OH MY. We have been on many many cruises with Royal Caribbean before, and this is BY FAR THE WORST ONE. (A bit of context: we have been on the Jewel of the Seas, and Oasis of the Seas, for example. So writing this review, it's based on our prior experiences.)
We sailed from Honolulu to Vancouver, as a repositioning cruise, but I don't understand why the embarkation was 3+ HOURS! (photos showed how long the lineup was!) They didn't even explain (before or after) why it was taking so long, I felt they owed everyone an apology! Especially the elderly who had to wait that long, with no A/C, hot, and someone fainted!!!
After that terrible first day, we barely got on the ship to partake on the mandatory life boat safety drill!
Dining was a disaster. DO NOT DO "MY TIME". It's not YOUR time, it's the SHIPS' time. Cascades, deck 4 was terrible. The hostess told us the wrong time for our dinner reservations, so when we showed up at the time she told us, our table was given away! We had selected 5:30pm online before we went on board, and they said the "shore didn't communicate with the ship", so we didn't have a spot. Had to wait over 30 minutes in line for the first three nights just to get seated, and this was during the second seating! We just went to the Jewel of the Seas (same class of ship) in November, and we recognized the same menus, but the food was so much better on the Jewel! The food sucked in the dining room (exception: key lime pie), things tasted as if they were just defrosted and then cooked right away (especially the seafood! how disappointing!). This is the first time I think the windjammer food surpassed the dining room's food!
On one of the nights, a party had booked a wedding function late in the night, and our room unfortunately was right underneath the quill and compass bar on deck 6. Our room thudded, you could hear exactly what song was being played! And they didn't do anything about it, since it was booked for a function. So we couldn't sleep past 2am, wasting our last day in Maui.
The ship is showing it's age. The chairs' upholstery at windjammer was ripping or scratched, showing the cushion underneath. Bars and rails around the ship were rusting (especially Windjammer) and just needs a fresh coat of paint. Our interior cabin's washrooms were dated, but at least clean.
The only good things were:
-our servers, very friendly
-our stateroom assistant - so neat, and best towel animals!
-Cruise itinerary, great 7 days in Hawaii, and 5 days for rest. However, it gets cold as soon as you leave Hawaii, so it's too cold to swim outside for the 5 days, leaving the solarium crowded.
We made more friends from the terrible experiences that the positive ones. Honestly, it left such a bad taste in our mouth, that we may not ever sail with Royal Caribbean again.
We called customer service, and met with the guest relations staff onboard, and nothing was done to keep our business. That's just too bad.
Standard interior stateroom. The beds are nice, pillows are super flat!!! But clean at least, and washroom is a bit dated.
We rented a car at the Marriott King Kamehana hotel, which was right by the cruise port! Just walk across the street! super convenient, and so much cheaper and more flexible than joining a cruise tour / land tour. We drove to Kahaluu bay, saw lots of fish, went to Greenwell coffee farm, and Donkey balls. Also found Randy's by the roadside, and it was SO GOOD! Amazing BBQ chicken and ribs. For a cruise tour of upwards $100+ / person, we did it with 1/4 of the price! Make sure you make car reservations before you go, because it was all booked up in advance! A lot less commercialized than Honolulu, which we enjoyed!
Also rented a car, and there's a free shuttle from the rental car locations at the airport to the cruise port. We drove ourselves to the Hawaii volcano national park, and saw the devastating lands with lava, and the gorgeous mountain to ocean landscape view. Wish we had more time to see the falls as well, but alas. The national park is huge! Depending if you want to hike or not, you can spend upwards of 4 hours there alone!
We stayed in Waikiki a night before the cruise took off, and it was very very commercialized. We had to walk out a bit to Ono's hawaiian food, which was so worth it, getting an authentic taste of Hawaiian food. But in Waikiki alone, it was just filled with foreigners, and was pretty hectic. Beach was beautiful though, but crowded.
SO GORGEOUS! This is the island where the movies are filmed - Avatar, Jurassic park, to name a few. The cruise even had a movie tour that took you around to where these movies were filmed. We did it ourselves, and drove around the island in the span of 2 days. Visited Waimea Canyon, which is BEAUTIFUL. All the sights were easy to drive to, scenic points all around the island. When you're driving, it feels like you are in Jurassic park! The waves on the Hanalei side are more rough, so beware of swimming, I think it's more for surfers.
Unfortunately we didn't rent a car that day, so we just walked to the outlets of Maui close by, and up to Star Noodle, which is delicious! Maui is more commercialized than the other islands, but less than Honolulu. Great beaches close to the cruise port.