First, and foremost, I must complement the head waiter that I selected for this cruise, the chef and the kitchen staff. I have a significant number of dietary restrictions and therefore when we decided to take this cruise recognized that I may have to put up with a series of rather bland and uninteresting do at most land-side restaurants. This was definitely not the case. I had meal after meal of excellent dishes for dinners and the lunches that we had on board, most of them custom prepared, in order accommodate my restricted diet. I know that many times I had entire meals that were unique to me, and served nowhere else on board. The entrees, appetizers and side dishes were excellent. I always had a dessert that met my needs as well.
The standard fare included fresh breads and pastries prepared throughout the day, as well as unique gelatos and sorbets daily. My favorite breakfast quickly became the almond croissants hot out of the oven in the International café with a cup of fresh cappuccino.
The entire ship had recently completely a refit (about 18 months ago) and everything looked great. The 3-story atrium was beautiful and always filled with music. The piano bar, overlooking the atrium, featured 'The Scottish One', an exceptionally accomplished pianist and singer who shared his dry wit with us every night of this extended cruise and only began to suffer for fresh material on the last few nights, quite a feat for a 29 night cruise!
We made regular use of the walking tracks and fitness center on sea days. There was a bit of congestion very early in the mornings but by 10 AM, we could usually get on any of the machines that we desired. Since I was still rehabbing my left knee due to recent surgery I was pleased that I find a wide enough selection of specialty machines in addition to the numerous tread mills and stationary bikes that are common.
There was a variety of evening entertainment spread about the three larger venues, so we had our pick to match our taste. As we departed Australia and then a week later New Zealand, cruised the South pacific with many stops before getting to Hawaii, before our final stretch to Los Angeles, we had fresh acts come on board several times. The ship's company of singers and dancers was better than others we have seen on other cruises.
We liked every port of call, with the sole exception of Pago Pago, American Samoa. There is much to see in American Samoa, but this port an its island is not one of the better places to visit, and paled in comparison to our 4 stops in New Zealand, Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora and Hawaii, all of which were excellent with a wide selection of excursions.
All of the staff, from our cabin attendant to the greeters at the dining rooms, the waiters and waitresses in the dining rooms and bars, the servers in the International Café (a real gem of a place), and especially our Head Waiter, were above the level we had come to expect on cruises.
We quickly learned to order room service coffee in lieu of a wake up call and it was always timely, hot and fresh.
Our room was a 'B1" balcony directly amidships with a very large, partially shaded balcony capable of seating six for afternoon cheese and wine. The room's size was as expected and it was quiet even though we were almost across from the mid-ship elevator bay. The bed very comfortable, and the shower just adequate for someone over 6' 2" tall.
Visited here previously on business. A very nice city, loved the harbor with the hop-on hop-off water taxis and buses. Took the ferry to Manly and had a great time in this beautiful area.
Beautiful drive, beautiful scenery, beautiful building, gracious hostess, informative tour.View All 6 Pencarrow Station Reviews
Beautiful city, beautiful countryside, excellent wines.View All 16 Winery Tour Reviews
Much better than we had anticipated. Stunning scenery, very informative visit to an active Maori village, nice refreshments.View All 40 Geothermal Springs Reviews
Highly varied scenery, many hot springs, beautiful settings, informative tour.View All 63 Rotorua Reviews
Actually took the driving tour of 4 wineries on the island. Very pretty boat ride to the island, nice island drive punctuated by stops at 4 wineries and an olive orchard. very good red wines, excellent olive oils, good snacks.View All 5 Waiheke Walking Tour Reviews
Due to late arrival we had a shortened tour that 'met the description' according to the ship's tour director, but was obviously rushed and late.View All 15 Island Tour Reviews
Beautiful boat, exceptionally friendly staff, clear waters, many sharks and sting rays. Stunning sceneryView All 47 Shark & Stingray Encounter Reviews
Nice to get to a non-English speaking destination. Anyone associated with the tour spoke excellent English, but as soon as you wander a few blocks away from the harbor front you are immersed within French colonial culture, language and food, which we did, and had a great time. The tour was informative and gave us beautiful sea-side views, waterfall, fern grottos, and a tour of a private estate with snacks.View All 49 Island Tour Reviews
Outstanding scenery, beautiful crystal clear waters, friendly staff, gorgeous time.View All 17 Motu Islet Beach Reviews
Walked through an underground lava tube within a rain forest, saw molten lava, walked on a cold lava bed, experienced thermal vents and beautiful vistas. Could see the steam clouds from a sea-side volcano rising as we approached the island.View All 153 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Reviews
Took a while to get clear of Honolulu but then we had beautiful scenery, and an informative tour. Stopped at several famous beaches and other noted sites including a Shinto shrine. The Dole Plantation was crass commercialization.View All 26 Island Tour Reviews
Initially did this with only moderate expectations, as a 'must do' as we had not previously been to one but this your quickly became one of our favorites. The show as exceptionally long and diverse with many stunning costume changes and over a half dozen different dances. the lead singers had wonderful voices and the music was vibrant and well played. The food and drink were plentiful and good.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Shocked by the lack of tours available. We disembarked here, which was a trivally easy process.