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79 Hawaii Repositioning Cruise Reviews

My husband chose this cruise as a gift for my birthday. I had previously enjoyed travel on the Holland America Line ships and others had good things to say about HAL. It was his first ocean cruise. There was plenty to do. We really ... Read More
My husband chose this cruise as a gift for my birthday. I had previously enjoyed travel on the Holland America Line ships and others had good things to say about HAL. It was his first ocean cruise. There was plenty to do. We really enjoyed the lectures and the concerts and the exercise facilities, including the Promenade Deck for walking. Jay Christofferson was an excellent presenter. My husband played Bridge frequently, while I wrote and took photographs, etc. We met interesting people, some of whom now remain friends. The ship was wonderfully set up for any disability. One of our new friends could not walk and was on his 10th cruise. The food was first rate, beautifully prepared, fresh and healthful and the service excellent for all meals. Our stateroom stewarts were always very helpful. One of our favourite activities was watching the sun set and the stars appear from our verandah looking out on the starboard side over the Pacific. We would certainly travel Holland America Line again. Some of our onboard friends have already booked their next HAL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was our 2nd cruise to Hawaii, both on Princess. The first was on her sister ship the Golden. I read the reviews for months and was not sure if we had made the right choice but was glad we continued with our booking in the end. ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise to Hawaii, both on Princess. The first was on her sister ship the Golden. I read the reviews for months and was not sure if we had made the right choice but was glad we continued with our booking in the end. Condition of the ship: We found the ship to be in good condition. Was there some rust, yes but nothing offensive. All the common space was clean and well kept up. Occasionally a toilet on deck 7 was out of order but fixed right away. I saw the crew cleaning railings frequently. Water was always hot, in fact I never did get cold water out of the tap. Staff : The staff were very friendly and helpful. They would greet you with a smile and a greeting. I don't know if this was because they were following the lead of their captain or just good customer service. Captain Michele Tuvo was outstanding. This was our 11th cruise and I never experienced a Captain who was so present to all cruisers. We would see him walking about the decks at least two or three times a day greeting staff and passengers alike; taking time to pause for pictures when asked. Entertainment: This was so so. A new production debuted "Born to Dance." It was very good. The one big negative was the sound in all the lounges and theater, it was so loud. At one show, a vocalist, the sound was set so high both my husband and I had to plug our ears and the loudness really ruined her show. Even the canned music being played in the lounges was way too loud. Food: On this cruise we ended up not even going to the dining room, thus we ate either in the buffet or used the grill and pizzeria. The food was okay, pizza was good, and the ribs from the grill were great. Buffet food was just so so. We did eat in the Crown Grill and was so disappointed. Everyone seems to rave about it but we found the steaks tough. My husband's rib eye had a very salty herb rub on it and a lot of fat. Normally he adds salt to everything before he even tries it, this time he started eating and could only eat about a third of the steak. For him this is not normal. We also ate at the crab shack. That was 100% better. Embarkation and disembarkation: Both were pretty smooth. The one big comment I would make is that depending on your disembarkation time you might want to find a place to sit on the upper decks. Deck 7 was a made house with limited seating. The area set aside for elite, platinum, and suite passengers was a joke. Standing room only. This is suppose to be a perk for traveling on Princess, ha. I think it showed us what Princess really thinks of us. Ports: Since we have been to Hawaii before we found that we enjoyed staying on board while in port. We did take the North Coast tour on O'ahu. Great tour. The shrimp for lunch was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Destination, destinations, the cruise was amazing, a journeys cruise with lots of extras to a normal cruise. Staff were wonderful. Ship was clean and the food was fantastic, we had foods from all the different islands, so much fresh fruit ... Read More
Destination, destinations, the cruise was amazing, a journeys cruise with lots of extras to a normal cruise. Staff were wonderful. Ship was clean and the food was fantastic, we had foods from all the different islands, so much fresh fruit and a added midnight buffet. I really can not fault anything about this cruise , it was everything we wanted plus more. We stayed in 4k, great part of the ship, quite. We were blessed with the weather and had smooth sailing all the way. Tahiti was a amazing place, bora bora, beautiful, but my favourite was moorea. It was so good we have booked it again for September 2017, doing it all again. I would recommend this cruise to anyone that isn't looking for top of the range, but for the price it was the best value for money. We found it relaxing, friendly, clean and totally suited to us. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose to take this cruise aboard Carnival simply because I enjoy cruising and my wife wanted to visit Hawaii. Leaving from Vancouver was convenient, since we are from Seattle. Getting though customs was relatively smooth. While ... Read More
We chose to take this cruise aboard Carnival simply because I enjoy cruising and my wife wanted to visit Hawaii. Leaving from Vancouver was convenient, since we are from Seattle. Getting though customs was relatively smooth. While waiting for or luggage we decided to review the ship. We were initially disappointed in the ship. We noticed not a lot of activities, other than sitting in the sun. There were 2 water slides that looked to be fun and enjoyable. Well looks certainly are deceiving. One was never opened, and the other lasted 3 seconds. We decided to maybe have a bite to eat. The lido deck buffet was well laid out. However the choices seemed to be constant. We have ridden other cruise ships and noticed a constant change in the menu. I can only say the quality of food was mediocre at best. While on the subject, the dinner menu and service were well below par. Seems like the wait staff was doing you a favor. No fun. No interaction. really disappointing There was one bright spot in our culinary experience aboard the Legend (not sure why She's named that) and that was Nevau Steak House. Very very good. Service and food were excellent. Our cabin was neat and clean, however it was small comparably. The balcony was small and crowded. The was an old console tv and one appliance plug. The bed was relatively comfortable. All in all the experience was less than our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We travelled to Hawaii from Vancouver, leaving Sept. 13, 2016. We were delighted with the entire cruise. We paid $1499 a person, and for this amount of money, where can you have 10 nights accommodation, all the food you can eat, ... Read More
We travelled to Hawaii from Vancouver, leaving Sept. 13, 2016. We were delighted with the entire cruise. We paid $1499 a person, and for this amount of money, where can you have 10 nights accommodation, all the food you can eat, entertainment, and amazing activities. I have cruised about 12 times, and I find Carnival a great value. Sometimes things can go off a bit, like excursions run late, etc. but really, this can happen on any ship at any price you pay. Food was excellent, staff was warm and friendly and extremely accommodating, tours were wonderful, drinks were strong, ship was clean, rooms were well maintained. For the price, Carnival offers an amazing experience. Personally, I'd rather pay a bit less and go on more cruises. Try Carnival! It's been delightfully good to me on many occasions besdies this Hawaii cruise! Guests make the trip anyway, so join in, and have the time of your life! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
I chose the cruise because I have never been to Hawaii and the repositioning cruise seemed like a great way to go. Embarkation & disembarkation was smooth. I have no problem with the ship; I have sailed on the Legend before and the ... Read More
I chose the cruise because I have never been to Hawaii and the repositioning cruise seemed like a great way to go. Embarkation & disembarkation was smooth. I have no problem with the ship; I have sailed on the Legend before and the cabins are about the same on all Carnival ships. The trip was very easy going with 5 sea days to relax and there were many activities going on. I had two problems on this trip: (1) The tendering process at Kona; I know the sea was a little rough, so it took a little longer, but still, they didn't launch enough tenders to get all of the people off the ship. It took almost 3 hours for us to get off, and there were several more tender numbers after ours, and that wasn't an especially long port day. (2) The food in the Main Dining Room was inconsistent. We had Prime Rib one night and my daughter's was so tough she had a hard time cutting it; mine wasn't tough, but it had absolutely no flavor. We tried it again near the end of the cruise (because nothing else on the menu appealed to us); the second time it was tender and tasted like Prime Rib. My daughter had Pork Roast (or something like that) on one night and it was so over-cooked and dry that she left nearly all of it. Our Cabin Steward, "Bond", was great. Will I go again? Not on this particular itinerary, but I will go somewhere. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
The speakers were outstanding. The waiters and room attendants were excellent, as usual. The ship's cabins are starting to show a bit of aging. I understand that the Solstice is going into dry dock for some updates soon, so maybe ... Read More
The speakers were outstanding. The waiters and room attendants were excellent, as usual. The ship's cabins are starting to show a bit of aging. I understand that the Solstice is going into dry dock for some updates soon, so maybe that will be addressed. Most of the nightly entertainment in the theater was pretty good--we enjoyed the people they brought in more than their own productions. However, every show we attended was way too loud. We (and others) left shows because of the noise level. A hint--we discovered half way through the cruise that there are free ear plugs available at the guest relations desk. The only specialty restaurant we used was the Tuscan Grill. It was wonderful. I found the menu in the main dining room for main courses a bit difficult for me to find items I would enjoy. Desserts--no problem. The Windjammer menu was the same old same old and we tried to avoid going there. It is crowded at mealtimes, although the staff does try to clear tables as quickly as possible and are always very helpful. In Maui we took "The Road to Hana". Be aware that it is a very long day. There are beautiful waterfalls and lovely views but after a couple of hours I had seen enough. The excursion lasted approximately 11 hours. All the tour guides on the excursions from the ship were very good. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Terrific cruise to Hawaii. Embarkation was easy because we walked to the port. We heard there were problems with taxis. But we were able to get on board in less than an hour. My time dining was broken for most of the cruise. They now ... Read More
Terrific cruise to Hawaii. Embarkation was easy because we walked to the port. We heard there were problems with taxis. But we were able to get on board in less than an hour. My time dining was broken for most of the cruise. They now require a "golden ticket" to enter the dining room.some people received the tickets and most did not. This created a chaotic scene each evening. The house keeping department was to deliver the ticket. They had no idea how to get us our ticket. We intervened with dining and were told our ticket had been delivered to house keeping. More finger pointing than a group of kindergarteners telling who killed cock robin. After moving up the ranks to the people with many gold stripes by the end of the cruise we began to receive our dinner .tickets. We have cruised with Royal more than twenty times and have never experienced any thing so convoluted and poorly executed as the my time dining tickets. Otherwise, the cruise went will, Hawaii was beautiful, and staff did their best with the what they had. We had an aft cabin. The balcony is larger than most and has two lawn chairs as well as two regular chairs. We are presently onboard and are continuing onto Singapore. While onboard we booked a fall colors cruise out of Quebec. Though frustrated by the changes in my time dining we will continue to travel with Roya. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
While I was searching for a way to visit as many islands in Hawaii as possible, and because I enjoy cruising, I found this very reasonable 11 day cruise which included visits to the major islands in the chain with excellent ports. The ... Read More
While I was searching for a way to visit as many islands in Hawaii as possible, and because I enjoy cruising, I found this very reasonable 11 day cruise which included visits to the major islands in the chain with excellent ports. The ship Radiance of the Seas is a midsized older ship which proved to be an excellent size for a more intimate cruise. The dining facilities onboard were the best that I have experienced on previous cruises. Overall the staff was outstanding. I loved the trivia contests which helped me meet some new friends and the three Broadway quality shows where excellent. I also enjoy the ventriloquist. I did not do any of the ships excursions as I was meeting up with family at three of the ports and availed myself of the bus system in Lahaina, Maui and rented a car in Kauai. I have to take the time to say that the service at our My Time Dining was far above average. The waiter and his assistant took time each night to ensure that we were pleased with our food. I traveled with a friend. I would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Took the Radiance of the Seas to Alaska in Jul 2016 and was not overwhelmed as I have been with other ships of this carrier. A problem occurred in our stern cabin when we experienced a slight bathroom odor but elected to stay in the room ... Read More
Took the Radiance of the Seas to Alaska in Jul 2016 and was not overwhelmed as I have been with other ships of this carrier. A problem occurred in our stern cabin when we experienced a slight bathroom odor but elected to stay in the room after unpacking versus moving if that was even a possibility. Other passengers on the stern near us also experienced the same issue, but as most people do - they lived with it as we did. A year earlier we had scheduled a Hawaii cruise two months after the Alaska cruise. Not realizing that we were going to also cruise on the Radiance of the Seas to Hawaii we approached the cruise with some trepidation. Yes, our cabin on the same deck as the Alaska cruise had a slight bathroom odor. We asked the cabin steward and his response was to spray the room with a deodorizer. Four days later the water in the sink was yellow which we reported. It was resolved somehow, but the cabin steward provided no explanation. The ship is old and ready for the bone yard. Saw the cabin steward twice during the eleven day cruise - when he brought our suitcase and when I reported the bathroom odor. Not very welcoming to say the least. Food was okay along with the entertainment, but cruises today aren't the glamour that we saw only five years ago. Little things i.e. no bathrobes, no chocolates on the pillow, no shampoo etc. Cutting costs is the bottom line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This cruise chosen as we had never been to the islands before . We toured four of the Islands and were not disappointed with those experiences . Good drivers , good food , marvelous views . On board was also a good experience with ... Read More
This cruise chosen as we had never been to the islands before . We toured four of the Islands and were not disappointed with those experiences . Good drivers , good food , marvelous views . On board was also a good experience with helpful staff in all departments . The entertainment on board was quite good . Better than on other cruises we have taken . The on board meals offered a good selection but at times the offerings of meat or fish were overcooked .However we understand the problems involved with turning out thousands of meals in a short period of time .All things considered , understand this is a comment , not a complaint . Would we use Princess again ? We have already booked a 2017 cruise from Sydney ,Australia to Vancouver on the Emerald Princess . 32 days of exploring new places ,meeting new people , quiet days at sea , Can't wait ! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Background: We're a late 50's Calgary couple who wanted a nice leisurely cruise, to do the Hawaii sampler and to get off in Vancouver so we had a short plane trip home. This was our 4th cruise, 2nd with Celebrity. A lot of our ... Read More
Background: We're a late 50's Calgary couple who wanted a nice leisurely cruise, to do the Hawaii sampler and to get off in Vancouver so we had a short plane trip home. This was our 4th cruise, 2nd with Celebrity. A lot of our expectations were set when we sailed on the Reflection in December and the Solstice didn't quite live up to her sister ship. Newer is better I guess. Room: We had a balcony for the first time. Absolutely wonderful and we wouldn't book another cruise without going balcony again. Well worth the extra money IMHO. We spent a lot of hours sitting outside, when the weather was good, sipping wine or coffee and watching the world go by. That being said... The maintenance has been neglected. Our room on Reflection was newer and better even tho it wasn't a balcony. Dining: Dinner: The main dining room was hit and miss on this trip. Some really nice offerings and some really bad ones. I had to send my tough Prime rib back and the replacement was only marginally better. The 'Baked Alaska' and the 'Key Lime Pie' were sad to say the least and didn't reflect their namesakes in any way. I'd suggest staying away from the steak. Stick to the daily side of the menu. We splurged on the Tuscan grill and weren't disappointed! Excellent steak. Excellent service. Excellent table right at the back of the ship watching the sunset. I can highly recommend it. Lunch: The buffet was as good as it was on the Reflection. Take the time to walk around and find everything before you get your plate then pick up the hot items last and you won't be disappointed. Pretty hard to find a seat on sea days, but that's just par for the course when you're cruising. The Mast Grill has lineups for a reason folks. It's got tasty food and you don't have to leave the comfort of your deck chair for very long. Pick up a cold bevvy on your way back and you're going to have a good time. We tried the MDR for lunch once on a sea day. Gotta say, I wouldn't try it again. Food wasn't as good as the buffet and it took a while to get it. Breakfast: Buffet is always good for breakfast. Pick up your cold items then go to the egg station and have them prepare your eggs fresh. Don't make the mistake of setting for the eggs that are sitting in the hot dishes. We tried the MDR for breakfast once and it's just OK. Personally, I'd rather just do the buffet. Cafe Bacio - Great coffee. Grab one before breakfast and take it with you or do like we did and get a sampling of the morning bunnage and take it back to your balcony and have a quiet before breakfast breakfast. Included in the standard drinks package and a great place to have a late afternoon snack before getting ready for dinner. Solstice's food was hit and miss. Reflection's food was consistently better. Entertainment/Activities: Nothing bad here, but Reflection wins this one too. Reflection has some live entertainment around the pool. Solstice relies on canned music. Reflection has live entertainment in the main area before dinner. Solstice had some live and some DJ's. I liked the house band on Reflection better than the one on Solstice. I also found that there wasn't enough live entertainment during the days on the 5 sea days we had. Ports/Excursions: What's not to like about Hawaii? Lots to see and do. Great food. Great beaches. Our seasick snorkeling adventure wasn't Celebrity's fault. Only downside is that you don't get to stay long enough in Kona and Hilo. I can highly recommend a day at Kaanapali beach and you can get there cheap on public transport, just $4 for a daily pass. A couple of beach chairs and a big umbrella so you don't fry on your first day... $50. Great lunch with great drinks, not cheap, but well worth every penny. Lahaina's a great beach town with nice shops and galleries. When folks didn't have what we were looking for they gave us suggestions of who else in town might have it, which is a real nice vibe. Kona's just as nice. Check out Splashers upstairs for the best burger I've had in a long time and strong, I mean really strong, double Mai Tai's. The Kona coffee shop just below not only has great coffee, it also has sweet free wifi which came in really handy. Hilo was disorganized. After waiting for over an hour for the 'hoppa on hoppa off' bus to downtown, we gave up and went back to the ship. At least they gave us our money back. BTW: It's $15 online and $20 in person and you get on based on the number they give you. 3 busses went by and we still weren't going to get on the next one and they gave multiple folks the same numbers which of course caused problems. Overall: Trips are what you make of them. We had a great time and will go again. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff. They busted their butts to make our experience the best it could be. Sure, some things could have been better, but who cares? Put a smile on your face. Have another drink and thank your lucky stars that you get a few days in paradise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This is our third cruise, all with Royal Caribbean, and first time on the Radiance. We had never been to Hawaii and with some extra vacation time accrued needing to be used up, we decided to make good use of it by doing a 19 day land-sea ... Read More
This is our third cruise, all with Royal Caribbean, and first time on the Radiance. We had never been to Hawaii and with some extra vacation time accrued needing to be used up, we decided to make good use of it by doing a 19 day land-sea vacation combo. Cliff Notes Version of My Review: Overall, I really enjoyed the cruise. I did not allow some aggravations to dull my, otherwise positive, experience. Even hubby was able to internally resolve (somewhat) his few disappointing encounters so much so that HE was the one who initiated a NextCruise booking for Fall 2017. We were fortunate to have upgraded to a guaranteed balcony stateroom without additional cost and even more grateful that it was located on the 9th floor closer to the aft of the ship. We've never had an outside balcony so it was quite a treat despite the cabin's less than spotless upkeep by our attendant. Like many have pointed out, the ship is really wonderful with a lot of glass in public spaces for viewing the scenery outside. Radiance is quite spacious for not being among the largest in RCL's fleet though it definitely looked like she was in dire need of dry-dock repairs which was scheduled immediately after our cruise; but not so run-down that I couldn't see how beautiful she was beyond the grime, faulty toilets, and a broken anchor, to name a few. The Cruise Compass was chock-full of activities every day that we couldn't get to all of them. There were the usual and expectedly funny staples of any cruise itinerary including the Quest, Love and Marriage, and the Belly Flop Contest. The production shows and headliners were fantastic for the most part. Food was predictably plenty as customary. We ate mostly at the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch, then split our time between the MDR and specialty venues with our 5-night specialty dining package splurge, all of which were great, but not necessarily exceptional. Service was where she really did shine though there were a few that were forgettable. Our MDR waitstaff were awesome, solicitous, and self-deprecating. Thank you, Regan, for your great efforts and regularly reminding us to fill out our post-cruise survey for you and Alfredo–10 of which is the highest and 8 being the lowest on the scale (which progressed to 10 as a high and 10 as the low on our last night of the cruise). Gotta love your initiative! There were two barristas at Latte-tudes who were very friendly, no matter how frantically busy they got. Even though we had to seek out the WOW factor at the Windjammer, we were able to connect with some wonderful waiters who elevated their jobs above and beyond simply bussing tables. We booked our own excursions so can't comment on the ship's offerings other than to say that they tend to be more expensive than we have the budget for so we opted to seek out independent tours or rented a car to really see what the different islands had to offer. In the end, I give it a 4-star review but I suppose it could have easily been a 3.5 if there was such an option. To be fair, the best barometer of how well my experience turned out to be, is the fact that I really wasn't ready to leave. Just one more day, please. Extended Version: (AKA, I can go on and on if you have time or just skip the subjects you want to look at.) PLANNING: We booked this cruise 400+ days prior. As in the past, I booked with a major cruise TA. I have heard of so many people having great experiences with TA's who "do all the work for you." I've decided that one has to give up perks and incentives to get that elusive special service. It isn't so much a complaint as it is a fact and the reality that I still have to do my due diligence to get the best product for my money. Since I like to "plan" it wasn't such a hardship and actually gave me something to look forward to as I waited for the BIG DAY to arrive. On the other hand, if you're reading this and you know of a GREAT TA who works with an agency that also offers great perks and incentives, I'd love to hear about it. TIP: If you don't ask, you don't get. Don't hesitate to ask for an upgrade even if it is past the final payment date. A price drop occurred after the 90 day prior-to-sailing window that offered a Guarantee Balcony for just a little bit less than what I had already paid for my Oceanview cabin. My TA was able to make this trade for me, albeit I didn't get a refund for the difference. But RCL gave me an upgrade to my upgrade of a Superior Oceanview instead of the original Deluxe Oceanview Guarantee initially assigned to me. From a location standpoint, portside cabin 9244 was perfect. EMBARKATION: We were warned by email and texts that the check-in process will not begin until 12:30 pm because Radiance had to undergo a complete inspection by CBP and USCG after her season in Australia so we arrived at 1pm. My overall impression of the process from curb to gangway was that it seemed somewhat disorganized and lengthy at 1-1/2 hours of waiting in line through security, check-in, and the final bottleneck just before the bridge where the ship security staff took our photos for identification. This is different from our past experience at Port Everglades where the photo ID was taken at the time of check-in. We took it in stride, blessed to have this opportunity. TIP: We learned that the car agencies do not offer courtesy shuttles to the port. Our cheapest route was to take Roberts Hawaii at $8/pp if reserved online to shuttle us from the airport to Pier 2. Once inside and past security, if you find a shorter line, take it. Don't follow like sheep. Until they figure out how to do their jobs, the port staff directs you to a line based on your status unless you have specific high-priority boarding. But in the end, no one really verified who was who. SHIP: Prior to the Radiance, we have only been on the Freedom Class of ships and were dazzled by their size and onboard amenities so I read as much as I could about this smaller ship and kept an open mind. Objectively, she is a beautiful ship with so much glass to view the outside. I'm not sure why some people consider her dated though she is definitely deserving of some TLC and her scheduled dry-dock before starting the Alaska Season will hopefully address a lot of the wear and tear we noticed throughout the ship. It is also well laid-out and didn't really take much time to orient ourselves, yet, not so small that I felt confined. In fact, there were areas of the ship that I never managed to make it to during our 11-night itinerary. There is one venue that I thought seemed oddly out of place. The Samba Grill is located just above the Windjammer on Deck 12. You reach it by going outside to the sports deck or by stairs from the aft open air dining area of the Windjammer. There are also no adjoining restrooms up there so you have to go outside and back towards the elevators–inconvenient, as was the case when we went there to have dinner one night. It was a cold, windy, and drizzly walk. TIP: On the plus side, we found that outside dining area on the back of the Windjammer was less congested and a great place to sit down and eat a meal (unless it's in Alaska...maybe not so much). CABIN: With 5 sea days to enjoy, we really were excited to have a balcony and an unexpectedly larger cabin than anticipated. Never mind that our cabin steward could have been a little more meticulous with his housekeeping skills. Yes, it did bother me that the cabin–while tidy–was dusty, fingerprints from the previous guests still lingered on the glass doors and a few other places, and greasy film on the balcony glass dulled my view of the sea. On the other hand, our bed was made morning and night. The bathroom was wiped down and cleaned daily. I also did get a few paltry towel animals out of the deal. I decided to let it go as best I could because we got to crack the door open so we could listen to the ocean and allow some fresh air in while we slept. We got to see some amazing sunsets without leaving our room. We saw the passing ocean, the islands, and Vancouver's Lions Gate Bridge at Sunrise. Yeah. It was still perfect. DINING COURTESY VENUES: I mentioned at the beginning that food wasn't exceptional. By no means was it either inedible. It just wasn't as spectacular as I remembered from our previous two cruises. So much so that by the back half of the cruise, I was content to eat their surprsingly decent burgers every day for lunch at the windjammer and skipped the nightly desserts at the MDR. The Park Cafe is really just a very scaled down version of the Windjammer. The Boardwalk Doghouse was ok. I think you have to be a hotdog lover to appreciate it. I heard some people rave about it and some said it sucked. Cafe Latte-tudes was a go-to hangout for us. The scones and cheesecake popsicles are always a great stand-by. The coffee is not brewed. They use their espresso machines so if you're not into strong coffee, they will have you bouncing off the walls. The MDR turns into the Brasserie for breakfast and lunch. We went there once and the food was on par in quality as the Windjammer but limited to what was on the menu and some waiting since it's full-serve dining. TIP: I love the fact that the Windjammer cooks are more than happy to put your bread bun on a grill or your sliced bread freshly toasted if you don't like it straight out of the bag. DINING FEE BASED VENUES: Hubby and I purchased a 5-Night Specialty Dining Package before the cruise. I do think that it was worth the $100/pp we paid for it. There are some caveats. It did not include the Chef's Table and, surprisingly, Rita's Crabshack. The former being too expensive at $90/pp while the package only allots $30 value per venue and the latter is something of a mystery. I don't think that I ever saw anyone order anything from that station other than beer or wine. I did notice a daily special of "surf & turf" burger and chips for $11 which I wanted to try but never got around to. It also didn't include Mystery Dinner Theatre at $65/pp which I would have gone to as it featured (at least in this cruise) a post-show dinner offering at Giovanni's Table which we really loved and visited twice. I guess they classified it as entertainment instead of dining. I also thought I would love Samba Grill but I didn't. As my trusted MDR waiter warned me, there's a lot of meat and I don't know why that didn't register in my head. My steak and potatoes man enjoyed it but I don't eat steak or lamb though there was a bacon wrapped chicken and pork loin. In fact, the best dishes are in their appetizer bar. Next time, I'll skip the skewered meat. That said, I'm not sure it's still worth the cover charge. Chops Grille was great though I stuck to the shrimp entree on the menu. Giovanni's Table was our favorite. It's claim to fame is the Tiramisu and there's no doubting that. Izumi was awesome but it's a la carte so plan to spend a little bit more above the $30 allotment. We skipped the dessert to keep the overage down and went to the Windjammer for some sweet treats instead. TIP: For those who said that the cover charge at Chops and Giovanni's allows you to order as much as you want, that is not the case. On this sailing, we were told that each additional main entree we selected was $10 more. Is it a new policy across the board or a new thing just on this ship? To be fair, we're not the type to eat "everything off the menu" but there was a dish or two we wouldn't have minded trying out between the two of us. BARS AND GAMBLING: As much as I would like to say I drank like a fish, I didn't. Sadly, I have a really poor alcohol absorbtion and, for that matter, we don't imbibe much so the drink packages would have been a losing situation for us. The house always wins so we skipped the casinos but if you want better odds, I'd say go to Royal Bingo! ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES: One of our biggest concerns is the possibility of not having much to do during extended sea days as this is a repositioning cruise. I was wrong. At least, not with this particular sailing. The cruise director and his staff certainly put together a pretty comprehensive list of things to do and see for guests. There was even a three-part event called Great Debates where Steve, the CD, focused on serious topics to add a little reality check to your vacation like the issue of Death Penalty. TIP: With so much to do, I noticed that a lot of people, myself included, carried around a cruise compass along with a tablet or smartphone. On day 9, the lightbulb came on and I started taking a snapshot of the back page schedule so I didn't have to drag around that piece of paper. Duh! SERVICE: Without a doubt, the crew of any cruise ship works harder than anyone I am aware of on land. They work 12 hour shifts every day with minimal time off until they buckle that airplane seat belt on their way home. Waitstaff and housekeeping are tip-wage earners and we are happy to do auto-gratuities when we book a cruise. However, my biggest "concern" (I won't call it the other "c" word) was the hit and miss service. Hubby wasn't happy to learn on Day 2 that we were charged for two shore excursions we didn't sign up for and, though he let that slide, he was no longer willing to play after a second charge was added to our seapass account for the two dining packages that we had already paid for months ago. Finding two erroneous charges and the added inconvenience of dealing with it–not once but twice–in my opinion is a service issue. Unfortunately, neither guest services nor the C&A "Loyalty Ambassador" viewed it that way and offered us a bottle of wine a a "gesture of good will" which we declined. Also,during the first few days of sailing, it seemed that some of the staff were a bit sluggish and unengaged though I sensed a greater degree of effort on their part as the days went by. As much as we loved eating at the open-air dining area of the Windjammer, we had to finally give it up after the third day when we realized that the server assigned to that station hardly sought out guests to see if they needed anything else. Our cabin attendant, though friendly and brisk with his chores, made me want to ask someone if I could switch attendants with the other steward a few doors down whom I noticed wiped down the door knobs every day and carried a squeegee in his trolley. It certainly gave new meaning to RCL's current ad campaign, COME SEEK, because we had to actively look for the WOW, which we did. We just didn't expect to chase it. PORTS AND EXCURSIONS: We didn't partake of the ship excursions. However, these are what we did with our port stops: Oah'u - Since embarkation is out of Honolulu, we arrived a day early and rented a car, then headed to Pearl Harbor and visited the Arizona Memorial and Battleship Missouri in the morning. After checking in at the Coconut Waikiki for our night's stay, we walked down towards Waikiki Beach and strolled along Waikiki Drive before enjoying a relaxing dinner and Mai Tai at the Hula Girl Resturant inside the Outrigger Hotel. The following morning, we woke up and treated ourselves to an early 5am drive to Leonard's for malasadas! Maui - We rented a car and headed south towards Wailuku on a mission to find a place called Home Maid bakery that sells malasadas then looped our way past Kahului and back towards Lahaina. We stopped at Olowalu Beach to do a little snorkeling since we brought our gear with us. When we had our fill of that, we headed back and checked out Old Lahaina and picked up a few more souvies before tendering back on the ship for the night. At 2:30 the following morning, we took a tender back into town to pick up our rented car that we left in a paid lot and made our way to Haleakala Summit for the most worthwhile sunrise show. Kauai - Our port time here was curiously short (8am-3:30pm). And because we had to tender, it made it even more challenging to do much beyond the excursion that we had booked through Kauai Photo Tours. This was a fantastic tour and grateful to a Cruise Critic member for suggesting it. Our guide selected some camera-worthy locations that were off-the-beaten-path we would likely not have seen if we had selected a ship tour. Hawai'i - I admit that the Big Island is our favorite. Honolulu was a busy, urban area. Old Lahaina in Maui just felt kitschy to us. Everywhere in Kauai was beautiful but pretentious with its high-brow residents dotting the island. Kona seemed more low-key and mellow. It is also a great starting point for the Island. We actually did a 5-day pre-cruise stay here and toured much of the island in our rental car. We went on a snorkeling tour with Wahine Charters who took us south to the Captain James Cook Monument. The boat captain stopped midway to let us swim with dolphins nearby before heading towards Kealakekula Bay where we got up and close to the most amazing coral reef and incredible array of tropical fish. During our stay, we drove up to the Mauna Kea Visitor's Center, checked out the white, green, and black sand beaches of the Big Island, did an abbreviated tour of Volcanoes National Park (due to fog, rain, and limited visibility), ate most of our meals at L & L (a Hawaiian chain of restaurants featuring local favorites like kalua pork, macaroni salad, and spam misubi). You know what they say, "When in Rome..." TIP: if you have the room, bring your own snorkeling gear and a good underwater camera. It doesn't have to be a GoPro but you just can't expect a "waterproof" smartphone case to be truly waterproof as learned the hard way by some gals in our group who lost two iPhones as a result of using LifeProof cases. I use Watershot Splash camera housing and it has not failed me yet. It is specifically designed for use with iPhones for underwater snorkeling and diving use. ADDITIONAL TIPS AND SURPRISES: Go prepared. Taking that northbound Honolulu to Vancouver repositioning cruise was worthwile. It also gets cold if you plan to take a trip up to Mauna Kea or Mt. Haleakala. Since this is a Spring sailing, as the ship continues northbound, the temperatures also start to drop. Bring a lightweight but packable down jacket. Seriously. A pleasant surprise! If you have a celebration going on during your cruise, note it on your booking. Not only did I get a happy birthday song from our waiters but I came back to our stateroom one day to a gift certficate from the Spa for $50 off any service. NEXTCRUISE: We got past our hiccups and booked another cruise and took advantage of the NextCruise booking incentive. I overheard a couple say that the starting $50 OBC wasn't worth it. I disagree. We decided to defer using our OBC for the sailing we had chosen instead of using it during this cruise. There is a fine print, of course. But if you plan to cruise again, it is worth it. Sign up for an appointment early though. I noticed that the appointment book fills up fast. You can check current promotions and future sailings online for free before you talk to an agent. Just remember that if you choose to use your OBC at the time you book it on the ship and decide later that you want to cancel this NextCruise booking, you will lose your deposit. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Having cruised previously with P&O UK, P&O and Princess, this was our first with Carnival. We chose this cruise as it fitted in with our respective holidays and the itinerary was one we had never been on before. We flew into ... Read More
Having cruised previously with P&O UK, P&O and Princess, this was our first with Carnival. We chose this cruise as it fitted in with our respective holidays and the itinerary was one we had never been on before. We flew into Sydney on day of departure and had Carnival Transfers to the ship. Embarkation was a breeze with our boarding passes being stamped Priority at the airport and we were able to board without waiting in long queues. To this we say Thank You Carnival. Once on the ship, our breath was taken away by the decor - dark, tacky etc, something we did not expect to confront us. We were also disappointed that there were no staff around to guide us in the right direction to our cabin. Not a pleasant experience at all but we managed and it turned out to be an adventure of discovery of the ship on a whole. We were also disappointed with the Muster Stations Procedures as all the other cruises we had been on, you were required to take your Life Jacket and they would demonstrate to you how to put it on etc. We piled onto the decks in lines and it was extremely hot, tiring and above all, very long. Our cabin, to our surprise was decent in size, had comfortable bed and pillows and a doona to die for. It was fitted out well, even tho the location of it was not to our liking. TIP: book a cabin midships if you don't like the motion. Food in the Restaurant was of poor/average quality .... the Speciality Restaurants were outstanding especially Bonsai Sushi and Nouvea. Loved the outlay of the Bistro, but like the restaurant, found the food to be of poor to average quality. Entertainment was of average quality - loved the band in Redfrog Pub, they were outstanding. Jen our Cruise Director was fantastic at her job and put her self out there, but her staff were a different story - smile and pretend you enjoy your job, don't act bored like you don't want to be there. If you love Trivia during the day, your on the right ship, otherwise daytime entertainment is pretty much non existent. The shows in the Theatre were OK but all ships are pretty much the same. Staff on the ship - our cabin stewards were unbelievable, Redfrog Pub staff outstanding, dining room staff average/poor, bar staff around pools average/poor, other bar staff average. No one really went out of there way for you which was really disappointing. Ports of call were outstanding, even Noumea, which we are not big fans of, but doing a tour of the countryside was just spectacular. We made the most of our cruise and met some wonderful people but to be completely honest, this was just an average cruise. Will we travel Carnival again, in one word, No! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We chose this cruise based on the itinerary. It included 5 ports of call we had never visited (2 in New Zealand, Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora), and ended in our favorite travel destination, Hawaii. The length was about what we wanted and of ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on the itinerary. It included 5 ports of call we had never visited (2 in New Zealand, Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora), and ended in our favorite travel destination, Hawaii. The length was about what we wanted and of course the capability to visit 3 islands in French Polynesia made this cruise very attractive. The Solstice is a fantastic ship and the crew is outstanding. We were very impressed with the entire ship, especially the theater and the Solstice crew. Boarding in Sydney was very easy. We dropped out luggage off early the day of departure and then spent several hours in The Rocks area since that was market day. Our only issue with sailing day was the muster drill. Our muster point was on deck 4 promenade and it was very chaotic trying to get everyone's attention and maintain it during the drill. The drill lasted rather long, ending at 5:50pm, which was pushing early dining at 6pm. The sailing time of 6:30pm also conflicted with those of us with early dining so we had to make our first choice of the cruise--attend sail away or go to main dining. Our cabin on deck 3 (ocean view) was very nice and our cabin attendants were 2 of the best we've every had. A hit attraction for this cruise was the presence of the Polynesian team of 4 from Hawaii that taught several courses including ukelele (which I took). lei making (my wife too) and also performed on many occasions including crossing the equator ceremony. On board lectures were very informative. I want to call out Chelsea Behymer, the on-board naturalist, in particular. She has a passion for her subject area that made her lectures come alive and made you want to learn. Entertainment was top notch for the most part with the Solstice singers and dancers our favorites. Another highlight was the ANZAC memorial at 6am the day we sailed into Hawaii. A special thank you for Ben the cruise director for coordinating and directing that effort. Immigration and customs was conducted at anchor at Lahaina since that was the first port of call in the US. It went well for us US citizens as most of us were through immigration and on the tender by 10am. Disembarkation in Honolulu was one of the smoothest I've ever done. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We had two balcony cabins for the PoA cruise in March 2016 to bring her from dry dock in San Francisco back to Honolulu for her usual year-round island hopping. Departure was delayed by one day as the bad weather in SFO impacted some of ... Read More
We had two balcony cabins for the PoA cruise in March 2016 to bring her from dry dock in San Francisco back to Honolulu for her usual year-round island hopping. Departure was delayed by one day as the bad weather in SFO impacted some of the renovations. Boarding at Pier 27 was the most chaotic and unprofessional procedure that I ever had to witness, it took us 3,5 hours to get on the ship! Onboard we had to learn that significant areas of the ship would be inaccessible for the whole cruise: Spa, open deck space on decks 12 and 13, many of the public toilets. While we have understanding for the weather issues in dry dock which led to delays in remodeling the outdoor spaces, there is no excuse for not even having indoor stuff like toilets and Spa operational. Due to the uncompleted renovations we had extensive loud and dirty work being continued during the whole cruise (and they still weren’t finished when we disembarked in Honolulu). On top, in the midship area on decks 5 and 6 there was a constant smell of toilet waste - supposedly there were some issue with the AirCon. Speaking of the AirCon: It was running way too high in public areas (mostly in the forward section), half of the passengers left the ship ship sneezing and coughing - come on, we're sailling Hawaii! This brings me to the most disturbing topic which continued throughout the whole cruise: The level of service by the crew is significantly lower compared to the international ships. I never had to witness so many slow / sloppy / incompetent crew members on any ship (NCL or other cruise lines). I simply don't want staff who just hop on due to a cheap advertisement on Craig's List or CandyCrush (that's what the staff told me!) - I'm used to a professionally trained crew. But let's be fair: There were also several positive things. The "beautification" (as NCL calls it) brought many of the current standards on this somewhat aged ship. The specialty dining venues as well as the bars and fitness centre now look similar to the newer ships. And while only the suites got a full renovation, the other staterooms are still in quite a good shape. The Aloha Café is still too small, therefore suite guests are lucky to have Cagneys as their dedicated restaurant for breakfast and lunch. The food itself was NCL standard, which -personally- we like even if it lacks on this small ships a bit of the variety that you'll find on the bigger ships. The food quality and service in the specialty dining were great (obviously it helped that the corporate chef from NCL headquarters was onboard to brief the kitchen crew). One thing that we weren't aware of before the cruise: As this is the only NCL ship registered in the US, the laws of Hawaii prohibit an onboard Casino. And as the ship is usually only acting as a floating hotel on the Hawaiian islands, there are also no duty free shops (just "trashy" holiday items which you can get cheaper and nicer in every port of call). For domestic US travellers without real international experiences all of this might be sufficient - but compared to real international itineraries / ships / ships, the downsides are inacceptable for us. But then again: Should you do the standard island itinerary, you probably wouldn’t notice some of these flaws as you simply don’t have the time to experience them… And once all of the renovations are completed, the PoA is a nice ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I first want to say that we sailed on Reflection last year and loved it, had no complaints. We have over 20 cruises under our belt, most on RCI. So when we booked Solstice to Hawaii we were expecting a great cruise. However there were ... Read More
I first want to say that we sailed on Reflection last year and loved it, had no complaints. We have over 20 cruises under our belt, most on RCI. So when we booked Solstice to Hawaii we were expecting a great cruise. However there were too many things we were not happy with and I doubt I will go back on this ship. First the food in the dining room was not what we were use to. Many times it was cold, it was tasteless and they have made the portion sizes very small. I asked one of the chefs what was going on and all he could say was cost cutting. Trying to reduce waste. Also the dining room was so cold by the end of the cruise I couldn't wait to go home. I was sick of freezing to death during dinner. The Staff was amazing, very happy and always said hello. They made the cruise for us. I have not one thing bad to say about them. The ship was clean but all common areas were freezing all the time. Again we have never been so ready to go home and be comfortable. Also we were disappointment in the shows at night. They were the worst we have seen. The dancers were great, but the others were not what we were use to. The tours we did were amazing, can't say enough about them. Hawaii was beautiful. Our Hawaiian ambassador, June was wonderful. She held hula classes for 5 days and I never missed one. It was the highlight of my cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Fifth cruise - first with Celebrity. Excellent ship and repositioning cruise. Good facilities aboard. Smooth embarkation and disembarkation. Plenty of space and never felt too crowded. Excellent passenger flow. I am always ready ... Read More
Fifth cruise - first with Celebrity. Excellent ship and repositioning cruise. Good facilities aboard. Smooth embarkation and disembarkation. Plenty of space and never felt too crowded. Excellent passenger flow. I am always ready to get off a cruise after 7 days, but I managed 10 days on this one with no troube. Ports visited were OK except for Hilo. Not a lot to see there and the showers didn't help. Excellent buffet selection and well laid out, especially the English Breakfast (who would ever expect bangers, black pudding and English bacon on a Pacific cruise!) and Indian sections. Cabin (and balcony) very good (9141). Cabin staff excellent. We are not generally attracted to cruise entertainment and the only show we saw was disappointing. Our main criticism was the MDR. Portions were small, especially the appetizers, and we found several main courses served warm, not hot, and lacked flavour, especially sauces and gravies. Lobster was overcooked and chewy. The cheese board was a joke compared to what HA offers. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Carnival Legend. What can I say? Decor: Tacky. Food: Average at best (had me wishing I could be at home to cook my own meals). Entertainment: Average to Decent. Musicals were OK, but did not appreciate the juggler joking about ... Read More
Carnival Legend. What can I say? Decor: Tacky. Food: Average at best (had me wishing I could be at home to cook my own meals). Entertainment: Average to Decent. Musicals were OK, but did not appreciate the juggler joking about his "balls". Funny the first time. Crude and annoying by the tenth joke. Trivia games were trivial, but really the only things that could alleviate the boredom that set upon us. Staff: Great. Cabins: OK. We booked a disabled cabin for our guest in a wheelchair but the six foot lip between the cabin and the balcony meant he couldn't use the balcony. Pathetic. If you're traveling with a disabled person, choose another ship. They really screwed up on our day in Kona. Didn't get us off the ship until after 12:00pm. Blamed their lack of experience in the Kona port. They knew they messed up. They bought the whole ship free drinks the next night, but it didn't really make up for their confusion. Summary: I will never book another cruise on any Carnival ship after experiencing this one. My first thought upon entering the ship was that the decor was designed by failed or fired Disney Imagineers. Ugly ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Let me start by saying that I have always been a Carnival fan, and started sailing on their ships 24 years ago. We have sailed on other cruise lines, and always end up coming back to Carnival. That being said, we are now seriously ... Read More
Let me start by saying that I have always been a Carnival fan, and started sailing on their ships 24 years ago. We have sailed on other cruise lines, and always end up coming back to Carnival. That being said, we are now seriously considering switching our allegiance after the disappointing experiences of this cruise. This was a repositioning cruise, Carnival was switching the Legend from sailing Australia to Alaska cruises. My honest opinion is that cruising Hawaii was a last-minute thought which was merely a way to cover the expense of moving the ship. We flew to Honolulu, boarded the ship, sailed around the islands for six days, then had five days at sea sailing to Vancouver, B.C. The bad experience started with embarkation, which was a nightmare. The ship was spending two days in Honolulu, with no excursions on the first day. A number of our fellow Cruise Critic members took advantage of this to book a luau, which was picking them up at the dock at 3:30 that day. Although I really wanted to go to a luau, our plane wasn't landing until 1:15 p.m., and I was afraid we would be too tired (we were dealing with a six-hour time change). Instead, we planned to board the ship, drop off our carry-ons, and walk the few blocks over to Chinatown, where I wanted to obtain a flower lei. The Carnival representative who met us at the airport said we would be given flower leis at the pier. That was a lie. In fact, there were no flower leis for sale anywhere on or around the ship during the entire cruise. Because of some luggage problems at the airport, it was close to 3 when we arrived at the pier. Imagine our surprise after going through security to enter the building and discover it was wall-to-wall people! Although everybody was supposed to be checked in by 4, they had still boarded hardly any passengers on the ship. We were told that we were in boarding group 20, and at that point we heard them calling group three. There was no place to sit, barely any room to stand, and they seemed to be calling groups about 20-30 minutes apart. That did eventually speed up some, but it was still nearly 5 p.m. by the time we made it to our cabin. For the first time in history, our luggage beat us to the cabin!!! We had early dinner at 5:30, so that took care of my plan to get a lei (I was unable to ever find one). I never heard if anybody made it to the luau. Not surprisingly, Carnival never told any of us what caused the delay in embarkation, although the rumor was that immigration made them fingerprint and do a retina scan on all the crew. One of our tour guides later told me that often happens when Carnival comes to Hawaii, so if that was the case why weren't they prepared for it? We had excellent service in the dining room, and pleasant table makes. However, the food for the most part was average cruise food. Twice I ordered steaks medium-rare, and both times they came well done. One night the offered "Southern pecan pie" on the menu. We all agreed that we didn't know what it was, but it wasn't pecan pie and nobody could eat it. The very best food we had on the entire cruise was the sandwiches in the deli. One time I went to the specialty coffee shop and ordered a frappaccino. The girl said, "That's with ice, right?" The first night, when we remained in port in Honolulu, they brought on a local dance troupe that did native dances from Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, and Maori. They were excellent, the very best entertainment on the entire cruise. The show band on Legend consisted of two guitars, drums, and a keyboard. There was no ballroom dancing available anywhere on the ship, nor were there any big "Las Vegas" style shows. The cruise director tried to say that the theater on the ship was too small for big reviews or a full band, but we have had them on other Carnival ships with much smaller theaters. We did try to go to one review called "Brits," but the pre-show was so loud that we tried seats in five different locations and then gave up and left. There were over 120 people in our Cruise Critic group, and we requested a time and place for a meet & greet months in advance. Carnival was unable (?) to give us a time and place until three days before the cruise, when they advised us that we could meet in the Firebird at 3 p.m. on May 14, three days before the cruise ended, and that we would have a cash bar. The night of the 13th we learned that the returning cruisers (VIPS) party was scheduled at the same time, and was only 30 minutes long. We opted to go to the meet & greet instead, but it appears that many of our group went to the VIPS party. When we arrived for our party, a Carnival representative was using the room to give a future cruises talk. There were only a few people there watching her, and they kept shushing us. We finally went to Guest Services to find out what was going on and they responded that John Heald (who was on the ship) couldn't make it to our meet and greet so they just cancelled it without notifying anybody!!! We told the future cruise speaker what was happening and went ahead and had our party anyway. She left shortly after that. We had shore excursions on each island we visited, and they were all excellent. The only problem was that it was cold and poured rain the entire time we were in Hawaii, but that isn't the fault of the tour companies or of Carnival. In fact, I had researched the weather before we went and learned that May is usually the driest month in Hawaii, with daytime highs in the mid-80s and lows around 78. Instead, we experienced daytime highs in the mid to upper 60s (which is cold if you come from south Florida). We notice that there hardly any activities on the ship the six days in Hawaii, but we chalked that up to most people taking excursion. Unfortunately, there were also few to no activities during the five days at sea. Because of the rain and cold, the Lido deck was nearly unusable. This was probably the only cruise you will ever see where all the deck chairs were available all the time. I understand that the Legend has a retractable dome to cover the Lido pool, but it was broken and they were working on it the entire cruise. In addition, there was no TV until the last day of the cruise. There were messages on most of the channels stating that they were working with Dish to try to resolve satellite problems. Really? In the middle of the ocean, with no towns, trees, or anything else to interfere with the signal and you can't pick up the satellite? As a result, most people spent the five days in their cabins reading or sleeping from boredom and only came out for meals. It was easy to save money on this cruise, the ship's shops had no souvenirs! This was my 19th cruise, and I have bought a ship magnet from every one of them until now, but the gift shop had NO magnets at all. There was also no ship's pins, and the only tee shirts said something like "Don't worry, keep drinking." It was apparent that the gift shop had sold most of it's inventory in Australia and wasn't going to bother to replenish until it got to Vancouver. In addition to being rainy, the five days at sea were extremely cold (the day we landed in Vancouver my cell phone showed that it was 30 degrees outside). Although we turned the thermostat in our cabin as high as it would go, there was no heat. We finally asked the steward to have somebody come check the thermostat as we thought it was broken, and he informed us that there was no heat on that ship because it was a "fire hazard." I asked what they planned to do for their passengers going to Alaska and he replied that they were stocking up on plenty of blankets. Although we were an hour late getting started, we chose to self-disembark in Vancouver and it went very easily. From communication with a number of other Cruise Critic members I have learned that everybody sent Carnival very bad reviews of this cruise. Interestingly, most of us have received frequent reminders that the reviews need to be returned even though we have done to repeatedly. One member even went so far as to call Carnival to check, and was told they have no record of having received her review. It appears that Carnival's computers may have been programmed to reject reviews that are less than stellar. Nonetheless, the fact remains that this Hawaiian cruise was a total disaster. I truly feel sorry for those passengers who had never sailed on Carnival before, I doubt that any of them will ever come back. I have noticed Carnival's cruises going downhill the past few years, so I have to wonder if this experience is really indicative of their current offerings. I am afraid to book any more Carnival cruises because "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My husband and I booked our 5th Carnival cruise to celebrate our 4oth Anniversary and were not disappointed. Our previous 4 cruises with Carnival have incled two sailing the Carribean, one in the Mediterranean and one down to the Mexican ... Read More
My husband and I booked our 5th Carnival cruise to celebrate our 4oth Anniversary and were not disappointed. Our previous 4 cruises with Carnival have incled two sailing the Carribean, one in the Mediterranean and one down to the Mexican Riviera. The Legend was first launched in 2003 by Dame Judy Dench and then was refurbished in 2009 to update for its move to Australia. We disembarked in Bora Bora after 12 great nights due to work commitments so did not sail the additional 6 days to Hawaii but feel 12 nights was enough for us as we prefer cruises with more stops and less days at sea. We had 5 stops at Noumea, Denaru, Papeete, Moorea and Bora Bora. We spent 5 nights and 2 lunches at their specialty restaurants to give a balance to dining at Truffles Restaurant and Lido Deck. Carnival offered a full programme throughout the day so we could be as busy or as laid back as we wanted to be on our sailing days. It would be great to see more dining options for guests and I believe most would be happy to pay that extra. The Japanese Restaurant didn't seem to be all that popular with cruise guests and I believe if it was replaced with their Italian restaurant that is onboard other Carnival boats they would find this a better option both financially as well as popularity. This was one of the cleanest ships I have ever cruised and the staff were very friendly and helpful. The decor in the general areas and Lobby is somewhat outmoded and definitely needs a complete refurb as the "Las Vegas 80's"" look is definitely out. We has a balcony suite right near the lifts overlooking the lifts to the Lobby and find this a great location for us. Shows were enjoyable and thoroughly enjoyed our Chef's Table dinner. Well worth the $75pp inluding all wines. It would be good to see wine & beverage packages offered on the Legend like what is offered on other Carnival ships. Adults only Serenity Pool and Bar area was most enjoyable area and while in cruising days we used this area to relax quite a lot. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Well this was our first cruise on Celebrity (first two on RCL) and our longest cruise. It also had by far the most amount of sea days, so we were curious on how this would play-out. Unfortunately the friends who put us onto the trip ... Read More
Well this was our first cruise on Celebrity (first two on RCL) and our longest cruise. It also had by far the most amount of sea days, so we were curious on how this would play-out. Unfortunately the friends who put us onto the trip cancelled prior to departure, so it could have been a long, long trip. Starting at the beginning, the embarkation was reasonably painless, we were aware that you can really embark whenever you wanted, so we dropped the bags off at the collection area and went for a stroll. Once the lines were down a bit (and this was early afternoon) we boarded. Quickly got our all important seapass, cleared customs, checked through security and were onboard - 20 mins tops. We then proceeded to check out a couple of bars and waited for the rooms to be ready, which was also quite quick, and we were ready to go (well the bags showed up by about 4ish). Food - this is all important. Now I could say that when I got home I had actually lost a kilo (and no that wasn't from the gym) and you'd think the food was poor, but on the contrary, there was plenty of food and generally very good. We ate at all the restaurants, Tuscans was our favourite, a bit more of the style of food we eat out on in Australia and the service was top notch. Muranos service was excellent, but the food was a little rich, and Silk Harvest was good, we enjoyed the food, but missed the mark a little - maybe we had expectations of a full on Japanese style, while it was a bit of a mixture. The MDR - well we only ate there about six nights, we picked the select dining times and pre-booked our times online before departure - a good idea. Unfortunately we did not get the dining experience we had had previously as we did not get the same waiters nor were we able to chat with the same people each night - something we liked from previous cruises. The dining room looks good, but it is a bit cramped and the décor a little 'too white and shiny'. Couldn't complain about the standard of food. There was a reasonable selection, it all tasted pretty good and the staff were very attentive to my wife's dietary needs that we had alerted the company to prior to departure. Bistro on Five was also pretty good, but only if you like crepes and baguettes. We did go a couple of times as it was a bit of a change, and they were open to alternative suggestions on the menu. A good location if everywhere else is busy. The Oceanview café was actually quite good, there was plenty of selection, and we found the quality of the food to be of a good to very good standard. It was busy at times (2800 people do get hungry at breakfast and lunch), but there was always a seat available. Dinner there was actually quite good, a good selection, they'd cook steak, chicken and fish to your requirements, and you could eat at your own pace - and not too busy. If you are a tea person - bring your own tea bags, and the freebie juice would make the best athlete a diabetic overnight, dilute it with some water (we were diluting it 50/50 or better). Lastly was Café al Bacio - we must have lived there. The staff were very friendly (I know its their job, but...) great cups of coffee and tea, cakes and gelato (thanks Jayne). It could be quite crowded though, so pick your times. At all eateries you were expected to clean your hands, some people complained about this, but for an 18 day cruise, and no norovirus outbreak - it is a precaution we should all adhere to! Overall, food wise, we had no complaints, except for there was too much, and too rich....oh and what's with the American bacon - we prefer ours the 'English way' please. Ok that's the important part over. There were number of downsides, drinks at the bars were expensive (compared to RCL and the real world). This saved us some money as we didn't drink much at all (we had the non-alcoholic premium package - fantastic value), but we were not paying $A20 for a premium cocktail, $A12 for a martini, $A12 for a mid range beer and anywhere from $A12 - 22 for a glass wine. We also thought the shops were also a little pricey and lacked variety over the 18 days, but that's what they are there for. We did organise a 'cultural walk' of the bars for a group of people, and the Events Co-ordinator and the Food and Beverage managed were very supportive. (This was actually a very good thing). Another area that let the ship down was the medical centre - unfortunately their bedside manner leaves a little to be desired when we needed their assistance one mid afternoon, the nurse was more concerned about making sure the bill was paid rather than assisting my wife who was in extreme amounts of pain. Make sure your travel insurance covers this (because of the pain the bill brings). The Doctor was quite good though, and we were sorted fairly quickly. Internet - don't get me started, this was a rort, I know we were in some remote areas, but the they still kept flogging the package even though they new the data rate was very low - 13mins to check a bank balance! On the issue of money, the onboard tours seemed quite expensive, and we found cheaper ones on the wharf. Overall Celebrity did seem to be more expensive onboard than RCL had been in the past (even allowing for the exchange rates). And I wont even mention the Spa prices! Back to the good things. The Cruise Director, his offsider (Ben and Pete - or should that be Benno and Peteski) and their teams did go to a lot of trouble to organise events on the long days at sea. There was plenty of variety (including the standard bingo etc.) and the presentations by Mike (general info) and Ann (locations) were quite interesting (and varied), there were also several matinee shows during the trip. We had a crossing the International Dateline Party, a crossing the equator ceremony, Polynesian dancing show and other events to fill in the time. There was live music at times around the pool, in the atrium and on the lawn area during the day, and more live music in the evenings in several of the bars. They did try to vary the style, but it was 18 days long! The Corning Glass show was great to watch, and the evening shows were, overall, quite good and entertaining. The cruise company show team put on some really good performances in the theatre but also upstairs in the Sky Lounge. The afternoon talent show was great with several outstanding performances by three of the crew members. We spent a lot of our time though just sitting around the pool, our room or a quiet area of the ship (and there was plenty of them) reading, listening to music or having a doze. We even had the chance to watch the crew conduct a SAR for two yachties, this delayed us by 16 hours, but the crew (probably with permission from head office) turned up the 'steam' and we were only two hours late to Maui - thanks skipper. The cabin we had (veranda deck 8) was neat and tidy, and well maintained by our cabin attendant (thanks Santanu) and his offsider. Minimal noise, room service was reasonable, but not as good as Oceanview, and a good selection of movies to watch when relaxing in the room. It was really good to relax, read a book, listen to music watching the endless ocean float past! Service - the service from all the crew members we encountered was very good. They were always with a smile on their face, and a 'how are you' on their lips. At some time we spoke to, or were greeted by, all the senior staff, and they were open to questions and comments. This was definitely a highlight, the low part of this was the way some of the passengers treated the staff - some people are so rude and selfish. Only negative here was there needed to be more bar staff during the peak hours to cater for the demand, and everyone should wait their turn when it is busy! Again the rudest people on the ship were some of the passengers. Disembarkation - this did not always run smoothly. We were tendered out in a number (most) of locations, and getting off the Ship by tender is a drawn out process. Sometimes there was a number system, a couple of times there were not. We got over this by not having any tours booked (we expected delays) and just waited out the rush by having a late breakfast etc. Customs and Immigration in Maui took a long time, and we were amongst the last to be processed (again we expected it and weren't to phased), but there are better ways, and the final disembarkation in Honolulu also took some time, but again we hadn't planned anything that required us to rush off, but we were in the final third and still off by 9am. Would we do it again, YES - we had a very relaxing time, the service was great, the food of a high standard and the room met our requirements. We beat the crowds by not joining in the rush, and generally had a laid back time of it all. We reduced our onboard expenses by opting for the non-alcoholic premium pack, and not going to the Spa, and only having a few drinks (if you are going to have more that five - six drinks a day look at the alcohol packages - you can buy them onboard after you sale, a great idea by Celebrity). The ship was in good knick, clean and tidy, and there were plenty of places to relax, and heaps of good food. Yes the average age of the passengers was 50-60 (with some older, but still some in their 30s), there were a number if kids and teenagers (what to do to keep them busy for 18 days?), but they seemed to be well catered for, but that's what the solarium is for if you want to escape, but they all seemed to have a good time as well. And, yes there was some downsides, but most of that revolved around money, rude passengers and queues to get off the boat; overcome by some prior planning and patience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I read many reviews about Celebrity Solstice and many reviews leave me wondering what on earth people do on their cruise, maybe all day finding fault very anything they can? Our second cruise on Solstice was as memorable and wonderful ... Read More
I read many reviews about Celebrity Solstice and many reviews leave me wondering what on earth people do on their cruise, maybe all day finding fault very anything they can? Our second cruise on Solstice was as memorable and wonderful as the first, just over a year prior. Embarkation in Sydney was busy but efficient, it did not take long to board, the traffic jam at Circular Quay took far longer and not the fault of Celebrity. Our sail away from Sydney was damp, but wonderful. Once again we had selected Concierge Class C1, we loved it before and loved it again with our aft facing stateroom (same as last time) quiet, comfortable and spotlessly clean. Our stateroom attendants were friendly and did a great job, extending themselves for special occasions we celebrated on board. The canapés were tasty and fresh, the room service very good and the variety of towel animals a lot of fun. Our fresh flowers courtesy of the stateroom attendants were beautiful. For us it was a blissful cruise, many happy days on board Solstice, still an elegant lady of the sea's, friendly staff and always plenty of good morning, afternoons and evenings shared each day. Entertainment was very good, loved the Aussie Boys and several other individual artists. Especially loved the cooking shows, Chef Richard was knowledgeable and very approachable, a good selection Celebrity. We opted to do our thing regarding shore excursions in Moorea and Bora Bora, Papeete was expensive and hot, but enjoyed a walk around the town and enjoyed mixing with the locals at the markets, such beautiful flower arrangements. Our ATV tour on Moorea was fantastic, thoroughly recommended, and Bora Bora was a 4WD adventure, once again a great time and beautiful sights but my heart fell in love with Moorea. We heard people niggle about things on board, we could not agree, honestly are all our days perfect at home? We only dined once in the main dining room, then enjoyed the great variety at the buffet which was delightfully quiet in the evenings all meals were very good, we chose the 3 restaurant package and loved all three, Silk Harvest, Murano and Tuscan Grill, the latter was amazing. Our Maritime rescue at sea added a bit of drama to our cruise and slightly delayed our Lahaina arrival, sadly we were last on the list for immigration which did cut down our time on shore, but a place we will return to one day. Overall an excellent cruise we would do again, but Solstice and Singapore is on the list for 2016, our biggest complaint would be the higher prices for drinks and laundry, with the shrinking Aussie dollar it was rather expensive...our favourite bar on board was The Ensemble Lounge, superb service and always with a smile. We thoroughly recommend this ship... Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We chose this cruise as we were already going to be in California for our son's wedding 3 days prior to embarkation. We drove down from Pasadena, spent a day enjoying San Diego, dropped off the rental car and embarked. Note there is ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we were already going to be in California for our son's wedding 3 days prior to embarkation. We drove down from Pasadena, spent a day enjoying San Diego, dropped off the rental car and embarked. Note there is still construction on the street outside the terminal, but our cab driver easily negotiated it. We tried to check our bags at the obvious spot, but were told to take them inside. Seemed unusual but we diligently went inside, where we were told to take them back outside. OK, finally got them checked and came back through the line. No other embarkation problems of note and we were quickly onboard enjoying the buffet lunch. Met the other Cruise Critic Rollcall members at the Sunset Bar for sailaway drinks after muster drill. One member had made beautiful pin-on buttons for all of us, and we wore our Mardi Gras beads to identify ourselves. Good way to get the cruise started! The officers were friendly and mixed with the passengers every day. It was great to have the Captain greet you personally at breakfast and the Hotel Director spend 1/2 hour with you at Elite Happy Hour. These are the little things that make traveling on the Century very special. She may be older and smaller, but the ship has a devoted following. This was a quiet cruise with a lot of sea days and was definitely an older crowd. But there was lots to do if you chose to do it. The enrichment lectures on Pearl Harbor and the Pacific Theater in WWII were fabulous and June, the Hawaiian arts and crafts lady, was great fun. The standard of excellence that Celebrity maintains in its service, food, maintenance of facilities, etc., is what keeps us coming back time after time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Ok, it wasn't quite perfect. Close but no cigar. From my viewpoint, the food was great. I had one bad meal (Duck-very tough) and that was it. All the desserts were great, the meals were very good to excellent. There was usually a ... Read More
Ok, it wasn't quite perfect. Close but no cigar. From my viewpoint, the food was great. I had one bad meal (Duck-very tough) and that was it. All the desserts were great, the meals were very good to excellent. There was usually a bit of a wait for 5:30 seating in the Non traditional dining room, but it went fast. A smile and a thank you went a long way with the Maitre D. He was a bit harassed. The ship was great too. Lots of places to go and relax or not. That's what I love about cruising, the choices are yours to make. Not sure I got my money's worth with the soda package, but it was fine. I didn't get the coffee package because I drink one cup of coffee in the morning and I'm not a gourmet about it. I most often got coffee from room service and had it on my balcony. The bed wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great. A bit hard for me, but not that bad. The Trident Grill was nothing to write home about nor was the Pizza parlor. The ports were fine, although I have no comparison, since this is my first trip to Hawaii. I loved the way they organized the departures for the excursions. It was really well done and absolutely no waiting on a dock to find out where you were going. You waited in the Princess Theater until your group was called, went to the disembarkation deck and got right on the bus or van. It was truly great. They do need more seating in the Princess Theater. I only got to see one show because there was no seating. The 10:30 was too late for me because I get up at 6 am, without an alarm clock. I'm not sure what I missed, but everyone said the shows were great. My only issue was my flight home. When I left, I was flying out on US Air 6344, but when I got to the airport, they said there was no such flight. Finally, I got on a 10:10 flight that took me to Philadelphia. Not my first choice, but at that point I didn't have any choice. I'd have liked to know about the change before I left the ship. I spent money trying to check-in on line. It was frustrating. Can I blame Princess for that snafu? I don't think so, but they should have let me know about the change. US Air's people were great. They helped me all the way along. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011

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