursion van driver's recommendation of having lunch at the Kona Brewing Company. Her directions were not very good and my iphone's map app wasn't very helpful either but after asking around I finally found it and sat down to a beer sampler and ordered the fish tacos. That was the best meal I had during the cruise, the tacos were delicious! After some shopping I headed back to the ship for a quick nap. Sleep was a luxury on this cruise! Well, I tried, because arriving back at the cabin there was an invitation to a birthday party to be held in a penthouse suite - and I take every opportunity to see the expensive cabins on a ship! Kauai: As usual I was up early and went to the upper deck to see the sail in to Kauai - quite an impressive maneuver to get into the harbor! I decided to let my partner sleep in and opted to go get our rental car and come back for some breakfast and a drive out to Waimea Canyon. Well, as I was waiting for the Thrifty shuttle to the airport location, I realized that I forgot to take my wallet! No driver's license, no credit card, no rental car. And no getting back on the ship either! I started dialing friends hoping they were still onboard so they could wake my partner and get him to bring me my wallet. After 30 minutes of waiting I asked a crew member if there was a way to call a cabin on the ship - he asked for the cabin number, dialed it and handed me the phone. Ten minutes later I had my wallet and was on my way on the shuttle. The shuttle driver was quite chatty, pointing out interesting places along the way, including the cruise parking lot at the Anchor Cove Shopping Center ($20 for overnight parking and a free shuttle till late evening). The driver was also surprised that he had not picked up many cruisers yet - he said the by 9 am they usually have 2 or 3 shuttles running. I explained that our cruise had a lot of late night parties and that the guys must be sleeping in and will be out later. The drive out to Waimea Canyon was amazing and along the way we saw many more rainbows, one in a valley below us. One the way back we stopped in Waimea for lunch and ate at the Shrimp Station - delicious shrimp, especially the coconut shrimp. After a little more shopping we headed back to the ship, picked up our friends and drove to the Spouting Horn Blowhole on the south shore. We returned to Nawiliwili, parked the car at Anchor Cove and headed back to the ship for the evening. The next morning was rather wet and three of us headed out for a drive along the north shore of Kauai. Nicer weather would have been good, but we stopped along the way seeing taro fields, beautiful beaches and narrow roads. We explored the caves in Haena State Park before turning back. We stopped for coffee and some shopping along the way and reckoned we had plenty of time to get back to Lihue airport, return the rental car and get back to the ship for lunch and some relaxation before sail-away at 2 pm. Well, we hit really bad traffic north of Kapaa due to road construction and started panicking that we might miss the sail-away! Finally the traffic cleared up and we rushed to the airport, dropped the car without refueling just to save time. Thrifty was great and kept a shuttle ready to take us back to the ship. Then another group arrived after us and soon all of us were heading back to the ship. We got onboard with 13 minutes to spare! I don't want to go through that again. The end of the cruise. After rushing back on board in Kauai, we had lunch and relaxed a bit before the Cruise Critic follow-up meeting which was held in the Diamond Head Auditorium at 4 pm. There were about 20 passengers attending, as well as the president of RSVP and the captain, hotel manager and the senior staff of the ship. The back-and-forth was quite informative for both sides and the scheduled 30 minutes soon stretched into an hour. The hotel manager then pointed to the windows and we could see the spectacular Napali coast we were approaching. The meeting wrapped up right after that and we headed outside to take in the views. It was spectacular. While still sailing along the Napali Coast the final tea dance for the cruise was taking place around the South beach pool. At one point it started raining lightly but everyone just kept on dancing. As the ship turned away from the shore a rainbow formed in front of the ship and it appeared as if we were going to sail right through it: "Somewhere over the rainbow..." The crowd went crazy! Disembarkation: Since our flight was not until 7:40 PM we opted to use Easy Fly to check our luggage from the ship to the airplane - we have used HAL's program before and NCL's worked just as well. That left us with just carry-on (carry-off?) luggage and we were free to leave the ship when we chose to. After breakfast in the Aloha Cafe and saying goodbye to friends, we gather our belongings and disembarked. The Thrifty shuttle was waiting outside the terminal and soon we were picking up our fifth rental car for the week. Friends of ours had booked a room at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani in Waikiki for the day - one wanted to stay in Waikiki and go to the beach and other joined us for a drive to the North Shore of Oahu. It was raining off-and-on but it was still a nice drive. We had lunch at Mack's Shrimp truck - in the rain. Yummy stuff. We returned to the hotel and were very happy to be able to take a shower before getting on a plane for 10 hours. After popping into ABC for a few last minute souvenir purchases we were on our way to return the rental can and off to the airport. Other than Continental reassigning our seats so that none of us sat together, the flight was uneventful and I got a couple of hours of sleep. Finally. Final comments: The Pride of America was not as nice as I would have liked and I am not so sure that I would sail NCL again, but this cruise was more about the destination (Hawaii) and the people (our RSVP friends and also the POA crew). Hawaii is beautiful and this itinerary is a nice way to experience Hawaii for the first time. It is a bit port intensive and I missed the sea days but I still had a really good time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was my family's first-ever trip to Hawaii - so we were looking forward to this trip w/ much anticipation. We went with a group of experienced cruisers - some had cruised to Hawaii before aboard Zaandam, others had been to Hawaii ... Read More
This was my family's first-ever trip to Hawaii - so we were looking forward to this trip w/ much anticipation. We went with a group of experienced cruisers - some had cruised to Hawaii before aboard Zaandam, others had been to Hawaii but not aboard a ship, and others had cruised but not to Hawaii. Our friend and travel agent made the arrangements for our group and also for our shore excursions, pre-cruise hotel, Bon Voyage dinner, Meet and Greet - plus she procured HAL luggage tags for our group! Can't say enough good things about her. Embarcation was fine despite the fact that the [I]Carnival Spirit[/I] was embarking on her 8 day cruise the same day - the hotel across the street where we were staying was full and the lines on the pier were tremendous: We were glad to stay at the hotel for a couple extra hours to enjoy breakfast on the terrace and a couple of drinks at the bar as the lines on the pier dissipated. One thing to note is that HAL no longer takes your CC for the shipboard account on the pier - either you do it online or you must swing by the front office to set up your account: I waited a couple days to go to the desk to do this to avoid the lines. Service was splendid and the staff and crew were outstanding - I cannot say enough about how wonderful the crew are aboard Zaandam: CD Anthony is the best I've ever experienced. Edy, Geoffrey, Wayou, Rafael, the guys in the Crow's Nest, the Ocean Bar and Lido Bar and our cabin stewards as well as the spa staff and Kris and Iris at the Front Office took really great care of us. The band was good and the activities were plentiful, if one wished to participate - otherwise, there was plenty of time and space to relax and read a good book (for this itinerary I recommend "Letters from Hawaii" by Mark Twain - available thru Amazon) I also cannot say enough good things about our waiter's conscientiousness regarding my Gluten-Free diet. Scotty and I also caught sinus infections (it seemed to be going around) on the return trip and we both went to the infirmary on separate days - and we were both dealt with kindly and professionally by the staff and the same Doctor we met last year aboard Noordam. Iris helped us have two Meet and Greets in the Crow's Nest - which I highly recommend, particularly on a longer itinerary, as folks seem to have so much more to share at the end of the cruise. I was also invited to a tea w/ our HM, Fierman, and GRM, Iris, who asked us group leaders how we felt about the cruise - I thought this was a nice touch and showed genuine concern for our well-being. The ship did schedule some LGBT unhosted meetings in the Crow's Nest but they weren't well attended. Seems that our group was nearly all the LGBT that were aboard and we knew one another already. Never went to a show. The very idea of scheduling the main seating show before dinner during cocktail hour is ridiculous - and scheduling the Ocean Bar band to take their break during cocktail hour is even dumber! The trio in the Ocean Bar was good despite the drummer's apparent surliness for the first half of the cruise - Thankfully he managed to get himself thrown off the ship in Hawaii during a Coast Guard inspection and the remaining duo seemed much happier without him. The HAL Cats were rather good - but as with most HAL Cats combos, they need to turn down the amplification... The itinerary was wonderful and we saw so much - every Hawaiian port was truly enjoyable. Some highlights of the trip included encountering a huge herd of dolphins mid-ocean westbound who raced to meet the ship in such great numbers as if we were offering free crack in the ghetto. We also saw a great many whales frolicking off the port of Lahaina, Maui all about the ship all day long. Our friend, Mary, rented a van and drove a number of us around Honolulu to Pearl Harbor, Iolani Palace and the state government buildings, and afterwards to the Royal Hawaiian on Waikiki for a delightful lunch (I could stay there forever...) Kona is a lovely port just to wander around: much better than Hilo where one must take a taxi or bus to get out of the former Military installation and into town, and Kauai is a gorgeous rustic island which is very much the way I imagined Hawaii to be. I think of my short time in Hawaii, I'd have to say that my favorite ports were Kawai, Honolulu and Kona. Sadly - [I]Zaandam[/I] herself was not up to the standard of what I expected a HAL ship to look like after the recent January drydock (I could see it from my apartment here in SF for two weeks so I know it was there!) The cabins were in good condition, and the dining room chairs were brand new - but other than that, I could not tell you what had been done: Hull and Superstructure are in desperate need of paint - Rust streaks are everywhere, the paint was scraped away beneath the bow anchors to such an extent that it appeared more rust than blue (Some painting was done on the portside bow while we were in Kauai - nowhere else) and paint is bubbling and peeling around the windows and hull-doors so that one can easily see the rust streaks on the white superstructure from pier or tender. Lightbulbs burnt out all over the place - and of the 6 chandeliers in the MDR, 1 was never lit for the entire cruise. Lamps in the Lido were broken or crooked. Torn and frayed upholstery in the Lido and certain public rooms on Upper Promenade Deck. Broken out windows in the Lido. Filthy windows, including the Magrodome itself until after we had had some rain in Hilo and Kauai. Decorative decals that wrap around the bulkhead surrounding the opening for the Magrodome are decayed and peeling off in the central areas. Ships clocks are unsynchronized, and the TV channel that gives time and date was often wrong. Forward Lido clock under the Magrodome is correct - Aft Lido clock under the Magrodome is off by 3 1/2 hours. Scuffs and scrapes in the hard flooring around the Lido bar. (It wouldn't take a couple hours one night w/ a floor polisher to get rid of those scrapes, says the Old Military man...) Cracking and peeling finishes on the wooden tables near the Lido Bar. Broken chairs in the Lido Restaurant (I pinched my finger in the loose arm joint of one chair while pulling it beneath me - nearly fell through the broken seat of another...) Hair Salon only had one cape to cover clients - the beauticians had to share back and forth while doing Mother's hair and mine. Also, a chair in the salon had broken brakes: After Mom had her hair washed, the ship rolled and she rolled helplessly towards the windows scaring her half-to-death! Dirty tile in the Thermal Spa - I could take my hand and wipe the dirt away from the tile around the T-Pool. I really wanted to take a scrub-brush to the place! Frayed and poorly laid carpets in the corridors - I could easily see the concrete between the gaps in the cuts! Of the 8 lamp standards around the aft pool: 2 had new lamp globes, 4 had yellowed and filthy globes, and 2 had no globes at all! Damaged artwork: One of the carved marble sculptures outside the Sports Bar was tied up with rope to hold it together throughout the cruise, and the great circular painting at the top of the midship stairwell had gilding from the frame peeled off from what appeared to be tape that had been applied here & there. Broken Lifeboat Davit? Portside-Aft davit was left extended throughout the return trip to California - Didn't notice if it was extended for the entire cruise... Broken Granite floor tiles in the elevators and a huge gouge in the door of one elevator. When I asked the Captain during one of his talks what happens during a drydock, he mentioned that there's quite a lot of maintenance that goes on - cleaning the hull, polishing the propellers, etc - which is all well and good. I later asked our kind Hotel Manager, Fierman, about the poor condition of the ship to which he replied, "I know". He did say that many ports prohibit painting and window-washing nowadays - but again, one would think that the floors and tiles could have been scrubbed, lightbulbs could have been changed and a good coat of paint could have been slapped on the ship as she sat in the drydock for two weeks, don't you? Yes, it's a 10 year old ship, but it's not going to make it another 10 years unless Seattle puts some time and effort into the condition of this ship - Ryndam and Statendam were in better condition last fall than Zaandam today! IMO, who cares about new showroom furniture, rearranged cocktail lounges and shops and the sliding glass door staterooms that are being installed on the ships when the basics go ignored? Would I go to Hawaii again? In a heartbeat. Would I take a Hawaii cruise again? I believe that seeing Hawaii by ship is probably the best way to go - I wouldn't know which island to go to first and think that I might get bored had I been on only one island. However, I honestly don't think that it's worth the time away to only spend 4 days in port and not 5 - All those days at sea got to be a bit much on the return trip that a mere 4 ports just wouldn't be worth it unless an overnight were planned someplace like Honolulu. I'd either book the one 15-day cruise in January 2011 that still includes Kona or the 30-day Polynesian/Pacific Cruise that includes Hawaii - but I wouldn't do the 14-day Hawaiian cruise from San Diego. ...and despite the exceptional staff and crew - whom I've realized is very much the reason I continue to sail HAL - until HAL gets its act in order and cleans up the ship and does some necessary repairs, I wouldn't book any cruise aboard Zaandam as the sad condition of the ship was the most disappointing aspect of the entire cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We just returned from a week on the Pride of America. If you read my other reviews, you will see we are very fussy travelers. We had one of the nicest holidays we have ever had on Pride of America. I liked it so much I was ready to ... Read More
We just returned from a week on the Pride of America. If you read my other reviews, you will see we are very fussy travelers. We had one of the nicest holidays we have ever had on Pride of America. I liked it so much I was ready to rebook the same cruise when we disembarked. The ship has been fluffed, the food was great, the service was excellent and the room was tidy. I was skeptical to make a reservation to go on this ship after reading other reviews, but thankfully I took a chance - it was fantastic! TIP - we booked our tours through Roberts and saved an absolute fortune! We did 4 trips for $100 (one trip was $100 alone if booked through the ship). However, you need to book these before you get on the ship - NCL have blocked Roberts Tours website when you are on the ship. Roberts also guarantee to get you back on time or they will fly you to the next port. The sunset tour was breathtaking! and our guide 'Peggy-Sue' was delightful and unlike our other guides, did not sound like she was reading from a script. We booked a room on the aft (the back of the ship) and had the best views no matter where we were and also had a balcony that was 4 to 5 larger than the side rooms - well worth it! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We drove from the SF Bay Area and stayed the night before in San Pedro. We got a great deal at the Crowne Plaza, including parking for 15 nights. We expected the town to be a dump, but were pleased to find a cute little town with a great ... Read More
We drove from the SF Bay Area and stayed the night before in San Pedro. We got a great deal at the Crowne Plaza, including parking for 15 nights. We expected the town to be a dump, but were pleased to find a cute little town with a great restaurant scene. We even got free breakfast and a welcome drink at the hotel. On Sunday morning, we bypassed the mob scene for the shuttle bus at the hotel, and had our cousin drop us off at the port (2 mins away). We arrived at about 12:15 and found no lines. We were on board within 15 mins. Once on board, the cruise staff greeted us at the door and then we entered the Piazza atrium where they had carolers dressed up in old English costumes (nice touch!). The ship's common areas had recently been upgraded and they were beautiful. We then checked out our room. Unfortunately, it hadn't been remodeled. There was a big coffee stain on the carpet and the bedspread had definitely logged the miles. But there was ample storage space for our two weeks of clothing and the double-sized balcony was great. Our cabin steward, Emmanuel, greeted us upon arrival. He told us that this was his first cruise, but you would have never known it. He was so well trained, and we needed for nothing. Emmanuel was delightful. Everytime he saw us, he made us feel like that was the best moment of his day. He learned our names, he would ask about our day, and he genuinely seemed interested in our activities. He would even give us the tip of day. We had anytime dining, which was slow at first. We chose to eat at around 8 p.m. at the Bernini Dining Room (there are two anytime dning rooms), and on the first couple of nights we had to wait 15 to 30 minutes for a table. This was fine, however, as we had a drink in the Piazza just outside the dining room. Since it was just the two of us, we wanted to eat by ourselves, but we could have avoided the wait if we dined with others. By about the third night, the wait had disappeared. The maitre'd, Alfredo, was incredible. He knew most of the diners and their preferences. Most nights, we had Iulian and Misha as our waiters. Our usual table was in the area where they did the chef's dinner, so there were three nights when we had other waiters. Although they were good, there was something special about Iulian and Misha...they were like family. We used the gym almost every day. It was very nicely equipped. We heard that it was very crowded in the mornings, but we went either at 1 p.m. or 5 p.m. and found it to be manageable. We signed up for a class about getting fit abs. This was a scam to try to sell you expensive health products. We truly felt shnookered!! My husband thought the food was really good, but generally "middle America basic." He particularly liked the homemade sorbets and ice creams for dessert. I thought the food was just average. It was a bit bland at times, but there were a few meals that were very nice. I really liked the afternoon tea, and the scones were to die for. We went to Sabatini's for my birthday...it was a great deal. For only $20 more, you get an incredible 15 course dining experience. The food and presentation was fantastic. Ask for Simona...she had to be the loveliest person on the ship. We just wanted to take her home, as her delightful personality and enthusiasm was infectious! The cruise director's staff was great, although the cruise director himself was nearly invisible. The Aussies -- Jayson, Chris, and Andy -- were so much fun! But our favorite was Alex. He made us feel like family. The sail away party from L.A. was fun, there were so many activities around Christmas (including gingerbread house-making and Santa Claus), and New Year's was a blast! We didn't take the kids on this cruise, and were sorry we hadn't when we saw all the fun the children were having! We rung in the year at the bottom of the Piazza, and the atmosphere was so festive. We heard that the sail away party from Honolulu was among the best, but we didn't make it because we were exhausted from our extended day in Oahu and we had an early day in Kauai the next morning. We thought that such a party would have been best as a sail away from Maui. Don't miss the cruise director'staff talent show! We met many wonderful passengers on the ship. The cruise director's staff also hosted several LGBT get togethers, which made us feel especially welcome. We thought the entertainment was pretty good. Don't miss the show that was music from the movies. It was incredible, and with a few unexpected surprises. We loved Skywalker's, the disco on top of the ship, but thought the DJ was lame. The place was packed on Abba night, but most nights it was request music. This meant that one song would be Lady GaGa, the next Hip Hop, and then next Michael Jackson. The place was empty most nights because request music means you please no one. They would do much better with more themed music...Disco Night, Abba Night, 80's night, etc. Trust us, it will bring in the crowds. We didn't do any excursions...they were so overpriced, and you could do better to book them yourself. We rented cars in every port. The best deal was Enterprise in Hilo. You can take the Alamo bus from the port, and the car was only $35!! We even saw Air Force 1 parked at the Hilo Airport. We used Budget in Kauai and Maui, and found them to be dependable and reasonable. Finally, the atmosphere of the ship was nice. Since there were many days at sea, we were glad that there was plenty of deck space/chairs, a variety of refurbished public areas, and plenty of activities. We like that the smoking sections were limited. We did find that the hallways around our cabin were very smoky. We also hated that we had to inhale others' smoke on balcony, which really limited our enjoyment. The announcement-free disembarkation was a bit confusing. We elected self-carry off, so we went to the Vista Lounge with our luggage at 7:30 a.m., the allotted time, and there was mob scene. No one knew what we were suppose to be doing. In frustration, we went to a different part of the ship and ran into our cruise staff buddy Alex who saw that we were confused. He ushered us to the exit, and we were on our way home in minutes. Thanks, Alex!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009

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