1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Hawaii Cruises
  4. Hawaii Cruise Reviews

4,931 Hawaii Cruise Reviews

My husband and I have cruised on NCL at least 7 times, p,us on other cruise ships. This was our 1St trip to Hawaii for our 50th Wedding anniversary We had a pre cruisetour for 3 1/2 days before we boarded the ship. The 3 days at the Waikki ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised on NCL at least 7 times, p,us on other cruise ships. This was our 1St trip to Hawaii for our 50th Wedding anniversary We had a pre cruisetour for 3 1/2 days before we boarded the ship. The 3 days at the Waikki Marriott was wonderful. We were very anxious to board the ship and see what this one looked like. Our first impression when we opened our stateroom door was sheer horror. We were on the 10th floor aft with a balcony. The room was a shoebox. I immediatedly was very upset. The bed was butt against the wall of the bathroom, you had to slide out of bed to get into the bathroom...which was as small as you can imagine. We are not big people, but could not bend down in the shower to was your feet. No soap, or shampoo or shower cap, thank God we brought our own. The pool was so small and always occupied with people playing volleyball which left us to find another pool. Well this was in the rear of the ship about 10x10 swim area. Are you kidding me. I won't even go into detail as how you had to get out of that pool. A ship as big as the POA with 2,500 passengers only had these terribly small pools. Now onto to the dining rooms which were lovely. Breakfast was only served from 7am-to 9am, if you got there 910 you were not allowed in...which meant you had to go to the buffet upstairs which stopped serving breakfast at 9:45 what the hell? No dining rooms open in the afternoon due to being in port...well what about the people who stayed on the ship? If you came back from a tour and wanted to get something to eat, everything was closed. The food was not very appealing and tastless, the staff to friendly to the point of annoyance, touching your shoulder not being attentive, call you honey or sweetheart..this is not professional. Getting off the ship to go on a tour you had to walk 1/4 just to get to the tour bus. There were a lot of handicapped people who had a terrible time getting around in the heat and humidity, by the time they got to the tour bus they as well as us and others were exhausted. All in all, I am sad to sad to say We were very disappointed in the ship. Hawaii was gorgeous and we had a wonderful time. All our other NCL vacations were very memorable, I hop POA makes some changes...One last note, while eating in Cagneys steakhouse where there were suppose to be a dress code, sat some young people in tank tops and tee shirts, baseball caps and flip flops. We had our table changed. Please NCL make some changes for all our sakes.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our second time to do this cruise. The first time was back in 2005 on Pride of Aloha and at that time we had already been on 4 cruises with other cruise lines. We were used to the big dining experience and were not too happy with ... Read More
This was our second time to do this cruise. The first time was back in 2005 on Pride of Aloha and at that time we had already been on 4 cruises with other cruise lines. We were used to the big dining experience and were not too happy with the "freestyle cruising." But this time was different because it was our 11th cruise overall, and our 2nd with NCL. The first time on NCL was in Jan 2014 on the Jewel. We went with two other couples and really enjoyed being able to have dinner whenever we felt. Also, there was not pressure to dress or bring formal attire. So, back to this cruise: We really enjoyed boarding the ship in Honolulu and cruising the islands, and then flying home. We live on the west coast and there are 13-15 day round trip cruises to Hawaii, but you never know what kind of seas you're going to get while crossing the Pacific (both ways). There were 8 of us and getting to the ship from the airport was easy because we split up and took two taxis which cost about $27 (including tip) for each vehicle. The check in process went smoothly and we were on board in less than 30 minutes. The ship was clean, the food was good, and we saw the islands (2 days Maui, 2 days Big Island, 2 days Kauai) in 7 days. Our cabin steward was great, and because we had a large party, we were able to reserve the same table for dinner every night and had the same server (Mercy)which made our dining experience very nice and personal. When we debarked on our last day in Honolulu we were able to take a shore excursion to Pearl Harbor which then took us to the airport. We all agreed we'd do this cruise again, but not in the near future. There are other places we still need to see. Also, we seemed rushed because of the itinerary (no days at sea). We booked a lot of excursions, and next time we'll make sure to take the time to just have days on the beach. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We booked this crusie because it went to all the islands.. The hawaian people are so very eager to show us their beautiful land and tell us about their culture.. We enjoyed this part of the cruise very much and this was a very rleaxing ... Read More
We booked this crusie because it went to all the islands.. The hawaian people are so very eager to show us their beautiful land and tell us about their culture.. We enjoyed this part of the cruise very much and this was a very rleaxing trip for us. We leanred so much about this area of our United States.. The food in the Liberty dinning room was just average at best.. Nothing at all special as it had been on Carnival Magic and Celebrity Millennium The food on both of these ships was fantatic and quality food and presentation.. We were very disappointed with the service in the Liberty dinning room also.It was very slow and we did not feel at all special as we had on both Carnival and Celebrity.. We also would have liked to have the ice cream machine open 24 hours .. It was closed alot of the time. The balcony room we had was very clean and our steward Manny was very good and eager to please us. e did think the room was a bit small compared to our other cruises.. We very much enjoyed our excursions and the tour guides on all the excursions were fantastic. We Zip lined in Kauai and oved it we did the Canopy zip line ..It was awesome and both Bundy and BJ were all about safety .. We did the downhill bike adventure ride in Maui this was great and again the guides Ben and Louie were all about safety and making a very nervous lady at ease.. It was an awesome 16 mile ride even in the rain..Seeing the Hawaiian islands was truly a trip of a lifetime but the ship's food and staff just average. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We have cruised with carnival for many years with never a problem. tried a couple other lines but always came back to carnival Carnival absolutely outdid itself on our recent Hawaiian cruise, you expect good food, entertainment, beds etc ... Read More
We have cruised with carnival for many years with never a problem. tried a couple other lines but always came back to carnival Carnival absolutely outdid itself on our recent Hawaiian cruise, you expect good food, entertainment, beds etc but Carnival went far beyond with a naturalist who held morning sessions on the history of setllement of the Hawaiian islands, humpback wales etc. The video presentation and her lectures were worth the trip alone The evening shows were spectacular , by far the best I have encountered in many years of cruising, late night comedians were very good. you have a right to expect comfort but Carnival exceeded that by far. Nick and Noras is definitely worth the slight charge with good food professionally presented The 15 days flew by, but a word of advice, we flew into Long Beach from Orlando, a very quick 15 minute ride from ship to the cutest little airport still around, forget LAX We are booked again next year with carnival for some Caribbean islands we have somehow missed Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our 16th cruise and 5th with NCL. We chose this ship mainly because it was the only 7 day Hawaii cruise. I wasn't sure what to expect as far as the ship, since it had such mixed reviews. I personally thought it was a ... Read More
This was our 16th cruise and 5th with NCL. We chose this ship mainly because it was the only 7 day Hawaii cruise. I wasn't sure what to expect as far as the ship, since it had such mixed reviews. I personally thought it was a wonderful ship. Yes, it is small compared to a lot of the newer ships, but I found it refreshing. Everything was spotless and clean. I am not sure why people were unhappy with the condition of this ship. Let me start with embarkation. First, we didn't actually arrive at the port until around 3:30 so we pretty much just walked in. Due note, they have no porters outside waiting to take in your luggage for you. We walked in with our luggage and handed them over to the security area for scanning. Next you get your picture taken and then get checked in. For us, it only took probably 15 minutes tops. Staff:Yes, they are all from America and everyone went out of their way to welcome us and almost all seemed to enjoy their job. They were friendly and we had excellent service everywhere we went, from the wait staff to our room steward. By the end of the cruise we knew many by their names and where they were from. We had no issues with them being lazy or rude like other reviewers had said. Cabin: This was our first time that we have booked a cabin with a balcony. We booked our cruise 6 weeks prior to the sail date, so we booked a guaranteed balcony. We received our cabin number about a week prior to sailing. We really lucked out. We had cabin 8652 and it was in a perfect location. We got to wake up every morning to gorgeous sunrises and we docked port side every time. Simply amazing views from our balcony. The room itself was nice. We had plenty of closet and drawer space. They had a small coffee pot in our room, which I loved! I had my morning coffee out on the balcony every morning! My only complaint about our cabin was the mattress. Long over due for new ones. We woke up every morning with neck and back aches. The bathroom was typical size, small. The shower was way too small and had a shower curtain that was constantly touching you while you tried to shower. But, with it being an older ship I wasn't expecting a large bathroom. Food: we ate most of our breakfasts and all of our dinners in the Skyline. Mainly, because you could wear shorts without any problems. The food and selection was good. Only one time at breakfast was the food not hot. Service was wonderful and all the staff friendly and fun. We never had to wait long for a table or to get our food. We ate in the Aloha a few times and the buffet food was good and mostly all hot. Service there was also good. Excursions: We booked all our excursions through NCL even though I know they are more expensive. I like having a peace of mind that we will get back to the ship on time and won't be left. Our first excursion was "Road to Hana". It is an all day tour of Maui and was excellent. We got to see lots of beautiful sites and had plenty of stops. I didn't ever feel rushed and our tour guide was wonderful and very informative. We saw beautiful beaches, mountains, waterfalls, inactive volcanoes and beautiful coastlines. We stopped at a small stand that sold homemade banana bread. It was 7.00 but so worth it! Yum! I wished I would bought 2 of them. We enjoyed it with our coffee in the morning out on our balcony. I know a lot of fellow passengers rented cars and drove the same route that we took, but they had to stop at a certain point and not go the complete loop that we did. The part that we took was partly dirt, rough roads and many single lane. I don't think it would be much fun driving it yourself. Very stressful. Our tour, you just sat back and enjoyed the sites! Also, we stopped for a Buffett lunch that was included in our tour price. Segway tours were our second tour in Maui. They were a lot of fun and very easy to ride. Our guide was great and showed us some pretty sites through town. He even took a camera and took several pictures of us while we're out. When we returned you could buy the pictures he took.. They weren't expense and they printed them right out for you in their office. I got 2 5X7's for 11.00. After our ride we had some time to do a little shopping before catching the bus back to the ship. Crater hike and Akaka Falls in Hilo. Loved this excursion! The hike wasn't strenuous. But, you do have a lot of stairs and uneven ground. Enjoyed hiking down in the crater. Our guide provided walking sticks for everyone which came in handy with the climbing and uneven ground. Atlantis Submarine in Kona. So not worth the money. Wouldn't really recommend doing this excursion. Helicopter tour in Kawaui. Simply breathtaking! Would highly recommend doing at least one helicopter tour while in Hawaii. We had 45 minutes of actual air time and saw the canyons, waterfalls up close and Na Pali coastline. Overall, our cruise was perfect! Can't wait to go back!,   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This cruise is not like any others. Embarkation, was a breeze. Had no issues and had plenty of room and dancers where entertaining us before we boarded. Each day you wake up, you're in a different port except for Maui and Nawiliwili. ... Read More
This cruise is not like any others. Embarkation, was a breeze. Had no issues and had plenty of room and dancers where entertaining us before we boarded. Each day you wake up, you're in a different port except for Maui and Nawiliwili. I enjoyed seeing the islands from this perspective. Seeing the Nepali coast was absolutely awesome. A tad on the pricey side. This was our first NCL cruise. Freestyle Dinning, was OK not spectacular. Kind of like set times each evening, great when you're in port though. The ship had a great staff, few ex classmates as officers and was great to see them. Will definitely do this again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Why I will never cruise on Princess again. I have used Princess many times and am Gold member for 6 Princess cruises. During last cruise, a 7 day trip to Hawaii, I was foolish enough to trust their cabin chooser option, guaranteed to ... Read More
Why I will never cruise on Princess again. I have used Princess many times and am Gold member for 6 Princess cruises. During last cruise, a 7 day trip to Hawaii, I was foolish enough to trust their cabin chooser option, guaranteed to give you the best window cabin. There were many cabins still checker boarded around my deck so I thought , as promised, Princess will choose the best available cabin, They gave my the 1st cabin in the bow! No sleeping at night because of thunderous wave lap. Ruined much of the cruise. They did sell me 50 cent ear plugs for twenty dollars! I know now the travel agency usually sells these cabins at up to 30% to 40% less, because they are loud with crew noise, and if underway the cabin shakes and has noise that is would OSHA decibel illegal at my work. We could not talk or sleep. This was the best cabin they had left? They use their program to dump the worst cabins on people like me who actually trusted them! Besides, the Disney and Carnival cruise lines and are cheaper than Princesses aging ships and poor service. It is definitely money before service on this cruise line. So I am off to Mexico over New Year's, on a different cruise line that is not deceptive and does not use customer service after they rip you off for the ticket price that should be reduced for these terrible cabins. I actually cruised the on last Love Boat cruise to Alaska in the early 2000's, I was loyal to Princess for many years, 3 times Alaska, Mexico several times, and the infamous cruise to Hawaii; the last cruise I will ever take on a Princess Lines. They were very nice with customer service 16 years ago, I surmise they have been too successful and gotten too big to really care about an actual single customers anymore. Use another cruise line and you won't have to take the chance of a ruined $5,000.00 cruise, like us. **(Don't let them give you what they say is best cabin available, they will get the ones they cannot sell!)** The food is good and the entertainment fair for cruise standards, There shore excursions are a terrible disorganized mess. They will take the people for the excursions they sell first. Everyone else will wait well over an hour to get off a dock berthed ship. You can miss many shore experiences due to the disorganization off staff to get off the ship. You think they could get it right by now!! Princess boasts their cruisers will leave all stress behind, but then get ready for a bunch more trying to enjoy all the stresses they cause by being more interested in separating you from your money, than a relaxing time. The cleaning staff were very nice. Jonathan Beall Jonathan Beall, A long time Princess cruiser that will never go back!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
NCL has a great Hawaiian itinerary, especially cruising out of Kauai. Having been to Hawaii before, this was a nice way to visit. A predominantly all American crew was nice and service was great in the dining room. The steward for our ... Read More
NCL has a great Hawaiian itinerary, especially cruising out of Kauai. Having been to Hawaii before, this was a nice way to visit. A predominantly all American crew was nice and service was great in the dining room. The steward for our balcony suite had too many cabins to tend to, so service was only fair. The cabin, and the ship in general needs to be taken off line and spiffed up. Teak rails were not gleaming, the drapes and carpet although clean, needed to be replaced, the bathroom mirror was losing its "silver" in areas and corrosion was visible. We boarded the ship after a long day of flying from the east coast. I wouldn't do this again. A day or two earlier would be better. Upon boarding the ship, around 4 p.m., it was impossible to find any food. The buffet was closing down as they were readying to do the safety drills. I couldn't even get saltine crackers! In the future I would order a cheese or fruit tray to be delivered to the room, just in case. The passenger service desk tried to get me something from room service, but it was impossible. A ship that big should at least be able to have some crackers, pretzels or nuts for someone who boards later in the day. Couldn't get any food until after the safety drill when the dining rooms opened up. Disembarkation was very easy, unlike our NCL ship that docked in Boston in 2011. We booked our own excursions through Roberts Hawaii and were pleased. We got good value for our money. Entertainment so, so. Food was good, we mostly eat in the dining room and avoid buffets. Dress code enforced, thank you. Good narration on cruise along the Kauai coast. What to do in port talks and other options besides NCL excursions were freely offered. Both women were native Hawaiians and were super. Lei weaving class excellent, buy the extra ribbon they offer on board it's a deal. I get many complements on my lei. Tendering handling efficiently. We picked NCL to avoid Princess ocean crossing due to sea sickness issues. This was a calm cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
My wife and I did our second cruise on the Rhapsody. We wanted to do a cruise and Hawaii was the perfect place for a honeymoon. We got engaged just before our first cruise a year before on Majesty of the Seas. Flight into Vancouver was ... Read More
My wife and I did our second cruise on the Rhapsody. We wanted to do a cruise and Hawaii was the perfect place for a honeymoon. We got engaged just before our first cruise a year before on Majesty of the Seas. Flight into Vancouver was fine, the bus ride to the port was a little long but the driver did a good job of entertaining during the drive. Embarking took longer than expected as they stated we were leaving from an atypical pier. Once on the ship, i was worried the days at sea would get long, just the opposite. We had time to stay up late, sleep in, enjoy the room service, and just enjoy each others company. it was during this time that we found our favorite place on the ship (deck 5, promenade deck). We would grab some drinks, a book, or a deck of cards and just watch the sea go by. Occasionally a lonely whale or a few dolphins or flying fish would keep us company. One morning we woke up to watch the TV route tracker suddenly deviate from a straight line. Captain Hempstead later came overhead to say we had to deviate to assist a vessel in distress. This added to the joy of the cruise and a little excitement at sea with still keeping us on schedule (nice job RC!). We arrived at Lahina, Maui did a snorkeling excursion and went to Haleakala Park (Ty was our driver, he rocked). the two days. The next day we were at Hilo and did a tour of Volcanoes Nat'l park and saw the ne-ne geese. The following day we were at Kauai and went to Waimea canyon, it was beautiful. Bus AC broke but we managed. The last day was Honolulu. We got off the ship early and caught a cab to Pearl Harbor to get passes for the Arizona tour. As with all past cruises, the rooms have been good, the staff amazing, and the food great and always plentiful! We enjoy room service for an early morning or late night snack Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We were a family of 5, my husband and I, and our 3 teenage children. Karl was our cabin steward and he kept our room in perfect order and we were very surprise how large our cabin was. The kids had there own cabin and it was also a good ... Read More
We were a family of 5, my husband and I, and our 3 teenage children. Karl was our cabin steward and he kept our room in perfect order and we were very surprise how large our cabin was. The kids had there own cabin and it was also a good size and there cabin steward went out of his way to make sure our kids enjoy there cruise and kept there room clean and organized ( with 3 teenage kids and huge suitcases full of cloths). The food was absolutely amazing, after read some of the reviews I decided to purchase the specialty dinning package and the kids enjoyed getting dress up every night for supper and then to the evening shows. We rented a car on most islands but we also enjoyed two excursions the first one on Sunday in Maui with Valley Isle Excursions we had captain Dave as our driver for the tour "Road to Hana" and he was the best, very informative, knowledgeable and funny. The second tour was booked through POA and it was the Captain Zodiac raft, snorkel and dolphin adventure in Kona. Our guide was Shawn and he made our trip very memorable we were able to see lots of dolphins and even a baby dolphins and lots of whales. Most of our family members enjoy used the gym facilities which had a variety of options you could participated in and our son was well cared for by Barracuda in the teen center. Our family have nothing but excellent memories of our cruise trip on the Pride of America. We will probably take this trip again because it is a good way to get an over view of the Hawaiian Islands and the Norwegians have a well maintained ship and very friendly and help staff. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We loved this cruise. It is America's ship. The decor is fun. Some parts of the ship are just like being in the Capitol or visiting Monticello (mostly I'm thinking about the carpet patterns). It's fun to see places named for ... Read More
We loved this cruise. It is America's ship. The decor is fun. Some parts of the ship are just like being in the Capitol or visiting Monticello (mostly I'm thinking about the carpet patterns). It's fun to see places named for presidents (John Adams Coffee Bar, Jefferson's Bistro). We had great service all around (we had read that not all the crew would fall all over themselves to make you happy as on other cruises, but we found that in fact they would and did). But because many of them are in fact American, they'll sass you and joke around with you more than you might typically find. And, personally, I think that added to the ambiance as that's what America is about. It's fun to argue sports rivalries with your waitstaff. We had the best steward that I've ever had on cruise. He had tons of tips on what to do and if he knew our plans for the day he would clean the room around our schedule. Every single time we came back from doing something or even going to the pool he knew and our room was clean and there were fresh towels. Information from Norwegian was lacking, we weren't quite sure how early you can get aboard. We got there about 11:30, checked in, dropped our luggage and boarded a bit after 12:00. You do get a lei! There's entertainment as you're waiting, including authentic Hawaiian singers and dancers. They said rooms are typically ready between 1 and 1:30, but they didn't make any announcements that rooms were ready until well after 2. I'd say that all rooms were ready by 3, maybe 3:30. In the mean time you can get lunch and start to check out some of the ship. I wasn't blown away by the food in the main dining rooms (Skyline and Liberty). The food was good, but there's nothing that comes to mind as fabulous. My husband is a picky eater and they had no problem accommodating, even when he ordered off the kids' menu. We tried a few of the specialty dining options: the steakhouse, the Italian restaurant, and the Brazilian restaurant. The steakhouse wasn't worth the cost ($30pp). It was good, but not great. The Italian was only $15pp and was pretty good. We have a lot of authentic Italian food where we live, which probably was better, but it was good enough. The Brazilian steakhouse was fabulous. As good, if not better, than any of the ones I'd been to before. They had the standard choices (chicken in bacon, lots of steak choices, and pineapple). The service was impeccable. The Cadillac Diner is a typical American style diner (hot dogs, meat loaf, fried foods, milk shakes) that is open all day and night and has pretty good food. We ended up there a couple of times for breakfast or mid-afternoon snacks. The buffets were fine, but nothing spectacular. They were typically busy, but you could always find a place to sit. We didn't book any excursions through the ship. We either booked on our own or got rental cars for the day. We only went to a couple of the shows. We were too tired most of the time from being busy all day, but the shows weren't bad. We heard the Newlywed game shows were hysterical, but we didn't go. We didn't really participate in any of the cruise director events--there was an "Ironman" competition (which involved running around the pool rolling a hula hoop, putting on a wet tee shirt, and other silly tasks), we saw a pool volleyball game, and some other events. None seemed like they had a lot of participants. There was a bar crawl the first night that seemed like a great deal $15 for 4 drinks. That had a lot of attendees and people seemed to have fun. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
My wife and I along with another couple were celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary and out friends 65th birthday. Sailed from Vancouver under the Lions Gate Bridge under glorious sunny skies. The first 6 days were at sea sailing south ... Read More
My wife and I along with another couple were celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary and out friends 65th birthday. Sailed from Vancouver under the Lions Gate Bridge under glorious sunny skies. The first 6 days were at sea sailing south to Hawaii. The further south we went the warmer it got. Seas were relatively calm for most of the crossing. The food in the main dining room was excellent. Our 2 servers, Francis and Marko were absolutely on top of everything. Sebastian out head waiter was also very good. As my wife has some severe food allergies, he made it a point to select the next days dinner for her every night. We had a Mini-suite. Very well appointed cabin close to midship. TV is located in a strange place, but it worked out OK. Their was not 1 Kid on board which was a first for us as we've been on over 85 cruises. We made 5 stops before disembarking in Honolulu. The weather was excellent but quite muggy. Humidity was in the 58-65% range. I would sail on this ship in a heartbeat again as the size of it is so appealing. Don't have to walk for 5 minutes if you forgot something in your stateroom. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
First the good, The ship reflects the grandeur of the past glory days of cruising. Quality decor and comfortable surroundings gave us the initial good feeling that we would be enjoying the next 16 days sailing the pacific. Unfortunately, ... Read More
First the good, The ship reflects the grandeur of the past glory days of cruising. Quality decor and comfortable surroundings gave us the initial good feeling that we would be enjoying the next 16 days sailing the pacific. Unfortunately, that was about the only good thing about this cruise. We were welcomed to our cabin with a revolting smear on the rim of the toilet seat. After we mentioned it to our cabin steward he said "oh, you would like it extra clean? Needless to say, we used our Lysol wipes to disinfect our drawers, power switches, etc.. But, it's a cruise, how bad can it get... Well, it seemed that the entire ship was very short staffed. In fact, if something disastrous would have happened onboard, I would not have felt safe with the crew. The room steward had twice the number of rooms to clean compared to Princess ships. He seemed exhausted and sleepy all of the time. We felt sorry for him so we kept our room very clean just to give him a bit of a break. As far as the food was concerned, you likely would get far better quality from any N. American cheap fast food joint. Seriously! Despite the fact we dined in the main dining room everyday, the service and the food was atrocious. Now I know what magazine posed foods tastes like. Yea, it looked good, but I wouldn't feed it to a dog (mainly because a dog wouldn't eat this garbage). Crunchy, parboiled rice and risotto, tomato sauces right out of a no name jug, and meat that could substitute for shoe leather. And that was the good stuff. Now I understand why they gave you so little on your plate, because anymore would have made you sick. Our highlight was escaping the dining room two hours after being seated to go up to the Lydo buffet and have some ice cream. Unfortunately, that didn't last very long. We read the ingredients labels on the ice cream containers. It listed high fructose corn syrup and glucose as the sweeteners, artificial flavouring, and other items I could not pronounce. Even bulk foods ice cream uses real milk and sugar! Princess and NCL makes their own ice cream on board with real ingredients. H.A. has gone way too far. What a dump! The service in the dining room was pathetic. The waiters are responsible for twice the number of tables as on other ships. You could never get their attention. And we were always waiting nearly an hour between our appetizer and main course. It took us no less than two to two and a half hours to have a simple meal. As we waited in long lines for every meal in the dining room, we only met one person in the 16 days who said she liked the food. She also loved the hotdogs and lard fried French fries served poolside. Everyone else was revolted by the quality of the food. The thermal spa was also a major disappointment. One of the two showers had a plugged drain and the staff did nothing to rectify the problem in 14 days. You would think that for $450 you would get a working facility. We were wrong! In fact, the aromatic steam room should be infused with relaxing scents. It never worked throughout the cruise. We asked 5 different spa staff members to tell us if they smelled any aroma. They all said no except for the manager who sold us the package. Needless to say this will be our last Holland America cruise. Beware, as all of those old mariners we talked to onboard say that H.A. has dropped to new lows for quality cruising. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We have cruised often but never for longer than 7 nights and never with this many sea days (5), so this was a new experience. A few specific comments. One, the ship is very nice and in great shape. It is easy to get around and rarely ... Read More
We have cruised often but never for longer than 7 nights and never with this many sea days (5), so this was a new experience. A few specific comments. One, the ship is very nice and in great shape. It is easy to get around and rarely seemed crowded. Two, the staff and officers were some of the friendliest I have ever encountered. We even met the captain in the elevator the first day and chatted with him. The bar waiters and other staff were all cheerful when you saw them. Three, we had a suite and JD in the Concierge Lounge did a great job, along with the 2 bartenders. Four, our cabin was great except for an issue one night with the toilet not flushing. I called maintenance and they said it was a system issue, but they would send someone anyway just to make sure. Nobody ever came or called. That was frustrating. Our cabin steward, Orlando, was great. Everything was taken care of before we knew it needed to be taken care of. Five, the dining room was so so. Most of the food was okay with a few misses and a few hits. Service was slow. I know this is dining not eating out, but it seemed like used plates stayed in front of us for rather a long time, even after they had been by to refill water. And after dinner coffee cups were brought quickly, but the wait for them to put coffee in those cups was long. And forget about a second cup. And it may seem petty, but after all those nights, you would think they would realize I never want pepper!!!!! We had my time dining but had the same staff 7 of the 10 nights. Six, Chops was good as always. Nothing there was different from other visits except the cheesy tater tots that were actually a little too much. Seven, Giovanni's was very good. I think it is worth the extra. All in all a very good cruise. For us, five sea days was a little much. The population on this cruise seemed more diverse. We met people from lots of different countries and had great conversations with them. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Originally we had booked the Sept. 2015 cruise to Hawaii, but it was cancelled and RCI was nice enough to give us a $400.00 OBC. So we decided to go early, Sept. 2014. Flight We booked all of the flight arrangements separately from RCI, ... Read More
Originally we had booked the Sept. 2015 cruise to Hawaii, but it was cancelled and RCI was nice enough to give us a $400.00 OBC. So we decided to go early, Sept. 2014. Flight We booked all of the flight arrangements separately from RCI, mainly due to the fact that I like layovers of about 1.5 hours. Now we flew straight from LAX so it wouldn't have been a big deal. We took Air Canada and it was a smooth flight into Vancouver. We had heard that customs once you get off the plane can be rather long, but it took us 20 min. total to get our luggage and get through customs. Travel to Embarkation We decided to get the transfer service to make it easier with the luggage. After we got out of customs there were a couple of very nice ladies waiting for us and guided us to where we needed to be. We stood outside under the overhang for about 1/2 hour to wait on the bus which wasn't too bad considering we got there at 0945. My only gripe about this was the "smoke" smell in the area while we waited. The bus driver was nice enough, and comical at times; however, he drove us all the way through Vancouver. I'm not sure if there was a faster way to get to the port but it took us forever and I really didn't need a bus tour of Chinatown in Vancouver. The Rhapsody was not in the usual port, it was in a commercial port that clearly wasn't setup for passenger vessels. This is a major point of contention for me, especially since I have travelled out of Canaveral, Lauderdale, and Miami before where within a half hour your on the ship. They had us enter a building and start sepentining our way through the line. There was not RCI representative at that point, just port staff. it took us about an hour to get through that part to get through the security checkpoint. This was the first time we saw anyone from RCI. I had to grad an employee to tell them that we had suite tickets so I could bypass some of the line. In all it took us about 2 hours to get on the boat. I felt for some of the people, I heard that it took 4 hours to get on for some, in fact they were still getting people on when the the lifeboat drills were occurring at 1530. Cabin 8502 Obviously, I had to pay the money to have a little more space. I have spoiled myself with suites in the past and it is hard to go back to some of the other categories. The wife and I like the separate spaces the the suites offer because she can go to bed early and I can stay up and watch tv or whatever and it doesn't bother her. The cabin is what you would expect of a OS cabin, all the nice amenities, even a bade in the bathroom. My wife is a fan of the jetted tub. The room is large, it is on the starboard side of the ship right next to the royal suite on deck 8 in the forward part of the ship. It is very far forward that no one comes down your hallway, except the folks staying in the royal suite and the bridge crew, since the door to the bridge is about 30 feet from the cabin door. Our only gripes about this room is that, (1) it is right over the Windjammer, so there is noise of rolling carts and of things dropping at different times of the day and night, and (2) there is this creaking and popping noises in the ceiling panels while the ship is at sea, and there seems to be something loose in the bulkhead between this suite and the Royal Suite....constant knocking. Entertainment The entertainment on this cruise was mediocre as it was all geared toward Hawaii and the Polynesian....Maybe I'm just spoiled with the Oasis and Freedom class type shows. Activities The activities on this cruise where pretty standard for what you would see on every RCI ship; however, there are like a total for 10 kids on this ship....mostly mid-late aged people...why the hell are they playing kids movies and cartoons on the big screen by the pool. It seems that the Cruise director or entertainment director didn't look at the age breakdown when planning this week. Also this was week one of the NFL season.....NO games, RCI needs to enter into a deal with NFL to cover games. The internet worked great on this cruise even when we were in the middle of nowhere in the North Pacific. I gladly pay the fee just to keep up with family and friends and occasional work emails that I am tracking. Dining I was somewhat disappointed on the dining except the specialty restaurants, Chops and Giovannis. The Windjammer food felt and tasted like cafeteria food with the exception of the made to order items. We Really like the new Park Cafe in the Solarium, for both breakfast and lunch options. Staff The suite attendant, Raj, was great. There are a lot of crew that were great that I either don't remember their name or never go it, but all were polite. I really like Captain Rob, he made himself available a number of occasions throughout the cruise. Aid at Sea On day 3, the Captain came on the overhead and stated that the Coast Guard had asked ROS to assist a boat. We veered off course approx. 30 miles to help this boat in distress, no biggie, gave them some fuel and sent them on their way, but I fell that the entire cruise liked that event. In Conclusion All in all, it was a cruise vacation to Hawaii......can't complain too much i suppose, I standby RCI as a cruise line and a product. I will be a Diamond member at the conclusion of this cruise, and I look forward to many more cruises and years with Royal Caribbean.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
I just completed 7 days on what I thought was an awful cruise. How in the world does this ship get good reviews? My first impressions were of the ship itself. The ship is in major need of an overhaul. NCL has done a very poor job ... Read More
I just completed 7 days on what I thought was an awful cruise. How in the world does this ship get good reviews? My first impressions were of the ship itself. The ship is in major need of an overhaul. NCL has done a very poor job maintaining the ship. Everywhere, there was worn carpet, broken fixtures, scratches and dents, and rust all over the exterior railings. Second was the service. I really hate to say this, but this all American crew does not fare well on a cruise. Never have I experienced so many rude, lazy and generally unhappy crew members. Even the Customer Service officers were unresponsive, expressionless and sometimes downright rude. On 3 of the 7 nights, dinner in the main dining room was a 2 hour event. No kidding, it was a 30 minute wait between courses. and to make it worse, the dining room staff didn't seem to care. We made our displeasure known to the Head Waiter who, like the others, just seemed to dismiss our complaint. Third was the ports. With the exception of tendering in Kona, which was beautiful, the ship docks in industrial ports. The time you do spend on the ship is spent listening to cranes and back-up alarms. I chose this cruise because of the exclusive Hawaiian itinerary as this is the only major cruise ship that does it. However, I will never do this again. It would be a much better vacation to stay in a landside resort and tour Hawaii on your own than to do this cruise. NCL either needs to pull out of this market or take a serious look at the way this ship is managed. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Just returned from this cruise,I do really like sea days but there just was not any thing to do during the day Cooking class MEH who ever goes home and makes this stuff,because of this there were no movie during the day.And when they did ... Read More
Just returned from this cruise,I do really like sea days but there just was not any thing to do during the day Cooking class MEH who ever goes home and makes this stuff,because of this there were no movie during the day.And when they did have an evening movie it was so very old "Hawaii" come on, that movie must have been 30 years old! Trivia on the ships has become very old All the fun stuff they would do during the late seating dinner hour(The Marriage)game and the word definition game...these are usually fun to watch The HAL Cats band was very good but, The Hal cat singers sang so load you could not understand them,now I know why they have been know as The Screaming Hal cats on other reviews. Then they had two repeat shows,come on spend a little more on the entertainment and I am not talking about the eight and ten o clock show I mean two of the same shows the following nights.Back by popular demand they called it... right Makes wonder if we will sail again for a while The food was always great, no issue there Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
First time on this ship, very impressed. Lots to do but drinks not cheap. Lots of queuing for barbq etc. Never a lounger available all with towels on and only 3 people in the pool! Great room with balcony, room 1014. Great room ... Read More
First time on this ship, very impressed. Lots to do but drinks not cheap. Lots of queuing for barbq etc. Never a lounger available all with towels on and only 3 people in the pool! Great room with balcony, room 1014. Great room attendant and interesting towel animals !!! Got warmer as we travelled along, had the window opened and watched the sea all night GREAT ! as got closer to Hawaii, it was so hot and air con only no night sea viewing. Had meals in Compass Cafe every day , great place and Yellowstar the chap at the front was lovely. Tried 'Dogs on Boardwalk' and was not impressed, the Americans really loved them though., The Crab place looked good but expensive. Shore exursions were expensive and not good value for money. We went on our own trips of the ship eventually. Seahorse Farm was great though. Good efficient staff and tendering was fun. Would definately travel in that room again ! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We recently returned to the Pride of America (POA) for another spin around the islands. We had sailed on her in 2007, about the same time of year, so the weather conditions were similar. We were once again greeted with an orchid flower lei ... Read More
We recently returned to the Pride of America (POA) for another spin around the islands. We had sailed on her in 2007, about the same time of year, so the weather conditions were similar. We were once again greeted with an orchid flower lei for me and a shell lei for my husband. They had Hawaiian music playing and water available. Since we were returning cruisers, we were able to get in the ‘short line’ so had our photos taken for our key card and were walking across the gangway in a short amount of time. Since our cabin was not yet available, we decided to go to the Skyline Dining Room for lunch rather than the buffet for a change. We were ushered to Table 1, a great little table for two in the corner at the window. I had a FABULOUS marinated shrimp salad and my husband had a cobb salad and fish and chips - the salads were brought promptly, but the fish and chips took quite a while to be served. After lunch we went back out to see if our cabin was ready and they were announcing that cabins were ready floor by floor - there didn’t seem to be any logic or reason to the order as the first deck to be announced was Deck 4, then Deck 9 then us on 11 - I would have thought it would have been the deck with the suites, but apparently not. We were on Deck 11, cabin 11536, so we went up and checked it out. We had never been in a cabin on that high of a deck nor that far forward before so we knew it was going to be a different cruise experience. The cabin interior was the same, with even the same foot protector, but new carpeting. I had forgotten how beautiful the woods are on the POA! I also liked that the murals of various spots and landmarks around the country at the head of the stairs were still there. Apparently the refit was to add 4 studio cabins and more suite cabins and move some areas around to do so, but the rest of the ship was the same, which was good - it really didn’t need improving! The one thing I really questioned was the large overhang from Deck 12 that extended out about 10 feet farther than our balcony, that obstructed the view upwards - it didn’t seem to be that much of a deal, but as the day progressed, it DID turn out to be a liability. At 4 p.m. we heard a VERY loud noise and realized that it was the Blue Angels doing their performance at Pearl Harbor! It was SUCH a delight to watch the angels doing their amazing flying, but again, having that overhang REALLY got in the way. About the time they were finishing up, it was time for the Muster Drill, or as they call it Assembly Drill. I have never participated in a more organized, detailed, quick muster drill in my life! They had even lowered one of the life boats down so folks could look inside. Very impressive! Since we were there as a part of a group, there was a cocktail party at the Lanai on Deck 11, aft. It was nice to be out there as the sun set and we sailed away. We had hit it off with another couple, so all four of us went to dinner at the Liberty Dining Room. This is an elegant room, done in rich navy and maroons with large paintings of presidents and other patriotic items as decor. I had the caesar salad and the mahi mahi, which was served with couscous and mango salsa - it was very tasty! On our way back to the cabin, there was a pianist playing at “Pinks” the Champagne lounge on Deck 6. Michael Masci was exactly the type of pianist I enjoy - talented, yet with enough personality to be interesting but without being corny. He was delightful! Day 2 was the first day on Maui (the itinerary had changed from the 2007 itinerary - for the better I might add). We went for breakfast at the Aloha Cafe - we have learned to go ALL the way to the back where we can enjoy our breakfast outside (I’m actually always surprised that there is usually room out there, which for us, are the best seats in the house, ESPECIALLY in Hawaii!). After breakfast we went down to catch the shuttle to the Queen Kaahumanu Shopping Center. On the way back we struck up a nice conversation with one of the many Australian passengers - apparently there were about 300 Aussies on this sailing. There were also a lot of Japanese as well as a handful of other folks speaking languages I didn’t recognize. There was probably an event at the theatre that told how many from the various countries, but we must have missed that one. Once back on board we went up to the Aloha Cafe for lunch, where we again sat outside and enjoyed the warm, but humid, windy and cloudy day (Hawaii was also going through a heat wave, so it was unusually warm). On the way back from lunch we stopped by the spa and made our massage appointments and came back to the cabin. We decided to take advantage of the sauna and steam room prior to our massages - that totally started the relaxation process and by the time my massage with Jesse was over (who was EXCELLENT I might add), I was pretty much a giant blob. Since we hadn’t had dinner yet, we decided to order room service, which was perfect because we ended up turning out the lights at 9:30! Are we the life of the party or what? Maui - Day 2 - Since we had done this cruise before, we had already done the Sunrise at Mt. Haleakala excursion, which I would HIGLY recommend. It is truly a bucket list item that should be done at least once, but having someone else drive and the warmth of a bus is even better. If you do go, make SURE you take plenty of warm jackets as it is VERY cold at 10,000 feet! After our outdoor breakfast at the Aloha Cafe, with today’s weather being a little calmer and sunnier, we went back to the cabin. Since there was a session with my group right after lunch, we really didn’t have time to do too much so it was nice to just have a leisurely morning. We did enjoy watching the activity of truckload after truckload of sand was being loaded onto a barge. After my session, we changed and went down for dinner at the Skyline Dining room. This room is done with a New York theme, with contemporary chairs, mirrors, and etched glass mimicking the skyline of New York. Very simple and elegant. My husband had the french onion soup and I had the caesar again and we both had the special, which was a coconut crusted mahi mahi with a raspberry sauce, along with plantain mashed potatoes and carmelized onions - it was FABULOUS! The service wasn’t so hot, but the food was GREAT! Tonight’s entertainment was the “Not So Newlywed Game” which is one of MY personal favorites on cruise ships. Usually there is one couple that is especially entertaining, but all four of these couples had a particularly entertaining answer at one point or the other, so it was especially good. Norwegian even stepped up a bit more than just congratulating the couples with a bottle of champagne - the winning couple got a gift certificate for a set of bamboo sheets at one of the bedding stores on Kauai! Good for Norwegian! Hilo - Day 3 We were up early and had breakfast so we could do the Volcanos National Park excursion. John was our tour guide/driver and was FABULOUS! Not only was he good at his job, he had just returned after having taken 3 weeks off to move his 75 acre ranch, including family and animals, out of the way of the advancing lava flow. He was amazingly calm after having spent 3 weeks moving, but as he put it, you accept that when you live on Pele’s island. The first stop was the Big Island Chocolate Factory, where we were able to watch the workers make the chocolate. They also gave out plenty of samples and of course, there were lots of sales! We drove by a beautiful Japanese garden and then up to the park. Our first stop at the park was the Kilauea Iki Trailhead, where we were able to look down into the Kilauea Iki Crater, formed in 1959. From there we went to the Thurston Lava Tube, where we got out and were able to walk through the lava tube - what an amazing experience THAT was! We then went on to the Kilauea Caldera, which is where the Halemaumau Crater was formed in 1974 when it erupted. This was also the site of the Jagger Museum, named after the first volcanoist who started collecting data and studying volcanos. It was a very good excursion but warranted a good nap back at the cabin upon our return! Dinner was back at the Skyline Dinner with more friends from our group. Kona - Day 4 Since we were unable to dock, today we were anchored off the coast and had to tender in. After breakfast we got our tender tickets and were shortly on our way to Kona. Kona is a completely different climate than the rest of the islands and it was VERY warm and humid there, and today was no different. We caught the shuttle to Hilo Hatties and loaded up on Hawaiian shirts and macadamia nuts and returned to the pier. Lunch was at a new restaurant , Paradise Cafe, upstairs overlooking the harbor (and ship). Dale had hot chicken wings and I had pulled pork with a mango salsa. It was quite good. Tonight we splurged and paid the surcharge for the steakhouse Cagney’s. Dale had the St. Louis ribs and I had the filet - both were excellent! For dessert, Dale had the raspberry creme brulee and I had the oreo cheesecake. So much for that diet! From there we hopped in the hot tub to warm up a little and then got dressed and went down to the Hollywood Theatre for a Tribute to Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons by the group, Oh What A Night, four guys that were VERY good, both vocally and in their performance. Kauai - Day 5 Today was our excursion to Wiamea Canyon so we met our group at the Hollywood Theatre and we walked down to the busses - all four of them! A young Hawaiian lady was our tour guide/driver, but she was not as good as John. Our first stop was the Spouting Horn out at Poipu Beach. This is a natural formation of lava that spouts water when the waves rush in. It also hosts some local vendors with hand crafted items and rest rooms. We then headed out to another store, which had a variety of refreshments and of course, another opportunity for shopping before heading up to the canyon. The drive from the store to the canyon is a winding road that takes about 20 minutes before you actually arrive at the lookout point. I had forgotten how beautiful the canyon is. So many striated layers of earth, some waterfalls and of course, helicopters and planes doing tours of the canyon. We got back to the ship and had a couple of hours before it would be time to meet to go to the luau. We had the 4:30 meeting time for the Luau Kalamaku - apparently there was a 4, 4:15, 4:45 and 5 p.m. meeting time as well! We found out later that there were about 750 from the ship in attendance!!! WOW! We had been to luaus before so figured it would be about the same - boy were we wrong! This was WAY more than your usual luau! This was a performance that included lights, costuming, make up, props and for lack of another explanation, would call it an opera, done in Hawaiian style. They followed a story line depicting a father and his daughter that had fallen in love. The story followed the father and boyfriend as they went to find the new land and then returned, the couple married and then ended with the birth of the new generation. It was VERY well done - in ALL ways. Kaui - Day 6 My husband left early for his helicopter ride of Kauai - this was his third and his favorite thing to do on Kauai. Since I was involved with my group the entire morning, I met my husband for lunch at the Cadillac Cafe, which is the 50s diner on Deck 6 midship - they had the usual diner menu, so he had a hot dog and I had a cheeseburger and fries, then we split a hot fudge brownie - it was all very tasty, although the service was a little odd. As Platinum members of Norwegian Cruise Lines, we had been invited to a special event held out on the bow of the ship at 2 p.m. as we sailed from Kauai, so headed out with hats and sun glasses. Boy was it hot out there and the reflective light from the white of the ship seemed to make it worse. As you might expect, they were serving champagne and mimosas, so it was a very nice event. After the welcome speeches and actual sailing, it got a tad breezy, although that was welcomed as it did cool us down a little bit, but we lasted about 1/2 hour before it got just too hot. We went back to the cabin and started packing so that we could enjoy sailing by the Napali Coastline, which would happen at about 5 p.m. Since we had already unzipped the expandable part of the main suitcase in order to come, we had to do some real organizing but we got it all into the suitcases and went back out to the balcony to enjoy the beautiful scenery! Sadly, the wonderful narration of the coastline was only available through the public address system on open passenger decks, not through the Navigation channel, bridge channel or even through the loud speakers in the hall, so we missed out on that, but we were NOT going to move from our balcony to one of the crowded open passenger decks just to listen to the narration. After the ship turned around and headed back, we went upstairs to the Skyline Dining Room for our last dinner. We noticed ‘Table 1’ was in the process of being cleared, we asked if we could sit there, knowing it would be a quiet table and were soon ushered to our table. The waiter had a bit of an attitude but we ordered and got through dinner and went upstairs to the Mardi Gras lounge for “The Perfect Couple” Game - since we had never seen this, we really didn’t know what to expect. It was not as good as the Not So Newlywed Game, but it was entertaining. From there we went down a deck to the Hollywood Theatre for the final ‘show’ - the Variety Show. The magician (whom we had missed before) was back, as well as the Oh What A Night guys for some more Frankie Vallie tunes and then the crew did their thank you’s by bringing up on stage as many folks from the various areas of the ship to wave and say good-bye. This is always an emotional event. We pulled into Honolulu Harbor and had our final breakfast. We met for the last time in the Hollywood Theatre and joined the rest of our group at 9 a.m. and disembarked for the last time and boarded the bus. Since our flight wasn’t until 11 p.m., we had the whole day to kill, so this tour would take us 140 miles around the island of Oahu, with a stop for lunch and various places along the way. Leo was our bus driver/tour guide and he was delightful and had 35, 40 and even 80 point questions throughout the day (of course no one was keeping score and the points were random, but it added a sense of fun to the day). It was well worth the money for the tour AND was very informative. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We are experienced cruisers in late 40's/early 50's. This was the best of 18 cruises, 6 with Celebrity. We were in Aqua Class. There wasn't much I didn't love about this cruise. Ship - Clean and fresh. This ship is ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers in late 40's/early 50's. This was the best of 18 cruises, 6 with Celebrity. We were in Aqua Class. There wasn't much I didn't love about this cruise. Ship - Clean and fresh. This ship is getting older but you wouldn't know it. It was sparkling...every day without exception. Crew - excellent service, happy and fun attitude. I didn't run into any crew member that wasn't willing to go the extra mile and helpful. Special call out to the Blu restaurant staff for their excellent service and flexibility. Wow... loved it. Relaxing - this is the first time ever that I didn't even care what time it was. We got up when we wanted and just relaxed all day on the six sea days crossing to Hawaii. The drink package was amazing.... will never said again without one. The first day was a bit rocky but I expected it would be. Food - We've sailed on this ship and other solstice class ships before and I would say this cruise was above average. It's true that in order to get the really high quality steaks and seafood you must go to a specialty restaurant. We didn't bother...the food in Blu was excellent and they did special orders if I didn't like what was on the menu. We didn't eat in the main dining room so I can't speak to that. The Ocean View cafe buffet had a great assortment of items for breakfast and lunch that were excellent quality. I was never unhappy with any of the food. Room Stewards - They were easy going, fun and pleasant. Did a great job with the room and were never in the way or lurking around. Lawn Club - LOVED IT. We spend many hours up there relaxing with our books with a cocktail in hand. The views of the islands were wonderful. The service from Sunset Bar was great Hawaii - Loved having overnight stops. Islands were wonderful and we had some great excursions... a mix of cruise sponsored and private. The views from the ship in Maui were beyond fabulous... I can't even begin to imagine the cost of a hotel room with the view we had from our balcony. I thought maybe tendering would be an issue but it wasn't ....done very well with no problems. Passenger mix - Loved the international mix of passengers on this cruise. We met many wonderful people from all over the world. The only negative for this cruise is embarkation. I believe it was long and drawn out due to the fact everyone had to go through customs before getting on the ship. It took a couple hours to get through. I would recommend this cruise to anyone wanting a longer cruise experience with a good mix of relaxation and fun. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
I never thought that I would be taking a Hawaiian cruise. My ten hour flight from NYC was only the second time I had flown in an airplane but when NCL gave us a great package, we decided to go for it. The package included the cruise, the ... Read More
I never thought that I would be taking a Hawaiian cruise. My ten hour flight from NYC was only the second time I had flown in an airplane but when NCL gave us a great package, we decided to go for it. The package included the cruise, the airfare, transfers, two night stay at the Waikiki Marriott, three meals at specialty restaurants, twenty photos and chocolate covered fruit in out stateroom. The flight was United out of JFK to San Francisco with a two hour layover and the return flight was via Los Angeles The NCL air travel office was great, changed seats as needed and I learned that for that distance, I should have bout the Economy Plus seats. LOL I was also dismayed that travelling over this great country of ours, no one opens the window screens. Only over the ocean did the window passengers open their screens. The transfer in Honolulu was bit confusing but we soon were on our way. We were greeted by NCL reps at the hotel. NCL has an office in the Hotel where they did our initial boarding paperwork and took the cruisecard photos. We walked around town a bit, had dinner and went to bed. It was 7 pm local time but 1 am NY time. The room in the Marriott was gorgeous. We were on the 19th floor and overlooked the beach. The only thing wrong was their was no place cheap for breakfast in the hotel. We took a Discover Hawaii tour of Pearl Harbor and Honolulu. Through the hotel concierge desk we were able to book luau for that evening. It was well worth it and got to see more of Honolulu on the bus trip there and back. We were also able to book a tour of Kauai through Roberts Tours. A word about tour companies. NCL uses Polynesian Adventures (Gray Line) as their major excursion company. I was told by one of the drivers that Polynesian Adventures is a subsidiary operation of NCL. The ads and other Critic posters talk highly of 'family owned' Roberts tours. To tread their website, you would think they were a quaint operation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Roberts may be family owned but it is the largest transportation company in Hawaii and operates everything from taxi cabs to tour buses to school buses. They had some good deals and they are as ubiquitous as Polynesian Adventure Tours at all ports of call. If you are going to use Roberts, book as far as advance as you can on line. Their tours fill quickly through the hotels. The morning of embarkation, we were told to meet at the NCL office at 10:15 am. We asked if we could go later because 10:15 you lose a whole day in Honolulu. We were told that as long as our luggage is prepared as instructed for pick up, we could get to the pier any time we wanted to, but that NCL would not pay for that transfer. We did as instructed and visited the Honolulu Zoo that morning, walked around the town beach by Waikiki and took the city bus to the pier. It was $2 each and took about an hour. We went to the Priority Check-in line as instructed and we were on board within ten minutes. We skipped the lines ahead of us. Our luggage arrived prior. We had heard many rumors about the quality of the PoA..about the American crew, about the age of the ship, about its unfortunate circumstances during building, etc etc. We are experienced NCL cruisers so not much phases us anymore. Yes the ship was older and yes, an all American crew is "different" I wouldn't say bad or good, just that the general feel was "different." We found some very nice crew members from Florida and some rude members from the Philippines. People are people and you have to accept them all. The one thing that stayed in our heads was this cruise was to be looked at as a floating hotel and not necessarily as a cruise per se. There are no sea days. It's a case of "If this is Tuesday, it must be Maui." It is a very fast paced trip and you are on the go constantly. In fact, we took a vacation from the vacation when we got home. By the time you got back to the ship, had dinner and saw a show, you were beat and went to bed. And when you got up, you were usually in a new port and the craziness started all over again. We had an inside state room. Its a room in a floating hotel. At night there is nothing to see and by day you are out and about. The following is just some random thoughts about life on the PoA. No special order, good or bad. The food was okay. It's better than on Carnival, but about normal for NCL. There is not much of a difference between the Skyline and Liberty dining rooms except the atmosphere. We liked the Skyline better. Had more of a NY feel. There was occasionally a band playing. We had a table for two the entire time. We eat early and tried for a window--not always successful. When we did wind up in the center, there was a lot of clinking of silverware/flatware and we were asked to be moved. No problem. We ate at Cagney's Steak House and La Cucina since we had vouchers. La Cucina's food was nothing special nor was the steak house's. We did not go to LeBistro because we do not like french food. Later we found out that the vouchers were applied as OBC whether we used them or not. In fact, you have to pay tax on the vouchers if used. The 24 hour cafe had comfort foods but service was slow. We ate in the Aloha cafe occasionally--primarily for breakfast. By sitting out at the far end where the Brazilian restaurant was supposed to be (outside) you could almost always found a seat. Usual choice of breakfast foods. Chocolate milk always available. Lots of fruit --especially pineapple. Had an inside stateroom. The usual. Bib enough for the two of us. Worst part was the lack of TV channels with any type of commercial or local programming. Almost all were NCL advertisements. Silas was the cruise director. He was suave and smooth and ran a good staff. We love trivia. There was not enough of it but they had some interesting movie trivia each night that we really enjoyed. The shows were okay. The Frankie Valle shows put us both to sleep. The magician/comedian was pretty good. We enjoyed the not so newly wed game. There was a prize of bamboo sheets for the winning couple. A nice touch. Bingo was free and for prizes. There is no casino on board (Hawaiian law prohibits gambling--which includes bingo) No casino, no smokey walkways. Much appreciated. As usual, a nice Cruise Critic meet and greet. It was in the library. A small group but we had light refreshments and key staff welcomed us aboard. It's very nice to walk about the ship and see senior officers all over taking pride in their product. Also unusual to hear a captain without a foreign accent! I don't know how I got on the 'list' but I was asked to join the chief engineer for dinner. I asked and no one would give me a straight answer. They just said to enjoy it. The eight of us ate in LaCucina (much better service when an officer was around) and plenty of opportunity to ask questions. As silver latitudes members, we were invited to a wine and cheese gathering on a forward deck in the sun. It was HOT and sunny and after a few more thank you speeches from senior staff, everyone headed inside for the air conditioning. The ship was always cold --too much a/c .. and needed a sweater most of the time. For excursions we did a combinations of ships tours and car rentals. They are written about separately below. One day in Hilo they were burning sugar cane at night. We all thought the ship was on fire. Called Guest Services and it was explained to us. This should be made aware in advance and not at 4 am! The ship no longer sails around the bottom of the Big Island to see the lava flows ... none available since the tsunami. But the current activity may result in future trips once again. The Napali Coast was right out of Jurassic Park. Some narration outside, but rude passengers talk and laugh so you can't hear what they are saying. The ship gets there just before sunset and gets close enough to see detail. It then heads back to Honolulu. All in all it was a great trip. Once in a lifetime perhaps but hoping to go again. Remember--its a floating hotel...don't expect what you usually expect from a cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Enjoyed a relaxing 16 day repositioning cruise from Vancouver, BC around Hawaii and back to Long Beach, Ca. Cruised with 3 other couples, all 60's - early 70's - the median age of passengers was 65, so we were happy to fit the ... Read More
Enjoyed a relaxing 16 day repositioning cruise from Vancouver, BC around Hawaii and back to Long Beach, Ca. Cruised with 3 other couples, all 60's - early 70's - the median age of passengers was 65, so we were happy to fit the profile. Best of all, the ship wasn't overrun with unruly brats or drunks! Mostly fit, happy retirees - a number of whom were from Canada and the UK. We had not been to Vancouver - it is a lovely city. We overnighted at the Hotel Blu, which I highly recommend. We had sailed on the Miracle 7 years ago, and really enjoyed the size and layout. 3 couples were in adjoining staterooms, so we had the doors to our balconies opened - sweet! It was like having our own deck! Embarkation: We are Platinum and usually practically walk right onto the ship. We arrived at the port around 12:30. We were herded into the waiting area and it was frustrating to wait almost an hour to board. The embarkation staff gave the excuse that they weren't familiar with Carnival's computer system? Oh well. Ship: As usual we had lovely wait staff and room stewards. I am continually amazed at how gracious and helpful they are in spite of their grueling work schedules and years of service. Gede from Bali and Elena from Bulgaria were our waiters, and so very friendly and kind. Ben from Thailand was our steward, and he was just terrific! All over the ship, the crew smiled, greeted us by name, and made us feel so welcome - made for a relaxing, happy cruise. Seas were a little bumpy out of Vancouver, but we love that - have never been seasick, even when going through the edge of a hurricane on our first cruise. Food: Food was good - typical Carnival fare. We've been on so many Carnival cruises we know what to order and what to avoid. My very favorite meals were the sea day brunches -the steak and eggs as well as the pork chop were scrumptious! Breakfasts on the Lido were pretty much the same every day, but you can get a lovely omelet or eggs cooked to order every day. The pizza was terrific. I enjoyed the freshly cooked Asian menu for lunch on the Lido. Entertainment: Cruise Director Troy Linton is the best! He is very talented and engaging. He had a tough job with so many sea days. 400 miles away from Hawaii, one of the passengers became ill and had to have an air drop of medical supplies. The next day the passenger had to be made made medevaced from the ship. The Ships's Captain, CD Troy, and the rest of the crew handled this very stressful situation with dignity and discretion. The entertainers were pretty good, particularly the comedian JeRome. We love the live band, and are sad that they will probably be history after the Carnival Fun Ship 2.0 changes are made. The Assistant Cruise Director Mel was a sweetie! I participated in the Talent Show, and she was very helpful and kind. It was a wonderful memory! Troy is sooo quick and funny, and a little bit sassy! There was a naturalist on board - Michele - who gave talks every sea day. She was excellent. The talks were very informational and well presented. We didn't miss one of them! Highly recommended! Ports: we had been to Hawaii on the Norwegian Pride of America 2 years ago, and we were glad to hit the spots we hadn't really seen before. We rented a vehicle at all the ports except Kona - all Jeeps and one convertible. Car rental takes a bit of time away from the few hours you have in each port, but we like to do our own thing at our own pace. Kauai is my favorite island - we drove to Kilauea Lighthouse from our port at Lihue and then on up and over to Tunnels Beach. The water was nice, but it's rough getting in and out of the surf. I had sand EVERYWHERE, even in my ears! We stopped by Wailua Falls on the way back, so beautiful. Maui - there was light rain when we arrived, and I have to complain about how Kahului Port Security handled the queues for car rental shuttles. It was absolutely poorly set up - complete chaos! People were jumping lines and rushing the shuttles. It got pretty ugly. I was ashamed of the lack of civility of fellow passengers, but blame the port for not organizing it better. It needs to change! We drove over the southeast side of Haleakela to the O'heo Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools). What a gorgeous drive! On the leeward side, there's not so much vegetation to block the views. There isn't much along the way - we stopped at funky Hasagawa's Country Store for a snack - a fun place! Be aware that driving this side rather than the road to Hana, your car rental contract is void if you have problems. The road narrows to one lane & gravel near the end. You can see the big island from the road, as well as the little island of Kaho'olawe. The 7 Sacred Pools are part of Haleakala National Park. It's a short hike over to the pools. Very beautiful! We went swimming in the first pool. Be aware that flash floods occur after heavy rains, and it may be unsafe. We decided to go ahead and drive back through Hana, as there weren't any lunch choices the other way. We had lunch at the little Hana beach cafe - just ok. We weren't excited about driving the road to Hana after driving it before (once was more than enough). It was fun to watch the surfers at Honolua Bay. Our next stop was Oahu. We did the major stuff before, but didn't make it to the North Shore previously, so we drove along the coast up to Waimea Bay and Haleiwa, after driving to the Punch Bowl National Cemetary. We stopped at Hanauma Bay, but were disappointed that we couldn't get in. It was already full at 10:30 AM, and we didn't want to wait. We did go to Waimea Falls at Waimea Bay, and it was lovely. A bit costly, but the gardens and falls were worth it. We stopped and swam at Shark's Cove (not to worry - it's not named for an abundance of sharks). The smallish swimming area was very nice without a rough break to haul in and out of. Big Island - our first stop was the tender port at Kona. We booked a rare excursion through the ship because of the short time in port - Captain Zodiac snorkel tour to Kealakekua Bay. It was great snorkeling - we had been there before and thoroughly enjoyed it. We are 62, and usually the oldest on snorkel trips. There were folks in their seventies in our group, and I just had to smh! Why? Why would people that old and decrepit attempt it? Bucket list? This is a rubber raft over open ocean, folks! When we got back they had to lift one lady out of the raft under her arms and by her feet because she couldn't get out on her own. Oh, well. Our final stop was Hilo. We drove the 11 down to Punaluu black sand beach - totally worth it! There were sea turtles resting in the beach. On the way back we drove by the orchid farm as well as the Mauna Loa macadamia nut farm. The nuts are cheaper at Walmart, though. We decided to drive down to Pahoa to try to see the latest lava flow, but we couldn't find it. We did go down to see the 1990 lava flow that destroyed the town of Kalapana - eerie. On the way back we stopped at the Star of the Sea painted church. Back to the ship and more wonderful sea days! Debarkation: smooth and fast, except the taxi line at Long Beach was huge. They only load one taxi at a time. Be prepared. This was our longest cruise so far, and I highly recommend the itinerary if you like sea days and a quick overview of the Hawaiian Islands. We Like Carnival for the large staterooms and great service. Sailing February 2015 on the Dream (again 😄) Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Now, before you think, this guy likely never cruised, wrong. We are seasoned cruisers and have cruised on many cruise lines. This one was the worst ever. I though Carnival was crappy but this one takes the prize as the worst. The problems ... Read More
Now, before you think, this guy likely never cruised, wrong. We are seasoned cruisers and have cruised on many cruise lines. This one was the worst ever. I though Carnival was crappy but this one takes the prize as the worst. The problems started right from the boarding process. Every cruise line we have been on in the past allow 2 bottles of wine in your luggage no fee. Not this one! $15 per bottle corkage fee. We refused to pay because it was more than we paid for the wine and the put the bottle asside to give back to us on the last day of the cruise. Next, the water package. $45 for 24 500ml bottle of Aquafina. Seriously?!!! You can buy your own off ship for $7. They claimed it was for convenience, more like gouging. I understand they want to make a profit so then charge $20, they will make 400% profit and more will likely take them up on it. We get to our cabin, 11 deck balcony so not a cheap cabin, walk in and it's filthy. We had to clean out the drawers full of dirt and hair from the last passengers. Normally we would meet our room stewart before the dinner time arrived, but we never saw him until the next day. Next we noticed no conditioner, no moisturizer so my wife called the guest services. She was told basically, "that is offered only for guests in suites" she then said, "you are kidding right?" and the reply was "that's just the way it is." We went over this clown's head right to the top guy and got our conditioner and moisturizer daily after that. I had booked one of the specialty restaurants for the first night because it was my wife's birthday. We get a call 40 minutes before our reservation saying that the restaurant was not open boarding day and they offered to reschedule it to another night. We said no so they offered an alternative but it was going to cost us $20 more. I said no-way, they were going to cover that extra because it was not our fault, they gladly took my money 1 month before the cruise. They agreed. So we go to dinner and order the lobster. No word of a lie, the shrimp on my plate was the exact same size. I asked for another one..."Oh well that will cost you $10 more for a second entre" OMG, I flipped out. I got a second puny lobster eventually, no charge. This kind of crap, went on and on throughout the entire week. We never got to use our balcony because there were smokers on both sides of us and chain smoked the entire trip constantly. We are both allergic to cigarette smoke so We complained and they more or less didn't care saying the smokers are allowed to smoke on their balconies. No other cruise ship allow this due to fire hazards. They refused to compensate us except to give a cheap bottle of wine. Keep your wine! NCL have the monopoly if you want to cruise the Hawaiian islands so you have no choice. My tip, take the cheapest room, stay out of the specialty restaurants, drink you face off, off the ship (because it's cheaper) and do not give them anything extra. You paid too much even with the cheapest room. Never sailing NCL again...EVER.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We embarked in Vancouver in a timely fashion. No problems, no surprises other than our bags had already arrived at our cabin and we were only slightly delayed in the boarding process. Very pleasant. After everything we had been told on ... Read More
We embarked in Vancouver in a timely fashion. No problems, no surprises other than our bags had already arrived at our cabin and we were only slightly delayed in the boarding process. Very pleasant. After everything we had been told on this site, we expected, as 1 star Mariners we would be able to eat in the main dining room for lunch, but alas, we were turned away and ate our first meal in the Lido, first of many I might add. I was awakened by my wife at 5am the first morning in a panic because the water to the head (toilet) would not stop flowing. After trying unsuccessfully to call the front desk, I ran up the stairs and after hitting the bell, finally got someone's attention to try and stem the tide. Getting back to the room, and waiting far too long, I finally tracked down a steward that was able to turn the water off. A couple of hours later, a crew member had the broken shutoff valve replaced. Rest assured, it was not anything foreign and forbidden that was flushed to cause the drama. The stewards worked hard the next couple of days to dry the cabin out from our adventure. And did an admirable job. That was the only true problem with the trip, but I will say to be sure you like sea days very much before choosing an itinerary that has 5 sea days at each end of the trip. On such a small ship, with very little entertainment, other than a very active team trivia each day, it became very monotonous. Needless to say, I took the opportunity to catch up on visiting with my wife, and a great deal of reading. In our 50's, we were very much on the young side of the demographics of this ship. We heard from a few different people the average age on board was in excess of 80 years. I can not prove that number, but also from the number of walkers, canes, wheelchairs and scooters, I totally believe it. Everything on this ship is designed to work around the fixed dining, so be warned, if, like us, like options, choose this line carefully. I can not understand how the main dining room starts the second seating at 8pm, but closes up the Lido at that same time. Trying to eat at any time but the fixed times met with frustration. We had no real complaints about the Lido, other than it was no more than cafeteria food. Better than most cafeterias, but still just a cafeteria. We usually like to have a bigger lunch a bit later than most, around 2:30, but if you do not get there well before they close, then you are left with the same deli selections, each and every day. We then try to have a decent snack at around 8:30, a bit before bed, but unless you want to dress for the dining room, forget about that. There is practically no place, but the dining room to eat after that point. We tried the Pinnacle Grill twice, and found that it was once too many times. Very nice food, but for the price, not worth it in my opinion. Entertainment revolved around the fixed dining, with shows starting at 8pm and 10pm. Forget trying to get a seat at the 8pm show unless you show up at least 45 minutes before hand. The few shows we watched, were hardly worth the bother. Some of the guest entertainers were great, but very standard shows otherwise. The musicians onboard were very nice, but forget listening to anything other than classical or very old standards. The only reason we chose this cruise was the multiple visits to the Islands of Hawaii. They did not disappoint. One piece of advise, rent a car and explore on your own, well worth the time and investment. I can see why some would fight to the end to keep Holland America traditional, but it is only a matter of time before the present catches up with this line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
I booked this cruise for my husband's 40 th birthday. We chose a cruise because we wanted to see the most in Hawaii. This was the most economical way and NCL POA offered a cruise of just the islands from Honolulu. Flew into Honolulu ... Read More
I booked this cruise for my husband's 40 th birthday. We chose a cruise because we wanted to see the most in Hawaii. This was the most economical way and NCL POA offered a cruise of just the islands from Honolulu. Flew into Honolulu the day before on Delta. Used Roberts Hawaii to pick us up at the airport. Highly recommend. They met us at gate with a lei. It was extremely easy and efficient. We stayed one night pre cruise at Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. Amazing hotel. We started our cruise on a Saturday. After using Roberts Hawaii again for shuttle from hotel to cruise terminal, we started the LONG process of embarkation. This seemed to take forever. There were no porters at terminal and you had to stand in a long line to check your luggage. Then another long line for security. Then another long line to check in. This could be improved. Once on the ship we noticed how clean everything was. The ship is gorgeous and decorated in an American theme. Our room was not ready so we had a great lunch in the Aloha Cafe. The food was really good and of the other cruise lines we have sailed on was remarkably better. After we ate, our stateroom was ready. We booked a balcony stateroom. It was very nice. A little smaller than other cruise ships we have been on and the bathroom was a lot smaller. The room was hot when we first arrived and never really cooled off the entire trip. The beds were comfortable. There was a small closet and several small drawers for clothing. There was also a small TV which had quite a few channels and two movie channels. The balcony was nice with two chairs and a small table. After checking out our stateroom, we went to check out the spa. My husband had a massage and I had a seaweed wrap to unwind from our long trip. I highly recommend this as it relaxes you for the rest of your trip. For dinner that night we ate in one of the main dining room, The Liberty. It should be said that this is a freestyle cruise but there are two restaurants with a dress code: The Liberty and the Jefferson Bistro. Our meal was great. So far we have been pleasantly surprised in our food. After dinner, we explored the ship and returned to our room. The next day, our first stop, was Maui. We rented a jeep and set off on the "road to Hana". I am glad we did this adventure. The road itself is quite treacherous. There are very few guard rails and steep cliffs. There are also quite a few blind curves as well as one lane bridges. That being said, it was worth it. We bought the R2H CD prior to the vacation and used it as our guide. This trip took all day. I was glad we rented a jeep and recommend that over the group tours. Our next day was also spent in Maui. We still had the jeep so we headed to the west side of the island and a small town call Lahaina. There were some nice shops and restaurants and it was also a nice drive. We returned to the ship and ate that night at Cagney's Steakhouse. It was delicious. Great steaks and sides. Highly recommend. The next day was in Hilo on the big island. We booked an excursion this day from the ship. We took the Volcano and taste of Hawaii. It was the best excursion we booked. It was all day in a small van. There were only twelve of us. We started out at Hilo coffee mill, then headed up to Volcano National park, then lunch at a great art gallery and our last stop was Big Island Candies. Our tour guide, Po, made the day great. If you only book one excursion on your cruise, book this one. You will not be disappointed. The next day we were in Kona. This was a tender stop. That was kind of a nightmare. You had to wait on the ship until they called your number to the tender boat. This took us about an hour. Then they tender you in the life boat. It was very hot and not very uncomfortable. They drop you off right in downtown Kona. there is a small public beach right when you get off the ship. I wish we had just gone there. Instead we walked a good ways, up hill, in the heat to have lunch at Kona Brewing Company. After lunch we just walked around the town until we couldn't stand the heat any longer and grabbed a shaved ice from Scandinavian shaved Ice. It was very refreshing. Afterwards we headed back to the ship. The tender ride back was worse. That night on the ship we ate at Teppanyaki. That is there hibachi style steakhouse. It was the best meal of the trip. The food was great and the show was completely entertaining. I highly recommend this dinner. It is worth the surcharge. The next day was our first day in Kauai. We booked an excursion from the ship to go tubing in an irrigation ditch. It was a lot of fun. The water was "refreshing". You aren't allowed to say cold. Our tours guides were funny and entertaining. We had a good time. Just note that you are underground in tunnels the majority of the time. If you are claustrophobic this might not be a good tour for you. Afterwards we returned to the ship to get ready for our luau. We chose to not book the luau that the ship offered and booked Smith Garden Family Luau. It was on a large garden which was beautiful. The food was really good and the show was entertaining. We have no complaints about the luau. Our last day in Kauai we booked the excursion through the ship to go to the Waimea Canyon. It was amazing. Beautiful sites. There are several stops on the way and several on the way back. We also got to see a blow hole and stopped at a coffee farm. It was a good tour. After leaving Kauai, we sailed by the Napali Coast line which was breathtaking. When we arrived back in Honolulu we booked the Early bird Pearl Harbor tour which made debarkation a breeze. The bus stored our luggage and dropped us off at the airport. We had a really great time and I am glad we chose to do a cruise. I felt like we got to see a lot of the entire state this way. The ship is really nice and all the food we had was really good. We did not see many children, I think we counted about five total, on this ship. If you are looking for an affordable way to see the most you can while in Hawaii this is the way to go. Some pointers: 1. Fly in a few nights before, if you are able. We are east coasters and the time change really messed with us. Also, we felt like we didn't get to see much of Oahu. 2. Rent a car in Maui and do the Road to Hana. 3. On Hilo, book the Volcano and Taste of Hawaii tour. 4. On Kona, book an excursion or plan a beach day. It is very hot there. There is a very nice public beach right when you get off tender. 5. In Kauai, go see the Waimea Canyon. 6. Be prepared for a long embarkation process. Have fun and Aloha!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click