3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 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
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
From the time ROyal Caribbean changed the itinerary conveniently 59 days before sailing, to the chaos created in baggage claim at disembarking, the most common words from ships staff was “We apologize”. The ship board staff constantly ... Read More
From the time ROyal Caribbean changed the itinerary conveniently 59 days before sailing, to the chaos created in baggage claim at disembarking, the most common words from ships staff was “We apologize”. The ship board staff constantly had to make excuses and apologize for numerous situations they had difficulty dealing with. AVOID this ship......while the ship itself is marvelous and a great asset, poor management both in Miami and on board make this ship one to avoid. Guest after guest had unfavorable comments......we just had difficulty grasping why all the problems occurred. The ship board officer crew were a lot of talk but offered few solutions to correct and overcome problems. The entertainment staff couldn’t start many of their activities on time because they didn’t have watches. The buffet management staff daily made “sales pitches” how wonderful everything is in the Windjammer market......while at the same time telling you to hurry and get out. Disembarking for tenders required Hour plus long waits. The evening dinners in the main dining room were interrupted nightly with a wait staff member singing. The disembarking procedure was a most painful experience.....utter chaos. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We have cruised on RCI before and have had very few problems. This one however was a nightmare. Booked day 1 Honolulu depart at 11:00pm 2 Kailua Kona 9am to 6pm 3 Kilaeua Volcano 12:01 to 1:00am 3Napoli coast 12:00pm to 4:00pm day ... Read More
We have cruised on RCI before and have had very few problems. This one however was a nightmare. Booked day 1 Honolulu depart at 11:00pm 2 Kailua Kona 9am to 6pm 3 Kilaeua Volcano 12:01 to 1:00am 3Napoli coast 12:00pm to 4:00pm day 4&5 Maui 9am to 5pm next days 6-10 cruising day 11 Victoria BC 9:00am to 8:00pm 12 Vancouver 6:00am. What we got Days 1&2 Honolulu (left Honolulu at 5:00pm on 2nd day day 3 Napali coast 4&5 Maui 6-10 cruising Day 11 Victoria BC 7:00am to 2:00pm (Left 6 hours early arrived in Vancouver at 8pm on day 11 Day 12 Vancouver disembark. Did not see the volcano and did do see the big island. We feel we were ripped off by RCI. You plan for a once in lifetime trip to Hawaii and get cheated out of half the stops. RCI did refund one day, Big deal. Embarkation, late but went smooth. Ports of Call, In Maui the water was too rough for the tenders for most of the first day, on the second day we went ashore, be back time was at 7:00pm we got in line to board the tenders at 4:00pm and it took us over an hour to get back, those that stayed later took from 2-2 1/2 hours to get back on the boat. Dining- Windjammer food was basically good but always very crowded, no place to sit, long lines to get food, lines for the omelets and pasta were always in the way of others. Hamburger line was messed up people were always coming from two directions. Drinks were often empty. Dining- Main dining, food was often cold, stale or misstated. Seafood often smelled, steak was tough or dry, bread was sometimes hard or stale, coffee was occasionally cold, Etc. Dining-Service was excellent Entertainment-shows were good for the most part. There were a number of things to do on the boat and the staff was good at helping you find where things were. Public areas-CROWDED. Hard to get an elevator, other public areas crowded when something was going on. Disembarkation- NIGHTMARE. We arrived in Vancouver the night before the cruise ended so the Ovation of the seas was basically a hotel parked on the water. Some people got off every but most elected to disembark the regular way, ie tag luggage and put outside cabin before 10:00pm the night before disembarking, pick up luggage after it is removed from the ship. BIG MISTAKE. We had luggage tag number 14 with an estimated departure time of 8:20am. At 9:00am, almost nobody had been allowed to leave the boat(at this time we had been docked for 13 hours). A little after 9 they started to allow the Express Departures to leave, we weren't Express but we jumped in line anyway. When we got off of the boat and went to pick up our luggage it was not lined up by number as it usually was but all the numbers were thrown together. RCI was just bringing it out and dumping it on the floor. What RCI didn't tell us was that there was another luggage drop area about 100 yards away and around the corner where they were doing the same thing, just dumping the luggage. I heard someone say something and followed them over. There was approximately 10 people here looking for luggage and at the first area there were hundreds and more getting off the boat all the time. We were lucky to find ours and make our 12:20pm departure time to DEN. While waiting we were talking to other couples who had been on the Ovation and they said that when we got on the plane to Denver, there were people still on the Ovation who had not been able to get off. We have cruised about a dozen times and I have never seen such a mess. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Chose this cruise because of the itinerary but that didn’t work out so well. Bad planning on behalf of RCI resulted in multiple itinerary changes and just too much confusion for passengers and crew alike. We haven’t cruised with RCI ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of the itinerary but that didn’t work out so well. Bad planning on behalf of RCI resulted in multiple itinerary changes and just too much confusion for passengers and crew alike. We haven’t cruised with RCI for probably ten years during which we have favoured Princess and after this cruise with RCI I believe we made the right decision. We are not fussy eaters nor do we base our cruise experience on the quality of the food but it must be said that the eating experience on this ship was extremely disappointing and the quality poor. Apart from our wait staff in the dining room (Chic), I found the staff attitude to be less than attentive and pleasurable. The headliner entertainment was, for the most part, good although Pixels and the production shows were just o.k. In general I felt that the ship lacked a feeling of warmth - hard to put into words but I just didn’t feel like I was being pampered and well taken care of the way I feel when cruising with Princess. Also disliked all the extra charges which showed up way too often. The nicest place to sit during the day (when weather drove us inside) was the 270 lounge but we were often driven out by the daily Bingo session. The smoking areas were too close to the non-smoking areas - they need to be isolated more or eliminated entirely! On the plus side, the cabin was excellent with tons of storage, well laid out and the kettle and tea supplies in the room were a very pleasant surprise. Finally, a big shout out to the Captain who was extremely informative. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The other reviewers of this cruise have basically said it all. The itinerary change was super disappointing. We were so looking forward to going to the big island and seeing the volcano. Then RCI just axed the stop completely. At ... Read More
The other reviewers of this cruise have basically said it all. The itinerary change was super disappointing. We were so looking forward to going to the big island and seeing the volcano. Then RCI just axed the stop completely. At the Lahaina, Maui stop, tendering was delayed due to rough sea. Everybody got up early wanted to get off the ship but was not able to so that's why all the public area, especially the buffet, was packed with people waiting for the captain's ok. When the captain finally gave the ok, they wanted us to go to a bar on deck 5 to get tender tickets so everybody just literally ran there to get tickets. It was chaos. I was lucky as I was already on deck 5 at the time so we got to get off "early". We origianlly planned on getting off at around 9 but still didn't get off until noon. The tender was just one of their bigger lifeboats which was very uncomfortable even if the sea was calm. We got back to the port at 9:50pm. They only had one tender running. At least if was a big local boat. Not their own lifeboat. When we got back, the line was very long. The tender left at 10pm. The line kept growing. At 10:30pm, I could still see the tender was still unloading people to the cruise ship. They finally deployed another tender which was the same lifeboat. We finally got back to the cruise ship at 11pm. Most people were hungry and the only restaurant still open was the pizza place and a cafe which only serves dessert and some basic sandwiches. It was packed with hungry people. Since everybody got off the ship late, we all got back late. However, their restaurants and buffet still closed at 9pm. To me, that is WAY too early. Not much food option after 9pm. A lot of people eat late especially with an Hawaii cruise. Lots of people are from the mainland which is several hours ahead. Should've at least open the buffet until 10pm or something. Food in the main dining room is terrible. Service is not good either. We always spend more than an hour in a dining room with 45 minutes of it waiting for our food. Buffet surprising has better tasting food and service was good. RCI wanted to do freestyle dining like Norwegian but RCI is not doing it well. Still always try to make us to share table with strangers. Food and service in specialty restaurants are good. We tried the Chops Grill steak house and Wonderland's. Both good. However, I still think Norwegian does dining much better. Disbarkation was a nightmare. We were an hour late than the origin set time. There was no signage to point you to where your luggage is. Everybody was running around the terminal like crazy trying to find their luggage. The ship itself is beautiful and I love it. Stateroom attendant was attentive. But there's not much show to watch. I do like that they have a smokeless casino. I find it very annoying when a cruise line put the casino in the very middle of the ship and allow smoking. My 4-year-old went to their kids club a lot. While there wasn't any issue, I do feel that the staffs there are not as warm as those on my Norwegian cruises. This poor expericnece is more about the sudden itinerary change and the management. I think I'll still cruise with RCI again but might just go with a shorter cruise with a more ordinary route. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
This was meant to be an aniversary present for my husband. We expected to see some of Hawaii but the itinary was changed several times before the sailing. We sat in Oahu for a survey instead of cruising. They cancelled all our prebooked ... Read More
This was meant to be an aniversary present for my husband. We expected to see some of Hawaii but the itinary was changed several times before the sailing. We sat in Oahu for a survey instead of cruising. They cancelled all our prebooked shore excursions leaving us with a breif stop in Maui. If you wanted to shop great if not disapointing. It was just a really long boat trip from Hawaii to Vancouvre via Maui. Our time in Victoria was cut short due to the tide. We sat in Vancouvre overnight in port. Dissembarkation was a nightmare. Locating bags was like a really sick idea of a scavenger hunt. Close to 3 hours to get off, find your bag and wait in the longest line ever for a taxi. Of course the taxis were busy bringing people for embarkation so it was a mess. We were told when we complained that everyone received the same compensation. We received refunds for our shore excursions and refunds for 2 nights we spent in port instead of cruising. We received a credit to buy lunch because they couldnt one day. That certainly is not compensation its reimbursment! Royal Caribean do not care. They changed everything about our holiday, we did not get what we paid for or what we expected. If we had wanted to do a long boat ride from Hawaii to Vancouvre then we would have booked one. We didnt but thats what we got. Wouldnt travel with them again. The cruise was a comedy of errors and changes. Appauling customer service. MSC gave us a better cruising experience at a far better price. The activities onboard were sometimes hard to get onto and into. You certainly needed to be everywhere very early and not mind waiting in line at times. The artists were of a high standard. The food was nice in the restaurant but it did get a little boring after 10 Days as several meals were repeated. The buffet had a large range but again the choices got boring as they seemed to be the same each day. We dinned at Wonderland on one occasion and really enjoyed the quirky nature of the food. It was fun and a nice break from the main eating areas. The robot bar is fun the first time but the novelty soon wears off. Unfortunatley there were a large amount of people who had very small children in the bars even as late as midnight. We had the drinks package and found it was a good idea as the prices on board were expensive. There were multiple shopping events. Its such a shame that this cruise was spoilt by poor planning. We complained to our travel agent who passed our concerns onto Royal guest services who said that all passengers were given the same compensation. We were refunded the cost of shore excursions and 2 nights that we sat in port as well as the cost of lunch on a day they could not provide it. That certainly does not qualify as compensation. Perhaps they need a dictionary to understand the difference. At the end of the day they just did not care about our experience it was all about the money. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 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
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This is going to be long winded! So many times, I have read that this itinerary only comes around twice a year and therefore, fewer reviews. If I can help anyone decide to take this journey, my job will be done. I decided to sail from ... Read More
This is going to be long winded! So many times, I have read that this itinerary only comes around twice a year and therefore, fewer reviews. If I can help anyone decide to take this journey, my job will be done. I decided to sail from Honolulu instead of Sydney mainly to escape airline luggage restrictions and also to rest after my first visit to Hawaii. This trip was 18 months in planning with no stones unturned. I really don’t know where to start. I’m always sceptical about people who have a gripe against a cruise line or hotel when something goes wrong that clouds their entire review (sometimes due to unrealistic expectations), or those, much like me, who can see no wrong. I’m a glass half full kind of person. I will try to give this review balance. A little background. I have always wanted to go to Hawaii and more importantly, to Bora Bora, my bucket list place. My youngest daughter aged 19 and I flew to Hawaii on Jetstar on September 24 from Sydney. We spent a marvellous week there before embarking the Solstice on Oct 1 for the cruise home via French Polynesia and New Zealand. What a month-long journey it was…. We stayed at the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel in a premier oceanfront room. The view was stunning and well worth the extra cost for this room in my opinion. It made me constantly “feel” I was finally in Hawaii. It’s located next to the Park Shore Hotel and the Zoo in the quieter end of Waikiki. It was an easy 10-minute walk to Waikiki central. The staff at this hotel were friendly, helpful and professional. We luckily paid $USD60 for an early check in which was much appreciated after arriving from Sydney at 6am. Those overnight flights are brutal if you can’t sleep on a plane (like me). Check in and check out was super easy and fast. The pool area was very pleasant. You could check out towels and deck chairs to take to the beach across the road without charge. There’s an ice machine on some floors. One thing about this hotel is that there is no room service. That didn’t bother us in the least because there were 2 ABC stores, a Wolfgang Puck, a juice place, a cookie store and a Subway on the ground level. The weather in Hawaii was very warm and humid. The locals saying that it was unusually so due to the recent hurricanes and volcanic activity around the islands. I enjoyed swimming at Kuhio Beach to cool down on many occasions. The ocean was refreshing and not cold. Whilst in Hawaii we went with Oahu Photography Tours to the “North Shore” and a “Beautiful Hawaii” tour. I can highly recommend them. You don’t need to be a photographer. They will help you get great shots at some beautiful locations if you want or you can do your own thing. An iphone is just as good as an SLR. We took both. It’s a great way to see the island. I do have to say here that many people we spoke with went to the North Shore with Hi5. It sounds that this may have been a better option. I will go with them next time. Oh, and there will be a next time. Already booked for next June before I even left Hawaii. LOL. We also went to Pearl Harbour. Got a shuttle from our hotel, for something like $USD32 return for both of us. Of course, you still can’t disembark the boat onto the memorial due to structural defects, however, the moving video and 2 free museums were well worth the visit. The movie really explained in simple terms why and how the bombing of Pearl Harbour occurred. Such a tragedy. I booked Arizona tickets online two months out. We got there two hours before our tour asked if we could change our times. Numbers are down so we were able to do that no problem and did not have to wait. One morning at 6am we hiked Diamond Head. We caught an Uber as the buses weren’t running that early. My daughter called it the “death hike” although it wasn’t that bad. It was tough though. There were lots of places to stop and rest on the way up with great photo opportunities. There are lots of uneven lava paths, tunnels and stairs +++. I saw some young and older people have trips and spills. TIP. Once you get to the top and arrive at the near vertical stairs on your right, turn left, a much easier climb to the summit. We were greeted by an amazing scene that included a rainbow! Well worth the effort. Some other things we did was to eat Poke’ in backstreet restaurants, tuna, salmon and octopus, yum. I tried Loco Moco once, and ate at a lovely Italian place, Arancino Di Mare, down near the zoo. Beautiful food. Of course, we went to the Cheesecake Factory and Dukes. No complaints. Lulu’s attached to the Park Shore had great breakfast although way to big portions that were very tasty and economical. Get one meal for two. Great views too. Tikis grill at our hotel was lovely too. You could have a light meal by the pool with drinks or dine in the restaurant for a more a la carte menu. There was nightly music and entertainment. We were on the 10th floor and the music was enjoyable, not intrusive. Of course, we also did some retail therapy at the Waikele outlets and Ala Moana Centre and got some high-end bargains compared to prices in Australia. We caught an Uber to the outlets from Ala Moana, $USD35, and then got a Robert’s air-conditioned bus back to the hotel for $USD10 each which you could book at the outlets. Now to the cruise October 1, got to the terminal by 11am with Hawaii23 shuttle service and were on board by 12 eating lunch at a dedicated dining room function for Concierge class. A lovely way to start. This would be my 7th cruise. All the others on Royal Caribbean. As Concierge class we were invited by the concierge Javier, to the bridge and to sail into Auckland on the helipad which were really nice touches. The main advantage of Concierge class for me was the location. We had a hump cabin on the pool deck with a bigger balcony. We were starboard and had shade most of the day. From day 1 I was blown away. This ship by far is the best I have been on. Probably the biggest difference is that this ship seems to have 2 passengers to each crew member. That is amazing. Considering I have been on Ovation where it was probably 10 to 1. There were no lines on this ship! The Solstice staff were standout. They are truly a credit to their ship and industry. So friendly and willing to help anyone and assist at every opportunity. I could name so many people. But here goes some….Greg and Abel on the pool deck, Maurice, our room attendant, Jim, Faishoul, Kim and Almandi in the dining room. Thank you. You deserve all the recognition you can get. The Solstice has tendering down to a fine art. We had no problems getting off or back on the ship whenever we wanted. We were docked for Honolulu, Papeete, Auckland and of course Sydney. The entertainment was enjoyable with a few standout performances. I enjoyed the enrichment talks about sharks, rays and turtles etc with Brent Nixon prior to French Polynesia. They were appropriate and informative. Especially as we would be swimming with them in Bora Bora. The food was amazing. Not one bad meal. We were careful not to overeat and enjoyed our food. Often skipping lunch after a lovely breakfast where you are spoiled for choice. Occasionally we had a hot dog or burger from the Mast Grill that were always tasty. We dined at many of the specialty restaurants, namely Murano, Silk Harvest, and Tuscan Grill. The flambé lobster at Murano was particularly good. At Silk Harvest, we did a set menu that consisted of a lot of seafood with an Asian twist titled Silk ‘n’ Soul. Very nice. Tuscan Grill was my least favourite, only because I am not a steak person. We had pre-purchased a 3-night dining package. Most nights we did select dining and did not ever wait to be seated. We were treated like royalty. We ate breakfast in the Oceanview café daily except when we ordered room service on days that we had early tenders. It was on time, complete and still hot enough to eat. I was not going to purchase a drink package; however, I could not pass up the premium package for $AUD46 a day! It went on sale just before our cruise. By the time I had daily bottled water, speciality coffees, soft drink, nightly wine with dinner and a cocktail or two, it worked out economical for me. Whenever we went ashore I would grab some cold bottled water to take with me. I suppose I should mention here that we were advised not to drink anything other than sealed bottles of water in French Polynesia which surprised me a little. We were also warned about having drinks with ice in it. My daughter had the premium non-alcoholic package which was not on sale. I was under the impression that she would not be able to drink alcohol as this cruise originated in the USA where drinking laws are 21. However, after clearing Hawaii and in international waters, the drinking age was reduced to 18. So, she ended up having a couple of drinks which were charged at full price and 18% gratuity. Luckily for me she doesn’t drink much. Our first port of call was Maui after departing Honolulu at midnight. We had organised a ship’s tour on what was a beautiful day without any wind. A 45min helicopter flight. How else to see the most of Maui in one day? I can only say that it was worth every dollar. My daughter and I travelled in the front with the pilot as we ascended 10000 feet to the Haleakala Crater. Awe inspiring. It looked like something out of a sci fi movie. A bit like Mars, the red planet. We then travelled the road to Hana by air and saw majestic waterfalls and beautiful terrain that you can’t see from the road. We travelled the famous Jurassic Park helicopter scene into the “park” as Blue Hawaiian had the contract for all the helicopter scenes for all the Jurassic movies. On return to the port we visited the shops and bought some souvenirs and enjoyed the shade of the Banyan Tree. After Maui we had 5 sea days. There was always something to do around the ship or relax around the pool. The cruise director, Rick Spacey and his team could certainly entertain. The uniformed staff often played games against passengers which I think they genuinely enjoyed. Many people debated that 5 sea days in a row were too much, however, I didn’t think so. I used the Canyon Ranch Spa for a massage and a manicure however I found the staff unengaging, condescending and dismissive on two different occasions. Karin who did the massage and Kim the advanced aesthetics technician who did my nails were less than happy to be there in my opinion. I believe they are not employed by Celebrity which could have enhanced their business in my eyes. I could not wait to get out of there. Our next port of call was Papeete, Tahiti. The city itself was like any other capital city with a French flavour. We did another ships tour down the West Coast. It was a nice way to see some of the island. We visited a grotto, a scared ground, and a botanical garden. We called into the markets to buy some souvenirs and found them to be quite expensive. $USD10 for a fridge magnet minimum. This was the same all over French Polynesia. I did get some beautiful unique flower arrangements for my granddaughters to wear in their hair. The next port day was Bora Bora. My destination!! I was up early because I was so excited. It was another beautiful day. I had organised a private tour for about 30 cruisers with Maohi Nui. We had booked nearly a year out to ensure we could experience all Bora Bora has to offer. 12 of us, 6 at a time, did a full day combo tour for $USD215 each which included going up the mountain in a 4-wheel drive for some stunning views, a drive around the island with commentary from Arii who was obviously proud of his country and culture. Up the mountain we visited an artist studio where I bought 4 beautiful hand painted sarongs for my family at home. They were not cheap but definitely unique and of good quality. The artist said it takes him 4-5 hours to paint each one. We then went down the mountain and boarded a 12-seater outrigger canoe with Teddy and Vaitiare and went snorkelling in a coral garden. So many fish all swimming around you. We were serenaded by ukulele as we were taken through the pristine waters to Patrick’s private motu for a true Polynesian feast of suckling pig cooked underground. It was melt in the mouth good! It was served with fruits cooked in the oven, two types of BBQ fish, a chicken and spinach dish and some salad. Cold drinks were supplied and included bottled water, beer, wine, soft drink and champagne. We ate with our hands as you do in Bora Bora from banana leaf plates. After lunch, Patrick performed his fire dance before we headed back to the outrigger to swim with sharks and rays, and that we did in 1-2 metres of water! It was thrilling. Finally, we headed out to the reef to swim in 40ft of deep blue water on top of sharks deep below. To top everything off, a mother and calf whale breached in front of our outrigger as we headed back to the port. What a day! Words are not enough. This day turned out to be the highlight of our month-long holiday. It’s a good idea to take water shoes, an underwater camera, and your own snorkels as we did. If you go to Bora Bora, do yourself a favour and tour with Maohi Nui. Vaitiare likes to book groups to make her job easier so use your roll call and organise things early with one person to do the planning. I do recommend the combo tour however only 12 people per day can do this. The other cruisers did the full day tour and Polynesian lunch minus the 4 wheel drive up and around the island and most raved about the day. All money is payable on the day in cash. The last port of call in French Polynesia was Moorea. It was very hot and humid. We booked the ships Capture Moorea photo tour. It was a lovely way to see the island from Belvedere Lookout and atop Magic Mountain. It was very majestic scenery. After we left French Polynesia, the weather changed. We had cold windy weather with 4 metre swells. They closed the top decks for a couple of days. I was rocked to sleep two nights in a row. The weather settled a little in New Zealand and remained cool till we reached Sydney. Fortunately, I heard of no one coming down with gastro. Unfortunately, many people including myself became unwell in the last few days of the cruise. Many people were quarantined due to influenza A or another virus going around that caused razor blade throats and a hacking cough. I am still recovering. I don’t blame Celebrity for this. The ship was kept meticulously clean and they maintained mandatory hand sanitising. It was just a consequence of many people in a confined space with viruses that were airborne and helped along via the air conditioning when everyone was forced inside due to inclement weather. Despite the illness, I had the time of my life!! I met so many nice people to share my time with. I can now tick off Bora Bora and hope that you can too one day. It really is paradise. Everything else on this remarkable voyage was a bonus. Tours Hana and Haleakala Helicopter Exploration ++++ Discover Tahiti’s West Coast +++ Maohi Nui- Bora Bora ++++++ Capture Moorea- Photo tour ++++ Auckland- Hop on Hop off bus and the Skywalk +++ Bay of Islands- Island and Cave Adventure ++ Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We did the Tahitian Treasures Cruise on Solstice from Honolulu to Sydney for the second time now. We enjoy seadays and chose Aqua Class because of the breakfast in Blu and access to Persian Gardens. Dinner in Blu is a nice plus and we are ... Read More
We did the Tahitian Treasures Cruise on Solstice from Honolulu to Sydney for the second time now. We enjoy seadays and chose Aqua Class because of the breakfast in Blu and access to Persian Gardens. Dinner in Blu is a nice plus and we are happy to report that the food has been significantly better compared to our Blu experience from last year! Our cabin 1543 showed some wear under the roof on the balcony (visible and rusty holes) beside this, it was kept extraordinarily well by our steward Santan. He was incredibly hard working and we can't praise him enough! Overall the ship is still in very good condition - just the seats in the theatre desperatly need a new padding and one hot chair in Persian Guardens seems to be out of order for more than 1 year! We love seadays and we have immensely enjoyed Brent Nixon's lectures and those of Mary Amanda (B. Nixon's wife). The Hawaiian enrichment where enjoyable and authentic, but we had the feeling, that they have just been squeezed into the daily programme without very much attention - which resulted often tin conflicts with other important programme points. Too bad, because our tutors where hard working and overly friendly and helpful. The shows where hit and miss, often very good and spectacular, but then noticeably cheap (repetetive jugglers and the comedian was not funny at all) and boring. Our cruise director Richard and his sidekick Tim where more entertaining than the jugglers and comedians of the main program. Food in Blu was outstanding all the way and Ocenview Cafe always offered an incredible offering of various food and we always found something delicious there. The crew is exceptionally hardworking and overly friendy - with one exception: Guest Service who had a different attitude: "No, you customer are wrong, we can't help you" and we could always feel that they where afraid that complaints could lead to potential refunds (which we never asked for). We dined twice in Murano - top notch from beginning to end and being helped by Sandra was like being guest at a friend's home! She's a gem! We also dined twice in Sushi on 5 and where excited about their offerings that had nothing to do with Sushi! We enjoyed the Lobster Ramen, the Lobster Wan Tan and in particular the Ramen Sliders (Wagyu burgers). Having booked the dining package for 4 nights in advance, Sushi on 5 and Murano gave a very good value for money. All meals in Blu where excellent and beyond what we have experienced last year, the staff around Tanja where absolutely outstanding and it was just like returning to family. It really was that good! We did read a lot about Celebrity diming down and to be honest (with the exception of the lack of the daily 2 bottles of water) we could not sense anything compared to last year - quite the opposite: Everything was slightly better compared to last year. One negative thing: We had to leave ports in Bora Bora at 6:00, Moorea at 5:00, Auckland and Bay of Island at 6:00. Keeping in mind the tender times, this all left not enough time at the destinations and we have heard complaints, that Celebrity excursions left viewpoints before sunset just to be right on time back on the ships. These stays should be longer (and have been mostly longer in the last year) to enable guests to enjoy more of these phantastic destinations. Another niggle: Last year, we had an Hawaiian Farewell show with Hula dancers of all ages (particularly the little boys and girls where just adorable!!!) - nothing like that this year and we really missed it! All in all, it was an almost perfect experience and we can highly recommend cruising on Celebrity Solstice! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
My wife and I had twelve prior cruises under our belt, but had never done a re-positioning cruise. The "Tahitian Treasures" cruise from Honolulu to Sydney via French Polynesia and New Zealand sounded like just the ticket for our ... Read More
My wife and I had twelve prior cruises under our belt, but had never done a re-positioning cruise. The "Tahitian Treasures" cruise from Honolulu to Sydney via French Polynesia and New Zealand sounded like just the ticket for our inaugural re-positioning, and we were not disappointed in the slightest. The Solstice, although the oldest of the Solstice class ships, is still relatively young (in service since 2008) and is in tip-top shape. Everything is sparkling clean, in good working order, and we didn't see anything that showed signs of wear and tear. Our stateroom was reasonably spacious for two, as was the veranda. One thing I liked was that the bed frames were high enough off the floor to easily allow our 29-inch suitcases (and we had four of them since we were staying on in Australia after the cruise and needed clothing for a couple of climate zones) to fit underneath them. There is also a nice-sized couch in addition to a small but functional desk. The large TV provided for easy viewing and the controls worked well. Storage space was adequate, but just barely. More drawer space would have been nice although I'm not sure where it could have gone. One minor complaint is that the safe was in a less-than-convenient spot, requiring you to get on your hands and knees to operate it. At least there was a safe, however, which we think is a critical piece of equipment for storing passports and other valuable. This was the first time we opted for Celebrity's "Select Dining" rather than having a fixed dining time and fixed seating assignment, and we found it worked quite well. Being able to eat when we wanted was very convenient, and allowed us to select the time that best worked relative to shows or other activities that we wished to see. We never had to wait for a table, and although the tables are relatively close together, it afforded us the opportunity to meet some very nice people while also avoiding the situation, which has sometimes occurred, of being seated for the whole cruise at a table with people with whom you have nothing in common. Also, over time Celebrity has cut back on the selections available in the main dining room, and we found that on some nights where there was nothing that compelling on the main menu we enjoyed the more relaxed atmosphere of the buffet in the Ocean View Cafe. Food quality was uniformly good in the main dining room and the Ocean View Cafe. We also tried three of the premium restaurants -- Silk Harvest (Asian fusion--nothing particularly impressive), Murano (continental--limited menu but excellent quality and superb service), and Tuscan Grill (Italian/steak house--good amount of choices, also with excellent quality and service). We found the entertainment on this cruise to be somewhat better than on other Celebrity cruises we have taken in the last couple of years. There was a good variety of singers, comedians, and production shows. We particularly enjoyed Ivan Rutherford, who for many years was in the Broadway production of Les Miserables, and Nikki Barrett, an Australian singer. The singers, dancers and band really put their all into the production shows. Although we enjoyed some of the shows more than others, we never for a moment felt that any of the cast were putting less than 100% into their efforts, even though by this point (they were all near the end of their tours) they must have done these shows any number of times. The only entertainer we were a little put off by was a juggler who, although quite talented, made a number of comments we thought were a bit too edgy for an audience that included some (although granted not a lot) of children. Special mention goes to one of the bands, Jeam Beam, who we thought did an excellent job with every genre of rock, pop and contemporary music. Service was exemplary. We don't know how they do it day in and day out, but one thing we have found on every Celebrity cruise we have taken is that to a person, the crew is friendly, cheerful, and anxious to please. Being a re-positioning cruise, there were lots of sea days, but we never felt bored or as if we were going through the same routine day after day. There were a variety of activities to keep us busy, and plenty of time to just sit, relax, and read if that's all we wanted to do for the moment. We enjoyed all the ports of call and the shore excursions we did, although Papeete on Tahiti was something of a disappointment--a bit grungy around the edges. Bora Bora and Moorea were excellent, and we highly recommend the Aqua Safari on Bora Bora--you put on a diving helmet into which air is pumped under pressure so it keeps the water out, and you can walk on the sea bed 15 feet below the surface, surrounded by hordes of tropical fish. A truly memorable experience! Moorea was scenically magical--very reminiscent of Bali Hai in South Pacific. For some reason, it has been dropped from next year's itinerary for this cruise, however. Would we do this cruise again? In a heartbeat! It was one of the best we've ever done. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was one of the all time cruises we wanted to do, Hawaii to Sydney via Tahiti. for the ports of call the cruise rates a 5 how can you not like Bora Bora, Moorea, Hawaii. But this review is all about the ship experience. The Cabin ... Read More
This was one of the all time cruises we wanted to do, Hawaii to Sydney via Tahiti. for the ports of call the cruise rates a 5 how can you not like Bora Bora, Moorea, Hawaii. But this review is all about the ship experience. The Cabin The Cabin Steward was fantastic got us a bed underlay and extra pillows on the second day, the bed was uneven my side was higher than my wife's, had a 4K cabin 4139 which had opening French doors before the refurb in May which they replaced with a full glass non opening window, a bit disappointed. Food The Lido deck has 4 food stations 3 of which have the same things for Breaky/Lunch the other has a choice of toasted sandwiches, there is also a omelette area which becomes Pizza at lunch and dinner, there is a Taco station and a burger station as you enter the pool area. The MDR had seating for breaky , Lunch , Dinner Did most of our eating in the MDR as the Lido deck was always crowded and the food was not that good looking, all I can say to Guy ( Guys Burgers ) is come to Australia and the local takeaway will show you how to make a good burger !. The food in the MDR started of very well for the first 4-5 Days and then went downhill, cold meat overcooked tasteless chips, and you could not trust the description on the menu. Thankyou to our MDR Waiters Entertainment 19 days and only 3 shows by the onboard singers/dancers , 3 different Magic acts, the one really disappointment is they have done away with a live band and all the acts perform to recorded music. Lots of trivia throughout the day but the areas where they where held did not have enough seating so unless you got there 30min before forget it. and on the subject of trivia, why do people cheat just to win I don't get it. The entertainment staff where great ( thank you Tiny Tim & Richie and ALL the others ) The Ship Is in very good condition with a bit of wear & tear here and there we where the Legend 2 years ago and the colours seam to be a bit lighter than then, if you want to get a hammock ect in the serenity area I think you need to sleep there !!! the public rooms where kept clean , the ship is very well laid out and easy to navigate. Overall we had a great holiday but would have rated it higher if the food had been better Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
had previously cruises NZ with Radiance and found the cabin clean, food great and entertainment sufficiently good to balance out the cruise. We had any time dining but found the windjammer food different menus good to suit our taste and ... Read More
had previously cruises NZ with Radiance and found the cabin clean, food great and entertainment sufficiently good to balance out the cruise. We had any time dining but found the windjammer food different menus good to suit our taste and we had the drinks package so good morning coffee, fresh juice and cocktails by the pool were all good. The ship was late leaving Hawaii but the sailing was smooth virtually all the way until we reached Sydney. The pick of the shore excursions was bora bora although Moreau was also very cool and we swam amongst the rays and small sharks. The entertainment was mixed and I guess I was not a fan of the ships host (and hostess) forgotten their names but they seemed to not be very genuine or funny - they did their jobs but that was about it. Overall the variety of entertainers was good. overall a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
This cruise was a long time in the planning and didn't disappoint. After spending 2 weeks in Canada and 5 nights in Hawaii, this was the perfect way to return home to Sydney calling at Pappete, Moorea, Bora Bora, Wellington and ... Read More
This cruise was a long time in the planning and didn't disappoint. After spending 2 weeks in Canada and 5 nights in Hawaii, this was the perfect way to return home to Sydney calling at Pappete, Moorea, Bora Bora, Wellington and Picton. Arrived at the Honolulu cruise terminal around 11.00am and although departure wasn't due until 10.00pm (actual 2.00am) we were immediately allowed to board and as usual cabins were available around 1pm. Signs indicated that the ship was full for this cruise so no cabin upgrades were available. We loved the size of Radiance of the Seas and found it to be the perfect size ship for this type of journey. Loved the central atrium area and the fantastic views from the Schooner Bar and Champagne Bar (our favourite and regular haunt for this trip). Food in all of the restaurants were of a high quality and variety. Highly recommend Chefs Table and Chops Grill. Entertainment was your typical fare with a number of theme nights and 3 formal nights. The crossing equator ceremony on the main pool deck was also great fun as was the atmosphere in the pub when we watched the live broadcast of the AFL grand final. The only downer was the cruse director and his wife (activities manager) who were very "American" and as a result his attempt at humour and interaction with the majority of the Australian guests on board didn't quite work. The highlight of the trip was the ship excursion we did in Moorea (motu picnic tour) where we got to snorkel and swim with reef sharks and rays and provided with a fantastic lunch including drinks on a private island overlooking the lagoon. The other highlight would be when we hired an electric buggy and drove around the island of Bora Bora. Would definitely do this cruise again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We spent one week in Waikiki before our cruise back to Australia. We had a great time. Boarding the ship was super easy. Never been easier in fact. I’m a celiac so I was worried about my food choices but the dining room team looked ... Read More
We spent one week in Waikiki before our cruise back to Australia. We had a great time. Boarding the ship was super easy. Never been easier in fact. I’m a celiac so I was worried about my food choices but the dining room team looked after me. I don’t think there were as many choices in the windjammers. Coffee has improved a little. Room attendant was amazing as always. I don’t think there was as many activities to do on board unless you were prepared to pay. The shore excursions were overall good though expensive. The interior of the ship was nice everything easy to find. The digital cruise compass near the lifts was good if you forgot the paper compass. I think there was too much paperwork left in our cabin most of it is very wasteful. The beds could do with new mattresses. At the end of the day I love cruising and it’s hard to find complaints. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We are a couple in our early 60's, newly retired. We have done this itinerary twice before. Each time the cost is higher, but the # days is shortened. This was a B2B cruise for us, since we boarded the ship in Sydney Australia for ... Read More
We are a couple in our early 60's, newly retired. We have done this itinerary twice before. Each time the cost is higher, but the # days is shortened. This was a B2B cruise for us, since we boarded the ship in Sydney Australia for the TransPacific repositioning. We stayed in the same cabin (9616), and had the same fabulous cabin steward (Boren Franover), so we were very happy with the stateroom. The service on the ship was great, as usual. Most of the staff goes out of their way to be friendly, answer questions, and to provide a wonderful experience. Instead of our usual Early Dining, we opted to try My Time Dining this cruise, in order to free up time to watch sunsets and sailaways. We made reservations for dinner times in the MDR, but didn't have great experiences with that. The first night, we were seated at a table with others who had reservations for a 1/2 hour before us, and had to wait until we arrived in order for the table to be full enough to order. The second night didn't go much better, so we opted to eat in the Windjammer Buffet after that, except for one night in Chops Grille. The buffet, Park Cafe and steakhouse were excellent food, and the sunset views on the aft deck were an added bonus. The first 4 days were port days (Honolulu, Lahaina, Kona and Kauai), so the Meet & Mingle was held on day 6. It was not well attended, and very little mingling happened -- a real disappointment after the previous cruise from Sydney. The port day in Hilo was cancelled after the volcano erupted and the earthquake happened. RCI substituted a day in Victoria instead at the end of the cruise. Victoria is a great city and we had a lovely day, but we would rather have had another day in any other Hawaiian port. We live in Greater Vancouver, and having paid a premium price for a Hawaiian cruise, we weren't thrilled with the substitution. Entertainment on this segment was mostly a repeat of the previous cruise, so we didn't attend many of the shows. Instead we saw more of the game shows in the Colony Club, and played pool on the self-levelling pool tables. We also spent more time trying to improve our mini-golf skills, doing puzzles and working out in the gym. The weather from Kauai to Victoria was cooler and rocky the first few days, making poolside lounging unappealing. Due to a medical emergency, we picked up speed and arrived in Victoria the evening before planned ETA. The one bonus to stopping in Victoria was that we were able to clear Customs in Victoria and avoid the Customs lineups in Vancouver, where 3 other ships were also docked at the same time. Kudos to Alex (Activities Director) and Sophie (Activities staff) for their tireless enthusiasm in running activities, contests and games to keep us entertained. I would consider doing this cruise again, but only if the duration is restored to 12 or 13 days, and if our favourite Hawaiian port of Hilo is restored. That last part, of course, is up to Mother Nature, and beyond RCI's control. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We booked this cruise while we were sailing on Empress of the Seas to Cuba. We have sailed with this line several times before, with Celebrity and RCL ships. In every instance except for this one, the cruises have been excellent. NOT this ... Read More
We booked this cruise while we were sailing on Empress of the Seas to Cuba. We have sailed with this line several times before, with Celebrity and RCL ships. In every instance except for this one, the cruises have been excellent. NOT this one. Cruise was from Hawaii, around the islands, ending in Vancouver, BC. 10 days. We had been to the islands 35 years ago and wanted to get back to see the changes. Sailing dates were May 3-13, we flew in a day early to catch up on Honolulu sights which was a good thing, should have come in two days early or more. Pearl Harbor was outstanding(not a RCL feature) We were scheduled to board at 12:30, got to pier at 12:15, checked luggage and then lines started. Did not get to cabin until 2:30 at which point we were told that cabin was not ready and would not be ready until 3:30-4pm. That was the first clue. Finally got to cabin at 4, luggage arrived at 7pm. we had dinner at 5:30. Ship was full, 2500 guests, wait staff was stretched. We had a table for 4, but our waiters also were serving three other tables, 2 tables of 10 and one table of six. Guess who came in 4th. Seriously understaffed in Dining room. This was true for entire cruise. Maui was next day, Tenders in, very small harbor, we were fortunate, to get out early, later passengers were not able to get off the ship due to congestion in the harbor. It got worse later when all the tours that had gotten out came back at the same time. The line for the tenders was 90 minutes in the heat, and 500 yards long. Oh and it was formal night, we did not get back to ship until 5:15 pm, not a lot of time for changing and cleanup. Big Island was day 3, Tenders again, I had an accident getting into the tender-what a fiasco, nothing from RCL, Sitting in the tender bleeding from the knees, and the only comment from staff was to ask what was my cabin number. Went to infirmary to get it checked out, Medical staff was great-but as I walked out of infirmary, I was accosted by one of the security staff who proceeded to interrogate me and tried to criminalize the incident. By the way, he had a body camera on him and was filming the entire interrogation., When I complained to the desk, the response was "we apologise for the inconvenience" Next stop Kauaii, that was on a pier and the visit was excellent. However at Kauaii and also in Victoria, BC, I was now subject to "special attention" whenever I reboarded the ship. I wear an external brace on my knee, so I got "wanded and patted down" each time back to the ship. I did bring this up to RCL on two occasions, first on board the ship where there was no response. Second directly to RCL via the website, there has been no response to date. I am completely baffled by this indifferent or even vindictive response by the staff to a guest. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
We have sailed Celebrity Solstice class ships several times before, but we chose this itinerary as our first trip to Hawaii. Overnights in Oahu, Maui, and ports on both sides of the big island were much enjoyed. Our last day in Hilo we ... Read More
We have sailed Celebrity Solstice class ships several times before, but we chose this itinerary as our first trip to Hawaii. Overnights in Oahu, Maui, and ports on both sides of the big island were much enjoyed. Our last day in Hilo we experienced two earthquakes about 1/2 hour apart while on a bus tour in Volcanoes National Park and its environs. It was great and very exciting. All our excursions were from Celebrity, and all were well organized. We had one guide on the island of Hawaii, Anthony, who was very knowledgeable and entertaining. We actually enjoyed him on 2 separate tours. We learned a great deal about the history and geology of this island. I also really liked the "Beyond the Podium" lectures that were offered on the 5 sea days, especially the ones about the art of the south Pacific. I joined the choir, directed by Isaac, and had a great performance on our last night of the cruise in Victoria, B.C. A great way to get back to Canada! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Embarkation was quick and easy compared to recent large ship and midsize ship embarkations. After arriving at the cruise terminal in Honolulu, we were guided to our line for our cabin class and we walked right to the counter. After ... Read More
Embarkation was quick and easy compared to recent large ship and midsize ship embarkations. After arriving at the cruise terminal in Honolulu, we were guided to our line for our cabin class and we walked right to the counter. After answering the quick health questionnaire our photos were taken and we were escorted to our cabin by ship's staff. Twenty minutes from unloading at the dock and getting to our cabin. Disembarkation was the also the easiest we have ever had as the Destinations Manager escorted us off the ship, to our luggage and then to our awaiting car to take us to the airport. Our suite was well appointed with only the sofa cushions showing some wear, otherwise the Suite was perfect. Dining at Luminae, Tuscan Grille, Morano and Sushi On Five was the best dining we have had in terms of quality and variety on any ship. Michael's Club, where after the first night the bar tender knew our choice of libations and the string duet and the classical guitar entertained was our favorite spot before dinner. The service on board was excellent from the butler, cabin steward, to the whole staff at Luminae, Sushi On Five, Tuscan Grille and Morano, we did not want for anything. We had chosen some interesting shore excursions including the Road to Hana and the Pineapple Plantation on Maui, the Atlantis Submarine in Kona as well as the Glass Bottom Boat and we recommend those excursions. The most interesting shore excursion, and it was a matter of timing, was the visit to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, and hiking through Kilauea Iki Crater as the plume from the Kilauea Caldera rose behind us. The 5.1 earthquake which occurred while we were in the crater and brought rock down from the crater sides was pretty exciting and then experiencing the 6.9 earthquake while at the Jaggar Volcano Overlook topped off the day. It was a matter of timing! I will add, that we never felt in danger as the guides and the rangers were well trained and safety came first in dealing with the guests and the situation. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Of our many cruises, the one we took years ago on the Noordam is the only one we cannot remember. Having sailed her again, we think we understand why. It was a plain vanilla cruise, good vanilla ice cream, just not exciting or ... Read More
Of our many cruises, the one we took years ago on the Noordam is the only one we cannot remember. Having sailed her again, we think we understand why. It was a plain vanilla cruise, good vanilla ice cream, just not exciting or tremendously memorable. Embarkation was reasonably fast and our room was ready, which was appreciated. The first glitch happened when we decided to leave the ship briefly to look around the area. No one mentioned that the US government now requires picture ID to reboard ships in US territory. The port agent, not a HAL staffer, asked our cabin number, checked it against a manifest dating to five hours before we had boarded, and refused us boarding, despite the valid cruise cards around our necks. We instructed her to call the ship, and she reluctantly took their word for it that we were paying cruisers. So, if you are in the US, bring picture ID anytime you leave the ship. Boat drill was mildly bizarre with our officer sounding like someone from Costa Concordia as he said that if we should hear the abandon ship whistle, to stay in our cabin “and not get in the way.” We hope that was a lack of English skills, but that would be eerily “Costa” too. Oh dear. The main dining room gave us a good table, a good meal and reservations for the rest of the cruise. Oddly, they put us at different tables every night for a few nights and then assigned us back to the window table with waiter Rana for the duration. Since that was the best of our various tables, we were pleased. Noordam has a marvellous “walk right around it” walking deck. Only the Westerdam’s, which has drinking fountains, is better. There is no more smoking on the walking deck, which is lovely. It’s too bad that they take away all of the chairs and cushions so early. It wouldn’t cost a cent to let passengers enjoy that deck for another hour every night. Our cabin was the old style with lots of storage, though drawers were mostly at floor level. It wasn’t HAL’s fault that our balcony neighbours talked loudly, non stop, which made conversation or reading, or even listening to headphones, impossible. HAL’s Achilles heel, though, is plumbing. Whether it’s a single bucket catching a leak from the ceiling on Westerdam or what seemed to be sewage being vacuumed up in a corridor on Maasdam years ago, a HAL cruise will always have some plumbing issues. Usually the cruise is good enough that it doesn’t really matter. Our cabin had issues with lukewarm bathwater, a dripping shower head, a tub stopper that neither kept the water completely in nor let it drain completely out, and a troublesome toilet. We finally got one acceptable bath on the last night by turning the water to the hottest possible setting and running the water at half volume. Theoretically, by the way, the tub drain works by turning the coverplate on the overflow, and the shower diverter must be pulled up and also turned. There is no nightlight in the bathroom, but they are often too bright anyway and a phone works well. We did appreciate that the room was set up so that nobody had to have the bright light from the hall that shines in from under the door in their eyes as they lay in bed. When you have experienced this, it is delightful not to experience it. Breakfast in the Lido was always a disappointment. Things were never quite ready, never quite up to scratch. There was no evidence of any management presence. Goodness knows what they were calling whipped cream, but it was a lot like the whipped butter, which was not much like whipped butter. A breakfast in the restaurant was the only way to get a decent waffle, warm and crisp and with something like real whipped cream. Lunch in the Lido was another story. At lunch, management was visibly in action and they ran a tight ship, so to speak. Food was ready, hot, and reasonably tasty. Selection was fine. The Asian and the salad bar were always good. Sugar free ice cream, which is often freezer burnt on cruises, perhaps due to low demand, was so good that we wondered if the amaretto really was sugar free. Those strange little mousse things that always show up in sugar free were actually tasty a couple of times. This is not something that many cruise ships can do. The Dive In and Pinnacle were both as good as they claim. Except for the back deck, the Lido staff are very good about offering drinks but didn’t aggressively push the booze, which was appreciated. There is no hard selling anywhere on this cruise, which is another very large plus. On the negative side, you couldn’t get a good scone at tea, and one day we couldn’t get a table for two. They were “out” of them. We never saw the lava cake, (one of the best desserts at sea) and not once, but twice we had bar staffers banging on our door wanting to exchange items they didn’t want in the bar for items from our mini fridge. We wouldn’t have minded except that they acted more like SWAT teams taking down terrorists than people wanting favours. It was not smooth. On the upside, the macaroons in the Explorer’s Lounge, a.k.a. Library, were wonderful. There were more books than we have seen in a cruise library in many years. We got an okay scone there one day, too. The two rooms are large comfortable, quiet, and much used. Because it is still on the third floor, they haven’t messed with the Crow’s Nest. The ship, itself, is hard to beat. So, with this excellent old ship, why was it just a good cruise? One thing that seriously impaired our comfort was the nearly toxic cleaning product that was lavished on our cabin twice in an eight day cruise, so clearly it wasn’t carpet cleaner. We have no allergies, but it made our cabin very unpleasant for hours even with the balcony door open for ventilation. Anyone with allergies or even sensitivities would be sick. This is another thing that wouldn’t cost a cent to fix and could well keep us from sailing an otherwise great cruise line again. The Noordam is a great ship, but with a few problems and no pizzazz, though the chocolate surprise night was a nice try. It was a good cruise, but not much more memorable than our first cruise on the Noordam. Like the bathwater, it was better than lukewarm but just didn’t quite hit the mark. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
While overall the cruise was pleasant because of the itinerary and the friendliness of the crew, If I had it to do over again I would choose a different cruise line. We have taken a large number of cruises and our history with Carnival ... Read More
While overall the cruise was pleasant because of the itinerary and the friendliness of the crew, If I had it to do over again I would choose a different cruise line. We have taken a large number of cruises and our history with Carnival has been hit or miss. We decided to try again because of this itinerary. When I filled out the necessary information for my boarding pass documents they had me pick a time to board, saying "if you miss your assigned boarding time it could result in you waiting in line". We arrived 15 minutes early and there were probably between 750 and 1000 people in line and no one had started going through security. It took over 2 and a half hours to accomplish the boarding process. After the Sydney to Honolulu portion of this pacific crossing Carnival changed the smoking policy on the ship. the casino went from non-smoking to all smoking. There is inadequate ventilation for this and the casino was virtually unusable for most of the cruise because of the pervasive cigarette smoke. The smoke also came out into other areas of the ship like the colossal atrium bar area. Carnival also cut back on the number of cabin attendants, assigning our cabin attendant 35 cabins. He gave us a choice when we boarded to have our cabin serviced either in the morning or at night, not a huge deal but definitely a reduction in service. Although the dining room food was good some nights, it was not consistently good and the service was incredibly slow, again because of staff reductions and the number of tables each team was assigned. The second night took over 90 minutes to get food and 2 and a half hours to finish the meal. The cabin attendant and the dining room staff were incredibly friendly and I have no complaint against them, I just think Carnival is stretching their staff too thin and it is affecting service. The entertainment on the ship was excellent as were the variety of things to do on the ship. The cruise Director, Jen, is one of the very best we have encountered in our 40+ cruises. The air conditioning didn't work well in our cabin and I reported it to the Cabin Attendant before we left the ship for a day in port. In addition to not working well, the adjusting dial was being held on the thermostat by a band aid. Not my band aid, it was there when we boarded. If you removed the band aid the dial fell off. The dial was useless in adjusting the temperature as it was not connected to the thermostat directly. When I got back, the room was still hot so I called him again, He thanked me for reminding him and he called maintenance. When we returned from dinner there was a small tent card on our bed that read "The Air conditioning has been checked and is functioning to Carnival standards". The band aid was still there. I took a picture of the thermostat and took that as well as the small tent card to Guest Services who called maintenance back again. They finally replaced the entire thermostat and the air conditioning worked fine after that. The only reason I can see for the liberal smoking policy is increased profits. I would have been happier with at least non-smoking sections of the casino, or a non-smoking half.. even though that is like3 a non-peeing section in a pool when you don't have adequate ventilation. I do however feel like Carnival has chosen profit over my health and comfort and I will choose another cruise option in the future. I called post cruise guest relations when I returned and the agent assured me that this is the policy on all of their ships. They used to have a non-smoking ship, the Paradise, but according to her "It didn't work out". Carnival is striving and fast becoming the Walmart of Cruises. I will not be back. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
Everything was good except in the main dining room. Was nice to see tablecloths still there but I believe they are going away soon. There was no teamwork in our section of the dining room and was very stressful to watch. The dining rm was ... Read More
Everything was good except in the main dining room. Was nice to see tablecloths still there but I believe they are going away soon. There was no teamwork in our section of the dining room and was very stressful to watch. The dining rm was advertised at lunch as opened until 2:30 so when we arrived at 1:30 they were not very pleasant when we showed them it said 2:30 and they insisted that kitchen was closing at 1:30. After alittle rudeness they did let us in. The mentalist was awesome, lots of activities on board. Great music. Jen the cruise director was everywhere. Don’t know when she slept. First time we tried the French doors and it was great having light. I choose the location carefully and was great. Look for ones between 2 lifeboats. Good views. Miss having the outdoor screen as well. The Redfrog beer is good and not expensive. On the last Saturday night all the musicians had a jam session in the pub and it was awesome. So many talented people. Looked like they were having a blast as well. This was one of the highlights for my husband. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This was our first cruise on Oceania. The itinerary hit several of our bucket list locations and we had always wanted to sail on a small ship, so booking was kind of a no-brainer. The prior cruise had been hit with the Norovirus and ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Oceania. The itinerary hit several of our bucket list locations and we had always wanted to sail on a small ship, so booking was kind of a no-brainer. The prior cruise had been hit with the Norovirus and the first 5 days the crew was working overtime on sanitation (less service for the passengers). We totally understood that and with a 24-day cruise assumed we would have exemplary service many days. Next problem - we were unable to stop at either Cabos San Lucas or Guatemala due to an emergency medical evacuation several hours out of Kauai - the right call by the captain. Unfortunately, we found the service to be lacking throughout the entire cruise. We were never able to get through dinner in less than 2 1/2 hours and twice it was over 3 as the dining room staff at all of the restaurants was exceptionally slow. The only way around this was to eat in the Terrace Cafe and we much prefer a restaurant to a buffet. The service in the pool area and other reading/conversation "nooks" was also very poor. The ship had one server for to cover very large sections. No matter how good, no server can give great service when their section is too large. That said, our stateroom steward and her assistant were absolute gems, the Terrace Cafe also had some "shining stars" and the hostesses and hosts were very good. The food was the best we have ever had aboard any ship. The library and card/game room was exceptionally well stocked. Over all, we enjoyed our cruise tremendously. However, we found the level of service no better than we can get on other lines, the entertainment in the show lounge was sub-par, and the casino was almost non-existent. We will probably never sail Oceania again. The additional cost to cruise with so few passengers is not worth the level of service we found and the lesser entertainment. 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
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

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