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24 Hawaii Repositioning Cruise Reviews

We had just completed a cruise on Celebrity from Hawaii to Sydney and loved it so when we saw this itinerary (much better) for a great price we decided to fly back to Hawaii and do it all again. Again embarkation in Honolulu was a ... Read More
We had just completed a cruise on Celebrity from Hawaii to Sydney and loved it so when we saw this itinerary (much better) for a great price we decided to fly back to Hawaii and do it all again. Again embarkation in Honolulu was a breeze. Sadly our upgrade bids failed and so did our attempts onboard, was surprising to find out the cruise was sold out as it had not been selling well when we booked last minute. It is our first time on Jewel but she is a carbon copy of the Jade so no issues with orientation. She is a little dated but is maintained well and was generally clean. As with other NCL ships in these classes the public area configuration means sometimes changing levels and there is a lack of public walkway space so on these longer cruises with an older clientele it can be slo moving at times. The positives of these ships are not too many passengers, the full promenade deck, the terrific views from Spinnaker lounge and the aft facing bar outside the buffet. The pool deck is a reasonable size for the number of passengers compared to their larger ships. There is a great variety of dining options. On this cruise smoking had been banned on the promenade deck which is fantastic but was a shame that they did not advertise it correctly so past passengers continually smoked out there despite there being no ashtrays and put everyone at risk by either throwing their butts overboard or extinguishing them on everything from paper packets to the ships dining ware (disgusting) and caused a lot of consternation between passengers and the smokers and the crew. I have no idea why the officers refused to put signs up rather than employ security staff who were regularly ignored. Again we were annoyed by the drinks tax issue NCL claims in USA ports, no other line charges these on drinks ordered under a pre paid drinks package - how can there be tax when there has been no transaction, NCL may as well charge you tax on your meals and accomodation under this logic, the hotel director could not explain this and the chief financial officer simply refused to meet us, we were told “it’s only $15” which is true but if you consider a small sum then you pay it! We had cabin 10,145 an inside which had an interesting configuration being parallel to the hallway but we enjoyed this as it seemed to utilise the space better, the cabin also felt modern. Unfortunately we had a junior steward who regularly forgot to deliver mail and laundry and often didn’t clear out dirty glasses and plates. Dining - was generally good. We find NCL is always behind other main lines like X and HAL but for the price paid was good quality with plenty of options. We tended to have breakfast in the buffet on the outside deck on port days or Osheehans for a change. Lunch on sea days we always dined in the mdr as we enjoy the views over the wake and the attentive service. Dinner in the Tsars palace was very good and the venue felt more spacious than on other ships, service was always top notch. When we felt like a change we alternated between Chin Chin and Osheehans which do tasty quick meals. The Chinese needs more vegetarian and seafood options. We don’t like the Azura mdr compared to Tsars as it feels dark and claustrophobic and the staff seem more rushed. As platinum members we get 2 specialty restaurants and we tried the French and the Italian- as on other ships we were treated like 2nd class citizens for dining under this program which is very strange and it certainly doesn’t incentivise us to pay for additional dining in these venues. Food and service in the French was good but only marginally better than the mdr so could not justify paying. The Italian is a nice space but the pizza is the same as in the buffet (slightly better toppings) and the rest of the food was decent without being outstanding. This cruise changed CDs on day 4 which I have never seen before and in our view it seemed to disrupt the flow the ship had attained. Dave the new CD seemed to moan about being back at work constantly and was constantly talking about cruising around Australia and NZ (this cruise didn’t go to those places - nor did the following one except for its final destination). Also, the activities seemed to be lessened on the changeover and considering we had 5 sea days in a row there was a complete lack of variety in activities (NCL seems to have gotten mundane in this area compared to Celebrity). Strangely they had a lot more activities on port days? On the plus side there was a couple of great matinee shows in particular by Igor the band leader and saxophonist. The production shows were well performed and the cast seemed very talented, I do feel like some semblance of a story line would be good but this is just nit picking. Guest entertainment was generally good, personally I don’t like ABBA so the 2 nights of identical show were a bit much, I also don’t go to hypnotist shows anymore (reports were that someone didn’t come out of it Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I choose this cruise because I wanted to visit all of the islands that make up Hawaii without having to travel there numerous times due to the expense. By cruising I was able see each island as well as not having to worry about the cost of ... Read More
I choose this cruise because I wanted to visit all of the islands that make up Hawaii without having to travel there numerous times due to the expense. By cruising I was able see each island as well as not having to worry about the cost of hotel, transportation, food and entertainment. When participating on shore excursions there were numerous activities scheduled each day on board to keep one entertained for the individual as well as group activities if one wish to be involved a group function. As for myself the food provided was a large variety to satisfy the palette of the most selected person. i have only traveled on Norwegian since I started cruise after taking my first cruise of three days several years ago. Is the line perfect nope, but which one is! For me it's what I have been looking for and will continue to use the line to meet my goals of seeing the world one port at a time. My motto is from a shirt that I found on the Jewel earlier this year, "Cruising Is My Happy Place". Happy cruising...... Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Chose this cruise as it left from Vancouver (my home port) and I wanted to see more of Hawaii. Travelled with my cousin & our aunt in an inside room. While snug, we managed to all have enough space for our belongings in the ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it left from Vancouver (my home port) and I wanted to see more of Hawaii. Travelled with my cousin & our aunt in an inside room. While snug, we managed to all have enough space for our belongings in the drawers, closet, & washroom. Our room steward was great, the crew was smiling & happy everywhere we went. Waiters in Tsar’s Palace were awesome! My aunt has a food allergy & the food allergy guy, Alex, took such good care of her. We had 2 specialty dinners and enjoyed both. Found lots of space at the pool & in the outdoor cafe. Enjoyed the renovated areas on the pool deck where they’ve removed lounge seating type couches & replaced with tables as it seems to allow for more people to enjoy the space. I was super impressed with the Hawaiian show that came on-board one afternoon. The performers were great and it turned out that the show they did was very similar to the luau show that we went to after the cruise. Overall I continue to be very happy with NCL & the Jewel class ships. First time on NCL for my relatives and I think they are both on board for doing another cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Having done a back to back cruise last year on the Harmony of the Seas I can say without reservation the Radiance was a far more enjoyable experience for two experienced cruisers in their mid(ish) 60's that don't relish being ... Read More
Having done a back to back cruise last year on the Harmony of the Seas I can say without reservation the Radiance was a far more enjoyable experience for two experienced cruisers in their mid(ish) 60's that don't relish being around over 1,000 kids. We tried the "mega ship as the destination" thing and the" ship within a ship suite level" thing, and it left us wanting. A lot. Then a destination wedding of friends on the Big Island made us reexamine RCI. This was a ten day cruise Vancouver to Honolulu (5 sea days then stops in Maui, Kauai, Hilo, Kona, Honolulu) with 18 more days to Sydney Australia for those doing the complete journey. We disembarked a day early in Kona since we would have had to fly back there for wedding the next day. Perfect timing. We'd been on the Radiance 10 years earlier and enjoyed her, so off we went. What we loved: The size of the ship and the number of passengers (just right) The orientation to the sea from almost all the interior spaces and the beautiful atrium One of the handsomest lounges at sea (Colony Club) Lots of seating inside and out at the Windjammer buffet The crispy lobster rolls at Izumi (and almost everything else!) Lots of deck space and loungers. Automatic leveling pool tables. The friendliness crew, officers and cruise staff. The excursion to Lanai....off the beaten track with a 5 star guide! What we liked: The food in the Windjammer and and main dinning room. The food in the specialty restaurants The musicians and lounge acts. Plenty of activities for the number of sea days (special shout out to the egg drop) The art deco vibe of the stateroom Cleanliness of stateroom and public spaces in general. The excursion to Hanelei on Kauai...(with scenes from movies shot on Kauai on the ride back to the ship, crowd favorite Dinocroc Vs. Supergator) Enough elevators for the amount of guests (contrasted to the Oasis class horror) What we weren't crazy about: Embarkation slow and disjointed....you go through US customs when you leave BC, slowing down the process. Stateroom bathroom tired, dated and exorbitant amount caulking used to fill in the gaps. Internet amazingly slow....(think dial up speed if you are old enough to remember) The floor in the Windjammer often very slick from as the signs say "condensation", like walking on ice in street shoes. Evening entertainment limited. Would we do RCI again? As long as the Radiance class ships exist, doing longer itineraries, we will. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Disclaimer - We would like to pass on our impressions and thoughts of our cruise experience to anyone planning for or getting ready to participate in a similar Itinerary. Everyone knows that reviews are subjective. One person’s gold is ... Read More
Disclaimer - We would like to pass on our impressions and thoughts of our cruise experience to anyone planning for or getting ready to participate in a similar Itinerary. Everyone knows that reviews are subjective. One person’s gold is another’s trash. That said please remember this is our personal impressions and yours, of course, will vary. We ignore postings that are made in response to our reviews that merely seek to flame. We will review subsequent posts in order to provide answers to questions asked. We appreciate this understanding. Please ignore any spelling or grammar errors – we want to get this posted swiftly before we lose focus on our experiences. Thank you. Travel and Embarkation - We are a semi-retired American couple (both 66 years of age) living as expats in an Asian country. This was our seventh cruise (3 on Princess and 3 on Norwegian, and now 1 on Royal Caribbean). We made all our own arrangement for this trip including direct reservations with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, air travel, and hotel, (we did a RCCL transfer from the ship to the airport in Honolulu). We flew in one day ahead of the 10 September sail date so we could enjoy some time in Vancouver without the stress of trying to make a flight on cruise day. This was a good decision in retrospect as our experience in the Vancouver airport was one for the record book. We were queued up three times in multi-hundred person lines before we got to immigration. The airport appeared to be completely overwhelmed with passengers. It literally took three and a half hours from exiting the airplane to getting to the point of retrieving our baggage. We took the light rail line from the airport to the Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver. The train was very easy to negotiate, quick, and inexpensive. Our pre-cruise stay was as the Exchange Hotel located a couple of blocks away from the cruise port at Canada Place. The weather was typical Northwest – cloudy with a couple of periods of heavy rain. Vancouver is really a beautiful city. On boarding day we took the short 5 minute walk from the hotel at just after 10:30. We were in a Grand Suite for this cruise so dropping off our bags we walked directly to security and then to the express check-in without waiting in a single line. The Ship – It is small as ships go these days. The Radiance was launched in 2001 but had come out of renovation in May 2016. The ship looked to be in generally good condition. There are numerous areas around the ship that could do with a little paint and rust removal but overall the ship is well maintained, clean, and free of obvious neglect. Our Grand Suite was Port Forward on the 10th deck and we generally walked the stairs and rarely took an elevator so crowded elevators were not a concern. We did notice that often there were many waiting to ride. We did not use the casino but we did walk through the area a couple times and noticed a very heavy tobacco odor permeating the area. We decided that after the first day when walking from the front to the rear of the ship we would simply walked up or down a flight of stairs, crossed over or under the casino and walk back up or down the stairs on the other side. The odor, while evident, is not in our opinion, something to get upset about after all it is a casino. There is a rock climbing wall, 9 hole golf putting course, and basketball court. The weather was agreeable most days. There are two swimming pools on deck 11 (one adult only and one open). Both are small and busy on the Hawaii itinerary. Our Cabin – We had a Grand Suite with balcony on Deck # 10 Port Side Forward. Our cabin steward was very intuitive and was always available but never intrusive. He was very friendly and always helpful. Towels were replaced almost as soon as used and the room serviced regularly. The room was kept very clean. The grand suite has a large sitting area with full sofa and two easy chairs and a coffee table. We had a king sized bed located in a separate area of the suite. The bathroom was very large and had a big bath tub with shower. As suite guests we were provided upgraded amenities (soap, shampoo, rinse, body wash, etc.). The bathroom was spotless. Storage area was more than adequate. Even with three large suitcases we did not even filled up one closet with two to spare. We had a large flat screen television. Channel selection was non-existent but useful for checking your shipboard accounts and reservations. Ship announcements were not broadcasted into the rooms so you had to listen from the outside if you wanted to hear the public announcements. We had an unlimited Voom Surf and Stream Wi-Fi package. While billed as the “fastest at sea” that was not our experience. It was the slowest and most prone to disconnection of any service we have every had on any ship. There was a water pot and coffee maker with free coffee provided in our cabin but we did not use them as the coffee available at many locations around the ship provided plenty of very satisfactory coffee. Dining - We ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet on deck 10. Breakfast was the standard fare with omelets made to order and a wide variety of breakfast foods to choose. In our opinion the buffet was well designed with adequate seating. The staff was very fast at removing plates and silverware and cleaning tables as people left. If you meet Jade in the buffet say hello to a wonderfully upbeat and kind young man. Since we were suite guests we never had a difficult time finding a seat because there was a reserved dining room just off the buffet. We found the food in the buffet to be generally good but somewhat repetitive. There is a self-serve soft ice cream machine in the buffet area. We had dinner twice in the Main Dining Room. Both were excellent meals. Having reservations we were seated immediately. We did notice a slight lag in service but the menu items were always appropriately hot, warm, or cold. We also dined in our room twice with selections from the main dining room menu which was delivered hot and quickly from room service. Extra Fee Dining - On our second sea day we ate Izumi’s sushi restaurant. The food was well presented and very tasty if not quite as fresh as we would have liked. On our fourth sea day we ate at the Samba Grill a South American Churrascaria concept venue. The food and service were excellent. Come hungry as portions are large and filling. On our sixth sea day we ate at the Italian themed Giovanni’s restaurant. Again the food was wonderful and the service attentive and friendly. Entertainment - The one area for which we would like to see change is more entertainment in the theater. We enjoyed the one revue show we saw as very entertaining and well done but other evening entertainment presented appeared to be filling an otherwise empty evening. Tours – We booked all our tours through Royal Caribbean. As most everyone knows this is a more expensive option but the benefits of ease of booking, guaranteed return to the ship, and tour operator vetting are hard for us to ignore. We did not want to take any risks getting back to the ship on time. Maui Hawaii (Lahaina) – Hana & Haleakala Helicopter Exploration. We had a wonderful time during this just over one hour aerial tour of Mt. Haleakala, the world's largest dormant volcano. We were picked up at the port and escorted to the Blue Hawaii air terminal located at the Maui airport. Our pilot was personable, knowledgeable and gracious. The views are indescribable. While costly, this tour is well worth the money. Upon completion we were again picked up and returned to the cruise port in a comfortable van. Kauai Nawiliwili – Grove Farm and Kilohana Plantation Railway. A short drive from the deep water port of Nawiliwili the Kilohana Plantation harkens back to Kauai's Golden Age of Sugar with a four-hour tour of the Grove Farm museum and a narrated railway ride around the former plantation plus free time at Koloa Rum Company and other artisan shops. Rich in history and slow in pace this tour is a relaxing stop on the Garden Island. Of all our tours during this cruise we found this to be our least favorite and not worth the cost and would not consider it worth repeating. Hilo Hawaii (Big Island) – Zipline through Paradise and Waterfalls. A total of eight zipline runs follow the Honolii River high over thundering waterfalls and deep gorges. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and obsessed with our safely. We were given three rules to remember and were quizzed repeatedly concerning them. The three rules were 1) don’t adjust or handle your harness, 2) don’t put your hands on the cable, and 3) have fun. Some zipline runs were tranquil and easy and some were quite thrilling. We had a great time and would have liked to have gone back up and done it again if possible. The light rain throughout our tour did little to dampen our enthusiasm. Highly recommend this tour if physically able. Kona Hawaii (Big Island) - Atlantis Submarine. We rode a large comfortable boat with around 70 other guests from the cruise terminal out into the ocean where the submarine was waiting. Boarding was done via gang plank from the boat to the submarine under the watchful eye of the crew who stood by to assist if needed. All went well. There were two entrances into the submarine (one on each end) so boarding went quickly and easily. The interior of the submarine has individual seats (two rows facing back to back) and each passenger has her/his own designated port hole through which to view. The nearly hour long dive visited two ship wrecks and numerous coral formations. While many fish were in the area none were large and the light filtering effects of being under up to 100 feet of water drained most of the colors leaving the viewer seeing mostly in gray shades. The submarine is well lit, clean, ventilated, and large enough to eliminate any possibility of Claustrophobia. This tour is very interesting and well worth the cost. Overall we had a wonderful time and would recommend the Royal Caribbean and the Vancouver to Hawaii itinerary. The Radiance of the Seas is a great ship for a relaxing cruise. Younger cruisers with families may want to consider larger ships with more traditional entertainment venues (water parks, rope courses, flow riders, etc.). Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary and knew the ship was old and smaller than others. We like the smaller size ship and wish cruise lines would stop making them bigger and bigger. The itinerary was nice (Honolulu -> ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary and knew the ship was old and smaller than others. We like the smaller size ship and wish cruise lines would stop making them bigger and bigger. The itinerary was nice (Honolulu -> Vancouver). The ports were very nice. The cabin was tight but who spends time in their cabin anyway :). The main dining room food was very good compared with other cruise lines. We did not do any of the extra dining rooms and felt quite satisfied with the outstanding main dining room service and food. My biggest regret was purchasing the alcohol package which is quite expensive and you almost have to work at getting your money's worth but the drinks we had and bartenders were awesome just overpriced alcohol package. We could not get on the shore excursion to Pearl Harbor in Honolulu since it booked up fast and there was no room so we booked a private tour that was quite good - a small group and excellent service. (Royal Hawaiian Tours). Very professional service. Stay away from Alex Tours. He approached us in the cruise terminal and told us his tours were less expensive than the shop tours. He did not ask for money up front but told us if he had our name we would have a spot on his bus if we got that at his assigned time/ We arrived at his bus 2o minutes early to find it was full already and he had no other buses. The driver looked very old as did the bus that had the Alex Tours painted over the First Baptist Church Logo. Come to find out from passengers that did get on that bus - the bus broke down 2 hours away from the ship and they almost missed getting back in time as well as missing parts of the tour since they had to wait for a replacement bus. Very sketchy so stay away. The other shore excursions we booked through the ship and I must say that they were worth the money, well organized and interesting. The only excursion that disappointed us was the Luau in Mauwi. It was at a large hotel and the hotel crammed in as many guests as they could. The food was only mediocre and the entertainment was pretty spread out timewise. It seemed that the cruise passengers got the tables in the back and believe me they were distant from the stage! Some of the tables were off to the side of the stage which made it difficult to see. The hotel also managed to squeeze in a "fashion show" of Hawaiian wear that you could purchase in the gift shop which I felt was unnecessary. The vendors that were selling their crafts were not that exciting either. The islands were very good and most of t he entertainment during the Island part of the cruise was pretty good. The trans-Pacific part of the cruise the entertainment and things to do on the ship were fairly boring. The lecture series for 5 days was about the Canadian Mounties - I would have liked something more interesting, educational, and useful. They had plenty of movies except their "Cinema" was usually full and during the Pacific crossing the outdoor movie screen by the pool was pretty useless. The shows at night were not exceptional but most were entertaining except for 1 very boring comedian. 5 days at sea needs much more happening on the ship. That was my biggest disappointment. Everything went smoothly. I was hesitant about crossing the Pacific in May but as it turned out the seas were smooth (no seasickness) although the temperatures were too cold and windy to do much on the decks. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was my first time cruising with Celebrity, but I had sailed with other lines previously. The demographic was what I expected, mostly 30 or 40-somethings and up. The staff onboard worked extremely hard to ensure I had everything I ... Read More
This was my first time cruising with Celebrity, but I had sailed with other lines previously. The demographic was what I expected, mostly 30 or 40-somethings and up. The staff onboard worked extremely hard to ensure I had everything I needed and that my experience was a positive one. The captain always had a good sense of humor, and I enjoyed his commentary during daily announcements. The area I enjoyed most was the solarium--super relaxing. For entertainment, I loved going to see the string duo, Lighthouse. They were so fun and such great performers. The only criticisms I could think of are regarding the thermal suite and the wifi. The thermal suite is fairly small for the ship size and the amount of money you pay to get access. It could use a refurb. The wifi was just not good. I realize most like to disconnect while on vacation (I understand this), but unfortunately I have to keep up with my house/dog sitter at home. The connection was just very poor for most of the cruise, and I did not like paying that much for something boasting access to all streaming apps, surfing, etc. Overall, the experience was a very positive trip. I would consider Celebrity again, and I do believe the solstice class ship could be a lot of fun in the caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We took this particular cross pacific cruise from Hawaii to Vancouver for the route it was sailing and also, the price was very attractive. We sailed in Concierge Class and we enjoyed the little extras it gave us, like priority boarding, ... Read More
We took this particular cross pacific cruise from Hawaii to Vancouver for the route it was sailing and also, the price was very attractive. We sailed in Concierge Class and we enjoyed the little extras it gave us, like priority boarding, tender service, sparkling wine and snacks every day. Our cabin was located on deck 10 in the forward part of the ship, it was very quiet, hardly any noise at all, we could hardly even hear the engines. Our first of five sea days threw us into a scale 11 storm with 55 knot winds and 25 feet waves. The ship handled it VERY well. Yes, there was movemnet, lots of people were sea sick, but there was nothing failing of the tables or anything like that. Luckily, none of us were prone to sea sickness. The ship itself is very beautiful, lots or artwork and spotlessly clean! It is ten years old and in the cabins the age is beginning to show just here and there. Nothing to be concerned about, and I understand that all cabins will be replaced during her major refit in 2021. The ship has plenty to do, you can do it all or nothing at all. The choice is yours. The service onboard is impeccable and the food is of a very high standard. Even the buffet and room service was excellent, ask for crispy bacon and you will have just that.. Personally, I did find some of the tastes to be a bit bland, but that is purely a matter of personal taste. The wines were excellent and all cocktails equally delicious. We had a few ports with tender service and that can be a bit of challenge, but sail in a Concierge cabin and you will not experience any of that. There were a few flaws here and there. For instance, the music in the lounges and bars is simply too loud. It discourages conversation and it fails to meet its purporse of adding to the ambiance. Furthermore, there were no change in the music during the day, why have Madonna blasting from the speakers on the aft deck outside the buffet, where people were having breakfast at 8 am?? Why not play some lovely classical music or piano, even some soft jazz would have done better. The bands on board and shows were very good as well. There was always plenty of seating to be found, both in and outdoors, no shortage of nice sun loungers either. We did not take any of the organized tours as we preferred to arrange it ourselves. Travelling as LGBTs we were greated with a social hour each evening, that was a nice touch! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
An interesting cruise. Embarkation went very well and quick - very efficient. Decor inside ship is very dark - if I had a choice I would paint all the dark brown areas a light off white colour. But it is what it is. If you are a ... Read More
An interesting cruise. Embarkation went very well and quick - very efficient. Decor inside ship is very dark - if I had a choice I would paint all the dark brown areas a light off white colour. But it is what it is. If you are a regular cruiser on RCL or Princess I believe you will be disappointed with Carnival - it is a step down. The main complaint I have is that the food was of a lower quality and variety to that I have experienced on RCL and Princess. The Lido deck food was much below that found on Windjammers and Horizons. I didn't mind this cruise as I wanted to see Tahiti but several first time cruisers expressed disappointment and much of that due to long at sea periods of 6 days and 5 nights. I quite liked the daily news sheet known as Fun Times compared to RCL and Princess daily sheets - very few conflicts with daily activities and easy to read. The movie screen in theatre was small and not enough movies were shown on cruise. Went to a "meet and mingle" - waste of time - no one mingled and I had the unfortunate circumstance to sit next to a fellow who said one word. Did chat with a lovely USA couple from California though and I saw them from time to time during cruise. One aspect that was first class was Cruise Director Jen Baxter - a pocket dynamo who was on the go non stop - so much fun. Her cruise directing staff were also so much to be around - remembered one's name and always said hello - the best overall cruise directing staff I've experienced in 13 cruises to date. One of the senior officers named Eric was also very friendly and helpful. Thought the singers and dancers were pretty good but backdrops for shows were better on RCL and Princess. Also RCL and Princess have live bands supporting them rather than machine music. Many of the shows were of high quality although at least one comedy show was pathetic and he didn't get a second chance. Dining was satisfactory but menu selection was average to be kind. Occasionally service was a little slow as well - fortunately we had 2 lovely couples at our table which made for excellent conversation. If you like trivia competitions you will not be disappointed and very competitive with some smart people participating resulting in high scores - sometimes perfect scores. There were occasional accusations of cheating in scoring as people were allowed to make own papers - should be marked independently although recognising it should be for fun mostly as prizes are cheap and should not be taken too seriously. We were meant to go to Fiji but cyclone meant it was impossible so ship went to Tonga instead - excellent effort by ship to look after passengers safety and also provide an alternative shore visit. Shore visits to Noumea, Tonga, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorée and Hawaii were all good and plenty to see and do at each port. Thought ship prices were slight more expensive than RCL and Princess. Alcohol prices are excessive but all cruise lines charge excessive fees - my local RSL and Club are cheaper. There were quite a few children on this cruise but not an issue. Although there were quite a few sea days the daily program was quite full. The ship is need of some repair and is due to go in for a 2 week maintenance in a dock shortly - if you closely at ships side a lot of paint is pealing and back to bare metal. Cabin was fine and good room steward. If I were to rate Carnival I would suggest 3 to 3.5 star whereas RCL and Princess are 4 star. Thought the enrichment lectures were of high quality and informative. Often too windy to play mini golf which was a shame. Disembarkation was sloppy - US and Canadian passengers getting priority and there was a long due by the time customs officials started. Some people took over an hour to get off. Would I travel Carnival again - if price was right and itinerary was somewhere I wanted to go then perhaps but would not be my first preference. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this cruise because although we have cruised here three times previously it is an area which we find very picturesque and we like the Hawaiian dancing. The ship appeared to have had a refit since our last sailing on her. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise because although we have cruised here three times previously it is an area which we find very picturesque and we like the Hawaiian dancing. The ship appeared to have had a refit since our last sailing on her. The cabin was very nice and we could not fault the cleanliness of all areas of the vessel. We were impressed with the very large dining room, we were on freedom dining and whatever time we seemed to go for dinner we were always able to get a table. In fact we were able to choose to have the same table each evening so of course kept the same waiters which was very nice. We chose to eat in the large cafeteria for breakfast and lunch. We had read reviews from people before going and they were complaining about the food being cold before they found a table but we always seemed to find a table and could not complain about the temperature or quality of the food. The staff were extremely pleasant, always had a smile and a chat. The food was very good both in the self service and the dining room. There was a very big choice for each dinner and also lunch. Well presented, hot and nicely cooked. We have no complaints concerning the good. There were lots of activities on board and they were well attended. Unfortunately the weather was abysmal so deck activities were really out of the question on most days. The entertainment staff worked hard to keep passengers entertained. The shows in the evening were very good. We particularly enjoyed a party of local people who came on board and entertained us with beautiful dances and activities. The ships dancers and singers were really good too. Although the weather was bad, we enjoyed our cruise. We had good service throughout our time on the ship and would certainly recommend it to anyone wanting to explore this area. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Choose this cruise to return to Hawaii after 33 years. We are from the east coast, so we thought it would be a good way to get accustomed to the time change to Hawaii (it was). With five plus sea days to start out, it was relaxing, but ... Read More
Choose this cruise to return to Hawaii after 33 years. We are from the east coast, so we thought it would be a good way to get accustomed to the time change to Hawaii (it was). With five plus sea days to start out, it was relaxing, but everyone was getting a bit stir crazy. Since it was late in the season for Vancouver, the first few days were cloudy and cool. The remaining sea days were sunny and progressively warmer. With so many sea days up front, one had to rely on Celebrity to keep you entertained. The speakers talking about Hawaii were very good. On Board sporting events (one/two per day) were very spotty and very poor (there was not one ping pong tournament which is a first in any of our cruises!). Other entertainment were typical cruise activities, Evening entertainment was normally very good with several acts from Vegas. The Celebrity singers and dancers were average at best. This is the first cruise that we used anytime dining. Our last few cruises at the late seating for dinner were frustrating as we typically dined by ourselves. This cruise, we ate with different people every night and met several other couples at different tables. We thought this was very enjoyable. As typical for Celebrity, the food was excellent and the specialty restaurants were very good as well (Murano twice and Tuscan). The shore excursions in Hawaii were expensive, but were very enjoyable (Snorkeling in Kona, lava flows in Hilo, and waterfall hike in Maui). None of that compared to seeing the lava flow hit the ocean at midnight as the ship passed within a half mile. Make sure you book the excursions you want before you board the ship or you may be on a waiting list. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was our first time on a Carnival Ship, having only sailed with P&O before. This was a relocation cruise with the ship heading to Australia for it's summer season and we joined the ship in Honolulu. Boarding was a breeze, very ... Read More
This was our first time on a Carnival Ship, having only sailed with P&O before. This was a relocation cruise with the ship heading to Australia for it's summer season and we joined the ship in Honolulu. Boarding was a breeze, very smooth indeed but our luggage took around 4 hours to reach our cabin. We took that time to locate friends and walk around and get a feel of the ship. The decor is a little overwhelming in areas, there is a lot to take in. The ship was not due to leave port until 11.30pm and most people were having a few drinks, some quite a few. Everyone was aware that we would be required to participate in the emergency drill but as the evening dragged on a lot of people put their children to bed and a lot of adults also retired for the evening, we did the same thing at 10.15pm only to have the alarms go off at 10.30 for the drill. We got out of bed and joined the crowds at our muster station,not everyone was in a jolly mood, there were mothers being told to go back to their cabins and get their sleeping children out of bed as attendance for ALL passengers was compulsory. I believe that this drill should have been done by 9.00pm it was badly handled. We then had 17 days sailing to Sydney. Positives: The food. We ate at the restaurant for breakfast and dinner and had lunch at the buffet. I can't recall any bad meals, especially in the restaurant, the food was always first rate. The Staff. The waitstaff and Bar staff were all excellent, as was our room steward I wayan who look after us so well. The entertainment. Some was ok some was not. Kylie in the Piano Bar was great, some of the shows were good some ordinary. One Magician was bad. Overall the entertainment was ok. The Weather. Ports of Call. Papeete and Bora Bora were great, Moorea excellent, Noumea also was much improved on our last visit, Suva, well that will be in the negatives. Negatives: No announcements, after the emergency drill, were broadcast in your cabin so if you were in your cabin you missed out. Ridiculous. Kids in Bars up to 10pm. The Red Frog Pub could have had a great atmosphere, live music almost every night, great staff and all ruined by bloody kids yelling, crying, smashing the shuffleboard pucks back and forward while their parents sat and drank. There were enough on board activities for kids to not have them ruining adults evenings. There is only one exclusive adults only area on the ship and it shut at 8pm while kids are still in bars at 10pm. Go Figure. Tendering: Getting off the ship by tender was badly organised, standing in cabin ways for 45 mins is absurd. Carnival should have someone spend some time with P&O and see how it's done. Suva as a Port of Call: I heard no announcements as to how awful Suva can be, maybe I was in our cabin when they were made. It was bad 40 years ago and it ain't improved folks. Why cruise lines go there is a mystery. Some passengers were mugged, we were warned by a bus driver about scams but heard nothing from Carnival. Disorganisation at Noumea: Lines of people on the wharf waiting for buses but not knowing if the buses were shuttles or booked tours. You cannot walk out of the port area so you must wait for a bus and there was one perhaps two staff directing people. It was a joke. There should be a rating between Very Good and Average as overall it's what this cruise was. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We liked the size of the ship and have been on Brilliance and Vision before. The Radiance however looks very tired, from the Windjammer, to the dining rooms, the decor, the chipped and stained furniture, Wardrobe doors wouldn't close, ... Read More
We liked the size of the ship and have been on Brilliance and Vision before. The Radiance however looks very tired, from the Windjammer, to the dining rooms, the decor, the chipped and stained furniture, Wardrobe doors wouldn't close, pool towels that should be turned into rags etc. On the positive side: food was ok, staff friendly and helpful and the itinerary great. We embarked very early in Vancouver and swept right through. As we didn't disembark in Honolulu leaving the ship for the day didn't take much time. First port of call was Maui where they had a bit of a problem with the tenders. It seemed to be not well organized. Fortunately we were there over night. Therefore time wasn't really an issue. We rented a car on each island and it was definitely worth it. But be careful in Maui. We anchored at Lahaina and had to pick up the car at their major airport - which meant an expensive taxi ride. There is a closer rental car place. Make sure you watch out for that. Hilo was very good because of the Volcanoes, Kona not so much, Kauai again was great and far too much to do and see in Honolulu for the limited time we had. We are not sure if we want to get back on the Radiance before it has had a refurbishment. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Specifically chose this cruise as a means of visiting French Polynesia (Tahiti, Morea and Bora Bora). Booking, registration and embarkation all handled with ease - somewhat disappointed with the tired and dated condition of stateroom - ... Read More
Specifically chose this cruise as a means of visiting French Polynesia (Tahiti, Morea and Bora Bora). Booking, registration and embarkation all handled with ease - somewhat disappointed with the tired and dated condition of stateroom - corridors smelt musty and rooms were drab with brown curtains and dated timber furniture. Our particular stateroom also had a bad drainage smell which maintenance crew were unable to rectify - overall this ship needs quite a bit of work in and around the staterooms however the common centrum areas were generally bright and modern and provided a good escape from the rooms. Quality and abundance of food throughout the ship was excellent as were the efforts of waiters and all activities staff. Captain was particularly personable and always willing to greet guests and particpate in oboard activities where possible. All in all good value for money and would cruise again only being more particular in checking on levels of fitout and recent refurbishments before booking any particular ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
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
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
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
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
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
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
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

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