This was our first small ship experience (after several mega-ships) and it won't be our last! This was a trip to celebrate our 25th anniversary.
Pre-cruise: We stayed two nights at the Hotel Renew in Honolulu, which was excellent! Small, no pool or restaurant, but free beach chairs, umbrellas, etc. free continental breakfast, pineapple juice and a cool washcloth on arrival.
Small ship Vs. Big Ship: There were no waits for elevators, the buffet, disembarking, or anything else. Most of the time, it was easy to find chairs at the pool. The staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome. The people on this ship were older, but as I was there to spend time with my spouse, that didn't bother me at all. We did not see any wheelchairs and very few walkers. We saw only 4 children on the ship - this would not be my choice for a cruise with children. There was some motion, but not any worse than we've seen on the mega-ships (RCCL Freedom Class) Decor was understated, lots of wood.
Stateroom: We were in an owner's suite, which we loved - huge balcony, plenty of space. For a cruise with 5 days in a row at sea, the extra space in the room and balcony was a big plus. The suite also came with free laundry and internet, and the ability to order off the regular menu, which we took advantage of several times.
Spa: Small but nice. They were not pushy with selling products, which made it a more pleasurable experience. Pricey, like all ship's spas.
Activities: One pool, ping-pong, shuffleboard. Some planned seminars, but none of them interested us. If you are looking for the ship to provide you with things to do, this is not the cruise for you.
Service: EXCELLENT - both dining room and room stewards were great! We ate at all eating venues, and all of the staff we came in contact with was great.
Dining: The food in the main dining room and buffet were comparable to RCCL, I thought. We had no complaints. The specialty restaurants were very nice and worth the extra $$. Teatime was a nice treat every day as well.
Entertainment: We realized that a smaller ship would not have as many options, and we were right. We were somewhat disappointed with the entertainment - the comedian was older and his jokes were geared toward the 60 and older crowd. The opera singer was ok, but not what I was looking for. The Pacific Princess singers and dancers were very good. I would have liked more options for entertainment in the evenings.
Travel: We used Princess Air because of the flight back from Tahiti being impossible to book w/o Princess Air - I would not use Princess Air again unless that was my only option. With our flight home, they gave us a very tight connection (which we missed) We had wanted to change our flights ahead of time, but could only do so for a $75 pp surcharge, so we took our chances. When we missed our connection, they changed us to the flight that we wanted in the first place!
Disembarkation: Very smooth. Our flight didn't leave until 10:00 PM, so although we had to be out of our cabin by 8:00 AM, we were able to enjoy the amenities of the ship throughout the day.
This was a fantastic cruise, perfect for a romantic getaway. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Huge balcony, lots of space, lots of closet space, bathroom was fantastic with jacuzzi tub. There was some motion on the back of the ship, but I didn't think it was excessive. No noise at all from area below us. Balcony had two wooden lounge chairs, plus a table with 4 chairs - plenty of room for a party!
We took a helicopter tour through Blue Hawaiian, which was spectacular. It is very easy to get to their offices from the port- take the free shuttle to the little shopping center and they are right there.
Absolutely beautiful - my favorite Hawaiian island! We took a snorkel tour, booked privately, and it was a lot of fun. We saw spinner dolphins and sea turtles, coral, and all kinds of fish. Transportation on the island is good as well; we took a bus to get back and forth to the beach.
Visited Volcano National Park with Vavoom Tours, excellent, personable tour.
THE most beautiful place on earth! We took a private tour with Patrick, which included snorkeling, swimming with stingrays and sharks, a mutu lunch, and a 4 X 4 trip around the island. What a perfect day!
We did the Beach Break tour through the ship - it was a rocky beach, but beautiful and we even did a little snorkeling (bring your own snorkel gear; it's not included with the tour) The lunch was good and the coconut demonstration was interesting. A great day!
We did a tour through the ship called The Highlights of Tahiti and were able to see many interesting things. A great way to end our time in the South Pacific!