We had one night pre-cruise accommodation provided through NCL at Hilton Hawaiian Village. We had to book another night, as direct flights only arrived on the Thursday. HHV is a very expensive over priced crowded resort. As Hilton Honors gold, we were supposed to get free breakfast, but at this resort it was $10 each credit, which barely bought a coffee. They only gave it to us for our paid night - not the night booked through NCL.
I had tried emailing the resort prior to connecting the two bookings, but received no response on numerous attempts.
It took a long time at reception to connect the bookings. They eventually put us in the same room for both nights after a lot of computer tapping. We had booked a partial ocean view - a distant view if you were on the balcony. We also had a distant view of the rooftop luau on the Thursday night.
Though entitled to an upgrade, we ended up with the same room for the two nights. Considering we booked a 2 bedroom suite for 4 people on the cruise, it seemed inadequate that we only had one room with 2 double beds - not really enough space for 4 people.
The resort is a very busy place. Everything was extra, including beach lounges and non-motorised activities, despite the fact we paid a "resort fee".
We thought we would have an excellent view of the fireworks, being at the actual resort, but there are sooo many people there, it was very hard to find a good vantage point.
Post cruise we stayed in central Waikiki with beachfront views for a far better price!
We were pre-booked on the free ship shuttle with no choice of departure time. We asked to be earlier than our allocated time but were told that would only be possible if there were cancellations. We did end up leaving early, by going down and seeing what was available. I am not sure why they don't let people select their departure time.
Things improved dramatically on arrival at the ship. As suite guests, we were accompanied to the special check in lounge and the process was very seamless. We didn't have a chance to have the provided morning tea as the ship was ready to board. We were escorted straight to Cagney's for lunch. The menu was as I remembered it - very nice food and service. We ate breakfast there every morning and lunch there when we were on the ship (not often).
We had pre-booked some of our dinner bookings, but not necessarily for the right times and numbers. We gave our wish list to our butler, who managed to sort them all to the same times. We ate at Teppanyaki (excellent), Le Bistro/Jefferson's (excellent) and Moderno (OK) as we had platinum vouchers and the 3 meal dining package to combine. We tried East meets West, but preferred the main dining room for our other nights. Overall the food was excellent and the service was fine.
Do check your charges, as they recorded them against the incorrect person e.g. photos, meal charges on several occasions.
Day 1 - After lunch, we took a walk to downtown Honolulu which was a waste of time. Not much open or happening.
Day 2 - Maui. We hired a car from Hertz. There was supposed to be a shuttle, but we did not see one after waiting a while. We tried to ring the depot at the Maui Beach hotel, but it was constantly busy. In the end, we walked there which was about 15 minutes. It took forever to actually get the car. We drove up to the Iao Valley and took the short uphill climb to the needle. We couldn't get a park in the $5 carpark, so walked from a roadside park. After that we went to Lahaina, paying $5 to park for the day. We walked along the foreshore to the Banyan tree, had lunch, shopped at the outlets and had a look around.We stopped at a beach for a swim and some turtles joined us.
Day 3 - Maui - NCL Molokini crater & turtle snorkel. If you are prone to sea sickness on mid-size boats, be prepared. The snorkelling was OK if you could get away from the mob of people, a lot who could barely swim! At the second stop, I managed to have a great view of a turtle, but there were not a lot there for the number of people.
Day 4 - Hilo - We had been to the Volcanoes National Park, so we chose the NCL Waterfall & Kayak excursion. There was some confusion - NCL told us we wouldn't swim at all. The tour guide told us we would be in the water a lot! We paddled out in the sea, rode the waves in and then paddled up a creek to a waterfall where you could climb up and jump in the water. Excellent day out.
Day 5 - Kona. Tender port. We walked around the town. Visited the markets, but very hot there. Walked up to the brewery and tried a few without doing the tour. Again, very hot there, so headed for a cooler spot on the waterfront. (Last time we did the cruise, we did the Zodiac snorkel at this port - excellent.)
Day 6 - Kauai. We hired a car from Hertz. What a contrasting experience. Shuttles were frequent and we walked in, were told our keys were in the car, the car park number and we were on our way! We drove north, stopping at Wailua falls, Opaeka'a falls, Hanalei and some of the other beaches across the northern and eastern coast. (We went to the canyon last time).
Day 7 - Kauai - Beach day at the nearby resort in the morning followed by Napali Coast in the afternoon. Good views and plenty of time to see the coast.
We had one suite party which only went for half an hour. No beer served! Only sparkling wine. The latitudes function was the same, they roped off part of the back bar.
We only made it to some of the shows which were pleasant enough.
There was a not a lot on offer for day time activities - they assume everyone is off the ship. We didn't see any cruise staff. We played shuffleboard one afternoon, but had to wait as only one set of equipment.
Disembarkation was busy but easy enough.
The view really is quite obstructed. There are rooms on this deck that have much better views which was disappointing. We thought as a suite, there may be partial views but all you can see is lifeboats that did not get used as tenders.
The room for four people was a good size. The second bedroom is completely private and having two bathrooms was a huge bonus. The rooms sleep more (up to 8), but that would be quite squishy! I think the other suites (7592 & 7092) were slightly larger.
Suite privileges are a nice way of feeling special. Being mid ship was very convenient.
Post cruise, we hiked up Diamond Head one day. We did a circle tour another day.
See review - good day out but lots of people!View All 52 Molokini Crater Reviews
Two person kayaks. Paddled out in the bay, then turned and rode the gentle waves in, then paddled upstream to a waterfall where you could climb up and jump in the water. Great day out. Use lots of sunscreen on top of legs and feet.View All 9 Kayaking Reviews