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79 Hawaii Repositioning Cruise Reviews

We sailed from L.A. to Hawaii roundtrip of 14 days on Cunard's Queen Victoria. It was very different from any other cruise line. It was a very British experience, with maybe 60% of the passengers of the old colonial British Empire ... Read More
We sailed from L.A. to Hawaii roundtrip of 14 days on Cunard's Queen Victoria. It was very different from any other cruise line. It was a very British experience, with maybe 60% of the passengers of the old colonial British Empire set. We dressed for dinner. We attended formal Balls. We had afternoon tea and scones from white-gloved waiters. We went to shows where we sung old music-hall songs and waved our Union Jack Flags to 'Land of Hope And Glory', and we observed all of the dress-code rules, including having Hats for Ascot, Masks for Masquerade, and Bustles for Victorian Balls. Ex-pat Brits (such as we) really loved it, but we can see that it might not be so jolly for everyone. We didnt like the 2 class Grills/Britannia system. The ship projected the eliteness of priviledge to which we were supposed to aspire. I left the UK to get rid of that. By the way, the stage shows were the best of any that I have seen on any cruise. Very professional, amazing dancing, ballet, costumes, singing and staging. Also the internal decor for the theater, the Queens Lounge/Ballroom, the bars, the lounges.....just amazing. The panelling, carpeting, and lounge chairs were like being in an exclusive London club. Nowhere was crowed. So why cant I give this a full 5-star rating? We did find the British cultural thing a bit over-whelming by the end. But there were some issues. First the food was British 'gourmet', meaning that courses were fussed with cosmetic minutia and you often had to ask what you had ordered because it didnt look like what you had ordered. The Brittania dining experience was very poor....about the worst ever among major cruise lines. The Lido was spacious, and at least had 24/7 fruit drinks and ice cream, but they did manage to mess up the scrambled eggs...a cardinal sin. Generally, not much selection and a low-budget affair. But we loved the pub lunches at the Golden Lion. The second issue was that the ship was poorly designed above deck. The two outdoor pools were just boxes. No childrens pool. The walking spaces were not available to make a complete loop on any deck. The two-class 'Grills' system kept us riffraff out of some of the high-deck areas. We had a nice stateroom (A4 deck 5) but it had a very small balcony overlooking a lifeboat...almost useless. The very comfortable bedding, towels, and facilities were excellent. The final issue was that we suspected that the ship may have real issues since it traversed almost calm water with excessive pitching...up and down. On it's first sea trials, surely someone said 'Oh, my God.....?"...the rear pool was flat, while the front pool was roped off for huge waves. I would like to try the QM2 for 10 days, but will revert to HAL for future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
This was a rather inexpensive last-minute cruise for us, but we would not do it again.It was our first cruise on the Golden which we find too big, too crowded, very noisy (even in the library) and above all far too cold, we felt we were in ... Read More
This was a rather inexpensive last-minute cruise for us, but we would not do it again.It was our first cruise on the Golden which we find too big, too crowded, very noisy (even in the library) and above all far too cold, we felt we were in a meat-locker. Going to Hawaii, we had packed a light windbreaker and sweater/jacket each. We wore them every single day and needed fleece in the public rooms. Our "fully obstructed oceanview" cabin was great. The bottom of our large window looked over the top of the lifeboat below, so we had plenty of view and daylight. It was also the only place where we could control the temperature and be comfortable. Emerald Deck amidships was an ideal location on this rather rough and rocky trip, we wonder how much the balconies higher up actually got used. Since we'd been to Hawaii four times before and in fact got married there 22 years ago, we'd hoped for some warm weather but the highest temp we ever reached was 74. It was mostly overcast or cloudy and rained in Maui. Back to the basics. The food in the dining room ranged from wonderful to inedible, but the service in the Bernini Anytime Dining Room was excellent, although it slipped during the last couple of days. I had requested low-fat/low-cholesterol, but after the first 3 days the head-waiter became unavailable and I was left to my own decisions and that was fine. There was plenty to choose from, I used good judgment and portion-control and neither DH nor I gained an ounce, in fact we lost a couple of pounds, even after the gargantuan feast in Sabatini's. The shore excursions turned out to be a mixed bunch. The one we on the Big Island visited nice scenery, but the best part was going back to the black sand beach we visited 22 years ago. It's now covered 20 ft deep in glossy lava. The Back Roads of Oahu excursion was the worst. The North Shore was pretty, but a doughnut and a salad served in a styrofoam box for $119 a person (??!!). The guide was not too good either. Kauai was our favorite, as usual, even with partly cloudy weather. We took the Wailua River and Fern Grotto excursion. The river cruise was nice, but the grotto has very few ferns left and the grotto, which had wonderful acoustics in the past has been blocked by a large wooden platform where our boat-load assembled. The Hawaiian Wedding Song was sung, then we went back down to the river boat via a different path. Next load! It had all the romance of a conveyer belt! Maui dawned grey and foggy. The Maui Ocean Center was the best and least expensive of the excursions. Definitely recommended! The return trip across the Pacific got rougher and even colder. People sat by the sloshing pool, wrapped in their beach towels, shivering. Grey skies day after day and two days before Ensenada the wind reached Gale Force 9 (according to the report from the bridge). By then, construction had begun in various areas of the ship. We were above the wedding chapel, listening to saws, grinding and hammering and when we tried to practice some dance steps on the small floor in the steakhouse, we had to dodge large sheets of plywood being brought through into the now gutted wedding chapel. The casino closed several days early, making gamblers unhappy. We love dancing on cruises, but were not too excited by the bands, although the Canby Trio really made an effort to please the few dancers on their small floor. The last two days were the rockiest, waves splashing as high as Deck 7. Sleeping was a challenge, what with rolling into the night tables and hangers in the closet banging. Disembarkation was not great, especially compared with the smooth process of previous Princess cruises we've taken. First, we got the very last disembarkation color tags for an 11:45 am flight (huh?). Got that changed to Orange #2, one of the earlier ones. It was hard to hear colors and numbers being announced over the general loud talking in the lounges. When we finally got off the ship over an hour late, our one suitcase was nowhere. We found it another 45 minutes later in the "late disembarkation" area, under the wrong color and the wrong number. Next time, if there is a next time, we'll do "walk off". Even though we had transfers, we took a taxi to LAX which got us there in less than 30 minutes. We decided enough had gone wrong and wanted to be on our way home ASAP. Words of advice to whoever cares to read this: Take clothes for all kinds of possibilities, do self-help disembarkation if possible, be prepared for screw-ups and Murphy being at work everywhere! After the previous 14 cruises we thought we had experienced it all. We were wrong. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Out of 7 cruises this was the absolute best. I am not sure why but partly  it was due to the friendliness of the passengers as well as the crew. We stayed in San Diego for a couple of days. Went to the zoo on the hottest day of the year ... Read More
Out of 7 cruises this was the absolute best. I am not sure why but partly  it was due to the friendliness of the passengers as well as the crew. We stayed in San Diego for a couple of days. Went to the zoo on the hottest day of the year but still had fun. Did a dinner cruise in the evening. The hotel shuttle took us everywhere including out to a restaurant and  then picked us up when we were finished. This cruise we had a cabin in D with a window. Most of the people we met were all in the same area.We are fans of anytime dining but Holland America offers both to passengers. Our cabin was clean and comfortable and our stewards took very good care of us. We asked for a fan the first day and that helps keep the air circulating. We met many interesting people from different countries and enjoyed their company. Formed a group of six called Oliver Twist and played mega trivia every day. Lots of good competition and lively games. Our son had written to Holland America saying it was Bills 70th birthday, he had worked on a P and O line as a young man and would be honored to sit at the captains table. This actually happened and was a great evening. Bill is from Scotland and purchased a full kilt outfit to wear for the formal nights. Whenever he wore the kilt people would smile at us. Hawaii was better this time than the first time because of the tours we booked. We saw much more and my absolute favorite was the hollywood tour in Narwilliwilli. It is overpriced but for a movie buff great. Next year we plan to do the same trip but Vancouver to Vancouver. I just want to say to Jim our cruise critic leader that he did an excellent job in the singing contest and to me should have won.I guess I cannot say enough positives about everyone involved. Michael the cruise director was great directing the activities as was Laura the party planner from Ottawa. We found the ship in good shape. The entertainment did not draw us to the shows but the Adagio quartet in the lounge was great.Disembarkation was so smooth we were off the ship and at the airport before we knew it. It is almost a week later and we still feel the glow of the trip. Thanks Captain de Boer and all of your staff Bill and Sandy Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
ZAANDAM San Diego, Hawaii, Vancouver Cabin category D Staff: Captain: Sybe de Boer Cruise Director: Michael Headla Arrived at the ship terminal at 12:15 am, even as there was lots of people, embarkation was a breeze. Went to the Lido ... Read More
ZAANDAM San Diego, Hawaii, Vancouver Cabin category D Staff: Captain: Sybe de Boer Cruise Director: Michael Headla Arrived at the ship terminal at 12:15 am, even as there was lots of people, embarkation was a breeze. Went to the Lido restaurant for lunch, it was very crowdy, we had to wait for a table, that was ok, we were on vacation. ROOM: Ready by 1.30 pm. We were delighted with our mid-ship ocean view room, plenty of room, storage space and washroom space. . First day spent roaming around the ship so we could get our bearings, which we got fairly quickly except for the 4th floor, which is not a walk-through floor. Our baggage arrived around 3.00. Then, time for the emergency drill, which is quite comprehensive on HAL and lasted close to 30 minutes. One Lady in the back row almost fainted as it was very warm and we were well 'squeezed'. Diner was very casual that night, there was only one show to introduce the Zaandam singers and dancers. On our first formal evening, the Captain welcomed us in the theatre, introduced some of his senior staff and explained what they were responsible for. I also enjoyed the Captain's introduction to his Zaandam employee of the month which, this time, was a staff member from the engineering room. A nice way to show your appreciation for a job well done. One activity we really enjoyed was Michael (cruise director) 9.00-am coffee chat with either staff or entertainers on board. The guest would answer candidly any questions we had and would even stay behind to talk one on one with anyone who had further questions and did not want to ask out loud. We particularly enjoyed the senior staff availability and willingness to talk to the passengers and answer their questions. We could also see them thoughout the ship, performing their duties or simply having lunch on the Lido deck. Every crew and senior staff we spoke to, were happy to be on this ship. Every day we were at sea the captain made announcements around 1.00 pm to inform us where we were situated, how many miles we had done, how many miles left to our first port, as well as some navigational and weather related information. FOOD: Food was very important to me; not the quantity but the quality. I would usually have breakfast on the Lido deck, fruits cottage cheese would be my usual, hubby would have hot or cold as he pleased, he enjoyed the freshly made omelettes. Lunch would often be a salad, which we had either on the Lido deck or in the dining room, which then was open seating with excellent service. Try the cold strawberry soup, to dye for. We found diner to be well varied and tasty. Meat was always cooked perfectly. We enjoyed beef Wellington, rack of lamb, veal medallion, quails, chicken, fresh fish and of course lobster. High priced items were used sparingly, I would have like more mushrooms in my mushroom risotto or more strawberries on my pavlova (which was hard). Green vegetables were cooked in over salted water (IMO). Soups were always great. I am not a dessert person, so sometimes found them too sweet for my taste. We went to the Pinnacle Grill for the sommelier's wine pairing diner, it was very well done and delicious. ENTERTAINMENT: Zaandam singers and dancers (sorry the lead singer got injured, had to revert to backup singers), a comedian/violist (great), a singer/comedian (Great), ventriculist (great), singer (great), Banjo player (not my cup of tea but others enjoyed him), another comedian (also great, I like to laugh), Magician (not so great), BBQ and music on the Lido deck, (very well done). Movies were also available daily in the culinary art centre. We were fortunate to have a group of square dancing passengers who practice every sea day to the enjoyment of many other passengers. ACTIVITIES: Activities under the direction of Michael (CD). They were varied and numerous. Digital workshop, photo workshop, movie workshop and how to create your web page with Patricia (which was absolutely great, she made things very easy to understand) culinary demonstration and trivia with Laura, Games: Golf and Ping Pong challenges. Bingo, Bridge, Trivia, Karaoke, Dance classes. SPA/GYM. The Gym was well equipped which a number of popular machines, treadmills and weights. They offered fitness classes and yoga classes for a fee. Spa seminars were a sales pitch for very expensive SPA treatments, which they offered only after you signed a release form. MEDICAL: The medical staff was fairly busy on this cruise, at least 5 passengers needed to be evacuated and other passengers needed minor medical assistance. The medical staff along with support staff provided very professional and caring assistance. We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise, the sea was exceptionally calm, the staff was always smiling, courteous and willing to engage in chit-chats. We took advantage of a future cruise offering, This is adictive.     Read Less
Sail Date April 2009

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