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322 San Diego to Hawaii Cruise Reviews

We were on the Eurodam from San Diego - 3/1 - 18/20 to Hawaii. This was during the Grand Princess from Hawaii to San Francisco, that docked finally in Oakland. We were all concerned about corona virus positive crew or passenger(s) being ... Read More
We were on the Eurodam from San Diego - 3/1 - 18/20 to Hawaii. This was during the Grand Princess from Hawaii to San Francisco, that docked finally in Oakland. We were all concerned about corona virus positive crew or passenger(s) being on board our ship. The Captain gave us daily updates, changes in hand sanitizer use, cleaning, food being served only in buffet, etc. and lack corona cases. Passengers were generally good about hand sanitizer use, but not about covering up when coughing, and no social distancing was recommended or followed. No special procedures (other than filling out the standard CDC form) were followed at ports, or embarcing/disembarcing/customs (no temperatures taken, medical interviews or recommendations of the use of masks or gloves). On the last night of the cruise, a note was slipped under our door advising the CDC had notified HAL Medical Officer that a passenger on the previous Eurodam cruise had tested positive for COVID-19. We have not had any COVID-19 symptoms. We live in Northern California, and were under shelter in place on 3/18/20. We'd love to hear other passengers experiences upon return from the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We like long cruises. It was depressing wh the number of wheelchairs and walkers. Men coming to dinner in faded jeans and baseball caps. They are very very stingy with food in the dining room. Vegetables were usually mushy spinach. ... Read More
We like long cruises. It was depressing wh the number of wheelchairs and walkers. Men coming to dinner in faded jeans and baseball caps. They are very very stingy with food in the dining room. Vegetables were usually mushy spinach. One day I had one half of a Brussel sprout. The next day I asked if I could have extra sprouts, I received 2 halfs! My husband received a pile of mashed potatoes with a chicken breast. No veg at all. We ended up eating dinner in the buffet where we had more choice. This I definitely not for gourmet foodies. We were shocked by our cabin assignment. Cabin 7121 inside may have been appropriate for 1 person but not for 2. Most of the ports visited were mediocre but I was looking forward to Lahaina. The day before the captain announced we would be skipping maui because the water may be too rough for tenders. We were diverted to a port that didn't require a tender and seemed to be s shipping port. Our table mats went to maui on their excursion and said there was no problem with rough water. That left us wondering if the change was made to accommodate all the wheelchairs and walkers ?? I very foolishly purchased a ring on board. The jewelry Mgr Marius assured me that he would take care of sizing the ring. We found that after I made the purchase he was no longer interested in us and when he saw us approaching, he would leave very quickly. Do yourself a favour ... make any expensive purchase at home. Our stateroom attendant Nom was excellent. We are grateful to have returned home without being affected by covid 19. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We are HA fans after multiple cruises but as others said their reputation is not what it once was. We had never done a cruise with so many sea days in a row so was uncertain if that was for us. While we survived there was not a lot to do ... Read More
We are HA fans after multiple cruises but as others said their reputation is not what it once was. We had never done a cruise with so many sea days in a row so was uncertain if that was for us. While we survived there was not a lot to do on sea days except eat and for some to complain; the trip back to San Diego was more stressful than the trip from SD to Hawaii. Much had changed in just a week as the virus was seriously affecting US travel and cruise ports in particular, as it had not before we left on March1. While in Hawaii, i began getting emails from my airline that many planes were cancelled or consolidated and delays were to be expected. Fortunately our flight to East coast was non-stop so other flights were consolidated into it but it went 1/3 full and crew made us distance by rows. Back to cruise, HA did not begin any serious IC measures until we were headed back. The captain did give updates daily but they did not say much that we already knew from TV news. People mingled about but they did make an effort to assure that everyone use hand sanitizer but only in the food areas. They also took down the self serve line in Lido and opened public RR doors, but that was about it. Last day at sea we were notified that HA was suspending cruises for 15 days and that a passenger from previous cruise has tested positive. Nothing so far about anyone from the 3/01/20 trip but there were folks that were doing a BTB from the previous cruise. Food was OK but not as superior as we have had on HA; Pinicale and Tamarind were excellent and under-utilized. Wait staff and Lido staff were helpful and get an A+. In the end the food choices were a bit better as I think they were using up the larder. As usual cabin staff were efficient and wonderful even if you did not see them frequently. It was obvious that staff has been reduced and the shows are not big productions but performers that varied considerably from one to another. The best entertainment was Lincoln Center Stage; Never enough seat at any performance! The worst was BB King, which was loud and terrible. That was a disappointment as they have been much better on other ships. HA did away with America's Test Kitchen and have gone back to using their own chef. It was OK but ATK was much better. Another penny pinching stunt was that they have done away with the port point person and assigned this to the cruise director; so there was no specific info about each POC that independent cruisers may utilize. Obviously the push is to sell expensive excursions. You could not even get a map of the port area. Our only issue was the cabin on Lower Veranda deck # 5149 which was incredibly small; we are both disabled but the right angle between the desk and BR and closet wall would not allow for my husband to use his crutches and because of the way the door opened there was nothing to hang on to. When we booked there was no handicapped accessible cabins so this one was suggested by HA cruise consultant. He has booked for us before and knew the situation; when we asked if we could change on day 1 they offered an accessible cabin at a significant markup. We toughed it out but it was not easy and not safe as several nights at sea were rough. This is long but hope will give others food for thought. Don't know when HA will be back but am sure there will be more cost saving efforts; so will need to give HA serious thought in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Location of travel. Not a good experience with room staff that took an item from the room, Onboard shops pushy, harassing and unethical. Food was average and allowed many people on excursions and onboard move around the ship that were sick ... Read More
Location of travel. Not a good experience with room staff that took an item from the room, Onboard shops pushy, harassing and unethical. Food was average and allowed many people on excursions and onboard move around the ship that were sick in lite of the Corona Virus issue. Almost on a daily basis, I was standing in a food line while someone was sneezing, on a bus or tender coughing and sneezing, in the upscale dining room a few nights and still the same. In the upscale restaurant brought the wrong order or forgot to bring an item requested on the menu. The wine steward many times dripped wine on the table, and try to upsell a wine that I can get at home which a low grade of wine. The wine tasting had a collection of really cheap wines that you can easily find at a big box store. The person at the dessert counter when seeing a line of people was very rude a short with every customer request. This was the worst cruise experience I though you always get what you paid for but in this case, you will pay more and get less One last item would be the fitness center trying to push a product that you can get a lot cheaper at home. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We chose this cruise for the length (15 Days) and the destination (Hawaii). Boarding the ship in San Diego was extremely organized, once you got through security. The security line was pretty much a free-for-all. I read reviews about ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the length (15 Days) and the destination (Hawaii). Boarding the ship in San Diego was extremely organized, once you got through security. The security line was pretty much a free-for-all. I read reviews about the ship being in bad shape. Yes, it's an older ship that was weeks away from dry dock, but the ship was in great shape! Very clean and all public areas were in excellent condition and working order. We had an interior cabin (it was a casino comp...so we dealt with it! LOL) and made it work. It was very small, but as long as we kept it picked up and used all the drawer/cabinet space , it was fine. The service throughout the ship was wonderful! Very friendly crew everywhere we went, and always greeted with a smile! Our cabin steward, Genjah, kept our cabin in perfect order. It seemed like whenever we left and came back to our room, no matter the time of day, our cabin had been cleaned and organized! The entertainment was okay, not the best, but we enjoyed ourselves. With a total of eight sea days, there's only so much you can do. We brought some games and books along to keep us occupied...and out of the casino! LOL As far as Hawaii goes, our ports of call could not have been better! (Maui, Oahu/Honolulu, Kaua'i, Hilo) The only excursion we booked through Carnival was a snorkeling excursion in Maui. This was advertised as a snorkeling with turtles, which it was not; but the snorkeling was beautiful...and on the way back to the island we saw so many whales! It was a highlight! The rest of our excursions were booked on our own and we had no problems getting back to the ship on time, with all but one of them picking us up right at the ship. The only real disappointment was the food. It was not terrible, but sometimes lacked flavor. The Steakhouse was wonderful, but the Chef's Table was disappointing. We've done other Chef's Tables and the menu and quality was much better. I believe Carnival has cut back on this and would do well to redo the menu. The main dining room was again...just okay; but our service could not have been better. Debarkation was a little long, but that was due to the amount of Platinum and Diamond guests on the ship. We always give ourselves plenty of time to get to the airport, so this is never a big deal to us. Overall, the ship and crew on Carnival Miracle really made this trip special, and we would do it all over again!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Although an older ship due for dry dock, the Miracle was still a lovely, clean, and inviting ship to be on. (I do hope that they replace the mattresses in the cabins, though, during the dry dock. They weren't very comfortable). The ... Read More
Although an older ship due for dry dock, the Miracle was still a lovely, clean, and inviting ship to be on. (I do hope that they replace the mattresses in the cabins, though, during the dry dock. They weren't very comfortable). The crew was amazing--helpful to elderly and disabled and very friendly and accommodating. The activities and entertainment was varied and enjoyable. Some of the comedians were just so-so, but others were great, so evened out. I would not rave about the food. It was just okay in both the Lido and the Dining Room. The best meals were at the Sea Day Brunch. Hawaii ports offered plenty to do, although several of them were not the most scenic - we docked in industrial terminals. I will definitely consider sailing on this ship again after it is refreshed. It was so easy to figure out the layout and get to all the venues with very little crowding and few lines. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We have previously sailed on Crystal Serenity. Both cruises our suite was beautifully furnished and very comfortable. Since we had cruised the Bahamas in past years, we wanted a different itinerary. So we decided to Hawaii would be a ... Read More
We have previously sailed on Crystal Serenity. Both cruises our suite was beautifully furnished and very comfortable. Since we had cruised the Bahamas in past years, we wanted a different itinerary. So we decided to Hawaii would be a nice change. Embarkation started off a little rocky, Crystal was trying out a new system and it took awhile to get information into an iPad. Our cabin was ready when we boarded. However, we were shocked and horrified after entering our penthouse suite 1035 to see duct tape all around a door connecting to another suite. Yes, duct tape. Then we looked at the furniture. First you see a big wooden desk that is old and shows a lot of wear. Nicks and dents in the wood. Then looking at the carpet you could see it was stained in places. The rest of the furniture was also worn and shabby. Shabby is probably a good description of this suite. This was very depressing. We try to book a suite when there a lot of sea days, since we usually spend more time in our cabin during sea days to relax. We had 10 sea days and we were not looking forward to spending time in this depressing room. We talked to the Concierge about changing rooms, but the ship was sold out. Housekeeping came by and apologized for the duct tape around the door. After they took it down it was apparent that there was a big gap around the door that allowed noise and light thru. So you have a choice of looking at duct tape having some privacy or hearing your neighbors conversations thru the door. Both the concierge and the head housekeeper to their credit did not try to deny that the suite was not what is should be. They noted the ship was going into dry dock in April, but that did not help us. There is only one outlet in the room, none next to the bed. They ran a big extension cord around room to get us a pug there. This ship is very cold in the some common rooms and venues, so pack a sweater. Coffee is very weak. We were saved by the coffee maker in room. There are lots of pluses. Crew were all friendly and helpful. I do think they are short on housekeeping staff. Took awhile to get our room made up. Food in all venues was very, very good. Probably better than on Serenity. Entertainment was ok. The New Years Eve party was fabulous. The cruise director Russ is the best we have seen. Try to catch the magic show. You get tickets in the library. Computer classes were good and a lot of people enjoyed the lectures. Weather, I was told by someone that the Pacific could be rough in December. I was hoping they were wrong. They were not. As soon as we left San Diego weather turned cold and over cast. Lots of wind and rough sea. This ship (as acknowledged by an officer) has unbalanced propeller which causes a lot of vibration and noise. We were delayed in leaving because the ship's doctor had become sick and was taken to the hospital. The captain had to go faster then he normally would in rough seas to make up time and that caused a lot of rocking and rolling. One night we heard a large crash when the ship hit a wave and dishes fell in the dining room. Finally, get to the Hawaii Islands only to be told by the captain that we would leave a day early missing the big island Hawaii, because more bad weather was coming. Another disappointment. So, this was not the best cruise we have been on. I would urge you, unless you need a connecting suite to stay clear of 1035. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We wanted to do something special for birthdays in the family, two of them in December during the cruise. We headed to Hawaii but might as well have flown. 4 sea days there and back were horrible. The second we stepped on deck, we ... Read More
We wanted to do something special for birthdays in the family, two of them in December during the cruise. We headed to Hawaii but might as well have flown. 4 sea days there and back were horrible. The second we stepped on deck, we smelled cigarette smoke, as smoking is permitted on Deck 2, indoors. There is really no way around it if you want to go to the casino, trivia events, or get on or off the ship. When we went to our stateroom, we found the toilet smelled disgusting, as it had not been cleaned because of the short turnover time between the last cruise and ours. They scrubbed it the next day and it was okay. The housekeepers are over worked, so they also get into such a routine they don’t check for when you run low on toilet paper or shampoo. We learned the Carnival Fun Hub app was also disappointing. We paid $5 per person for a chat feature that rarely worked. The app crashes more often than it works. Most importantly, we were told we would reach Oahu, Maui, Kona, and Hilo at given times. However, the organization was horrible. We left the ship 2 hours late each day, except for the last. We needed to leave the ship using tenders at Kona, but no one announced that we needed to obtain tickets to get off the ship or where to get them. A couple had their excursions cancelled because they couldn’t get off the ship on time even when prioritized. They weren’t allowed off the ship early, but had to take a ticket and wait, but they were not told this; they heard it from a fellow passenger. The Bacchus dining room is poorly lit and garish, it is filled with a theme of round purple lights and grape leaves everywhere. The gym is located in the front of the ship on Deck 9, one of the bumpiest places on the ship. Everyone on the treadmills was walking slowly or running while holding on. Being on a stationary bike was like biking while drunk. The entertainment on board was over much yet not enough. Every sea day, there were “wellness seminars,” trivia, games, lectures about Hawaii, or bands playing. There were different shows at night. They paid attention to the fun aspect much more than other aspects. The Carnival Miracle also has Park West Gallery on board, advertising marked up prices for so-so artists and their “hand embellished” art. These are printed paintings with dabs of paint added to them. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This cruise has several cons. Too many days at sea ( 12 ) which would be ok except the ship had a very poor entertainment program. The evening shows on the first leg were poor quality, better on the return leg, but still not great. The ... Read More
This cruise has several cons. Too many days at sea ( 12 ) which would be ok except the ship had a very poor entertainment program. The evening shows on the first leg were poor quality, better on the return leg, but still not great. The daytime presentations were uninteresting to most, spotty in number, - who wants to do towel folding, teeth whitening, sarong tying? The days at sea were boring, other than Trivial pursuit. The return leg offered Test Kitchen, a big hit, as there was little else during the day. They need to organize some decent lectures - not just try to sell us on other HA cruises! and jewelry, spa packages! Warning, this cruise has a great many elderly passengers, many in wheelchairs, walkers, and patience is a must. Its tough to be seated at dinner with a table of people in their 80's and 90's - many of whom cannot hear, and are not converse. Just a heads up. The Gym was a fallure. Of the 10 treadmills, 4 were " out of order " along with 2 elliptical, and of the remaining 4 had screens that did not work or only partially worked. We asked them to make the spin bikes available to offset this, but management did not do that. The spin bikes remained locked up until spin class ( you pay for that - and we observed two classes with one only participant) Many passengers just gave up on the gym, one morning I waited at 8 am behind 4 others, for a working treadmill. When you are captive on the boat this is unacceptable, and deck walking can be a challenge to substitute in wind and cold. Very under impressed with the facility and the absence of effort to remedy the problem. ( blamed on waiting for parts - ridiculous, the machines are old and should be just replaced) There is a safety issue in my opinion regarding boarding the Tenders for the shore visits. As an experienced Ferry captain, it is my opinion many of the senior and limited mobility passengers should not have been allowed on the tenders. The small exit area was blocked by wheelchairs, walkers and in one case a scooter. In the event of emergence ( there was quite a swell in Lahaina ) there is no question some of the passengers could not have climbed out, The crew boarding the Tenders let anyone on board. There should have been an officer present advising many of the elderly, hardly mobile, they would not be allowed to board. This is an accident waiting to happen. Pro's The cabin stewards, servers in the Dining Room, and Dining Room supervisors were first class. Food was good, although some dining room meals were not very appetizing or no one commented on the food being anything more than " good" or " ok" Just be aware! The stops in Hawaii made the cruise, as we could get off and do things. This particular cruise do to its duration at sea and lack of on board activity, would be better suited to very senior, limited mobility passengers. We heard many negative comments from people under the age of 75-80 and virtually unanimous dissatisfaction with the above issues. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I have cruised many times, with Celebrity as well as some other cruise lines. I had heard some good reports about Holland America, and liked the itinerary of this cruise, so I decided to give it a try. First morning we went up to the ... Read More
I have cruised many times, with Celebrity as well as some other cruise lines. I had heard some good reports about Holland America, and liked the itinerary of this cruise, so I decided to give it a try. First morning we went up to the gym, and I couldn't believe how small it was. Half of the 10 treadmills were broken, with signs on them saying not to use them. With the remaining ones that were functioning, most of the screens didn't work, or the phone jacks were broken, or the elevation didn't work. They only had a few Elliptical machines, and stationary bikes. There were several spin bikes, that were tied up, and kept only for the $15.00 classes. There were 2 trainers in the gym, who were very unfriendly, and completely unconcerned that the equipment was not working. The entertainment on the ship was non-existent, I am used to having destination speakers on board, as well as a production company, doing amazing Broadway shows. None of these were on-board. There was a very average comedian, and a Karen Carpenter imitator. The America Test Kitchen was closed on the first half of the voyage. They opened it on the 2nd leg, and it was standing room only, because everyone was so starved for entertainment. Trivia was the highlight of the cruise, and got bigger everyday. The junior cruise directors who ran it were excellent. The cruise director was the worst I have ever encountered. She gave an 11 minute talk on the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, she told us that she had been there on a holiday, and showed us a video from her phone. The video kept freezing, nothing about the history of the tattoo etc. She could have done a search on her computer, and put up a good video, and made at least a 30 minute presentation out of it. It was possibly the most amateur talk I have ever heard. She was definitely not a presence on the ship. The Remembrance Day ceremony left a lot to be desired. It was very short, and did not pay much of a tribute to the vast number of Veterans that were on board. The food and service in the dining room was very good, the steak and lobster at the finale dinner was very disappointing, with rubber lobster, but I was impressed with the waiters, who were very attentive, and willing to get you anything you wanted. The Lido market was also very crowded with wheelchairs and walkers, and very slow moving elderly patrons. I had heard that the passengers on the Holland America line were older than most cruise lines, but I was not prepared for the number of wheelchairs and walkers and extremely elderly passengers that were on board. The tenders in Lahina, and Kailua-Kona, were very scary. They need to screen some of the very elderly and immobile passengers, who should not be getting on Tenders. It's very disturbing to see people getting injured, and breaking bones, they should be screened and not allowed on the tenders. Having cruised many times with Celebrity, I could not help comparing the extreme lack of activities and lectures on Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I've been to Hawaii RT 6 times and this was the worst for activities and on any cruise ever taken as well and that numbers about 40. There was no Hawaiian enrichment speaker unlike last year. No guest speakers. NO COOKING CLASSES ... Read More
I've been to Hawaii RT 6 times and this was the worst for activities and on any cruise ever taken as well and that numbers about 40. There was no Hawaiian enrichment speaker unlike last year. No guest speakers. NO COOKING CLASSES on way over. No singers\dancers until the return. Etc etc. Everyone was complaining and one lady canceled two future HAL cruises. Finally in Hawaii HAL got the word and things got better. Then on 2nd to last night the main stage dance group was postponed due to a "rocky" sea, but as this announcement was made, I could see 80 year olds walking around on walkers and canes. So the show was on the last night and HAL won't have to pay for the traditional Mexican folkloric dance group in Ensanada. AND frankly, I just took a HAL cruise panama canal one and it was much the same. Guest speakers cost only a room. Many activities such as trivia, ship talks etc don't cost anything. There seems to be a problem in a lackluster management. I just booked a three cabin family vacation on Princess rather than with HAL. Food was fine. Service was great. Piano bar and Lincoln Center were great. I don't plan on cruising with HAL again until I hear that these things are corrected. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Choose this cruise to commemorate our 65th wedding anniversary & My 90 birthday. Boarded the Oosterdam Nov.6th. Nov. 9th severe coughing, Nov.14th after ships doctor did two tests said I had Bronchitis & bacteria infection & ... Read More
Choose this cruise to commemorate our 65th wedding anniversary & My 90 birthday. Boarded the Oosterdam Nov.6th. Nov. 9th severe coughing, Nov.14th after ships doctor did two tests said I had Bronchitis & bacteria infection & a bill for $227,08. Disembarked ship Nov.23rd @9am, by late afternoon Nov.23rd after being transferred by ambulance Doctors @ Highline hospital I.C.U. ward diagnosed me as having Sepsis Pnuemonia & Bacteria infection. While on this cruise my wife, son Michael & daughter inlaw Jo-ann also experienced coughing & sickness. Apart from our illness we found this an boring & uninteresting cruise, food was pretty much the same. The only time my wife & I were able to leave the ship was in Honolulu, just too ill the rest of the time.Holland America declined our request for some form of reimbursement, but did say they were sorry that I was unwell during the cruise,how compassionate can you get. Our first night in the dining room soup was served hot one hour & 15mins. later our dinner arrived stone cold, we ate in the Lido for the rest of the cruise.Music for dancing was hard to find nothing in the Crows nest or the Ocean bar long time favourites in past years,acts in the show room far below usual standards. the only thing for us to be positive about was the CREW as always, hard to beat. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
It pains me to say this because in the past we have always loved HAL but this cruise fell so short of expectations that we have resolved never to sail with this line again. Some things remain the same - the friendliness of the crew and ... Read More
It pains me to say this because in the past we have always loved HAL but this cruise fell so short of expectations that we have resolved never to sail with this line again. Some things remain the same - the friendliness of the crew and truly great fellow passengers - but almost everything else was wanting. The ship itself was in poor repair. There were broken windows, chipped paint, soiled carpets, rust and mold everywhere you looked. The entertainment was spotty. We enjoyed The Alley Cats, Savannah Jack, Brad Manuel, and Michael Regan - the rest, not so much. The Lincoln Center was always standing room only. BB Kings was too loud for most guests so it wasn't ever crowded. Billboard Onboard, on the other hand, was always crowded just because there wasn't anything else to do. But after the first four days the young men had used their entire catalog so we just listed to the same songs for the remainder of the 17 days. The activities were practically nonexistent. I counted the activities in one daily program. Out of the 67 activities listed 34 items were either sales pitches or paid activities. Out of the remaining 33 items most events did not take place. When an activity actually occurred it was packed because everyone was bored! The food in the MDR was generally good although the menu was limited. Our waiters were excellent and very attentive. The Lido was so so. Very repetitive and everything tasted the same no matter what station you chose from. The line servers, for the most part, were not friendly. Our cabin stewards were fabulous. Everything was always taken care of and the fellows were very friendly. The cabin (8037) itself had some minor issues such as mold and broken tiles in the bath and small holes in the cabin wall. If I hadn't brought a good fan from home the cabin would have been far too warm and the noise from whatever was next door would have been bothersome but it was drowned out by the white noise of the fan. Overall the cabin was serviceable. I know I have complained a lot but we did manage to have a good time and we will continue cruising, just not with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We wanted to go to the South Pacific and a 51-day cruise with 26 ports returning to North America was the best option for us, a newly retired couple. was done as a back-to-back with the Incan Empires Cruise, so our embarkation was ... Read More
We wanted to go to the South Pacific and a 51-day cruise with 26 ports returning to North America was the best option for us, a newly retired couple. was done as a back-to-back with the Incan Empires Cruise, so our embarkation was simple. Disembarkation was a little late in San Diego (about an hour), but it wasn't a problem for us. The Amsterdam is a wonderful ship in terms of size and layout. Even though the decor is dated, we like the elegance of the ship and the ample public spaces. You rarely feel crowded on the Amsterdam. However, there are numerous opportunities for upgrades. A single outlet isn't nearly enough for 2019 and no USB charging ports just doesn't make sense. The TV's are outdated and passengers don't have access to interactive TV services the way they do on the newer ships. The ice machine on the starboard side of the Lido hasn't been working for at least 6 month and creates a big bottleneck and inconvenience with times when there is no ice to be found. The cabin was perfectly adequate in terms of layout and storage space, as was the bathroom and bed. The biggest issues were in the bathroom where hastily repaired grouting in the shower fell out every time we used it and where the water temperature vacillated from cool to scalding all on its own. We also had a couple of episodes when water systems were disrupted. The Lido Market was great for breakfast and lunch with generally short lines except the pasta bar (which is understaffed) and the ice cream bar which just gets busy. The food quality is very good and you have the advantage of being able to see it before you order it (there is very little self-serve). Afternoon Tea is a wonderful, but underutilized service. We went whenever we could and the staff were amazing. Evening dining in the Main Dining Room was good, but not excellent. If you recognize something on the menu, you almost certainly won't recognize in on your plate or in your mouth. Not that the food is bad in any way, but it won't be prepared the way you are used to it. Seating is good, but reservations are recommended at popular time for Gala nights. Service is good to very good with the speed dependent on the number of people at the table. They should really reduce the number of large tables (8 persons plus) because no one likes them (too slow and very hard to have a conversation). Desserts are generally a disappointment and the ice cream in the dining room always has ice chips in it. The entertainment was variable, but generally good. The Amsterdam Singers and dancers were very good. It is just plain sad that they are being discontinued when they are the most consistently enjoyed presentations. I understand that they will have more of the other entertainers which range from bad to good with most being just fair. Too many acts that I would call "novelty" and too many comedians that are past their prime. Guest speakers were also variable, but mostly interesting. The EXC Coordinator did a good job of orienting the passengers to the many ports. The Excursions Manager was humorous in his descriptions, but not always accurate. We were disappointed in a few of the HAL excursions we took, but providing feedback is very hard and really not encouraged at all. The staff is the best thing. With few exceptions they are friendly, efficient and helpful. I feel sorry for them trying to provide a great experience while the head office keeps cutting resources and services. A part of many passenger conversations is the ceremonial listing of the ceremonial listing of things that have been taken away and how despite the hundreds of loyal HAL passengers, HAL corporate seems bound and determined to chase them away with a bad loyalty program and never-ending cutbacks. Sadly, the reputation that HAL has earned in the past will be very hard to rebuild once it is gone completely. It was a good choice for us, we probably won't be going on this cruise again. We just prefer to explore new terrritory. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This is the second time we've taken this cruise. Our favorite ports are the small islands -- Dravuni, Fanning and Mystery Island. We rarely book an excursion, choosing instead to get off the ship and wander around or take a taxi. We ... Read More
This is the second time we've taken this cruise. Our favorite ports are the small islands -- Dravuni, Fanning and Mystery Island. We rarely book an excursion, choosing instead to get off the ship and wander around or take a taxi. We like the Amsterdam even though it's evident that the new HAL President is cutting corners. Heard lots of grumbling on the ship about this. The Amsterdam Singers and Dancers were the best group we've ever seen on a HAL ship, but we were told that the corporation is getting rid of them. Sad. They were the only entertainers we regularly watched for all 51 days of the cruise. For a 51 day cruise there could have been more activities on sea days. We enjoy the library on the Amsterdam as do many others but hear the new ships don't have them. The computer classes look great, but so many of us have Macintosh computers, so we didn't see any sense in attending those. The food was very good. The staff is amazing, wonderful. Can't praise them enough! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We booked this cruise 2 weeks before sailing. The itinerary and price was too good to pass up. Leaving from San Diego was the perfect start of this 17 day cruise. Embarkation was a bit chaotic as a Disney ship was embarking at the same ... Read More
We booked this cruise 2 weeks before sailing. The itinerary and price was too good to pass up. Leaving from San Diego was the perfect start of this 17 day cruise. Embarkation was a bit chaotic as a Disney ship was embarking at the same time. This caused an hour or more of standing in line and wait time. This was the perfect way to visit Hawaii. The 5 days on the Pacific crossing were warm and beautiful. Visiting the Hawaiian ports and being able to live and eat on the ship made it an economical vacation. Tenders were required for 2 ports and at Maui there was a 3 hour delay for disembarking. The food was wonderful and we had the same table in the dining room every night for anytime dining. The ship was a bit "tired" but the staff was exceptional. The first two nights there was loud pounding noises which prevented our sleep. We and others in nearby cabins called to complain. We discovered the noises stopped when someone placed rags in the balcony dividers below us. Some of the treadmills in the gym were non functioning. There was rust on the balcony and some of the carpets were needing updated. Even with all of this, we felt this was one of our favorite cruises. We saw dolphins and whales and lots of blue sky. We would definitely recommend this itinerary to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Excellent service excellent vegetarian food good place to meet a lot of World Travelers. I enjoyed the Lincoln Center this time around I wish I had more great classical music or modern music on this ship line. I met some very nice people ... Read More
Excellent service excellent vegetarian food good place to meet a lot of World Travelers. I enjoyed the Lincoln Center this time around I wish I had more great classical music or modern music on this ship line. I met some very nice people and in hindsight I wish I hadn't gotten Roberts information who I had High Tea with on October 13th 2019.Heathe Millard Fbk okay I have to add 65 more words I did meet one of the cruise critic's on the blog Gary he been on hundreds of cruises said he really enjoyed Holland one of his favorites I've been on Holland twice been on princess on going on Miracle Carnival January for my son's birthday. This is my second time doing the Holland America Riviera Cruise very easy to get on and off all ports for me I will be doing a 3 day cruise very soon now I have enough words Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because we have never been disappointed with HAL, and they continue to provide excellent service and MDR dining, which are the two areas that we scrutinize when cruising. The great service continues at most levels ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we have never been disappointed with HAL, and they continue to provide excellent service and MDR dining, which are the two areas that we scrutinize when cruising. The great service continues at most levels from room stewards to managerial staff, with a personal touch in knowing your name. Dining in the MDR has always been semi-gourmet, with small portions like very expensive restaurants, so order a side of steamed veggies. The buffet needs improvement, with more proteins and less carbohydrates. The entertainment is very limited on a seven day cruise, with only two production shows with dancers and no singers. The other activities (cooking class, classical music) can only seat thirty people. Huh?! Be ready to self-entertain while onboard. If you want to save money, book your shore excursions at the port or before the cruise. It is the classic case of a cheaper price for the same product. Embarkation and disembarkation went very well, and if you carry your luggage off the ship, you well get off at a early time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Our ninth cruise first with holland america,cruised mainly celebrity and one cunard. The ship was consistantly cold rattled and vibrated non stop for the whole 3 weeks. First time i have had seasickness. 1 port in hawaii was cancelled ... Read More
Our ninth cruise first with holland america,cruised mainly celebrity and one cunard. The ship was consistantly cold rattled and vibrated non stop for the whole 3 weeks. First time i have had seasickness. 1 port in hawaii was cancelled due to weather, but 2 were cancelled in ensenada and victoria for maintenance ,trouble with an azipod ,was that why the ship continually vibrated. Only attended one enrichment lecture ghis was poorly presented with lighting on stage and poor speaker. Entertainment was badly lacking walking into bars at night about 9pm was like the marie celeste , there was o nly bartenders around. Billboard piano players were awful bland boring excrutiati g to listen to. Bb king club was lively music better but this was the same act every night for 20 days if you didnt like blues /motown you were unlucky. Lincoln centre was enjoyable if they were playing music you like but they had to cater for all the ship and was set up like a concert except it was open to one of the corridors and people talki g walking past. Mainstage had a few good acts( outstanding was benjamin makisi) ,if you were stood/ sat at back there was a lot of noise from billboard pianists though i supposd you got two concerts at same time. There was not a lot of dressing up even on gala nights a lot of guests looked scruffy. . Food was good , in main di ing room and lido buffet,wine choice on signature package was barely drinkable. I would not sail on the eurodam again even if i was offered it free. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We are loyal Holland American cruisers and within a few points of 4 star Mariners. This 28 day cruise was a great disappointment when it came to the quality of the food in the Lido and for the most part, the main dining room. We have been ... Read More
We are loyal Holland American cruisers and within a few points of 4 star Mariners. This 28 day cruise was a great disappointment when it came to the quality of the food in the Lido and for the most part, the main dining room. We have been on the Eurodam before and just couldn't believe how poor the dining experience has become. We used the Lido for breakfast but nothing else and eventually gave up with the main dining room. To get around it we used the Pinacle for lunch and the other specialty restaurants when necessary. As usual the service in all areas was wonderful and the key that keeps us coming back to Holland America. There can be improvements with the availability of live entertainment and they have severely changed the Signature Beverage Package limiting the selections of beer and wine to the point that we probably will no longer purchase it on future cruises. This cruise was an eye opener for us and the cutbacks are now coming to the point where we will be reconsidering using Holland America in the future. There are many other cruise lines available and the quality of the Holland America staff can't continue to offset the recent cutbacks. If necessary they may need to increase prices, but leaving things as they are will be suicide. We intend to give Holland America one more try, but if improvements aren't made it will unfortunately be our last. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We've been on HAL before and we never had any issues. We chose this cruise as we have always enjoyed sea days, we like Hawaii and it was very easy for us as we departed and returned via our home port. The positives: Professional ... Read More
We've been on HAL before and we never had any issues. We chose this cruise as we have always enjoyed sea days, we like Hawaii and it was very easy for us as we departed and returned via our home port. The positives: Professional and helpful crew, including check-in personnel. Attractive public spaces including the main dining room, the theatre and the bars. The negatives: Cabin. Our cabin was a spa suite. The online description indicated a larger space. It was larger but otherwise, terrible. The furniture was worn out and frayed. The carpet had several large stains. The bathroom was the smallest we’ve ever had on our past 20 cruises (with various cruise companies). A tiny bathroom with one sink in a ‘suite,’ seriously? There was a large empty wall with four holes that were covered with tape. (We were told by our attendant that the space used to have a TV; when the TV was removed the holes were not patched.) The WORST part of the suite was that the very small balcony had a metal wall; you could only see the sea when you were standing. If you sat in one of the two chairs you were staring at a metal wall! HAL should have warned us when we booked this suite. Dining. The quality of the food was hit and miss. Some very good and some, yuk. When one of the four of us didn’t like a dish we were not asked by a waiter if we would like something else. One time we asked for another entrée and we were politely told that there would be a $10 charge for an additional entree! The waiter was not trying to scam us; that was on the bottom of the menu in small print. NEVER heard of paying for a second entrée on any other ship. I want to point out that the servers were very nice but it seemed like they were overworked; we could hardly get any assistance once our food was served. As an example, when I ordered hot tea I got the cup and the tea bag but could not find anyone to bring me hot water—this happened two evenings. In the buffet they were featuring seafood one day; we went to get some shrimp and the attendant would only give each of us six shrimp. If we wanted more we’d have to get back in the one long line. The Retreat. We decided to rent a cabana for the 17 days so that we could have a nice outdoor place to get away from the crowds. It was lovely and the service by the staff in the Retreat was very good. However, the maintenance and smells from that were over and over. After the third day of workers sanding, scraping, varnishing, etc. in the Retreat area we complained to guest services. We were assured that the workers would not be in our area again. WRONG. Two days later a worker was applying some type of sealant (identified by a ship’s officer) in the cabana next to us. No warning! All of us had to leave. Then on the next to the last day the cleaning crew was working on the deck immediately above the Retreat area and we got sprayed a few times by their water hose. Retribution? Who knows? Entertainment. On every cruise we’ve been on (same size ships) there has been some type of production show. Not on the Eurodam. One light show with dancers was very good. Otherwise really poor. For example; one show was animal video clips, ones we had seen at home on National Geographic, set to music. What? Showing stuff we’ve seen for free at home on our TV. That’s entertainment? I will say that a couple of singular entertainers were good; otherwise very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise to go to Hawaii Round trip from San Diego. We have been on 3 prior HA cruises and enjoyed ourselves. We booked the cruise a year earlier and friends cruised on the Eurodam last August with no issues. We were not ... Read More
We chose this cruise to go to Hawaii Round trip from San Diego. We have been on 3 prior HA cruises and enjoyed ourselves. We booked the cruise a year earlier and friends cruised on the Eurodam last August with no issues. We were not informed of any of the following money saving changes: No singers and dancers and orchestra, 5 piece band replaced. Entertainers, comedians, singer, musician were good. Dancers to light show with recorded music also was entertaining. A repeat of the show a second night was a waste, as was showing a movie. Numerous changes in the Dining room resulted in smaller portions, fewer choices, $10 charge if you wanted a second entre at lunch or dinner. No bread basket at breakfast. Both the card room and game room were rented out to Quilters for the entire cruise. No Bridge director. No Art Auction Dining Room closed for lunch on at least 4 of the last 5 sea days. Stores were taken over by high end merchandise: no small souvenirs. Very friendly staff and great cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
First time sailing with so many sea days. Little to nothing was planned as entertainment for days at sea. Fitness center was excellent. Hawaii was great, the excursions were awesome, whale watching and copter over the big island was ... Read More
First time sailing with so many sea days. Little to nothing was planned as entertainment for days at sea. Fitness center was excellent. Hawaii was great, the excursions were awesome, whale watching and copter over the big island was great. Food was good, but portions were small and seconds cost $10. Beef Wellington came and I got the tip of the filet, smaller than a meatball. For dessert ordered ice cream, dish came and appeared to have scooped with a melon baller. New York Pizza had no prices, paid $28 for cardboard and ketchup. No on ship singers and dancers, report was they were cut to save money. One evening the entertainment was a movie you could see on BBC America. Room steward for good, if not a little over eager. Came several times at 6:00 PM for nighttime turn down when I was dressing for dinner. For the money, traveling as a single, I expected more and got less. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We are a married couple in our 60's. This was our 17th cruise overall, but our first on Holland America. We were cruising with our regular cruise companions, another couple in their 60's. We have cruised on Celebrity, ... Read More
We are a married couple in our 60's. This was our 17th cruise overall, but our first on Holland America. We were cruising with our regular cruise companions, another couple in their 60's. We have cruised on Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Carnival in the past. We normally take cruises of 10-14 days so this 17 day cruise was our longest yet. Rating this cruise itself is difficult as it was a bust in that we only saw two of the five scheduled stops in Hawaii. This was mostly because of bad weather. So rather than focusing on the cruise we will provide our observations of Holland America in general. The Eurodam is a beautiful ship and the perfect size. The service was outstanding. The food was great. The entertainment was enjoyable. Embarkation and Debarkation were as easy as any ship on which we have traveled. Why then only three stars? Using a baseball analogy, it is widely accepted that many of the cruisers on Holland America recognize that they (we) are in at least the bottom half of the seventh inning in life. What we want to do with the last two innings is based on our individual prospective. The great majority of HA travelers are like travelers on the other lines we have been on only with a few more of life's scars. They want to have a good time, enjoy the scenery, the food, the drinks and everything else that can be found on a cruise ship. Life has been tougher on some than to others and HA seems to have experience dealing with those issues. This was scheduled to be a seventeen day round trip cruise from San Diego to the Hawaiian Islands with stops in Kona, Honolulu, Kauai, Maui and Hilo on the Big Island. Because of predicted bad weather the captain decided to by-pass Kona and head straight to Honolulu. When we arrived in Honolulu the wind was strong and all of the afternoon tours, including the luau's were cancelled. We were then told that because of bad weather predicted for Kauai (they suffered a severe storm) we would not go there. When the weather forecast did not improve we were told we would be staying in Honolulu an extra day and then return to Kona the following day. This meant that Lahaina, Maui would be taken off our schedule. No excursions were available through the ship for the second day in Honolulu so everyone was on their own. The following day we arrived in Kona, a port where the ship's tenders are needed to go ashore. We did not drop anchor. Even though the seas looked calm to most with no white-caps to be seen anywhere, the captain decided the harbor was too dangerous to transport people on the tenders. As fairly seasoned cruisers we realized that we had been in tenders in much worse than we were witnessing in Kona and that got us thinking as to why that decision was made. Our reasoning is that because we were traveling with so many people with considerable life issues it would be impractical, if not impossible, to transport all those people safely with the crew that was available to assist them. Therefore, we lost our third port and we headed back out for another sea day. We have been on cruises where ports were missed and we understand that is always a possibility. What made this tough for us this time was that in lieu of going to Kona or Maui as scheduled the cruise director suggested people could gather for a game of CHECKERS in one of the lounges! When we arrived in Hilo for a last possible Hawaiian stop the gangway was not put into position at the designated time. The captain advised us that because of rough water the gangway was not holding steady and a safe walk off the ship may not be possible. He was assessing the situation. I think he may have heard the mumblings of the several hundred of us who had gathered in the atrium and the gangway was opened shortly thereafter. We had a great day in Hilo doing a private tour with a company known as Big Island Aina Tours that we HIGHLY RECOMMEND. We spent the next six days sailing back to Ensenada, Mexico and then on to San Diego for debarkation. While the cruise was not what we had planned or hoped for, we still had a great time. (If you can't enjoy yourself on a cruise ship chances are pretty good that you can't enjoy yourself). Getting back to that baseball analogy: If you are a person who enjoys some of the finer things in life and just wants to live with grace and dignity during the last few innings you can have a really nice time on Holland America. You can't beat the service or the food. But, if you have the problem we have in that you still live with the allusion that there may be at least one more headfirst slide into home left in you (albeit in slow motion), HA may not be the place for you. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise because being HAL Past Guests (Mariners) we received a promotion that we could not let pass, as this cruise was on our bucket list. This was our 17th cruise overall, our first one being on our honeymoon 47 years ... Read More
We chose this cruise because being HAL Past Guests (Mariners) we received a promotion that we could not let pass, as this cruise was on our bucket list. This was our 17th cruise overall, our first one being on our honeymoon 47 years ago. We have cruised on Costa Line (honeymoon in 1972 and Mediterranean in 1991); Carnival, Celebrity and HAL. As seasoned cruisers, we have developed expectations as to our experiences on board. I will be basing this review on whether our expectations were met on this cruise. We flew to San Diego from San Antonio, TX (direct flight on Southwest). We had arranged transfer through HAL. The transfer service was efficient and personnel were friendly. I highly recommend arranging a transfer ahead of time. Embarkation went smoothly. The only glitch was that we had Priority Embarkation and although our bags were tagged as such, we did not receive our luggage until 4pm. The Eurodam is a beautiful ship, with understated elegance. The five days at sea were fantastic. The activities during the day were well planned. There was something for everybody. Kudos to the activities director! Sometimes we had trouble deciding what to do because of the amount of varied activities offered.Our favorite activities were the talks in the theater about Hawaiian history, given by a Hawaiian with so much knowledge about his land! There were Hawaiian ambassadors on board (as well as on the 5 days at sea returning to San Diego) who provided their personal insight in the history and culture of Hawaii. We learned the Hawaiian alphabet, there were hula and ukulele classes, classes to make leis and kukui bead bracelets, sunset celebrations with chants, beautiful and authentic hula dancing and sing alongs. These were fabulous. We felt like we were in Hawaii since Day One. I praised and thanked the Port Guides and the ambassadors for giving us this unique experience. One thing they told us that if we liked the experience we need to let HAL know, because with budget cuts this program might cease. I made sure to let HAL know that this a must. As long as I am talking about entertainment, let me talk about the evening events. In the evenings there was a pianist in the Ocean Bar (5pm to 7:45pm). If you wanted to dance you could, in a dance floor big enough for perhaps three couples, but the music, although good, was mainly for entertainment. Then there was the 'B B King Lounge', (3 shows nightly, one hour each), with jazz and blues, and themed music. The dance floor here is fairly comfortable, but the seats on the main floor and in the bar area fill up quickly. This was the only venue conducive to dancing. 'Billboards on Board' are two pianists on two pianos, singing and encouraging sing-alongs. This was fun. They had 3 shows nightly, each one one hour long. They had themed nights and took requests and were very popular. They are not HAL employees. Apparently they are contracted, although there is a Billboards Bar with HAL bar staff. But, no dancing here. For us, a highlight was the 'Lincoln Center Stage', a partnership between HAL and the 'Lincoln Center'. There is a strings quintet who give 3 performances, one in the afternoon and two in the evenings. As the cruise went on they were performing to Standing Room Only crowds. They are classically trained musicians with a varied repertoire, from chamber music to popular songs, arranged especially for them. We always went to the shows before and after dinner. They are a treasure, and HAL should feel proud of having this partnership. The musicians are provided by the Lincoln Center, they are not HAL employees. Contrary to daytime, there is a lack of variety and originality at night. Other than the theater shows, this was it for the evenings, unless you are a gambler (we are not), the "Sip and Savor' and Sampling events for a fee, (another way to get your money), the Jewelry shops spotlights, and.....Bingo. As for the theater shows: there are no more review shows with dancers and singers in HAL. This was a big disappointment. The shows were generally good though. There were two comedians, both hilarious; a magician/comedian who was excellent; a pianist/comedian, very talented and funny; a clarinetist and a guitarist (both talented but more suitable to a lounge venue than a theater); an Australian singer with an amazing range of voice. Our very favorite were 'The Alley Cats', a Doo Wop quartet that are bringing back the a-capella singing with that 50's feel. They are beyond fabulous. Think 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight', 'Goodnight Sweetheart' and you get the idea. They brought the house down. There was also the BBC Planet Earth with live musicians. This is thrilling. The night the Philippines crew did their authentic show, there was not an empty seat in the house. Having said that, the 'show' one evening was a movie we could have watched in our rooms. Thumbs down on this one. One show that was fantastic, and not to be missed is "Humanity" by Step One Dance Company. This blew our minds. Although the majority of the acts were great, many comments were heard, as well as the Cruise Director being asked about the lack of the review shows. Is HAL trying to save money by cutting the review shows? Service around the ship was excellent, meeting our expectations. The only draw back was that whenever we asked for a glass of water at a bar or the theater, we were either ignored or served with reluctance. I know there is no remuneration for water, but we are paying guests and if we want water we should get it without reservations. If we ordered cocktails or wine, there was no problem. Our cabin steward exceeded our expectations. He made sure our flowers were fresh and the fruit replenished. He noticed my husband had a mild cold, so he brought us extra tissues so we had them anywhere in the cabin. He was attentive and caring. Dining: we had Open Seating. The first night service was horrible. The assistant waiter came and served water and gave us the menu. Did not say Good Night or greet us in any way. Then the head waiter came with his notepad ready and without introducing himself he asked for our order. My husband ordered steak and had to ask for a steak knife. One of the assistant waiters was talking to someone on the other side of the half wall dividing our section from the one on a level one step above. He was joking and yelling right behind us. This is not right. Our experience was not what we are accustomed on a cruise. When we made reservations for subsequent nights we were specific not to seat us at that table or his section. We found a good team and asked to stay with them if possible. We did and were very happy with them, as expected. Food was hit and miss, but overall good. Be aware that HAL is now charging a $10 surcharge if you order a second entree. This does not apply to appetizers, salads or soups, or desserts, just entrees. They also charge $20 surcharge for lobster. We ate at the four Specialty Restaurants: Pinnacle Grill, Tamarind, Canaletto, and Rudi's. Rudi's is the Pinnacle Grill transformed into a Chef Rudi restaurant with his recipes and ambiance. They were all a delight, with superb service and amazing food. Also, because of the Neptune Suite, we could have breakfast at the Pinnacle Grill (included). Fabulous service and a great menu. We did this on sea days. The Photo Shop has not gone electronic. No more looking through thousands of photos to find yours, and then see hundreds thrown away. This is fantastic! I gave kudos to the staff. You insert your card in a computer and through a face-recognition program the computer finds your photos and you buy them as if you were buying from home online. Shore excursions: varied and well planned. The excursions followed the descriptions in the brochure. These are the excursions we took: Honolulu: Pearl Harbor and the Mighty Missouri. This is a must if you like history and this is your first visit to Hawaii. The "gangway" to the Arizona Memorial is damaged and unsteady so we did not go inside the Memorial. We knew this so it did not catch us by surprise. You are standing right in front of Battleship Row, where everything happened. Goose bumps! They showed a movie that was informative and poignant so we did not feel like we had missed much by not visiting the actual Memorial. Then we boarded a Navy launch to go the Missouri. On the ride we took great photos of the Arizona Memorial and the other markers. The Missouri is impressive. Standing there where the Japanese surrender actually happened was exciting to say the least. We also went to the Punchbowl, the National Pacific Cemetery, and saw highlights of Honolulu including the King Kamahameha statue and the Iiolani Palace (photos only.) We still had time to go to a Luau. We thought about booking on our own, but the logistics of getting there and back were too risky, so we booked it with HAL. It was fun, food was great, seeing how they prepare the Kahlua Pork was interesting. I tried poi (my husband did not). I leave it up to you to decide if you like it or not, but it is something worth trying if you are in Hawaii. The show was colorful and pretty, but the audience participation got to be too much. Overall, it was fun. Kauai: we took a helicopter ride. This one we booked on our own. We read the reviews from the rides booked thru HAL and were not impressed. We booked Jack Harter Helicopters and cannot say enough about them. They were efficient throughout the process and answered all our questions before we got there. They picked us up at the pier. The ride was the most thrilling thing we have done in a long time. There are places in Kauai that are only seen from the air. We were not disappointed. This was a 65 minute ride, compared to 45 minutes with the HAL excursion. Highly recommend Jack Harter. (The helicopter views in Jurassic Park are in Kauai as well as in Maui.) Their driver took us back to town, which is within walking distance from the ship. We had a delicious lunch overlooking the ocean. Maui: Road to Hana. Reviews said this was an unpaved, windy road. It is now paved. There are many curves and bridges but the guide was so informative, and he made so many frequent stops that the time went fast. Scenery is gorgeous. The water falls are numerous and beautiful. We had lunch at Waianapanapa State Park, at the Honokalali beach, a unique black sand beach. Spectacular! We ate coconut ice cream, freshly made, and went to Ho'okipa beach to see leatherback turtles. This was a fun and informative excursion. Kona, Big Island: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Due to the recent eruption, most of the park was closed, as was the Thurston Lava Tube, but we were able to walk on lava fields from an 1868 eruption and learn everything about lava and volcanoes. The Kohala Coast gives amazing views. The Coffee Plantation is beautiful and Kona Coffee is fabulous. Try the apple bananas. The Punalu'u Bake Shop is a delicious stop. Our guide was fantastic. Hilo, Big Island: Historical Hilo and Akaka Falls. Our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. He moved to Hilo from Minnesota 22 years ago and does not regret it. Hilo is beautiful, full of history. We stopped at the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory. There are the plain salted macadamias and macadamias covered in every kind of goodies. Their shop is very pretty. Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls are spectacular. The Lyman Museum and Mission House are very informative. Ensenada, Mexico: Bufadora Adventure. Bufadora is a specatacular blowhole, one of the biggest in the world. You have about an hour and a half in the Bufadora area. You walk about 20 minutes through a long street full of vendors of every kind. They will offer samples of margaritas, piña coladas, they will entice you to go to their shops. I suggest that unless you want to spend your time with one of them, say "No thank you"and keep walking. The blowhole's peak time is at high tide. We got there at low tide and the seas were calm. We waited patiently and saw quite a few big sprays, about 30 ft high. The spray can go 60-100 ft in the air with the right conditions. Our guide told us the best times are Nov to May. She was fantastic. We experienced a traffic jam going back but we were all in a good mood. Our last stop was an old hacienda that is now an activities center, and tried a margarita at the spot where the margaritas were invented. The story is fascinating. At the end of the tour we asked our guide where we could have fresh lobster and she recommended a restaurant that was a bit hard to find but worth it. The port guides on the ship give suggestions as well. Calle Primera (main street) is very picturesque and the break water (malecón in Spanish) is absolutely beautiful. Debarkation was smooth. no problems. Back in San Diego, we took the pre-arranged transfer to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019

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