Absolutely no complaints on this cruise/ship. Staff was wonderful. We always tipped extra as they deserved it.
Pre-cruise stay at Hilton Hawaiian Village was very nice. Paradise. Nicest part of the beach. Didn't seem crowded at all. Clean rooms. Got food and drinks at the nearby ABC store. We had a really nice view from our balcony in the Rainbow Tower.
The ship was beautiful. We had priority check-in and were on the ship within 20 minutes. Everything went smoothly. Too bad to read about complainers that are so impatient about every little thing. I am sure they would not enjoy themselves no matter what. The bartenders were friendly and the drinks were good. Impressed with staff always wiping down railings, etc. and keeping things clean. Our stateroom attendant was also very friendly and was quick to get back to us on any request we had. Dining room and buffet staff were very nice and quick to take away your plate when finished. I was appalled at some cruise passengers who did not even acknowledge or thank the servers when they brought them something or cleared their table. The servers worked hard to please everyone.
We were celebrating our 25th anniversary, so I had pre-ordered our room to be decorated to surprise my husband. He loved it! Also, we got a $100 onboard credit, priority boarding and bottle of champagne. I'm not a big drinker, so the onboard credit was nice for me to spend on fancy slushy drinks. My husband got the select beverage package (beer/wine) and was quite happy with that convenience. It was also very much worth the $100 to rent a tux with shoes for formal nights. It was already in our closet when we got in our room. It also included two white shirts (two formal nights). We got to keep the tux during the whole cruise for one rate. He didn't have the hassle of packing his own tux and deal with pressing it.
The band Rockport was excellent. They could play anything and sounded great. The juggler comedians were hilarious, and the other comedian was also pretty funny. The 70s party was a blast! Danced all night. My husband especially loved the self-leveling pool tables. All ships should have these! We will likely sail on the other Royal Carib ships that have pool tables in the future. Game shows were funny and also liked that most events were just under an hour. Food and the service were great. We did not eat at the "specialty" restaurants, as I think it is a waste of money when food at the regular restaurants are already included.
Wish we could've stayed at some of the ports longer. But at least we know which islands we'd like to return to someday (Big Island and Maui). So much to see. We did not do any excursions from the ship. We reserved a rental car ahead of time through discounthawaiicarrental.com and rates were reasonable - under $35-40 for the day. It was nice to be able to go where we wanted, when we wanted. No trouble parking anywhere. On Kona side, Hapuna Beach State Rec Area had the best beach of all. On Maui, DT Fleming beach was also very nice. Also stopped at Poipu Beach on Kauai, but surf was too rough to swim, but still a very nice park. Loved the chickens everywhere! Hawaii Volcanoes Natl Park was great. We would definitely come back to explore more of that park. It was not hard to find our way around with our own car.
Glad to see many levels of security when going back onto the ship. So what if you have to wait in line - I'd rather be safe. Also noticed good security on the ship too.
We had such a great time and the only bad thing is that we had to go home! It was a truly relaxing vacation with mostly sunny weather - which we felt we deserved after an awful long Minnesota winter! My husband is now hooked on cruising, and if there are pool tables, it won't be hard to convince him to go again!
Clean room. Stateroom attendant did a good job. Loved the towel animals! Lots of closet space, bathroom mirror also opened up for more storage, and also the long mirrors on each side of the desk opened to store stuff. Store suitcases under the bed to make more room.
Reserved a rental car on most ports. Poipu Beach is very nice. Grassy area to picnic. Lots of wild chickens which we didn't mind (we have chickens at home). Visit the blowhole that isn't much farther down the road. Very lush island. Lots of flowers.
The only port we did not reserve a car because the traffic is horrendous. This is probably the only island we would not return to - just too populated, busy and too many high rises. Noted lots of homeless people. The resort areas and beach are very nice, but venturing into town we ran into more homeless people. I guess this port would be okay for the excursions and touristy spots. We took the city bus ($2.50 each) out to Diamond Head to hike up to the crater. That was worth the trip. Great views. Had a picnic there too. Only $1 to enter. Took a taxi back to the ship for $25.
Had a rental car for the day. Drove north up the coast. Loved the landscape of all the lava flows. Black crumbly lava all along the road. Very interesting. Would like to return to this island to explore more. Went to Hapuna Beach State Rec Area ($5 a car). Best beach of all. Not crowded. Very wide clean beach, calm surf, warm water. Shaded picnic areas with BBQ grills. Changing house and restrooms. Outdoor showers. We really liked this beach. Easy to drive to.
Got a rental car for the day. It was a little rainy off and on, but no downpours. Did not need a jacket. Drove up to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Loved it! Like driving through Jurassic Park - the ferns were the size of cars! Went to the visitor center - a must stop - to get the lay of the park and understand what it's all about. Creepy to think you are standing right over a "hot spot" on earth. Checked out the main vent and drove to Devastation Trail which was a nice easy walk. It led to an overlook of the lava lake (still cooling). We also walked the trail through Thorston Lava Tube. It is a circle loop trail. Very interesting. Wish we had more time.
Got a rental car for the day. Drove up the north west coast - very scenic. The blowhole was not doing much. Drove back down and stopped at DT Fleming Beach. Nice park. Nice picnic area too. Surf was too rough and people did not pay attention to the red flags or signs lifeguards had out. A lady had to be rescued from a rip tide. If she didn't have a boogie board to hang on to, she would have drowned. Lifeguard ran out with surfboard and dragged her in. Drove back to town and returned the car. Went back to the ship to eat dinner and headed back out to the island (tender). It would be nice if all ports allowed us to stay to 11 pm, this was the only late one. Walked around town and checked out all the shops. This is also a good spot to watch the sunset and get pictures of the ship anchored off shore all lit up. Would like to fly back to this island someday and do more exploring.