We booked this cruise for the itinerary - and the fact we could do back to back all the way to Sydney.
We had a balcony cabin - number 9644 in this case
It was perfectly fine but since the ship was in dry dock, the cabin has changed slightly in that only one side of the bed has a cabinet. This was a little awkward and I don't really understand why they did this. The storage was adequate with plenty of room under the bed for a hard body suitcase on each side and also the hand luggage trolley cases fit too.
The cabin was on the port side and mid-ships. The storage was fine although its always a little cramped. There were three large drawers and plenty of hangers in the wardrobe. The bedside cabinet was on the left hand side but the right hand side of the bed didn't have a cabinet and you had to use the settee. The balcony was standard with two chairs that were fairly comfortable and a small table (we would have liked it to be a little bigger but we managed). They have removed the shelf in this cabin next to the door of the balcony but there was a storage area there with a handy shelf to put all of the "crap" that you accumulate during a cruise!
The coffee machine was easy to use but we ended up buying some instant coffee in one of the ports because the coffee pods were very weak to taste. Its just a matter of what you like - they provide two decaf and two ordinary coffee pods twice a day.
The bathroom had little storage but again we managed as we just make sure we are very tidy.
The towels were decent quality and our steward made sure we had an extra one each day as I have long hair and so need two when showering. We also asked for dressing gowns which they provided straight away. They have stopped doing the slippers and I did wish I had taken mine with me a couple of times as, when the sun went in, it could be quite cold.
The air conditioning worked well and we could alter the temperature in the cabin quite quickly.
The channels on the TV included four film channels, four or five news channels which also showed other stuff like documentaries etc. We like to watch the TV while relaxing in the room in the afternoons before getting ready. It may be less important to others.
We also like the navigation channel, especially in parts of the world like the South Pacific where there is just so much more out there than you can easily visit. Lots of food for thought and conversation starters.
Went to Pearl Harbour museum in a hire car. Pretty emotional experience and worth the trip. I believe there are a number of bus tours which go there. Easy to get around and free (very important feature!)
Our hotel before embarkation was the Hilton Waikiki Beach Resort. It has ABC stores situated in the grounds and they will save you a fortune. It is right on the beach so easy for a swim or a walk although apparently the sand is imported from Australia! They should try somewhere else as it is really rough on your feet and hard to walk on.
Lots of shopping to be done and some bargains to be had. Our suitcase was ruined and we went to somewhere recommended by the hotel, I cant remember the name but it had Dress For Less in it somewhere.
Shirts were easy to find and it was up to you how much you paid. I spoke to someone who said they found a silk one in a TK Maxx for around $20 which is a bargain.
Its a commercial centre but there are some really nice places to see if you just venture out of the main town. Lots of free wifi to be had. Make the most of it, it wont last!
We hired a car and took a trip to Lahaina and some shopping along the beautiful main street in the old town. Nice beaches in this area too and Bettys Beach Cafe further along the main road in a little side centre called 505 Front Street.
Made me think of the Waltons as there was a Historic house in town called the Baldwin Home which is now a museum and worth a visit.
Lots of history dotted around the shops so keep wandering up side streets. An amazing Banyan tree provided some much needed shade at midday. You'll find something to suit all tastes in this lovely little town.
Hired a car again - make sure you get off the ship early and send the driver to the hire place as the queues can be ridiculous.
We had a trip to see the volcanos and the waterfalls. Definitely worth the effort, we especially loved the blow holes - just wish I could have seen the volcanos before the eruption so that I could compare and contrast.
The distances are large so make sure you plan in advance and you will make the most of your day.
My favourite place, even though the weather wasnt great. We were lucky because we were quick off the mark and got up to the viewing points before the clouds came down. If you are doing a helicopter ride here, you will need to be off the ship as early as you can because the clouds come down every day and by 1100am you cant see anything.
The main viewing platform is right up on the top of the volcano and we got there early at around 1030am. It was already shrouded in cloud and so we didnt bother paying the $5 to go up there. Ask the woman in the hut before putting your money in the machine to pay. Its per car so its not huge price but its a waste if you cant see anything at the viewing point. Save the money and buy something in their conservation store instead. At least then you are still contributing but getting value for money at the same time.
Its an amazing island and the sail away the next morning was outstanding - all along the Napali Coast line (part of the Jurassic Park film if you are wondering). Awesome - go up to the Spinnaker Lounge and bag an early seat at the front of the ship - the Captain did sail both ways though so if you miss out and have a balcony cabin you will still see it. Very special indeed.
Probably the most beautiful place I had ever seen - this was what I wrote on my faceache page.
We got off very easily on the tender boats and then booked an excursion dockside - I think it cost us around $40 each for a boat ride to a beach with snorkelling and drinks and snacks of various fruit. We also had another boat which collected you from the beach and took you to the reefs to swim with sharks and stingrays an all sorts of amazingly coloured fish. I didn't get in the water - what with the sharks that had attacked someone just three weeks earlier, err I think not! - but the water is so clear that I still got some pretty awesome photographs.
You got loads of time and the trip from the dock to the beach and back was across the most amazing lagoon and went past lots of interesting sights on the waterside.
Definitely worth the money. We went back to the docks more or less straight after the trip to the reefs but you could stay on the beach as long as you liked - the last boat back was at 1500 and the ship didnt sail until 1800 so you had plenty of time.
Great cafe at the end of the road out of the port called Hinano which had some local beer and a lovely walk along a main road with some interesting little houses to nose at.
The public beach was around 30-45 mins walk along that road - turn right at the top past the Hinano cafe and keep going. We didnt go to that beach but quite a lot of people did - too far for the poor crew though - they didnt get enough time off the ship to go that far.
Didnt find any free wifi but there was a post office selling time slots - they just ran out before we could get there.
We got off on the tender boat very easily and booked a land tour on this occasion. I think we paid about $30 or $35 each which, for Bora Bora is pretty decent.
The wonderful Delores ( the ex-tank regiment member) was our guide and she drove us to all of the main viewing points for this island. We also visited Bloody Mary's beach bar and a place where they make Pareau - I ended up buying a dress there and I wore it loads on the rest of the cruise. There are beautiful beaches and gorgeous mountains all around you. The water is fantastic - just dont forget your beach shoes as the sand is actually dead coral that is still being ground down by the sea and is as rough as ..........