3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Because of the name NCL Norwegian pride of America. the food was OMG, all the Excursion that I attended were fabulous the luau took my breath away ,pictures for a lifetime great friends great company met a lot of people very friendly love ... Read More
Because of the name NCL Norwegian pride of America. the food was OMG, all the Excursion that I attended were fabulous the luau took my breath away ,pictures for a lifetime great friends great company met a lot of people very friendly love every moment of it. Can't wait for my Alaskan cruise. It was so much to do on the ship you really didn't have to get off for any excursions but I chose to and it was absolutely amazing like I said earlier I would love for my family too join me next time. The staff was so knowledgeable courteous the ship's director Miss Jamie girl you rock. The gelato the prime rib going to the clubs at night and I don't even Club but I did while I was on your ship. And all my memorabilia that I brought that with me souvenirs for friends and family. And it was so easy getting on and getting off of the ship that's a plus that's kudos keep up the good work see you soon. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We had travelled on Ponant (L'Austral) previously and found that the size of ship, crew numbers, facilities suited the style of cruising which we look for. The destinations are different to other cruise lines with experts on board to ... Read More
We had travelled on Ponant (L'Austral) previously and found that the size of ship, crew numbers, facilities suited the style of cruising which we look for. The destinations are different to other cruise lines with experts on board to give detailed information about the destination and customs of the local people. Disembarkation at the ''ports'' is via zodiacs which makes for a fun experience. Travelling with only 200-230 passengers and 140 crew makes for an intimate cruise experience. Crew are aware of each passengers requirements as the same crew look after you whether it be the bar or restaurants. There are two dining options - a more formal dining room and buffet. There is a wide variety of food at both venues. Two main lounge areas are available serving beverages. Cabins are well appointed, always well looked after by cabin crew for whom nothing is too much trouble. There is a spa area with gym equipment which is open 24/7 - small but has enough equipment to counteract the food and beverages if required. Crew are obviously loyal to Ponant as we met crew on this cruise who we had met previously. We have since travelled on 2 more Ponant cruises and again met crew who we had met before and they remembered us. This is not a cruise for people looking for big bands, large shows but looking more for background music in a more relaxed environment. Shows performed by 5 dancers who also have other duties so are able to mingle with the passengers. There are activities arranged for sea days. All in all a wonderful small ship experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
I chose this cruise for the itinerary. Not a fan of sea days, but the ports were interesting, as was the panama canal and Havana stop. Embarkation in Honolulu was good and bad. There was no one to help us with our luggage when we ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the itinerary. Not a fan of sea days, but the ports were interesting, as was the panama canal and Havana stop. Embarkation in Honolulu was good and bad. There was no one to help us with our luggage when we got to the port. We were told this isn't the norm. The rest of the embarkation was good getting on the ship, but due to the CDC restrictions, we were unable to get to our cabin until 15 minutes before muster. Also I had to find and take my invoice down to guest services because they gave me a card without showing my drink package, although my cabin mates did have it. I stood in lline for over an hour while my friends were having lunch. Disembarkation was a total nightmare. Baggage tags for those who were to depart by 8:15 through 9:15. I was also told Oceania does not allow you to self depart with a large suitcase. At 7:15 people were lining up with their suitcases to self disembark. By 7:45 I got in line. At about 8:23 they started to allow the line to start disembarking. Those of us who had red and green baggage tags for an 8:15 departure were held up in the warehouse (about 20 of us), we could see our bags sitting there. We were told no one could collect their bags until every single bag was in the warehouse, meaning to wait until at lease 9. At this point they had stopped letting passengers off the ship. Many arguements were going back and forth between some of the passengers who were already in the warehouse and the dockside security. Obviously the Red and Green tags bags were within reach but no one was allowed. At about 8:45, the land side representative stepped away to take a call and the group rush to grab their bags. Many had early flights. I heard from friends still on board that it got ugly on the ship as well. The rain didn't help. While I have over 47 cruise in my history, none on Oceania and I’m a young active 64 year old). After a good two weeks, we started judging the average age of passengers was somewhere between 75-80. Though most everyone were in shape, healthy, happy and enjoying the bars though very few showed up in the dance lounge after the 9:30 nightly show. The choice of food venues was nice and overall excellent food. Deserts to die for. The Terrace buffet usually offered the same as the main dining room, but IMHO the dining room was the better option as the food was fresh, normal portion, although for me, I asked for and received 1/2 portions of most meals. In the terrace you were unable to serve yourself and the server would always just slop on a big portion and typically you just eat more than you should in the buffets. You can also get lobster for lunch and most nights. The Wave serves a surf and turf sandwich. A friend ordered lobster only each day and put it on top of her salad, also from the Waves. She managed to each lobster and/or crab twice a day. The few times I ate lobster I will say the Waves tasted the best. We had four bookings for specialites (Polo and Toscana) but easily went to the Terrace early morning and either go another reservation or wait listed for that night. You can also try showing up at whichever restaurant, but your chances are low. Drinks: We had the basic beverage package (wine with lunch and dinner). There were some decent wines, but my favorites are the ones that I brought on board myself. With the package, the waiters had no problem switching your wine glasses to go so you were able to walk out of the venues with your wine. Drinks are pricey, if not choosing drink of the day. The happy hour 2 for 1 were a big hit with us. The pool drink of the day was different, so make sure you check both. The typically advertised the drink of the day in the Currents (but not the pool drink). Cabin, we had a deluxe oceanview on Deck 4, which was easy access to most things, same level as guest services. I had to walk past the medical service most days and would hold my breathe walking past, lol. It was one busy place. The beds were separated as I was traveling with a friend. It was a pretty small cabin. We did not meet our cabin steward until late Day 2. Since the ship was under a CDC Code Red we were very delayed in getting into our stateroom and when we did we had quite the surprise in the toilet. We also needed maintenance to fix our less than cooling air conditioner. No one responded to us until Day 2 when we met our stateroom attendant and his supervisor. They basically said they were so busy sanitizing the ship they did not have the resources to go back and re-check every cabin. It seems there were a few cabins, where the pipes backed up and feces entered the toilets after the cleaning. Medical: We had about five medavacs or passengers who left the ship during the 24 nights, one which required return to Hawaiian waters so coast guard could airlift the passenger. We had been well on our way crossing the Pacific. This turn-a-round, caused us to skip two ports (we didn't have that many to begin with for a Transpacific), delayed by a day in two ports and shortened our time in those ports. This was a lesson learned for me. I've been on many cruises that had medavas and even an airlift or two, but we were always close enough to land and/or a port not to cause such a change in itinerary. Unlike other cruises I have taken where they return your port charges if skipped, Oceania does not do this. Another turn off to me, was they were not apologetic to those who had private tours booked. They would actually say, we are so sorry to those who have ship excursions and the destination desk is working to reaccomodate you. At least say your sorry to the rest of us. Those who did book ship excursions were learning quickly that although they paid up front via credit card, Oceania was putting their payment as OBC to be used before they got off, and/or charge them 5% if taken out as cash. Another note which many may be aware, one of the ladies whom we did some excursions with fainted of dehydration during the Panama canal transit (it was hot on the upper deck). She was brought to but insisted on going to the medical for IV fluids rather than drink her bottle of water which she wanted to do. $1500 later.... Also two others we spoke to with bronchitis received bills of $6,000 and $9,000. Not sure what that entailed. Two tylenol cost $37 from medical. Go buy them in the shops instead if you forget them. The ship is older, very dark wood. Horizons is the only indoor area (air conditioned or heated) with big glass windows. The other floors with windows for general seating is limited but the windows are small with heavy drapes. I did eat in the MDR each morning and requests an aft table which had a great view. Entertainment: The ship's entertainment was okay, there was one great singer, Crystal, a pretty decent singer Daniel, the Cruise Director Shawn also sang. Amy and Mervin were both sick the second half of the cruise - disappointing. We had a vegas style singer who was entertaining, an electric violin (jazz celtic fiddle), a ventriloquist, a magician, both good. The bad was a harpist and another female vegas style who I did not enjoy whatsoever. After the 9:30 show, the Regatta band would play in Horizons but most nights there were just a handful of us who showed up. There were two men who did the very informative lectures. The cruise director staff had a gaggle of games, shuffleboard, bingo, trivia, toss games, needlepoints, majong, and of course bridge. I almost forgot line dancing, my favorite. They give out O points which you redeem the day before you disembark for a range of items such a clothing, hats, luggage tags and travel accessories. Service: Once we were over the CDC restrictions, the staff was extremely helpful and went out of the way to please you. I can not say the same about the guest services or destination staff - they were of little help whatsoever. I wouldn't do another Transpacific again knowing the pitfalls to potential medavacs when so far out to sea. I have been on other ships where we have had airlifts and/or medavacs, but barely a blip in the itinerary. I've read that Oceania does drop ports very easily which was also the case with my itinerary. I'd like to give her another chance, but the communication was so bad and they just didn't seem to care to compensate whatsoever that we certainly didn't get the cruise we paid for. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Long Review We were apprehensive to try our first step up from mainstream cruising. Oceania came highly recommended by some friends of ours who share our taste in food, service and fellow travelers. Despite a rocky start, this was ... Read More
Long Review We were apprehensive to try our first step up from mainstream cruising. Oceania came highly recommended by some friends of ours who share our taste in food, service and fellow travelers. Despite a rocky start, this was the best cruise we have ever taken. Due to a norovirus outbreak on the previous segment we boarded a little late and spent several days under strict CDC sanitation guidelines (we have experienced this before). Also our itinerary was upset and we missed a few ports due to a need to turn the ship back to Hawaii in order to medivac a passenger who became ill. We lost about 26 hours, spending an extra sea day in the Pacific and we had to forego Cabo San Lucas and Guatemala from our itinerary. Honestly - we understood and while it’s disappointing and inconvenient - it did not impact our enjoyment of the trip at all. Embarkation: We were notified by email early that day of the delay in boarding and boarded late about 2:00 pm and had to wait to enter our cabin for a couple of hours. While waiting we met the first of many amazing staff, Todor from Bulgaria who was a bartender/barista. Our cabin 7099 was aft and starboard. The cabin was small but adequate. More of a matter of laughter than complaint .. I think the shower in our travel trailer is bigger. We had a *Concierge Level cabin. The bed is VERY COMFORTABLE. The ships is old but really elegant and homey. Built in 1998 but maintained pretty well considering its age. Holding only 680 passengers it’s quite a bit smaller than what we are used to. AND WE LOVED IT. Lots of dark wood and comfortable furniture all over the ship, reminiscent of a European parlour. There are so many things about Oceania that set them apart from the mainstream cruise lines. Here are some of the things we personally loved that they did NOT HAVE and some thoughts: 1) No photographers or photo galleries 2) No towel animals on the bed 3) No loud music or silly games at the pool 4) No dancing or singing waiters (except a very few Happy Birthdays) 5) No up charges for specialty dining, coffees or bottled water 6) No excessive announcements in cabin from the cruise director 7) No formal night and most everyone looked very sharp in “country club casual” 8) No kids (they are allowed but there are no amenities specifically for them) 9) No hard sell of tours, unwanted cocktails, merchandise (but all available) 10) No reservations needed for dinner in the main dining room Here’s the short list of all the things Oceania HAS that we really loved and some thoughts: 1) Every single crew member from a maintenance worker to maitre’d was cordial and friendly beyond belief. Many of whom know your name by day 2 and are always smiling. 2) Food quality was superb. Portions were perfect. Truly the best cuisine at sea we have ever experienced. One night we had calm seas and had room service dinner on our balcony ... the filet mignon was cooked to perfection.* *Concierge level cabins may order room service from the main dining room menu as well as the regular room service menu. 3) Specialty restaurants by reservation and after that you can make a last minute reservation if they have space. Both are adventures in slow eating ..... and I mean that in a good way. A really good meal should never be rushed. Most nights we went to Polo or Toscana we spent 2 hours over dinner with cocktails, 4 course meals and desserts. 4) Beverage package + $20 per day per person upgrade. Cocktails with top shelf brands and really wonderful wines by the glass making it unnecessary to buy wine by the bottle. We did pay corkage for an exquisite bottle we brought onboard for one evening ($25 corkage fee including decanting and a very slow pace of consumption ...the sommeliers did not rush our pours and helped us enjoy the bottle of wine our way. Our favorite bartender Anna from Ukraine can make you the best Singapore Sling. 5) Cabin stewards unlike any we have encountered. Friendly, non intrusive, happy to do anything for you. Our cabin was kept impeccable and they were always on top of any little maintenance issues we told them of. (Older ship.. some hinges were loose, a shower head needed replacing and the heat wasn’t working properly one day... all RESOLVED immediately by Desy and Nilesh. 6) Bridge lessons and duplicate bridge as well as rubber (party) bridge on every sea day .. even on the Panama Canal day (extra bonus) ... our bridge instructors Kay and Darwin Afdahl were so accommodating and such good instructors. We are beginners but they made us feel so welcome and we learned so much. I hope they continue to offer bridge on many more sailings. 7) Did I mention the FOOD? 8) The gym is excellent too. State of the art equipment - sufficient variety of machines and weights and floor space for the size of the ship. Morning stretch classes were frequented by many and the locker rooms and steam room is heaven. 9) Thassotherapy pool forward of the spa for *Concierge level and up was very relaxing yet NOT HOT ENOUGH 10) Two hot tubs (with no kids) were also very relaxing but NOT HOT ENOUGH .... that was our one complaint. We were told max was 104 but they were always around 85-90 degrees. We have a hot tub at home and need that daily soak for our aches and pains so this was a disappointment. We asked a maintenance worker twice but it was never adjusted. 11) Free internet. If even for just one account. This made the trip far more enjoyable for communicating with friends and family back home and although it’s was very slow, it was very much appreciated. Excursions) We did only book one excursion via the ship in Acapulco. I have to say we were disappointed in the tour. We generally find tours are a better value on our own. Fellow Passengers) The demographic of this cruise was definatly older than most cruises we have been on - so I think the entertainment is more geared toward that. We are 58 and 66 and enjoyed most of the on board entertainment, although I think there is room for improvement considering the tariff of an Oceania sailing. Personally I would like to see the show band hire a singer and provide more opportunity to dance to the American songbook type music. A few more comments: We really loved the ambience and we met far more fellow passengers than normal due to the size of the ship and small number of passengers. On disembarkation day we were all running around the ships trying to say goodbye to new friends. The lecturers on board were drawing big crowds every day and well appreciated and if you missed the talk you could get a re-run on the cabin tv. The library was extensive and beautiful. The chairs and loungers by the pool are WONDERFUL and relaxing and comfortable. The Internet cafe seemed mostly unused now that most people have laptops and iPads The smoking section was too close to the only pool bar and the door leading in/out of the gym... terrible placement. No escaping the whiff of second hand smoke. 24 nights flew by .... we booked another voyage before we left the ship and are looking forward to our 2nd Oceania cruise to South America. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
Sailed on Le Soleal before and really like these vessels, not huge , excellent service and well appointed cabins , also around 250 passengers and around 140 crew, no casino or Pokies , these ships cater for a mature audience with a sense ... Read More
Sailed on Le Soleal before and really like these vessels, not huge , excellent service and well appointed cabins , also around 250 passengers and around 140 crew, no casino or Pokies , these ships cater for a mature audience with a sense of adventure hence the Zodiac inflatables on board to explore and land on remote beaches . With this in mind we booked on a cruise from Honolulu to French Polynesia , passengers mostly French , this can be a challenge if your French language skills are not up to scratch and , on their turf the French mostly keep themselves , a pity we had a great experience when sailing along the Australian coast ( Our Turf) on Le Soleal , more English speaking passengers , however the Crew from the top down are English speaking. This is a very important factor, Ponant is doing all it can to include all pasengers, but you have to keep this in mind when booking a cruise with Ponant and the area you visit, On our last cruise we stayed on Deck 5 , this time deck 3, the only difference a door to and instead sliding door and a partly enclosed balcony , the cabins are identical . Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
To see paradise in the South Pacific, the Marquesas Islands. Embarkation and disembarkation very smooth operation.Greeted and farewelled by the Captain and members of the crew. The ship is small and intimate with luxuriously ... Read More
To see paradise in the South Pacific, the Marquesas Islands. Embarkation and disembarkation very smooth operation.Greeted and farewelled by the Captain and members of the crew. The ship is small and intimate with luxuriously appointed cabins,complimentery mini bar,and French toiletries. The crew are friendly and no task is a problem. Would love to have brought some home. Dining is a pleasure with top French Cuisine,good wine, a choice of 2 dining rooms, and snacks available in 3 lounge/bar areas, The ship has a nice library and internet centre.also a small fitness centre and Spa. Enjoyed the entertainment, dancers,musicians,the Cruise directors programmes also the lectures on the South Pacific. The Port and shore excursions were excellent plenty of time and no pressure or rush to leave the ship or the destinations. My sort of holiday, relaxing and laid back with plenty to do if you wished,but no pressure. Would love to go again and fully recommend Ponant. Enjoyed it so much have booked another trip. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Chose this for the itinerary. Food and service great. The food selection in buffet/ terrace was excellent and the serving staff were always smiling and happy., The Menu in the grand dinning room was really good. I had a dietary ... Read More
Chose this for the itinerary. Food and service great. The food selection in buffet/ terrace was excellent and the serving staff were always smiling and happy., The Menu in the grand dinning room was really good. I had a dietary requirement and made my selection a day in advance although this was change 3 times by the chef. Went to the Polo grill for a Valentine dinner, expected a table for 2 but had to share with 2 others. There was no real entertainment. No ballroom dancing after 9.15 there was little thought in planning some evening entertainment ie, dancing was listed in the daily programme however on two occasions when arriving at venue the dance floor was set up with empty chairs and music stands for the show which is scheduled to commence 15 minutes after dancing (this preparation could have been done in the 15 minutes thereby freeing up the dance floor for guests to enjoy and dance to the band). Guest entertainers were good but in-house performers were very poor, high school standard. At 10.30 the Horizon entertainment consisted of the staff just chatting among themselves and could not deal with requests for music. Also in Horizon, 24 hour coffee machine was taken out of service for cleaning just when the lounge opened for the night. Twice reported dust in grand dinning room. First time discreetly to restaurant manager and on following night found more dust in another area. The dress code (country club) was not adhered to at all. Hardly any jackets worn during the evening and on one occasion a female guest walked into the main Grand Dining area wearing a cap! Some guests still wore shorts in the Insignia Lounge in the evening. No pool side entertainment during the day. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise because of the smaller size of the ship, the French language (although everything on board is bilingual French/English) the food, the trip, the reputation of this company and the itinerary. It was our first cruise and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the smaller size of the ship, the French language (although everything on board is bilingual French/English) the food, the trip, the reputation of this company and the itinerary. It was our first cruise and we are hooked. The service was impeccable, the captain and crew outstanding, the cabin modern, gorgeous and luxurious, the food was absolutely wonderful, the best we have ever had (in our lives). The itinerary was the stuff of dreams, the lecturers of the highest possible qualifications and knowledge. I honestly don't think we would consider another cruise company. We are aware that we have found perfection and need look no further. We immediately pre-booked our upcoming trips while on board and are still suffering from withdrawal symptoms. What I appreciated the most was the peace and quiet, and the sophisticated quietness (no rowdy parties, loud discotheques, queues) and the lack of formal palava (no need to wear tuxedos and ball gowns), just to be correctly dressed for dinner for example. For us this cruise ticked every box on our dream list, and more. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We were pleasantly surprised by the standard of the ship and the service we received from every staff member we encountered. This was our first cruise and will be hard to beat. Food was "wow" in Blu and well worth the ... Read More
We were pleasantly surprised by the standard of the ship and the service we received from every staff member we encountered. This was our first cruise and will be hard to beat. Food was "wow" in Blu and well worth the upgrade. Entertainment was much better than we expected and there was always something to see and do on the sea days if you prefer not to relax with a book. Everything is spotlessly clean. Shore excursions were good and we know we paid a little more but it was our first time. Coffee and Drink prices were scary to say the least and we were glad we got Classic packages. A glass of Pino Grigio was USD12 and a coffee around USD5 - USD6. That hurts when your exchange rate is only 70 cents. Internet was sold in time rather than data and in the middle of the Pacific we burned valuable minutes on nothing. Would recommend unlimited. Free access to the saunas and heated beds was great, as well as gym access for all passengers. You could hardly tell there were 2850 passengers on board. Would recommend to anyone but have a good think about how you will manage drink prices before you go. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
I had so much fun on my 7 day Hawaiian cruise. My friend and I flew in from Phoenix on a 6 1/2 hour Hawaiian Airline flight. It took awhile to get through the Boarding Process; but once through, the week was so much fun. Two ... Read More
I had so much fun on my 7 day Hawaiian cruise. My friend and I flew in from Phoenix on a 6 1/2 hour Hawaiian Airline flight. It took awhile to get through the Boarding Process; but once through, the week was so much fun. Two days in Maui. One day in Hilo and one in Kona on the Big Island. Two days in Kauai. This is my third visit to the Hawaiian Islands and hopefully, far from my last. I love the islands and this was a wonderful way to visit 3 islands on one visit. Port & Shore Excursions: Big Island Snorkel. Our group was the first to be loaded on the Tenders at Kona to be transported to the Body Glove catamaran at 7:15 am, which was nice for us because we had the full day until 5:30 pm, to explore Kona after the excursion. This Excursion was exceptional. The staff was informative, helpful, friendly, and patient. The food was abundant and delicious. The coral reef where we snorkeled was about 45 minutes from shore. We saw a pod of Spinner dolphins as we to the reef. Once we arrived, the snorkeling was very well organized. The view of the reef and the ocean life was excellent. The only challenge I faced on the snorkeling excursion was that I decided to go down the water slide. It was nothing like the big yellow slides at a water park. I pulled a muscle trying to get onto the slide and when I landed in the water, it felt like a giant slap to my whole body. I can't think of any way to enter the water more gently from the slide. I imagine that it hurts because of the speed and distance of the drop. It's not necessary to go down the water slide, and I would just skip that experience if I had it to do over again. Other than my decision to use the water slide, the rest of the experience was fun and memorable. Also, I was generous with use of sunscreen which I highly recommend. I brought my own spray on 50 spf sunscreen, and there was also sunscreen available on board. Thank you to the Big Island Excursion staff. They couldn't have been more helpful and considerate to a snorkeler with limited experience. Entertainment: The shows were amazing. I went to all of the 7:00 shows except for Thursday, Luau night. Performers were highly talented and professional. Costumes were gorgeous. The 'Oh What a Night' Tribute was probably the highest quality of all; but every show was a 5 star performance for me. The Cast was fabulous. Each show lasted about an hour and left me wanting more. I definitely recommend taking advantage of the superb entertainment offered at 7 and 9 pm nightly in the Hollywood Theater. Summary: Thank you to Norwegian and to all the staff that made it such a fabulous experience. Thanks especially to our Cabin Steward, Henry. Actually, the whole Pride of America staff treated us so well. I highly recommend Pride of America to anyone who wants to enjoy the islands along with a Cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2009
This was our first visit to Hawaii and sixth cruise, our previous cruises being in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, on Celebrity, Princess, and Royal Caribbean lines. Booking: We booked directly with NCL through their website, and ... Read More
This was our first visit to Hawaii and sixth cruise, our previous cruises being in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, on Celebrity, Princess, and Royal Caribbean lines. Booking: We booked directly with NCL through their website, and reserved an aft balcony category BA cabin 10180. Approximately 4 weeks before sailing, the "UpSell Fairy" called with an outstanding offer to take a category AA owner's suite, cabin 10002, at a reasonable increase in price. Travel: It is six time zones and a 10 hour flight from the east coast. We used One Pass miles to fly Continental non-stop, first class, and it was very comfortable with decent food and wine. Honolulu / Waikiki: Arrived Wednesday evening; had booked Halekulani via their website. Outstanding hotel with reputation for services and dining. We were not disappointed. Centrally located in Waikiki. Lots of shopping. Enjoyed the La Mer, Orchids, and House Without a Key restaurants. Great, elegant hula. A small beach but smooth sand; large beautiful pool and excellent pool staff and drinks. Quiet clientele with many wedding ceremonies. Extensive privacy and security; security staff wore suits and carried covert communications devices. Kicked back quite a bit Thursday / Friday and tried to adjust to the time change. Saturday Boarding: VIP boarding privileges with the suite; we were speeded through in 5 minutes. Our baggage arrived within the hour. NCL Concierge met all suite guests in the Lanai Lounge, and helped with reservations for tours and dining at the specialty restaurants. Cabin: I can't say enough about the Owner's Suite. It is a floating apartment; 1 1/2 baths; a Jacuzzi; dual sinks; stall shower with spray guns; 3 televisions; a huge lanai with chaise lounges, table / chairs, and 60" hot tub completes the picture. The room includes choice of 3 liters of liquor, very decent brands including Beefeater, Stolichnaya and Kahlua. There is also a large espresso / cappuccino machine. Butler service, which we did not make full use of, is included. Only complaint was ice, ice, and more ice. I needed to call every day for ice. Breakfast / Lunch: Suite guests can enjoy private sitting in the Lazy J. Food was good but menu never changed. I did get one bad meal, a "grouper filet" which obviously had just come from the freezer via the deep fat fryer. I was afraid to bite it, expecting to get the hook. Dinner: Dined twice in Jefferson Bistro; twice in Liberty; once in Little Italy; once in East Meets West; and one dinner was the Luau field trip. Portions were small in Liberty, although seating and service was speedy (table for 2) and food was tasty. Little Italy was nothing special. Bistro and East Meets West were excellent. Avoid the Aloha Cafe: we walked through by mistake during the "All You Can Eat Prime Rib" dinner; it was a scene from a freak movie, with heavyweight guests in motorized chariots whizzing by with multiple slabs of beef hanging off their trays. I Told You So: The day after the prime rib dinner, the ship was locked down for a norovirus protection protocol. All the buffets were covered in Saran wrap, with ship personnel doing the serving with latex gloves. The sprayers were out in force, with fire extinguisher-sized bottles of alcohol disinfectant. We later saw a report on Honolulu TV that over 100 PoA guests and staff were ill. Entertainment: The singer / guitarist in Napa Wine lounge was excellent and we enjoyed happy hour there most days. To be kind, the other onboard entertainers were not special and not up to the level we experienced on our other cruises. There were no late night party scenes nor midnight buffets that we were aware of. Day Trips: With the exception of the Kauai Luau, we did our own tours each day. All car rentals were handled by Thrifty; it speeds things greatly by being a Blue Chip member and reserving via the Thrifty website. Maui Day 1: Drove to Lahaina; toured historic sites; clunked my head on the largest banyan tree ever; and shop, shop, and shop. Drove north to DT Fleming beach; lunch at the Ritz-Carlton Beach House (!) which overlooks the action from a serene, cool setting. Note fairly heavy traffic (Sunday) so we made sure to be back on the ship by nightfall. Maui Day 2: Took the Hana Highway a few miles to Paia, which was advertised as the last stronghold of 1960's hippiedom on the Island. Didn't see hippies, but did tour a Buddhist temple (the Maui Dharma Center) and an ancient Japanese cemetery which was crumbling into the ocean. Some light shopping, but really this town can be safely avoided and it looks like most people do. We drove south to Makena Beach State Park. Note, Big Beach and Little Beach; each has different clientele so be cool and don't act surprised. I lost my prescription sunglasses when a rogue wave broke over me. Thanks to the Aussies who helped me comb the surf for the glasses; it's a big ocean. Hot; bring water, sunblock and an umbrella if you can find one to rent. Hilo: Drove to Volcano National Park; did the obligatory viewing of the steaming volcano; I was ready to throw my pocket change into the crater. Walked through the 1st part (artificial lighting) of the Thurston Lava Tube; this is no big deal as I used to exit the NYC Subway at Whitehall Street, and frankly Whitehall St. looked older. We drove back to Hilo and then north to Akaka Falls; nice photos. Ate lunch at "What's Shakin'", which has to be the best smoothie place on the island. We took the 4-mile scenic route back to ship, which passes the botanical gardens. Note many tour buses. We looked forward to the hot lava from our hot tub at 9:45pm; the ship stays about 1/4 mile offshore so needless to say photos are not easy unless you bring great equipment. Kona: Anchor and tenders. Suite guests given priority, thanks NCL. Thrifty does not pick up at the dock, so we cancelled the car and opted for a shuttle to Kahaluu Beach park. The Beach Shack, right across the street from the pier, offers a $20 per person deal for round-trip shuttle including snorkel gear. We saw plenty of nice, green sea turtles: I told a lady near me that they were man-eaters. She really lost it; sorry the devil made me do it. All in all, a very nice experience. Later that afternoon was shop, shop, and shop for coffee, coffee, and coffee. Kauai Day 1: Drove north to Kee Beach, which is the end of the roadway. Nice beach, crowded, parked up the road on the shoulder. Huge banyan tree roots approach the water. Shop, shop, shop at Princeville and more swimming at Hanalei Bay. Some of the characters around Hanalei looked like they'd been puffing the magic dragon for quite some time. Kalamaku Luau: Imagine a wedding with 900 guests, none of whom you know but all of whom seem vaguely familiar. In the center, a stage with scantily clad performers of various genders gyrating to the rhythms of sensual drum beats and studiously avoiding each other's flaming torches. Then, the mighty Pig appears, seemingly rising from its grave, fully roasted and ready to feed one and all. There was also potato salad and coleslaw. Kauai Day 2: Early start; drove south to Poipu Beach. Passed through the exciting Tunnel of Trees. Shop, shop, shop. Note huge developments going on; assume hotels, condos, golf courses are in Poipu's future. Too bad. Breakfast at Brennecke's, then swimming. There is a neat little "island" that you can wade to; makes great pictures. Back to ship early for the 2:00pm sail past the Napali coast. Great photos, just like postcards. Debarkation: Easy. Woke up late, had breakfast in Lazy J and walked off at 9:30am. Thrifty shuttle picked us up right away. Waikiki, Round-2: Three more nights at the Halekulani, this time with a rental car. Saturday - Check in not until 3:00pm. Used hospitality suite to change into swimsuits; slept soundly at pool. Evening walk through Waikiki Beach shopping; viewed penguins and giant goldfish at Hilton Hawaiian Village; couldn't get into Duke's and opted for a quick meal upstairs at the Hula Grill. Note massive street festival going on. Sunday - nice drive up to North shore. We napped on the Banzai Pipeline beach as waves were rough. Found nice lunch at Ola's at Turtle Bay. Excellent swimming at the public beach, which is adjacent to Ola's. The well-advertised north shore shrimp trucks were very, very crowded on Sunday, and we did not wait. Back to Waikiki and casual dining at Jimmy Buffett's at the Beachcomber; avoid Jimmy's Mai Tai's as DW said they were a disappointment, and she is a big drinker (just kidding !!!!). Monday - Early start with take-away fruit from the ABC Store. Drove south, entered the Diamond Head park, but opted out of the 1 ½ hour hike to the summit. Drove through the beautiful Kahala area, skipped Hanuma Bay (DW said too much snorkeling was as dumb as buying an aquarium DVD) and wound up swimming at Sandy Beach. Continued winding around Oahu; got to Kailua Beach Park, very very nice but we were hungry and thirsty (mostly thirsty). Found Buzz's, which has got to be on everybody's list of the best lunch places anytime, anywhere. Truly inspired Asian Seafood Over Linguine Monday special. Note cash only but lunch prices reasonable. DW says Mai Tai's much better here. Tour books suggested a more private beach experience could be had just south of Kailua at Lanikai beach, so sure that's where we went, but everyone reads the same guides and the beach was hardly deserted. Swimming was nice and we had our trusty rubber tubes to float around in the surf and digest Buzz's good food. Note that the return drive to Waikiki from Kailua is spectacular on the Pali Highway (Route 61). Tuesday - Check out day !!! But the Halekulani came through for us. I explained to the lady at the front desk that our flight wasn't until 7:50pm. She offered that we could stay in our room until 3:00pm, and afterward use their hospitality suite to shower and change clothes. Great! We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast buffet at HWAK and enjoyed the pool and ocean for the remainder of the day. Wednesday - We woke up in Newark, New Jersey. I must have been dreaming. Read Less

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