If your looking for the best Hawaiian experience, this is the best option. The cruise’s strength is that is has the best itinerary hands down of any other ship. There is enough time at the two main ones (Maui and Kauai) but a great ... Read More
If your looking for the best Hawaiian experience, this is the best option. The cruise’s strength is that is has the best itinerary hands down of any other ship. There is enough time at the two main ones (Maui and Kauai) but a great opportunity to see Hilo and Kona which would likely not be on your radar. Each island has its own feel and it’s the perfect amount of time on each.
The ship overall was just ok. It does feel like one of NCL’s older fleets. We did have an issue with a bathroom toilet for two days due someone improbably disposing of things but didn’t feel it got much attention until we had to escalate it. Also feel there were some sections of the hotel that smelled a little moldy. If you like participating in a lot of the cruise on board activities, you might be slightly disappointed it didn’t seem as much variety as with other past cruise including on NCL. Overall everything really shuts down on the ship by midnight which is fine for early birds but might be slightly disappointing for the night owls. It was a very diverse group of people which was nice to see. I will say that the ship staff were GREAT. They might have the been the second best part of the trip because they were funny, personable and went out of there way to connect with people.
As for excursions, you can mostly skip them and venture on your own. In Maui, I would recommend renting a car (Budget/Avis/Thrifty/Dollar) pickup right at the port. I took an Uber for two days and the access was great but it can run you if you are trying to see different things. I would recommend visiting the Lahaina but know it is about 30-45min away, Maui Brewing headquarters for local beer tasting in a really cool setting with great views and Wailea Beach (our Uber driver took us to a local entry section and it was nice, not crowded and felt like a local). In Hilo, Kona and Kauai you can take a Hop on Hop Off bus that goes to the main tourist sections. Hilo it’s called Hoppa On Hoppa Off. You will find the store to purchase tickets and pickup right outside the port gates. All of the hop on hop offs take you to the beach also. Kona is an island where they tether you to the shore FYI for some that might not be ok with small boats. In Kauai you have to walk a little further to get to it or you can take the free shuttle right at the port to the shopping center where it is located. In HIlo I would recommend eating at Suisan for the BEST poke bowl. It’s the freshest food we ate the entire trip and it’s the number 1 local spot. It’s on the Hoppa on Hoppa off right as well. Lastly if you have the opportunity I would recommend a pre and post in Honolulu to see Pearl Harbor and also go to the North Shore. I didn’t make it to either but was told that it’s best to rent a car to North Shore because it’s over an hour and Uber’s can get really pricy on the way back. Some hotels like Kahala have a Hertz located in the hotel making it really convenient. We did do the Luau with VIP upgrade and the Kayak/Hike excursion through NCL in Kauai. I would recommend the Luau in Kauai because its one of the most authentic and first islands. Note if booking the hike to bring proper hiking shoes or proper sneakers that you don’t mind getting fully muddy and wet. There were some large puddles in which your feet will be fully submerged. It also can be a little tricky going up and down the hills with the mud so I wouldn’t recommend it for those with any physical challenges. Read Less