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941 Los Angeles to Hawaii Cruise Reviews

I love their motto "Come Back New" and I came back new. The cruise from LA to Hawaii from 11/4 to 11/19 was refreshing, relaxing, and totally awesome. Everything yes everything was perfect. I slept better on a very ... Read More
I love their motto "Come Back New" and I came back new. The cruise from LA to Hawaii from 11/4 to 11/19 was refreshing, relaxing, and totally awesome. Everything yes everything was perfect. I slept better on a very comfortable bed in a very comfortable room. I swam in a pool where I could swim laps which is my main form of exercise. My cabin was on Lido which is deck 14. Close access to the gym, the pools, the sun decks, and the food. I walked along a very nice walk path on deck 15. I watched sunrises and sunset from deck 15. The dining experiences were fantastic. The nightly shows were like Broadway. It is an incredible peaceful experience to cruise four days at sea out to Hawaii. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets and the sky full of stars. Spiritually I made some life decisions on where I wanted to go and what I want to do. I came back new. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I traveled with a group of ten people to the Hawaiian islands on my first ever cruise. I wasn't sure what to expect going in, but I know for certain that I've been spoiled for any other type of travel. Cruising with Princess is ... Read More
I traveled with a group of ten people to the Hawaiian islands on my first ever cruise. I wasn't sure what to expect going in, but I know for certain that I've been spoiled for any other type of travel. Cruising with Princess is truly the definition of royal treatment. The attention to detail was unlike anything I've ever experienced, from simple details in the stateroom to the above-and-beyond treatment we received from the dining room waitstaff (which, with such a large group, does not go unnoticed). The staff and crew were welcoming and well-informed from day 1 to our disembarkation. There was something for everyone in our group. Singing, dancing, shows, trivia, spa treatments, eating, shopping, tours, sitting quietly with a book. All of the entertainment was top-notch, the game shows were memorable, and the activities always got us laughing. We were well-prepared during our stay thanks to the information and printouts Princess provided. I especially appreciated their own miniature version of a morning talk show, the Wake Show. It was a fun way to start the day. I expected a 15 day vacation with my entire family to push me to exhaustion, but that wasn't the case. It was actually bittersweet to leave because we'd met some wonderful people and made friends with some of the crew and staff. It sounds corny, but Princess really does live up to their motto "come back new". Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Everyone was pleasant and helpful, the weather was good the seas were calm and the food was terrific. We especially enjoyed the naturalist talks and the Hawaiian ambassadors who taught us so much about the culture and history of Hawaii. As ... Read More
Everyone was pleasant and helpful, the weather was good the seas were calm and the food was terrific. We especially enjoyed the naturalist talks and the Hawaiian ambassadors who taught us so much about the culture and history of Hawaii. As seniors who are very mobile we found everything easy to get to and participate in. We always enjoy meeting new people around the ship and at dinner. We always do traditional dining at 5:00 which works very well for us. We always enjoy the menus choices and enjoy trying new foods. Our waitress and assistant waiter were very kind and pleasant and gave us good advice for food choices and other things around the ship. We enjoyed going to crooners and having a glass of wine and listening to the different musicians that performed there. We also would go to vines and get a glass of wine and listen to the performances in the Piazza. There is something to do for everyone. We also enjoyed the dance band that played for the parties in the piazza. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I have very few complaints and even those are minor. This cruise had something for all age groups, although clearly, the vast majority of the passengers were elderly. Daniel Oliver, the nighttime singer in the Crooner's Bar is an ... Read More
I have very few complaints and even those are minor. This cruise had something for all age groups, although clearly, the vast majority of the passengers were elderly. Daniel Oliver, the nighttime singer in the Crooner's Bar is an outstanding talent, both as a pianist and a vocalist. It was a 15-day cruise but the variety of entertainments, classes and lectures about Hawaii, dance lessons, cooking lessons, you name it was absolutely great. Tomas, our stateroom steward was a jewel. The MaitreD in the Club Class dining was exceptional. The embarking and disembarking process was the smoothest I've ever had. I have a few areas for improvement. In the casino, there were only 2 Buffalo Gold slot machines and the wait to use those was ridiculous. It's a popular game, they need more. The hamburgers were never hot. They were warm or room temperature. The cheese didn't even melt. I went to a lecture entitled future cruses expecting hear about exciting destinations, and instead it was a presentation on interpreting your cruise card and what to expect on a cruise. The lectures on Hawaii were great, educational, and poignant. A note of warning: The excursions fill up quickly! Don't procrastinate if there's something you want to do or it will be full. Last, I want to commend the captain. A passenger became critically ill during this voyage. We were 2 days out of Hawaii. The captain made an announcement that be was advised that the situation was critical and he was speeding with all haste to get to our next port. He apologized, but said the ride was going to be rocky. It was. We rocked, rolled, and lurched about the ship for two days. However, he got us to Ensenada 12 hours earlier than scheduled to try and save this passenger's life. Ambulances were waiting when we docked. I was very impressed with how they responded to this emergency. Finally, the food was outstanding with the exception noted above. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I chose this cruise for several reasons. With all that has gone on in my life these last two years, I really needed some time away. This 15 day Round trip Hawaiian cruise was perfect! I was worried about being on the water 5 days ... Read More
I chose this cruise for several reasons. With all that has gone on in my life these last two years, I really needed some time away. This 15 day Round trip Hawaiian cruise was perfect! I was worried about being on the water 5 days straight. Trust me there is plenty to do. Then you hit Hilo, now the fun begins. Oahu is an extended stay. The only bad thing was it was on a Sunday. The Cultural Center was closed. Beautiful Kauai is next. We chose the Mudbug atv all day adventure. Let me tell you , those 1000 Polaris are quick and torquey. Maui was total snorkeling to see sea tortoise. Boy did we! Lots! You can take the feeling of the cruise being over. 5 more days at sea is what you have. Aboard ship fun begins again. Now you have made some really good friends. A quick stop to Ensenada for a few beers and bring home a couple of warm cozy blankets always a must. Now you can cry. Back to Los Angeles. It has been a few days now since we’ve been back. I can’t wait for the next one! That will be 4/4/20. The 7 day Mexican Riviera onboard the Royal Princess. The ship itself; the Star, like the Grand is getting up there in age but she still was cooking around 20knts. The Crew was excellent as always. Friendly and courteous. The food... Now I know why Princess’ slogan is “Come back new”. Ya, a new size. All in all it was well needed time away. The demographics on this cruise is slightly more mature for my taste but all were friendly and kind. I would definitely recommend this cruise. It is well worth it! Ratherbecrusing 11/19 Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We have taken the Star Princess on our last 3 cruises. One to Alaska and two 15 day cruises to Hawaii. We have always stayed in the mini suite section on deck 9. On the first two cruises the the accommodations were adequate, and the ... Read More
We have taken the Star Princess on our last 3 cruises. One to Alaska and two 15 day cruises to Hawaii. We have always stayed in the mini suite section on deck 9. On the first two cruises the the accommodations were adequate, and the various crew members made the experiences worth coming back to Princess. This latest cruise was a different experience. Again we were located on deck 9 cabin D602. During our cruise the ships crew decided to remodel the cabins on deck 8 during this cruise so we were subjected to the pounding, scraping, scraping and hammering one expected to find in a construction zone. At first we thought it was repair work on the ships. As the cruise progressed we found it annoying and would leave our cabin for extended periods of time. When it finally came to a head we complained to passenger services. The response I got from them was even more surprising, they seemed unaware of the remodel work being done below our cabin and sent a hotel manager to our cabin to investigate when he arrived the remodel crew had stopped for the day and he reported back there was no noise. What infuriated me more was the condescending way we were treated as though we were lying about the noise. At the end of the cruise we were talking with other passengers located on our deck and they had experienced the same noise issues. Items The we noticed needing service was the balcony door was extremely difficult to open. I could not open and had to have my husband open it each time. However, when we complained the maintenance crew came right up and fixed it. For the remainder of the cruise it worked. However, at the end of the cruise we could tell the door again was getting difficult to open. The issues we had with the ship condition was items not working such as the climate control it would either cook you or freeze you we could never find that happy medium. In the Horizon Court one of the ice machine, broke early in the cruise which required the crew to bring large pitchers full of ice in and if the servers were not available (which turned out to be most of the time) the passengers had to “man-handle” these pitchers to get ice for their drinks. Many times ice was spilled on the floor and tops to the pitchers were dropped on the floor. In the dining room the staff did the best they could to make the experience enjoyable. There were a number of time we observed the dining staffs in all eating areas cutting corners such as leaving unused items such as plates, silverware etc. on the tables for the next guests to use. When we confronted the management about this they immediately cleared the tables and put down new utensils. It makes you wonder if the cruise line is concerned with maintaining sanitation. They try and make you wash your hands each time you enter the eating areas and yet half the time the water faucets did not work and the passengers just got frustrated. As the cruise progressed many of the passengers quit using them. Over all the ship needs a major overhaul in both the passengers cabins and in the crew (not as friendly or helpful as prior cruises). Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We go to The Big Island twice a year and stay on the Kona side. This year we decided to cruise to the Islands rather than fly. It took getting used to not having any internet while we were at sea but we got used to relaxing, learning ... Read More
We go to The Big Island twice a year and stay on the Kona side. This year we decided to cruise to the Islands rather than fly. It took getting used to not having any internet while we were at sea but we got used to relaxing, learning about art, learning about the islands from presentations from a naturalist, laughing with comedian Steve Caouette and meeting new people. Our first stop in Hilo. we enjoyed the Land of Fire and Ice excursion but made the mistake of eating at a food truck during our break for a quick lunch. My husband got horrible food poisoning that reared it's ugly head that evening. Our room steward told me to report it to the medical staff immediately so they could help him. BIG MISTAKE!! The put my husband in quarantine in our room! So we were unable to make our pre-paid planned excursion to Pearl Harbor & Mighty Mo and the following day's excursion on Maui. If I had just packed Imodium, we could have treated his food poisoning on our own and not involved the ship's medical staff!! We are new to cruising so we didn't know the complications of notifying the medical staff of such a treatable illness. LESSON LEARNED. At least Princess refunded our cost of excursions and paid for a lovely dinner at The Crown Grille for my husband and I for our inconveniences. We still enjoyed this cruise immensely. We would much rather stop on the Kona side of the Big Island but liked all of the other stops and felt the amount of time spent at each island was a good amount of time. I think we will try booking our own day trips rather than use Princess's excursions now that we know there are options. Princess handles the embarkation and disembarkation very organized and it works very well as long as the passengers pay attention to the directions given. Our room steward left a print out with instructions of how to proceed on the the day of disembarkation that made it all so easy. We were amazed there were still people who didn't know what to do! There were luggage porters available when we got our luggage making it easier to get our luggage to our car in the terminal. Everyone on board the Princess Cruises from the first person at our embarkation to the activities director, to our room steward to the person at disembarkation were friendly and so very helpful. It was a very cheery atmosphere. We couldn't help but have a great time! We are learning the tips about how to enjoy our cruises. This was our second cruise with Princess and just heard about CruiseCritic. Everything else on the cruise was great. We met some lovely people. We really enjoyed leaving out of Los Angeles since we live in Long Beach, CA. We will definitely cruise with Princess to the Hawaiian Islands and also hope to try a cruise to the Panama Canal! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The Star Princess is showing the age that she has. Overall, she is still in good shape. But the Crew! They are what made the trip. The Asst. Cruise Directors Molly, Dan, Roxy, and Oz were the best. Always with a smile and a funny quip to ... Read More
The Star Princess is showing the age that she has. Overall, she is still in good shape. But the Crew! They are what made the trip. The Asst. Cruise Directors Molly, Dan, Roxy, and Oz were the best. Always with a smile and a funny quip to start your day or night off. Funny, Funny games always. Our two servers, Benny and Mario, were always there to help us get whatever we wanted and when we wanted it. Great with the suggestions when we were not sure of the food that we wanted to try. In the photo gallery, the trio of Marita, Illia and Patrick were very understanding of what we wanted in our pictures. The light was always right and the poses prefect. We had a Renewal of Vows for our 25th and the pictures were wonderful. The Officer Andrew that organized our Renewal of Vows was great. He looked after everything that we needed and could not apologized to us enough times. It wasn't even his fault. The Captain did not speak loud enough for my wife to hear and could not repeat after him as requested. As such, it ruined the video of our R of V. He made sure that we received everything that we were supposed to and even threw in some extras as for a sorry. The last one would be Milos, out Crown Grill waiter. He made the already great meal at the Crown Grill better. Milos was smart, witty and always taking care of us. My wife wanted to adopt him. It was a great, great trip and we could have not asked for a better trip. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Overall this cruise was very good but there were a few issues. The biggest issue was debarkation in Kona. The ship used their lifeboats as tenders. They were disorganized and many passengers were unable to get off the ship due to the ... Read More
Overall this cruise was very good but there were a few issues. The biggest issue was debarkation in Kona. The ship used their lifeboats as tenders. They were disorganized and many passengers were unable to get off the ship due to the short time in this port. I will recommend that if anyone is going to both Kilo and Kona that they just stay on the island overnight as the two ports are less than 2 hours drive from each other. Dining was good at dinner but breakfast and seaday brunch service was slow and many of the entrees were not hot and sent back to the kitchen. Seaday brunch menu was also recently changed and no longer includes pancakes and waffles. Cabin was good except for the fact that the balcony glass was filthy and you could not look see through it. That said, our cabin steward (Ida) was awesome! They played Hawaiian music for the entire 14 days so be prepared. After a few days most of the passengers were begging for some good old elevator music. Out of the two shore excursions that we booked in advance one was canceled and the other was modified. The modification made it impossible for us to complete our tour, which was a huge disappointment since we probably never get back to Hawaii. Embarkation and debarkation were both fairly smooth. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2709491-review-miracle-journeys-cruise-to-hawaii-oct-19-nov-2-with-pics/ Howdy all! My wife and I just recently returned from a two week journeys cruise on the Carnival Miracle to Hawaii out of ... Read More
https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2709491-review-miracle-journeys-cruise-to-hawaii-oct-19-nov-2-with-pics/ Howdy all! My wife and I just recently returned from a two week journeys cruise on the Carnival Miracle to Hawaii out of Long Beach, Ca. This was a bucket list cruise for my wife and I, and a new experience for us as we have cruised exclusively to Caribbean destinations prior to this. A note on pre-trip prep (and this will be a common theme for the first week of Vacation), I live on EST. My body does not care what day it is, or if I am on vacation, it just knows that I need to be up at 5:30 am, and by 9 PM I am rapidly running out of steam. Seriously, I am the type that goes to Vegas for conferences, and I am usually in bed at 7PM local time, and up, dressed, and at the poker table around 3 am. This became a running joke around my house in the weeks leading up to the vacation. If my wife and I were watching TV and falling asleep around 9:30 PM, I would look at her and casually mention that “In Hawaii, it’s 3:30 PM. That Luau you booked doesn’t start for another two hours, or end for another five…” As such, the Monday before departure, I stayed up to watch Monday night football (Lions/Packers) and got to bed around midnight. This didn’t work as I had hoped for, as I was still up at 5:30 am, and proceeded to drag butt through a day of work, frantic last minute travel stuff, and crashing around 9 on Tuesday…. Pre-Cruise Hotel: While a lot of people in our cruise critic group were staying at the Queen Mary, it just wasn’t for me personally. We decided to splurge a little bit and stayed at the Hotel Maya. It can get a little pricey when you start loading up on the upgrades (balcony, top floor, harbor view), but I do not regret it. The grounds themselves are simply fantastic. If you have the means, I highly recommend staying here for your pre-cruise night. We arrived at 1 PM and were a tad early for a room check-in. They stored our bags for us and let us use the free shuttle to head into town. My wife wanted to grab a few things (sunscreen, tide pods) and I was looking for 12 packs of soda. The driver dropped us off at a local super market where my wife quickly found what she was after, but alas they did not have my soda of choice. After walking a few miles up and down the main drag and stopping to grab a late lunch, I finally had to concede that finding a 12 pack of cans of diet mt dew was just not in the cards and I settled instead for regular dew (screw it, I’m on vacation!). Rather than call for the shuttle and wait for him to arrive, we decided to call an Uber back to the hotel (16 min/$12.37). We were pretty tired when we got back to our room, so we showered and relaxed on the balcony to read and communicate with people back home. From our room, we had a view of the current carnival ship in port (Imagination? Fascination?), and were able to watch it leave port. I think we passed out around 8 PM local time. Here’s the funny part. I got up later, convinced it was the morning of the cruise. I grabbed something to drink and went to the balcony to see if the Miracle was in port yet. It wasn’t, so I went back in the room, which was when I glanced at the clock. The time? 11:30 PM…. Departure Day (YEAH!!!) Wife and I woke up early (surprise surprise!), showered and got repacked. We ordered breakfast from room service (which was fabulous!), and relaxed and waited for checkout. Our check-in time for the boat was 12:30. We did have priority status, but I was not sure how far that would get us on a journeys cruise. We were initially set for an 11:00 shuttle, but instead of getting there early and risk standing in line for 90 minutes, I asked to be on the noon shuttle. We checked our baggage at the hotel, and walked the grounds, eventually coming to rest at one of the many outdoor patio areas, where my wife got in one last phone/internet fix while I read a few chapters. We eventually made our way back to the lobby, where I noticed several people with baggage and carnival luggage tags boarding a shuttle. Thinking it was our shuttle (turned out to be the 11:30 but they let us on anyway), we grabbed our bags and got on. I made a crack about “So, is everyone going to the aquarium?” which garnered several laughs, but confused the heck out of the one group that happened to actually be going to the Long Beach Aquarium. I got to chatting with a couple from Houston, and before we knew it, we were at port! (YEAH!!) Apparently they DO have priority boarding on journeys cruises. Upon handing our luggage off to the porters, a woman greeted us at the terminal, took a look at our tickets, and ushered us to a line with nobody in it. We breezed through security (though my travel luggage scale of all things, gave them pause), and we were on board inside of 10 minutes of being dropped off. We made our way to Lido to grab a bite and wait for the 1:30 room call. I found a new (to me) item that I really enjoyed – popcorn chicken! We grabbed a couch/table on the serenity deck and relaxed (carryon with two 12 packs was getting heavy!). At 1:30, we got the announcement that the cabins were open. We made our way to our room to drop off our bags and did a little exploring of the ship. Coming back to our room, we found my wife’s luggage waiting. My bag arrived shortly after, so we got unpacked and relaxed on the balcony for a bit to await the muster drill. I have to say, the corner vista suites on the spirit class ships are my new favorite rooms! It has a long entry way, into a living room, with a dressing room, a large bathroom, and a separate bedroom. Then there is my favorite part: the LARGE balcony! We had two loungers, two normal chairs, and a table, and there was room for double that! I spent a lot of time out there, both during the day and at night. Soon it was time for the muster drill. A muster drill on a smaller boat in October is a lot nicer than a large boat in June. It went quick, I wasn’t herded in like cattle, and I wasn’t slowly cooking in the sun. We were down, through the drill, and back to our room in no time. After watching the sail away from our balcony, we decided to explore the boat some more. We ended up in the skybox sports bar, where we watched some college football (Michigan/Penn State was the big game on). The sports bar is actually rather nice, but they do not utilize it properly (more on that later in the week). We then made our way to the MDR (we had YTD). We do not usually do the MDR, but decided to give it another try. Our experience this time did not change our minds. The service was not very good. It took a long time to get menus and a long time to get our order in. We never got the bread or water refills (we did not have a pitcher like on other tables), and the service was generally slow. I will say that the food was great! My wife tried a strawberry bisque, which was excellent (though I was sad to not see it again), and my roast was great. After dinner, we walked the deck, toured the boat some more, and then the “Time Zone Effect” started to kick in, so we headed back to the room and eventually passed out. The first leg of our cruise was four consecutive sea days. Before I begin, let me back up a tad. The day before departure I was reading the LA Times. They were reporting how the power companies would be shutting off power to some towns north of LA due to expected high winds over the weekend possibly knocking over power polls and starting fires. (Fast forward to the first full sea day). I slept like a log through the night, but when I got up in the morning, I didn’t feel right. I went out to the balcony, and my large balcony seemed awfully small. I felt like I was bouncing around pretty good, and could suddenly imagine, with clarity, exactly how it is that some people accidentally go overboard. I went back inside to take a shower, which proved to be very difficult as I had to cling to the safety rail with one arm and wash up with the other. I got dressed and tuned to the ship channel where I saw the ship reading 70 mph winds coming from our starboard-aft corner. We decided to try the sea-day brunch and headed down to the MDR, meanwhile I was feeling worse and worse. I ordered a standard breakfast (eggs, toast, hash, and bacon) which looked delicious. However, I took one bite of bacon, one bite of hash, and I was done. This was probably a smart move, since as my wife stated multiple times (while doing a poor job of hiding evil glee) that I was looking “green around the gills”. Her astute diagnosis was confirmed as we left the dining room and I saw faces that were sympathetic (and probably concerned for their own clothing) as I walked by. We decided it was probably best if we head to the carnival shop and pick up some Dramamine (They actually had Bonine instead). We took the “long” way to get there, by way of lido deck. On the walk, I noticed that all the pools were drained with netting over them. My sickness addled brain actually thought this was because it was mid 70s and too cold to swim. After obtaining the meds (there was a line of people buying the same thing), we headed back to the room, took the meds and had a seat. Now, I had never been seasick. I grew up boating on lakes in MI, and have taken several Caribbean cruises with no ill effects. This was completely new to me. I’ll explain it like this: it was almost identical to a bad migraine, with the very notable exception of having no light sensitivity problems (which was the only reason I was sure that it wasn’t a migraine). If you are reading this, you do not know me, but I can tell you unequivocally that what happened next was so NOT in line with my personality: I became miserable and despondent. I was bereft of reason. Ignoring the fact that rather large winds were buffeting the ship, I began to wonder if this was because we were at the back of the boat (had never booked there before), or if the Pacific was always like this (had never sailed it before). At one point, I actually had the thought (that I only later shared with my wife) that there was no way I was going to sail back from HI to CA for 4 days, and that as soon as we got to HI, I was going to look into booking flights back to LA. Yeah, it was bad. I eventually retired to the bedroom and lay down. This of course is when I began to worry that I was going to ruin the cruise for my wife, before I looked over to see her sleeping as well. This is when I finally gave in (note: not “up” but “in”) and I SLEPT! I now look at the whole sea sickness shenanigans as a blessing. For the first time in a few years, I actually felt rested when I awoke. The “time zone effect” was over for the duration of the vacation. The seas were once again calm and I truly began to enjoy my vacation. When speaking of this later with fellow passengers, the rumor was that we had over 20 foot swells, which sounds like a lot to my untrained ear, but the rest of the cruise was smooth sailing. The other three sea days were great! We did do some trivia. Saw some shows. Walked around the boat and just generally relaxed (and of course ate too much!). I discovered that the popcorn chicken that I loved so much, was actually full sized chicken tenders when you got them fresh, so that was my NEW new favorite. I tried a couple of times to get a Texas Holdem game going, but as usual on these cruises (with the computerized tables and the LARGE rake), there was very little interest. It just could not have been a more relaxing time. We had no internet, no TV, no Phone, work, email, kids, Facebook, etc. We just had each other. I know some couples that would dread this. For us, it rejuvenated, re-energized, and reinvigorated us to realize that we had nothing anymore to take our focus away from just being “us”. Anyway, on to Maui! I personally call the three islands we are visiting, the “Goldilocks Islands”. By that, I mean that Oahu has the bigger city, is slightly faster paced, and more touristy. Kona/Hilo seems slower paced, almost rural. Maui, on the other hand, to me, falls somewhere in between and is “juuust right!” There are some larger towns, and some wide open spaces. Large green mountains shoot through the clouds and into the sky to paint a beautiful backdrop. If I were to ever pull up stakes and move to Hawaii, the island of Maui would be my choice to plant my flag. Getting off the boat was quick, easy, and painless. The port is more industrial than it is touristy, and it showed. The “terminal” that you walk through is all gray metal and concrete. There is an area right outside the “terminal” where it looked like tours were meeting and cabs were waiting. If you are walking to the street to hit the stores (or in our case, the car rental agency), you have to continue on walking between fenced off areas to get to the main road and it is a bit of a hike. Our plans today were to rent a car and drive around. We had pre-purchased tickets to the Maui Ocean Center and had tickets to the old Lahaina luau for dinner. There are two rental car agencies right outside the port. The distance from the port entrance is about half of the distance from the cruise ship itself to the port entrance. I had booked a car rental through Enterprise months in advance. I would highly recommend this, as the price that I heard some paying in the lobby were 50-100% higher than what I paid. The process to get the car went pretty quick and smooth, especially considering the crush of cruise passengers flooding the agency. We made a quick stop at a gas station for a beverage, took a minute to get the top down on the car, hooked up the android auto app on my phone to the car for GPS directions, and we were underway! Which reminds me, if you are renting a car, be sure to bring a charging cord for your phone! Aside from the obvious benefit of charging, a lot of these cars need the direct connection so that they can integrate and display the turn by turn directions. First stop was the Maui Ocean Center. This is not a long drive from the port (maybe 15 minutes). Carnival had an excursion for this, but once it was decided that we were renting a car, we simply booked the tickets ourselves online. The Maui Ocean Center is an aquarium complex. If you are an aquarium junkie as my wife is, it has everything most aquarium complexes have, just a little bit more and a little bit better. There are loads of exhibits, both inside and out, with tons of colorful and interesting fish, as well as sharks, turtles, and everything else. They also have plenty of real live people around that were eager to answer questions and tell stories about what they do there. We also caught a 3-D humpback whale experience, which was better than I thought it would be. After the aquarium, we decided to head up the coast to Lahaina. The drive was awesome! I know a lot of people will talk about taking the northern route. This is not for me! That route is very curvy, with single lane roads. I have heard the views are great, but I would never know as I am sure my knuckles would be white and I would be too focused on driving to actually see any of it. I’ve seen the pictures, they look great, and that’s good enough for me! The southern route is a very wide, two lane road, taken at a leisurely 50 MPH. The views there are breath taking as well! As an added bonus, they have a couple of scenic overlooks where you can park and take pictures at leisure. Here’s another tip. If you decide to drive with the top down, and your hair is a little thin up top, either wear a hat or use some sunscreen! It was a tad painful brushing my hair for a couple days after…. We were a few hours early, so we parked in the downtown shopping district and did some walking. First we headed to the public beach. We did not do any swimming, but the walk was nice and the beach was relatively quiet. I had never seen sand crabs before, but they were in abundance here. I was simply mesmerized by how fast those suckers can move! We then proceeded to the shopping district. It looks like any touristy type shopping district you would find in the Caribbean, but there was one important difference. My wife found a shop that had a lot of flowery dresses. You know the type as they are all over every shop in the Caribbean (and my Wife’s closet), and usually go for $20 - $50. The first one she found, that to me looked no different than others, had a price tag of $1,300. Overall, I did enjoy the walk. The weather was nice and the town was hopping with tourists. Next up, was the luau we had booked. What Hawaiian vacation is complete without attending at least one luau? We did some research into this, as the official offerings from the boat seemed a little sparse, and we settled on the “Old Lahaina Luau”. It is a more traditional luau, with a classic show, and does not have the fire twirlers like you see on TV, so if that is a must have, this is not for you. However, I can tell you that it was fantastic! Book your tickets online as far out as you can, as they do tend to sell out. The luau was scheduled for 5:15 and we arrived a tad early. Upon check-in, they give you a traditional ley and escort you to your assigned table. There are around 70 tables, each holding about 8 guests, set in a semi-circle around the central stage. Before dinner begins, you are free to roam around the grounds, take in the various areas that show how coconut is prepared, poi is made, a talk on Hawaiian history, all while walking along the shore watching the sun set. Oh, and I should probably mention that they have an open bar with a rum punch that was great! In a bit of a statistical anomaly, seated at our table were 3 other couples all from the Miracle, 2 of which had vista rooms like ours. They were from LA, TX, and MI and were all very nice and the lively conversation made the dinner even better. Our assigned server had a long Hawaiian name, but we were told to call him “Tim”. He was extremely friendly and a great server. The dinner itself is served buffet style. It contained a bunch of different foods including fish, steak, chicken and poi, with rice and veggies, (all of which I made sure to try) but the main attraction was the pork! Definitely get the pork, it was so delicious! After dinner, they serve a tray with assorted desserts. The highlight for me was the banana bread with an in-house butter that was to die for. They give you a bag of bread when you leave to take with you, which became my breakfast the next morning. Near the end of the meal, and during desert, they start the show on the center stage. As stated, it is a traditional show, with dozens of talented dancers and was very captivating. I only grabbed one bad picture, but between the food, the show, and the lively conversation with my table mates (not to mention the rum punch!), I did not think to grab more pictures. When booking this luau, that is not Carnival official, you will get some naysayers telling you that you are cutting it close and you may miss the boat, etc. Allow me to give you an official timeline to help allay some fears and stress. The boat was set to leave port at 11:00 with a back on board time of 10:30. We left the luau at 8:12, calmly drove back to the port area, stopped at a Costco to fill up the tank, returned the car, walked to a Long’s drug store to buy another 12 pack (side note: Long’s is EVERYWHERE on the islands, like Starbucks in Seattle), walked back to the boat, took a quick shower and changed, and were sitting on our balcony by 9:32. Oahu Today, our plan was to visit Pearl Harbor, then do some shopping and hit up Waikiki beach for some swimming. We looked at doing the Carnival Excursion, but opted to get to PH ourselves. Tickets are purchased online for only $1 and you have to schedule a time to be there (we had an 11 AM time-slot). Our cruise Facebook group was most helpful in alerting us when the tickets for our date became available. Originally, before I became addicted to Uber, I was thinking of taking the city bus (“The Bus” as they call it on Oahu), however the ship had some kind of delay getting us released and everyone was late getting off of the ship. To complicate matters further, the line to get off was long and winding. We got in line in the atrium (which was where you got off and didn’t seem too bad), but then the line wound down the hall, through the casino (which caused a lot of non-smokers to complain and I understand), through the coffee bar lobby, into the theater, to the stage, back out to the lobby and all the way back to where you started, just to get off. Honestly, I thought the line moved along pretty well, but there was a lot of grumbling and a lot of people were nervous that they were going to miss their activities. I did hear that many did not make their appointment time at PH. Once we got off the boat and through the terminal (which is just as nice as Long Beach), we were able to grab an Uber just outside the doors. (25 minutes / $24.09) We arrived at PH with 15 minutes to spare. They do not allow you to bring anything in with you except your phone and a very small purse. They do have lockers available there if you do need them, but I would recommend that you leave everything on the ship. My wife just tucked her ID and S&S card in her phone case and we were set. At your appointment time, you are ushered into a theater where they show you a movie on the history of PH with a focus on the attack. I found this both interesting and moving. After the movie, you are then ushered to a small ferry boat that takes you out to the Arizona memorial. Your group gets dropped off, and the group that was there, gets on the boat to head back. You get about 20 minutes to walk around and read about the Arizona, before the next group comes and you are taken back to shore. Back on land, you can see the USS Missouri, the Bowfin submarine museum, and an aviation museum. When we were done, we grabbed an Uber and headed back to the ship. (26 minutes / $24.45) We had a late lunch on the ship, after which we put on our beach clothes and disembarked again. We grabbed another Uber and had him drop us off at the HRC (18 minutes/$13.20) so that we could grab the shot glass. From there, it was a short walk to the Beach. The beach area itself is nice (but definitely NOT Aruba!) and they have public facilities where you can change and wash the sand off your feet if you need to, and the beach itself was clean and was not awfully busy. My only real complaint about the beach is that in the water, there is a tide line of sharp rocks and shells which wrought havoc on my poor feet! It was fine once you crossed either going out or coming in, but I would definitely get a pair of beach shoes to go swimming. There is also a 3 foot drop off and a decent undertow to be aware of if you bring the kids. After swimming, we walked around town a bit and did some more shopping before calling an Uber to get back to the ship. (35 minutes/$15.59) That night, we had reservations at the steakhouse on board. I want to say that I very much enjoyed dinner. The food was excellent. The service was great. The Chef came out and talked to us for a bit (his wife worked on board as well). The environment in the actual room was great. The carnival funnel is tainted red and is translucent which paints the room in a warm red glow. My minor gripes were with outside influences. The first is that the steakhouse is on deck 10 and there is a walking deck just outside. Not a big deal, but it’s a little unnerving to look out at the scenery and have a passenger staring back at you. The second gripe I have is that the steakhouse is over the atrium and is open all the way down. This means that in the middle of dinner, you could be treated to sounds of pop songs being played by the band 10 floors below you. The music was not bad; it just was not in keeping with the atmosphere in the restaurant. Don’t read too much into my complaints as I had a wonderful time and would most definitely go back. Kona This may be helpful for those of you wondering about canceling Carnival excursions and what happens when you do. We originally had booked an excursion to the Kona Coffee factory. My wife is a bit of a coffee nut and thought it would be cool, and I was just along for the ride. Around two weeks before leaving, my wife had a change of heart, and decided that Kona would be a good shopping day and decided to cancel. She simply went online to our booking and cancelled. It could not have been too difficult, as I didn’t hear any complaining. Within 2-3 days, we received a FedEx envelope with a Carnival gift card loaded up with the amount we had paid for the excursion. Kona itself is a tender port. I had never done a tender port before, so this was an all-new experience for me. It got off to a bit of a rough start as first the ship was late, and then they determined that the sea was too rough (though it appeared calm to me)and needed to turn the ship 180 degrees. They also had a sort of lottery system to get off the ship. You had to get a number from a designated spot up on lido in the morning, and that would determine your time slot to get on a tender. When it was your time, you met down at deck 2, where they put you on one of the 5 or 6 lifeboats that they had running back and forth, and it took you to shore. When you were ready to come back, you just met one of the boats at the dock, and it took you back to the ship. Since the wife and I had no place to be, we didn’t bother to grab a number and just decided to hang out on the boat until the madness died down and we could get off at leisure. We finally went down just after lunch, and found that they were still calling the last of the numbers. It was not a big deal for us, we just had to wait in line for about twenty minutes and we got on the boat. I asked the pilot if he minded if I drove, to which he responded with a laugh but never actually answered the question. The majority of the people on the ship complained about it being “the worst tender process ever”, and that they really "botched it", and that may be true. Personally, my only issue was that it was hot and stuffy with very little air flow in the boat, but I was not in a hurry like others were. The ride only took about 10 minutes and we were dropped off at a dock near a shopping district. We spent about three hours walking up and down the street doing some shopping for souvenirs and such. I was told by fellow passengers that there was some very good food to be had there, but we did not personally eat anything. Again, the weather was great, and the views were good. There was a lot of interesting foliage to see up and down the street That night, we decided to go back to the MDR for the first time since the first night. This time, we were seated in a different section and it was a night and day difference. The service this time was awesome! The food was great, and everything was pretty close to perfect. The server gave us her card, so that we could ask to be seated in her section for the rest of the cruise. We did end up going back almost every night thereafter. I know some people did not like the decor of the dining room, but I enjoyed it and dubbed it the “grape hall”. Those of you that have been there know why, and those of you going will get it quickly. After dinner, we walked the deck for a bit. They had brought a “Mentalist” on board to do a show that night only. It was held in the main theater and was definitely worth the time. I had never seen a “Mentalist” show before, but he was very funny and had a pretty amazing routine. After dinner, we went back to our balcony to relax for a bit before falling into bed for the night. Hilo Hilo is actually the other side of the island from Kona, but it is another climate altogether. Where it hardly ever rains in Kona, it rains very frequently in Hilo. There is nothing to do what so ever in the immediate port area. There are two general stores (not even a Long's!) within a quarter mile and that is it. They do have a shuttle bus that took several passengers back and forth to the Walmart shopping area in town. If you are only going to take one excursion on the cruise, this is probably the best place to do it. This was the case for us, as we had booked a 5-hour tour of the area called "Land of Frozen Fire". I started my day by heading down to the sports bar after an early breakfast. We were not in port yet, and it was Sunday, and with the 6-hour time difference, that meant the 1 EST NFL games were starting at 7 am local, and I was hoping to catch some football. I knew from the start that the game I wanted to watch (Lions/Giants) would not be on, and it wasn't. They did however, have several games going on the TVs, so I took a seat to watch. After a while, I noticed that the Lions/Giants game was being shown on one of the smaller TVs, so I excitedly switched seats to get a good view. After about 10 minutes of that, the TV suddenly switched to the game that was playing on several of the other big TVs. I got the bartender's attention and asked if he could switch it back. He stated that he had no control over the TVs and they were controlled "somewhere else" (There was no word on if this "somewhere else" was on the boat, at Carnival HQ in Miami, or my wife with the clicker at the coffee bar messing with me). After he walked away, I glanced back at the TV and saw that it was now playing women's college volleyball. I left in a mix of frustration and disgust. Seriously Carnival, you have a somewhat decent sports bar area, do better. My wife collected me when we docked, and we headed out to meet the tour. The tour itself was on a 25 person mini bus, and was led by a 20-something local woman who had only left the island twice (to go to Oahu) and nowhere else. She was very personable and knowledgeable about the area, and an overall fun tour guide. I did get a kick out of her whenever she would say stuff like "back in the States" or "do you have these in the States?" She drove us through town, where she told us the history that was very much shaped by a couple of Tsunamis, before heading out of town and on to Rainbow Falls, where we stopped for some pictures and a bathroom break. There was no sun at the time, so we did not get a rainbow, but the area was still nice. We next ventured off towards the lava flows. On the way, she told us about 2018. Her tale included three earthquakes, mudslides, the lava flow, two tsunami warnings, and a false incoming ballistic missile warning (She definitely did NOT moonlight as a local realtor). We briefly stopped at a road that had been closed due to lava flow damage. It was raining, but the tour provided plastic rain ponchos for our use. It was a short five-minute stop and then we were off to a park nearby that was set up around the lava flows. We were able to get out there (there were bathroom facilities) and take the half mile hiking trail through the woods to look around and take some pictures. Next stop was one of the two “painted churches” on the islands. It is a small church that had been completely moved at some point (the reason currently escapes me), and was beautifully painted on the inside with beautifully maintained grounds on the outside. She next drove us down to the water’s edge, where the lava flows had met the ocean and had formed a sea arch. Along the way, we passed an area where steam was still coming up from the ground. At the sea arch, we parked and again were able to get out and walk around to take pictures. Next stop was a lava field which had a sort of pop-up shopping area next to it. I do not know how best to describe it other than that. We were given 30 minutes to look around. Some people went to walk the fields to the ocean’s edge, we went shopping. We bought a hand carved turtle from a woman selling out of a VW bus, walked by the general store and “restaurant” and entered a glassware store. I got to talking to the proprietor, which was a 50-something woman that was born in Wyoming, had lived in Florida, Texas, and California, and had somehow ended up on this very remote part of Hawaii. I would have loved to have sat down and heard her life story. Her and her daughter made most of the glass and ceramic pieces, and there were several local artists that had wood pieces, pictures and paintings that she put up for sale. My wife bought a couple of pretty (surprise surprise) coffee mugs, and paid to have them shipped to us via USPS. Our next (and last) stop on the tour was the Mauhna Loa macadamia nut factory. They had a café with hotdogs, drinks, ice cream and other things, as well as a store that sold MANY variations of nuts, chocolates, nick-knacks, etc. We bought a few too many bags of various forms of chocolate covered nuts, a bag of Kona coffee, and a few souvenirs, before getting back on the bus to head back to the ship. Once we were dropped off at the port, I briefly left the area to grab one last 12 pack before getting back on the ship. This was the smallest of the three ports we were at, but had the most security check points. We were stopped at the gate, stopped again at the terminal, run through a metal detector/x-ray combo inside the terminal, checked again before getting on the boat, then run through the Carnival metal detector/x-ray combo on the boat. It was not a big deal at all, I just found all the extra security at this port a bit odd. Once back on board, we took a quick shower and watched the sail away from our balcony. From a distance, you could see the many bands of rain hitting different parts of the island. We had dinner in the MDR that night, before doing our nightly routine, and enjoying the balcony for a bit before falling into bed. Sea days! I like sea days, especially sans children. I know some people do not want to be in the room and prefer being on deck, or out and about, but I actually enjoy relaxing on the balcony with a good book. I was actually able to finish off five books on this cruise. We actually slept part of one night under the stars on the balcony. That’s not to say that we spent the entire time in the room, as we did spend a good deal of time out experiencing the ship. We caught several sessions of various trivia. Caught the lecturer's shows on star navigation and camera usage. We played Clue. We caught the morning show with our cruise director Chloe (who was great by the way). My wife got more familiar with her barista, and I tried unsuccessfully a few more times to catch a poker game. They had a “throwback” day with eighties dress and a midnight buffet. My wife experienced a little melancholy on the first day as we were beginning our journey home, but got over it quickly after I pointed out that we still had seven days before boarding a plane and heading home. The most notable of the sea days was the fourth one, as it was Halloween. Passengers really went all out with their costumes. I really had to wonder how some people managed to get their elaborate costumes on board with a restriction of luggage space. For our part (and I SWEAR this was my wife’s idea), she was dressed in a pumpkin sweater with black shorts, and I wore a t-shirt that said “PETER! PETER! (I’m with pumpkin)”. Many got the joke and it garnered both laughter and a few disapproving stares, each reaction equally satisfying to me. I unfortunately did not get a picture of us in costume, but several of our fellow passengers did stop us to take our picture. If any of them happen to read this and can post, I would be thankful. Ensenada After the sea days, it was time for a day in Ensenada. My mindset, one that I am sure is shared with many, is that Ensenada is just a port added to fulfill the requirement of a foreign port, and not all that special. That aside, I was pleasantly surprised by our experience here. The day began with a little bit of excitement as it was announced that we were being met by the Mexican Navy who were delivering medical supplies for a passenger with a bit of a medical emergency. After a late breakfast, we went to the theater to catch the end of Clue and Chloe’s talk on the disembarkation process in Long Beach. Chloe mentioned that the shops on board would close once in Ensenda and would not reopen. Due largely to my wife’s shopping, we were in need of additional luggage, so we hit the shops to buy a wheeled Carnival duffel bag. While in the shop, I happened to look out the window and catch the sight of 20 to 30 dolphins that were jumping out of the water alongside the ship. We rushed out of the shop, and outside on to deck 3 to watch. After buying the bag, we headed back to the room to pack a little, and relaxed on the balcony to watch the ship pull into port. This is where we were treated to the second sea life event of the day: sea lions. You could hear them before you could see them. We first caught sightings of them lounging on the buoys in the bay, and then once at the port, there was a large group of them on the rocks. It was really neat to see –at first. By the end of the day, a group of about 50 had gathered near where the ship was tied, and had to be chased off. The sea lions constantly “barked” their disapproval at our presence. Seriously, it was constant and loud. Even as we left port that night, you could hear their barks echoing from miles away. You know how when you leave Vegas, you can still hear the sound of slot machines a day later? I swear I woke up the next morning in CA and could still hear their bark echoing. Getting on land was quick and easy. There is a little shopping area that you walk through when you come into port. If you are going no further, feel free to shop. Otherwise, I would recommend waiting to buy anything as I found prices to be slightly higher than you could find in town, and you will always have a second chance on your way back on board. For a nominal fee (I *think* it was $4 for both of us), we had round trip bus tickets into town. The bus brings you right into the heart of town where there is plenty of shopping to be had. One store had a vendor in it that was intent on proving everything was “real leather” by taking a lighter to it. There was a part of me that was morbidly curious if he would start a fire in the store. After leaving the store with some nick-knacks, a small leather clutch, and a hand-made bag with the “Patriot” logo on it (my wife isn’t perfect and was born in Maine so I am just happy that she now uses the letter “R” properly and we no longer have to go to the “bah” for a drink), we stopped at a McDonald's for some bottled water and to use the free Wi-Fi. We then walked down the street passed a park where they were having a day of the dead celebration, then back to our bus pickup. There were a couple of street vendors there that were a tad pushy. One saw my wife’s new Patriot bag and tried to sell her a bracelet with the logo. The price started at $5, then kept going down to $1. I finally found a dollar and handed it to my wife. She tracked the vendor down for the bracelet, and all of a sudden it was $5 again. We left with naked wrists. Once back on the boat, it was time to start the sad process of packing. We grabbed a late, light dinner up on lido (double bacon BLT!), watched from the balcony for a bit, then headed for bed. Debarkation Originally, we had flights for 12:30 PM out of John Wayne airport (Santa Ana). We received an email several months prior from American saying that our flight had changed to a 7:45 AM departure. Doing some quick math in my head, I was able to determine that would not work. We called American and had our flight switched to Sunday. I usually prefer a “buffer” day before going back to work, but it did give us an extra day of vacation. I see questions asked a lot on this board regarding if they can make X flight at Y airport. I will not answer this for you. What I will do is give you the timeline that we experienced. We decided to carry our luggage off ourselves, and had priority since we were in a suite. We left our cabin at 7:42 AM and headed for the designated meeting place (the main theater) on deck 2. We had to wait a little bit for an elevator that wasn’t already full, but we eventually made it to the theater entrance where disembarkation had already started. We kind of snuck in the line that was already leaving the theater and waiting for the elevator to take them up to deck 3. I kind of felt bad about cutting the line a bit, but I just didn’t want to haul the luggage up the steps, into the theater, then back down more steps on the other side. Apologies to fellow passengers. The line moved rather quickly and we were off the ship in no time. Customs may have been as easy as I have ever seen it. No declaration forms or anything. The Official just looked at our passports, asked us our birthdays, and waved us on through. Once outside, we called an Uber that quickly met us just inside the parking garage and headed off to our hotel in Santa Ana. By 8:25 we were passing the exit for the Long Beach airport. By 8:45, we were being dropped off at our hotel which was right next to the John Wayne airport. (34 mins/$38.12) Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
14 days to Hawaii- Lots of sea days, but they had activities. If no activity you slept, ate, read, gambled, drank, swam, sunbathed, or people watched. Ports---Hilo, Honolulu, and Maui were fine and we got to see what we wanted in our ... Read More
14 days to Hawaii- Lots of sea days, but they had activities. If no activity you slept, ate, read, gambled, drank, swam, sunbathed, or people watched. Ports---Hilo, Honolulu, and Maui were fine and we got to see what we wanted in our rental car. Hilo and Maui were industrial ports so nothing was near by the port. The shore excursions were more expensive over the Caribbean and Mexican Rivera ports Carnival goes too. We had found it cheaper to rent a car at each port and explore on our own. As for Kona it was a joke to get off and on. We only saw got to see what was near the Kona pier/port. The staff was unorganized and they couldn't get people on and off the lifeboats (that they used as tenders). Thankfully there was no real emergency and the life boats weren't needed, because they could not load us all properly that day. We will have to go back to Kona by flight, so we can actually visit the places we wanted to see. Staff--Our dining room staff was amazing (Christopher, Jeffery and Ni Made) as were the room stewards (Arnold and Tosa).The Hawaiian ambassadors (Temehani and Kalehua) were so kind, helpful and had tons of patience to teach Hula, ukulele, crafts, the songs, and the sayings. The Naturalist (Linda) was full of information and great! She was always on deck looking for wildlife, the stars, etc. Academy of Fun (Steven) was okay. He had some interesting information, but was so scripted and had same jokes time after time. Miracle----Ship needs some upgrades, but overall a nice size and layout. Ship was kept clean. They were always swiping the handrails, casino machines, tables, or moping the floors. Our cabin was clean and accommodated 4 adults. One day our phone was strange at 2:45 AM - 911 called and asked if we needed help?! Ummm, no we are sleeping since we go into port tomorrow!? After that call the phone quit working all together. I couldn't call guest services, so I just unplugged the phone and walked it to the desk. They sure were quick to replace/fix it! Entertainment---The shows were okay; we have seen them before, so nothing new. Fun Staff was okay. We didn't connect with any like previous cruises. Food---Who doesn't like 24 hour ice cream/yogurt?!?! The food was good. I didn't have any problems with flavors,etc. If you do not see anything on the dining room menu- order from kids menu, we did! Company---The cruise line states they are trying to be green. They have a sign to recycle your towels, ok we can do that! Yet they sent so many papers to remind you to purchase this and that- we got at least 2-3 papers a day plus the Fun Times! Also we took photos- we trashed a lot and never found some, so that was more trash. They need to find a better way to track your photos to your sail and sign card. Disembarkation in Long Beach ----was unorganized once off ship and in the terminal. We got our zone number called, walked off the ramp into the terminal to get luggage in the zone and that is where it went down hill. First we got in the wrong line for the porter because the sign was in wrong place. Once in correct place, we waited a while for a porter to come. Overall I enjoyed the cruise. I would go on a cruise again, but not to Hawaii. Need to explore other ports- maybe the Southern Caribbean, Panama Canal, Alaska or Europe. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We booked this cruise 18 months ago as a celebration of our 20th anniversary. Overall, we were satisfied with the ship and crew but were disappointed with the weather. This is obviously not something that Carnival could do anything about ... Read More
We booked this cruise 18 months ago as a celebration of our 20th anniversary. Overall, we were satisfied with the ship and crew but were disappointed with the weather. This is obviously not something that Carnival could do anything about and can happen anytime you go on a vacation. Most of our disappointments were due to this and had nothing to do with the ship or crew. Our stateroom was nice with lots of room for storage. Our balcony was not very deep however and it was difficult for a second person to get out onto the balcony when someone was already out there since the doors open outwards and don't slide. However, it was great to have the great big window since the cool, rainy weather kept us indoors. We could still see outside and enjoy what view there was. Only complaint with the stateroom was a lack of cold water. Water eventually became so scalding (even at lowest setting) that we had to have a plumber come. after that, the water would swing from cold as ice to scalding hot without touching the dial. We did report it so hoping they were able to get fixed before the next people moved in. Absolutely loved the deli and grill on Lido. Was nice to have options other than the buffet. Never tried the mongolian or tandoor. BBQ was good. Main dining was great. 10 of the 14 nights we were alone at a table for 10 so received awesome service. Staff was attentive without hovering. Lido staff was great. We only saw a few of the shows since our times were the 10:15 shows. Many nights we went to the comedians instead who were hysterical. Loved all of them. Gorgeous George does a great job bringing in talented comedians. The cruise director Lee and his staff were really great. There were a lot of activities available for the days that we were stuck inside. Although we did not catch any of them, there was a speaker there talking about Polynesia, animals, sea life etc. and she seemed to get a pretty good crowd for her informational talks. The ship was clean. Staff was friendly. Our shore excursions were good. We did a private one at Honolulu since the ship sanctioned ones sold out so fast. Wish we could have had more time in Kona and less in Maui due to the weather but obviously they have no way to know that in advance. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Overall, we had a pleasant cruise. In all fairness I do hold Princess to a higher standard than, say, NCL. We got the distinct feeling we were dealing with a crew where most were in training. They lacked attention to detail and ... Read More
Overall, we had a pleasant cruise. In all fairness I do hold Princess to a higher standard than, say, NCL. We got the distinct feeling we were dealing with a crew where most were in training. They lacked attention to detail and knowledge, which improved somewhat over the period of the trip. The ship was just not is the best shape. Rust stains were prevalent, and most of the trip included a rather unpleasant sewer smell near the bow and upper-exterior decks. Food quality and variety were excellent, with the exception of the poor coffee in the Buffet. There was always something going on. Bars were themed and very comfortable. Alcohol drinks reflected variety and creativity. Cabins were very comfortable, and housekeeping service was excellent. We really enjoyed the overall layout of interior and exterior public areas on the Ruby. There was no overall central large pool, instead a number of smaller, sectioned areas that allowed for cruisers with different tastes to gather. The same can be said for the sprinkling of Bars throughout the ship. Entertainment was very nice, but nothing wowed us like our first Princess cruise that included Jeff Dunham and an Elton John impersonator. Mark, the Naturalist, and Tiki Dave, the Cultural guy, were the best, being both entertaining and informative. We continue to be underwhelmed and mystified by the need for all the shopping and art auctions on board. Ports were fine. One change we would consider would be to rent a car, especially to visit the Arizona Monument. Our tour drove us there and left us for 3 hours. Since the tour bus got there last, we did not get to take the boat tour, then were stuck waiting as the monument grounds do not take 3 hours to see. Lahaina was the best! Just get off the ship and wander around. No need for tours. People were friendly, and local dining and shopping were plentiful and reasonable. Make a point to walk into Kohola Brewing for a pint of excellent beer. We are cautious about taking a third Princess Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The cruise was fabulous. Truly magical! My only complaint was that sometimes the toilet flushed and sometimes it did not. It was a system wide problem and Princess compensated us for our trouble. Still, it was annoying. The dining ... Read More
The cruise was fabulous. Truly magical! My only complaint was that sometimes the toilet flushed and sometimes it did not. It was a system wide problem and Princess compensated us for our trouble. Still, it was annoying. The dining was wonderful! Food was delicious and our waiter Aurelia and Asst. waiter Lido went out of their way to provide service that went above and beyond. The shows were quite nice. Some of the guest entertainers were not to our taste. They were good, but they played a selection of music that was designed for people in their 80s. Movies under the Stars was great and not too cold. Blankets were provided upon request. The Naturalist onboard was an interesting and engaging speaker. The guest lecturer spoke on Olympic games and the Nobel Prizes. He offered some unique tidbits of information and had personally met many of the people he spoke about. We only booked 3 shore excursions through the ship. One of them was for a tour of the Bishop Museum. Unfortunately, the tour was cancelled and no reason given even though it was listed as sold out. Sadly, we were not informed of the cancellation until 2 days beforehand. By that time most of the excursions were already booked so we had to settle for a less than optimal tour. The best shore excursion was snorkeling in Nawiliwili. The company took pains to keep everyone safe and to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves. Ensenada was both safe and fun. We took a locally operated 45min harbor tour through Juanitos (located right along the ocean walk) for $2,50 per person. It was a great deal and got to see sea lions VERY close up (within 7 feet of them). Overall it had a few bumps in the road, but was still a fabulous cruise and would happily do it again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Unfortunately, this cruise had several issues which made the experience less than optimum. This was our 43rd cruise, our 9th on Princess. We normally cruise on Celebrity, so we have something to compare. The overall cruise was very nice ... Read More
Unfortunately, this cruise had several issues which made the experience less than optimum. This was our 43rd cruise, our 9th on Princess. We normally cruise on Celebrity, so we have something to compare. The overall cruise was very nice with the following exceptions: (1) The "best internet at sea" was much less than the moniker would indicate! There were problems logging on, and even worse, logging off. The first day we used all 250 minutes while trying desperately to log off! To their credit, the minutes were restored, but the problems continued throughout the cruise. There were times when the service was extremely slow and others when it actually locked up. Could be a band width issue. There appears to be many issues which need to be addressed before this internet service is ready for prime time. (2) Two of the production shows were the same ones we saw in December on the Crown Princess and were good but not spectacular. The third production show was only thirty (30) minutes long with no costume changes or set changes. Singers and dancers were good as usual, but nothing exceptional. The Naturalist actually saved the day for us! He was interesting, knowledgeable, and in many cases extremely funny and personable. He was our highlight of the on-board entertainment. (3) Now for the main issue that soured the sweetness. The Anytime dining experience started out with 10-15 minute waiting times, which is acceptable for the first few days. During the middle of the cruise, the waiting times disappeared as one would expect. But on the final Formal Night (which, by the way, should be made OPTIONAL, since the dining room staff was allowing people in jeans and tee shirts in the dining room on all three Formal Nights!) we were told that the wait would be about 15-30 minutes. We were given a pager and retreated to the hallway outside the dining room where we waited FIFTY (50) MINUTES. We finally went to the greeter with our complaint and were escorted UPSTAIRS to the other dining room, where we were seated and then waited 10 more minutes before getting served. Apparently they were accommodating two (2) tables of $100.00 a plate "special diners", and it appeared that they were sorely understaffed to serve everyone. The lobster was tasteless and the usual cheerful wait staff appeared to be less than thrilled to be working that night! Very strange indeed.... Makes me want to rethink my cruise line choices in the future. Having trashed Princess, let me say there were pluses on board. Again, the Naturalist was our saving grace for the lecturers. The other lecturer was focused on Olympic history and was interesting for the first ten minutes, but after that worked the same as a double-dose of Nyquil for me. What the hell, one can always use a short nap on a cruise, right?!?!? The other highlight of our cruise was the Starlight Lounge, which I have commented on above. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My wife and I wanted a "special" trip for our 50th anniversary. We have been cruising for 40 years now and enjoy the experience. We elected to go to Hawaii and wanted a round trip cruise. That fact limited us to only two ... Read More
My wife and I wanted a "special" trip for our 50th anniversary. We have been cruising for 40 years now and enjoy the experience. We elected to go to Hawaii and wanted a round trip cruise. That fact limited us to only two cruise lines Princess and Carnival. The wife said to look at the trip as a celebration not a vacation. We thought since both lines belonged to the Carnival corporation the Princess cruise would be a little more upscale. We chose a Club Class Mini-Suite and air transportation arranged by Princess. The Club Class upgrade included Priority Boarding, I expected the same benefits as Carnival's Faster-2-Fun boarding. Not so, just a different check-in desk. No priority room preparation, no quick luggage delivery, no priority on excursions, and no speedier disembarkation. I'm sure Princess has a target cliental. If that is the case, my wife and I do not fit the criteria. As I said we were celebrating 50th years of marriage and are not all that young. However, we are young at heart, able to walk, like to smile, and do not believe the way to elevate your social stature is to belittle the ship's staff. We found a majority of the passengers were not smiling, used a cane or walker, were rude, and ready to complain about any topic. There were some great things on the ship in spite of the depressing overall attitude of many passengers. The Club Class dining venue was a shining star of service and attitude. Our cabin steward was excellent and kept the cabin in pristine order at all times. Maybe our expectations were just set too high. We expected to "Come Back New". We came back looking for a "Fun Ship". Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
There were four or five occasions where our toilet wouldn't flush. Tried calling Passenger Services but they never picked up so I called the room steward. Problem was fixed in a reasonable amount of time but it's unfortunate ... Read More
There were four or five occasions where our toilet wouldn't flush. Tried calling Passenger Services but they never picked up so I called the room steward. Problem was fixed in a reasonable amount of time but it's unfortunate that it happened at all. Also there were a couple of times the hallway near our cabin and the area outside Explorers Lounge had a strong sewer smell. Our head waiter David took excellent care of us. Our Jr waiter Angie was outstanding also. We enjoyed all the dinners we had in the Michaelangelo dining room. Horizon buffet had lots of good food. Sometimes it got a little busy but we could always find a table. Security check at embarkation was a long line but the rest went well. Disembarkation went well. We enjoyed most of the entertainment staff especially Scottish Ken. Also we had fun with the Entertainment director Gary, Jovi, DJ11 and Jerry. Our balcony cabin was decent (B606) and well kept up. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We had been on another cruise line in the Caribbean and wanted to see Hawaii again. We found the Princess cruise online the booking process was very easy,the cruise was 15 days from LA as compared to 7 days from Honalulu. All in all ... Read More
We had been on another cruise line in the Caribbean and wanted to see Hawaii again. We found the Princess cruise online the booking process was very easy,the cruise was 15 days from LA as compared to 7 days from Honalulu. All in all princess was a car better deal. The Ruby had been recently updated and we had no issues with our room, the cabin was well kept by the steward. We enjoyed eating in the dining room as often as we were able the food and service was great. The buffet was good and we are there on port days so we could have more shore time the buffet coffee was weak but the fresh brew In the international care was an improvement for 2 bucks a cup the pastries are free and the almond croissants and blueberry muffins should not be missed. In the pool area there is a pizzeria, I am from the NY area and am a bit of a Pizza snob, the thin crust was excellent and available 11 to 11 daily. The princess tours were early below average, our first tour to waterfalls on hilo was awful.later we booked a Roberts Hawaii tour through excursions group which was a Huge improvement. As a whole considering everything we will certainly travel with princess again the staff was great and the food was very good.(I am back home now and will be dieting so my clothes will fit again) Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Every year I cruise with princess, the cruise goes downhill a step each time. Things that were no charge now have an extra fee-deluxe hamburger now $5 extra, they have started to add pay extra items($20-30 each extra) to the bottom of the ... Read More
Every year I cruise with princess, the cruise goes downhill a step each time. Things that were no charge now have an extra fee-deluxe hamburger now $5 extra, they have started to add pay extra items($20-30 each extra) to the bottom of the menu because the selection of items on the menu in the main dinning room isn't very good hoping people will get to the bottom and see nothing really good and order those extra pay items. Many of the windows in the public areas are so dirty that you can hardly see outside. This was the first ship I have been on that closed the outside decks way too much. Even when the wind wasn't too strong they still closed the front of the ship so you couldn't walk around the ship. The selection of items at the buffet on Lido deck was poor. Pasta and chicken. Although breakfast was good. Many days at lunch we walked thru and found nothing that looked good. They did have the fasted internet of any ship we have been on. If you are a non-drinker, like us, they discriminate against you. Being elite status they give about $80 of alcohol drinks (mini bar in room, free wine tasting, captain party, etc) but for nondrinkers they offer nothing. We were told we could exchange the mini bar for a soda package or smoothies before we sailed but on board we were told that wasn't true. They did offer to exchange it for a bottle of water. Seemed like there was too many workers with an I don't care attitude. Everything evolves around drinking (because they make a lot of money on drinks) and you can get free drinks at various times on board. (at the art auction, Effy jewelry, champagne water fall night, etc. The arts and crafts activities were very limited in number and you had to get there way early if you wanted to participate. For us embarkation was easy. We arrived around noon and walked right into the ship. I did hear of others who said it was their worst embarkation. Over all the ship looks pretty good for as old as it is. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I guess their remodel lat year didn’t go well. Tv has frozen and gone out every 2 or 3 days. Toilets take 20 to 40 minutes to flush,if at all.they always apologize but that is not what we paid for.we are 3 elite captains circle members ... Read More
I guess their remodel lat year didn’t go well. Tv has frozen and gone out every 2 or 3 days. Toilets take 20 to 40 minutes to flush,if at all.they always apologize but that is not what we paid for.we are 3 elite captains circle members and have done this 15 day Hawaii cruiseover 10 times and never had these problems. I’ll never book the ruby again. Food was mediocre nothing to brag about.princess workers were great as usual only saving grace about this cruise...we were comped to a dinner at the new Curtis Stone restaurant ,I’m glad we didn’t have to pay the 90 dollars for 3 people because the crown grill is better!we expect better from princess maybe wait to book on the ruby untlll they get their act together?we are princess people but this was a very disappointing cruise ! Their new on demand system is like Netflix it’s great when it works? Things have to get better Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We are about to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary and wanted to do something special. We flew to Hawaii 13 years ago and spent two weeks on Maui and Kauai. We like cruising but have never been on a cruise over 7 days. We thought it ... Read More
We are about to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary and wanted to do something special. We flew to Hawaii 13 years ago and spent two weeks on Maui and Kauai. We like cruising but have never been on a cruise over 7 days. We thought it would be fun to cruise out of Los Angeles instead of flying this time. We booked a Club Class mini-suite accommodation. The embarkation process was a delight - efficient, speedy, the best experience we've had on a cruise line to date. We loved our room (described below). Our cabin steward was friendly, attentive, accommodating. He kept our room clean and our ice bucket stocked. We never experienced any toilet issues but unfortunately other passengers did. Club Class anytime dining was a special treat. Service was excellent, efficient and timely. Lots of delicious menu selections including chateaubriand, filet mignon, prawns, lobster, beef wellington to name a few. Our waiter was very knowledgeable and was constantly checking to make sure we liked our meal. Bar service was good. Alcoholic beverages were reasonably priced compared to other cruises we've been on. Overall the variety of entertainment was very good and there was always something to do. Unfortunately, we had unusually cool weather this trip. The pools were closed for the first 3 days of the cruise and we had fairly rough seas the second day. This put quite a damper on the outdoor activites. Time in the Hawaiian ports was too little but the 10 days at sea it took to get there and back was way too long. I would suggest flying to Hawaii and cruising around the islands if you like a cruise experience. However, I much preferred the 2 weeks we spent on the islands previously and wish we had flown again. I didn't come home feeling I had a Hawaiian vacation at all with our sight seeing limited by bad weather and lack-luster shore excursions. I booked our excursions ahead of time and wish I had waited till we were in Hawaii. I could have avoided being committed to an excursion despite the bad weather. Hilo waterfall and botanic garden excursion scenic but drenched in rain. Pali coastline excursion very disappointing. The Pali coastline road was closed due to a mudslide that occured the previous November. Why offer this exursion? Waimea and fern grotto the best excursion of them all. Haleakala excursion a bust. Road a bus up to top of mist enshrouded volcano. Couldn't see a thing. Why not cancel this tour on such a day? Maui Ocean center nothing special - suggest avoiding. Avoid the jewelry store. (I know. Who is foolish enough to buy jewelry on a ship but I found a piece I really liked). Store manager didn't follow through as promised with warranty information. Disembarkation the best we've experienced yet. Organized, timely, efficient. Didn't crowd everyone into a small area or force us to walk down crowded steps. Good control of crowds. Took airport shuttle provided by Princess and got to airport 3 hours ahead of flight. Would agree that this is definitely a cruise frequented by older adults. While many were disabled, the majority were active and lively. Overall would recommend this cruise based on food, service, entertainment. If you want a true Hawaiian experience, fly to the islands instead. It's hard to experience paradise just a few hours a day on a stop over while cruising. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was a fifteen day cruise. There were many days at sea.The ports in Hawaii are all beautiful. I did grow weary of the days at sea on the way over. We had a two bedroom suite, not as spacious as it has been on the other cruise lines. ... Read More
This was a fifteen day cruise. There were many days at sea.The ports in Hawaii are all beautiful. I did grow weary of the days at sea on the way over. We had a two bedroom suite, not as spacious as it has been on the other cruise lines. The ship itself is starting to show a little bit of age but is still in good condition. The theater was always crowded and if you arrived less than half an hour before the performance it was nearly impossible to get a seat. I believe this was true for both shows. For suite guests they have a new program, at least a new program to me, called Club Class. Part of the da Vinci dining room is set aside for suite guests, the service was very good some of the best I've ever had. The ports were all good and I even enjoyed Ensenada. I think that Princess is the only cruise line to offer selling form LA to Hawaii and back. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
After several couples mentioned how much they loved this cruise, we decided, along with 2 other couples, to take it and were absolutely delighted we did! It turned out to be above and beyond our expectations in every respect. Embarkation ... Read More
After several couples mentioned how much they loved this cruise, we decided, along with 2 other couples, to take it and were absolutely delighted we did! It turned out to be above and beyond our expectations in every respect. Embarkation was a breeze as was disembarkation. The service was extraordinary and the staff bent over backwards to accommodate your every need. Loved the ship, cabin, staff, food, activities, etc. So much to do on the days at sea that they flew by as we enjoyed participating in whatever we could manage to fit into our very busy schedule!! All the ports we visited were wonderful and we were most fortunate in having calm seas and beautiful weather throughout the trip. The entertainment was exceptional-especially the production shows along with all the other performers who took center stage as well as in the explorers lounge. Overall, just had a fantastic time and would definitely recommend it and most likely will do it again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
No Airplanes , stateroom great , Glen did a beautiful job. Beds great Bathroom and services were Excellent . I was in a suite and it was as usual excellent with water, ice ,fruit , canapés, kept full at all times . If we needed ... Read More
No Airplanes , stateroom great , Glen did a beautiful job. Beds great Bathroom and services were Excellent . I was in a suite and it was as usual excellent with water, ice ,fruit , canapés, kept full at all times . If we needed anything extra all we had to do was ask. no problems with anything in suite R 410 . I had seen many negative reports , that were not true. they did a complete flush of the whirlpool , which is done every 6 months. I found the service in Club Class to be beyond excellent, all very attentive . I found Lobster , steak, all on the menu at no extra cost, along with a great assortment. If you wanted a Steak or Lobster from Crown Grill they would get it for you with an extra charge. Breakfast every morning in Crown Grille was magnificent as always with Great service .Entertainment on deck 5 was great ,again as usual. We had excellent dinners in all venues, and I don't remember any tough steaks or... this was our 24th trip on Princess. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth. Ableseaman Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We didn't get a chance to explore LA not enough time the arrangement were great. The best part was the embarkation and disembarkation process was smooth it was about 30 mins off however smooth in total. The Ship, the Cabins ... Read More
We didn't get a chance to explore LA not enough time the arrangement were great. The best part was the embarkation and disembarkation process was smooth it was about 30 mins off however smooth in total. The Ship, the Cabins & Dining area were very clear and everyone was very polite and courteous waiting on us for our every need. We only made it to about 2 Entertainment shows our time was bad cause of our dining area arrangements. We were on anytime dining but it got changed to a late dining time that was disappointing.The Ports and Shore excursion were a little disappointing they were a little high for our budget. We didn't bring children with us however there were a few on this cruise which we didn't see much. We would do this cruise again but would have like to see the Whales. This was a huge celebration for us. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019

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