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The Cruise: This was a 15 day round trip from Los Angeles to Hawaii. There are four at sea days each way. I had not done this cruise before. It appealed to us because we would not have to fly anywhere (we live in the L.A. area) and we have always loved at sea days in the past. I had heard from others who had done this cruise that the first day out of L.A. would be cool, but then it would warm up and we could enjoy our balcony. As it turned out, temperature was not the issue. It was wind and sea spray that kept us off our balcony for 6 of 8 of those at sea days (see The Sea below). The good news is that the weather was beautiful once we reached Hawaii and we made all of our ports, which is not so easy in Hawaii. We have decided that we won't be doing this cruise again. At Sea days are great as long as you can relax on your balcony, not so great under Gale conditions. The Ship: The ship was beautiful. Everywhere I went service was excellent. We usually don't go to shows, or get involved with activities, so I have no opinion on entertainment. We never went to the casino Our Cabin: We had a regular balcony room on the forward section of the Emerald Deck. I love the Emerald Deck, the balconies are covered so no one looks down on us, and we don't look down on other people as well. Dining: We had late traditional dining. The service was exemplary. The food was very good, but I don't think it was up to the standards of my last Princess cruise  last January on the Sapphire. But food is a subjective thing. One couple at our dinner table really disliked the food. But, they were what I call queasy eaters. They didn't eat seafood of any kind, would not consider trying anything they weren't familiar with and ended up ordering a steak every night, well done. They wished the food was more Traditional American in nature. I did not care for any of the soups I tried, and most of the fish dishes were a little too fishy for me. I never ate dinner at the buffet, but those who did, told me it was not so good. I thought the breakfast buffet was quite good. Fellow Passengers: This was the most elderly group of passengers I have seen. My guess would be that more than 60% were over 65 and many of those were way over that age. There were quite a few 50+ people. But the group that was very under represented was the 18-30 year olds  I bet there were fewer than 50 of them on the whole ship (out of 1900 passengers). Someone told me, there were only 20 children on board. This was also a very formal group. I wear a tux on formal nights and I expected to be among a small minority of men doing so. But not this group. Most men wore tuxedos, and those that didn't, wore very nice business suits. I didn't see a single person that was dressed inappropriately. I heard there was even quite a few people in formal wear eating in the buffet. The Sea: This cruise was cursed with the worst sea conditions I have ever seen. The first day out of L.A. was calm, we had no idea what was waiting for us in the middle of the Pacific. I noticed even on this calm day that the ship wobbled more than what I have seen before in fair weather. Then came day 2. It started out just a little choppy and continued to get worse by the hour. The ships navigational information channel, channel 55, on our TV, gave the wind speed using the Beaufort Scale. When I first checked it was at Force 7 - Near Gale. Then I watched it go to Force 8 - Gale, then Force 9 - Strong Gale. Then finally it hit Force 10  Storm. That's winds 55 to 63 miles per hour. According to Wikipedia, Force 10 results in waves 29.5 feet high. The ship would create huge splashes as it crashed through these huge waves. Sea water continually splashed on our balcony and even our sliding door, making the balcony impossible to use. The ship also reported wave height, but I think they were trying not to alarm the passengers by reporting large waves. Although for about an hour they reported Rough Seas, most of the time during this storm they continued to call the waves Moderate. All the passengers were joking about the Moderate Seas afterward. My wife and I have never been seasick before, and had booked a forward cabin. That day my wife became seasick for the first time. That night was our first formal night. She insisted I go without her. I discovered that the dining room was almost empty. I think there were more waiters than passengers. There I sat wearing my tux, at an empty table - none of our table mates made it to dinner. Many people were seasick, but also many who weren't, thought it too dangerous to be walking around with so much violent motion. Although the rough seas were a little better the next day, we had a rough passage the rest of the way until we were protected by the Hawaiian Islands. Even then while moving at night from one island to another we would hit rough seas. On the return trip, the Storm was right there where we left it, and it wasn't calm until our last at sea day. So, of the eight at sea days 6 of them suffered from continuous Gale or worse conditions. The Ports: All of our ports were enjoyable, some more than others. We rented cars in all five Hawaiian ports. We discovered that some ports are better for car rentals than others. First, I will never rent a car again in any port that requires tendering. We had two tender ports Kailua-Kona (Big Island) and Lahaina (Maui). The problem with renting a car here is that because we are not booked on an excursion, we don't have priority status for tendering. Also most of the people on this cruise were Princess Veterans and had Elite Status, giving them tendering priority as well. We have not reached Elite Status yet, and it took forever to get off the ship at both of these ports. In Lahaina the ship arrived at 8 am, but by the time we got off the ship, waited for the car rental shuttle, stood in line at the agency counter, we didn't get behind the wheel of our car until 11am. The last shuttle back to the pier was 4pm so we had a max of 5 hours. Also, some port operators just made it easier for people to find their rental shuttles. Hilo and Nawiliwili (Kauai) were the best ports to rent a car from. And it turns out these were our favorite ports. The port of Honolulu, does nothing to make it easy for people to rent cars. There are no agencies near the pier, and it was confusing trying to find out where to find a shuttle to the airport rental agencies. But this is one of the best ports to rent a car because you have until 10pm to return it. I don't care that much for the congestion of Honolulu, so we drove to the North shore and found a beach that we had all to ourselves. Our least favorite port was Kailua-Kona, We would have preferred to have two days in Hilo and skipped Kailua-Kona. Overall Experience: Despite the bad seas, we enjoyed ourselves and it was a good cruise overall. Hawaii was beautiful and we visited some beautiful places. But we will not be booking a cruise like this again, that has so many at sea days in the open ocean. Previous to this cruise, we had considered making a Trans-Atlantic cruise, this is no longer something we want to do.

Island Princess - Hawaii

Island Princess Cruise Review by Tom O.

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2006
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
The Cruise: This was a 15 day round trip from Los Angeles to Hawaii. There are four at sea days each way. I had not done this cruise before. It appealed to us because we would not have to fly anywhere (we live in the L.A. area) and we have always loved at sea days in the past. I had heard from others who had done this cruise that the first day out of L.A. would be cool, but then it would warm up and we could enjoy our balcony. As it turned out, temperature was not the issue. It was wind and sea spray that kept us off our balcony for 6 of 8 of those at sea days (see The Sea below). The good news is that the weather was beautiful once we reached Hawaii and we made all of our ports, which is not so easy in Hawaii. We have decided that we won't be doing this cruise again. At Sea days are great as long as you can relax on your balcony, not so great under Gale conditions.
The Ship: The ship was beautiful. Everywhere I went service was excellent. We usually don't go to shows, or get involved with activities, so I have no opinion on entertainment. We never went to the casino
Our Cabin: We had a regular balcony room on the forward section of the Emerald Deck. I love the Emerald Deck, the balconies are covered so no one looks down on us, and we don't look down on other people as well.
Dining: We had late traditional dining. The service was exemplary. The food was very good, but I don't think it was up to the standards of my last Princess cruise  last January on the Sapphire. But food is a subjective thing. One couple at our dinner table really disliked the food. But, they were what I call queasy eaters. They didn't eat seafood of any kind, would not consider trying anything they weren't familiar with and ended up ordering a steak every night, well done. They wished the food was more Traditional American in nature. I did not care for any of the soups I tried, and most of the fish dishes were a little too fishy for me. I never ate dinner at the buffet, but those who did, told me it was not so good. I thought the breakfast buffet was quite good.
Fellow Passengers: This was the most elderly group of passengers I have seen. My guess would be that more than 60% were over 65 and many of those were way over that age. There were quite a few 50+ people. But the group that was very under represented was the 18-30 year olds  I bet there were fewer than 50 of them on the whole ship (out of 1900 passengers). Someone told me, there were only 20 children on board. This was also a very formal group. I wear a tux on formal nights and I expected to be among a small minority of men doing so. But not this group. Most men wore tuxedos, and those that didn't, wore very nice business suits. I didn't see a single person that was dressed inappropriately. I heard there was even quite a few people in formal wear eating in the buffet.
The Sea: This cruise was cursed with the worst sea conditions I have ever seen. The first day out of L.A. was calm, we had no idea what was waiting for us in the middle of the Pacific. I noticed even on this calm day that the ship wobbled more than what I have seen before in fair weather. Then came day 2. It started out just a little choppy and continued to get worse by the hour. The ships navigational information channel, channel 55, on our TV, gave the wind speed using the Beaufort Scale. When I first checked it was at Force 7 - Near Gale. Then I watched it go to Force 8 - Gale, then Force 9 - Strong Gale. Then finally it hit Force 10  Storm. That's winds 55 to 63 miles per hour. According to Wikipedia, Force 10 results in waves 29.5 feet high. The ship would create huge splashes as it crashed through these huge waves. Sea water continually splashed on our balcony and even our sliding door, making the balcony impossible to use. The ship also reported wave height, but I think they were trying not to alarm the passengers by reporting large waves. Although for about an hour they reported Rough Seas, most of the time during this storm they continued to call the waves Moderate. All the passengers were joking about the Moderate Seas afterward. My wife and I have never been seasick before, and had booked a forward cabin. That day my wife became seasick for the first time. That night was our first formal night. She insisted I go without her. I discovered that the dining room was almost empty. I think there were more waiters than passengers. There I sat wearing my tux, at an empty table - none of our table mates made it to dinner. Many people were seasick, but also many who weren't, thought it too dangerous to be walking around with so much violent motion. Although the rough seas were a little better the next day, we had a rough passage the rest of the way until we were protected by the Hawaiian Islands. Even then while moving at night from one island to another we would hit rough seas. On the return trip, the Storm was right there where we left it, and it wasn't calm until our last at sea day. So, of the eight at sea days 6 of them suffered from continuous Gale or worse conditions.
The Ports: All of our ports were enjoyable, some more than others. We rented cars in all five Hawaiian ports. We discovered that some ports are better for car rentals than others.
First, I will never rent a car again in any port that requires tendering. We had two tender ports Kailua-Kona (Big Island) and Lahaina (Maui). The problem with renting a car here is that because we are not booked on an excursion, we don't have priority status for tendering. Also most of the people on this cruise were Princess Veterans and had Elite Status, giving them tendering priority as well. We have not reached Elite Status yet, and it took forever to get off the ship at both of these ports. In Lahaina the ship arrived at 8 am, but by the time we got off the ship, waited for the car rental shuttle, stood in line at the agency counter, we didn't get behind the wheel of our car until 11am. The last shuttle back to the pier was 4pm so we had a max of 5 hours.
Also, some port operators just made it easier for people to find their rental shuttles. Hilo and Nawiliwili (Kauai) were the best ports to rent a car from. And it turns out these were our favorite ports.
The port of Honolulu, does nothing to make it easy for people to rent cars. There are no agencies near the pier, and it was confusing trying to find out where to find a shuttle to the airport rental agencies. But this is one of the best ports to rent a car because you have until 10pm to return it. I don't care that much for the congestion of Honolulu, so we drove to the North shore and found a beach that we had all to ourselves.
Our least favorite port was Kailua-Kona, We would have preferred to have two days in Hilo and skipped Kailua-Kona.
Overall Experience: Despite the bad seas, we enjoyed ourselves and it was a good cruise overall. Hawaii was beautiful and we visited some beautiful places. But we will not be booking a cruise like this again, that has so many at sea days in the open ocean. Previous to this cruise, we had considered making a Trans-Atlantic cruise, this is no longer something we want to do.
Tom O.’s Full Rating Summary
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