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Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise for being round trip from Vancouver. Embarkation was very fast since we were almost the last to board the ship. Our luggage arrived inside our cabin very quickly. The seas were rough leaving Vancouver and we ... Read More
We chose this cruise for being round trip from Vancouver. Embarkation was very fast since we were almost the last to board the ship. Our luggage arrived inside our cabin very quickly. The seas were rough leaving Vancouver and we couldn't sit by the pool till day 5 where we watched Mamma Mia! We were disappointed with the selection and food in the dining room. The Crown Grill and Share were excellent! The staff in the Wheelhouse knew our evening drinks. Now that is service. We enjoyed the deck party with the video of the staff of the original Love Boat with Jen and the cruise staff. Disembarkation took longer and when our color was called not all our luggage was in the specified area. It probably was due to arriving a little late due to the medical emergency which happened on board. A good time was had by all. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We took this cruise because of all the sea days plus the ease of getting to Vancouver. As there was only the Emerald in port, embarkation was a breeze. We booked a Suite so there was a dedicated line for check-in. Speaking of ... Read More
We took this cruise because of all the sea days plus the ease of getting to Vancouver. As there was only the Emerald in port, embarkation was a breeze. We booked a Suite so there was a dedicated line for check-in. Speaking of Suites, here is where I get snooty. We have cruised many times, usually atthe Suite level. Princess does not treat their Suite passengers with nearly enough care,compared to other lines we have travelled on. Although we did get the Crown Grill forbreakfast every day, which was excellent, there were few other Suite perks. The ClubClass dining was available as part of the Da Vinci dining room for Suite and CC mini-suiteguests but the area was crowded and noisy. Moreover, the Head Waiter, Jelena, was overly friendly to the point of being pushy and made us wonder just how genuine she really was. Otherwise, being in a Suite meant we had a nice cabin, but not a lot else. We miss having a Concierge or even a dedicated phone line for reservations. Princess is a mass-market cruiseline. The other big disappointment: we are readers, especially with 10 sea days. EmeraldPrincess has the worst library I've ever seen on a crusieship of any size. There was nolibrarian or cruise member to answer questions. No inventory of books. Not many booksanyway, except those that other passengers left. No daily printed newspapers, summaries from Canada, USA, Britain, etc. And no one to complain to. Very sad. Re the food: Hardly ever went to the buffet; too crowded. The dr menu was okay butthe "always available" left much to be desired. Not even a steak, as had always been thecase. Instead there is a deluxe hamburger but I never saw anyone eating one for dinner. Princess has cut back. There are too many other lines that present a better product. We'll only travel Princess again if they have a particular itinerary to which no one else travels. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
This ship goes to fantastic Islands like no other! You will want to go back right away as soon as you leave them! The Cruise Director and staff on this cruise work very hard to make sure all the guests are well entertained. The food in ... Read More
This ship goes to fantastic Islands like no other! You will want to go back right away as soon as you leave them! The Cruise Director and staff on this cruise work very hard to make sure all the guests are well entertained. The food in the dining room is superb! The Captain and his team were detained in their journey when a passenger became deathly ill and after travelling a whole night on the way back had to turn the ship around and head back to the Island to meet a helicopter that would pick up the ill passenger. This was all done very professionally and the Captain managed to get us back to Vancouver at the expected time anyway!! Pretty smooth sailing all the way! Embarking and disembarking was made very easy by spreading out the clients across the ship with numbers and colors. The excursion to Germaine's Luau in Honolulu was spectacular! Unfortunately ours got rained out but they handed us all good sized rain ponchos to keep us all dry! I hope to return to Hawaii someday, it was spectacular! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
My husband and I chose this cruise because we wouldn't have to fly. Our home port is Vancouver. Also, neither one of us is a beach vacation person but we did want to see Hawaii. The good: the food was pretty good. We were booked ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because we wouldn't have to fly. Our home port is Vancouver. Also, neither one of us is a beach vacation person but we did want to see Hawaii. The good: the food was pretty good. We were booked for anytime dining but only went to the MDR once. It took about 1.5 hours to have dinner there and for us that's okay once in a while. So we stuck to the buffet where we thought the food was quite good. The complimentary pub lunches were really enjoyable. We usually shared a table and had very pleasant companions. The Salty Dog gastropub was worth the cover charge. If you go to it, make sure to get the hamburger. The entertainment was enjoyable too. Especially the Hawaiian ambassador couple - Rowena and Brian. Brian played ukelele and sang while Rowena did hula dancing. They were entertaining in the piazza quite often and I always stopped by at least for a few songs. In the Princess theater, the singers and dancers were a favourite for my husband. Also, there was a retired professor giving talks about Hawaiian history which I found interesting. The bad: the coffee in the buffet. We did pay for some at the International Cafe but didn't think it was worth it. And crowded during peak times in the buffet. Often we just ate outside by the pool. Our favourite stop was in Kuaui because there was a beach within a 10-minute walk from the dock. So we got towels from the ship's pool and spent the morning at the beach. You could walk right into the water it was so warm. What I would do differently: go to the hula dance lessons. Kind of regret not doing it. Finally, the embarkation and the debarkation were both very good. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We have wanted to do a cruise to Hawaii for a long time. We were last in the islands in 1982. The Radiance of the Seas cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii was a great chance to return with the added benefit of travelling with friends. It is a ... Read More
We have wanted to do a cruise to Hawaii for a long time. We were last in the islands in 1982. The Radiance of the Seas cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii was a great chance to return with the added benefit of travelling with friends. It is a lovely ship with a few spots looking the worse for wear. We felt right at home since our 40 year old home also has a few of those! There did seem to be a very friendly, cheerful ambiance on the ship that I believe starts at the top. Embarkation was very efficient--one of our best in 16 cruises. Disembarkation via express, carry your own luggage was very popular and maybe the large express group needs letters or numbers to be called in stages also. Overall, dining was quite good. Mostly, we had breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer. I could find enough breakfast variety to eat for a month in this venue. Three times I had breakfast in the Park Cafe to avail myself of the lox and bagels and fixings I enjoy very much. We had lunch in the main dining room once. I had the Tutti salad I loved in the past. It was good but tuna fish was the protein of choice. I missed the shrimp and prosciutto I had enjoyed in the past. Do I detect a cut-back? Had some good Indian food in the WJ. Plenty of choices to not go hungry. Thought the desserts here were very weak and repetitive and many dishes could use a bit more spice. We dined at Giovanni's for lunch one day and they put on a spectacular feast. Everything was delicious. We shared appetizers and pasta and had our own entrees. I highly recommend this $15 lunch special. Best meal of the cruise but of course, it was a specialty restaurant. Desserts were ones we still dream about and service superb. Salvador and Bennie were our fixed dining waiters and took very good care of us. Their job is extra hard because they have different numbers of people showing up on different nights. They made sure we were stocked with the brown sunflower seed rolls we cruise for. Overall the food was quite good. One night we had a wonderful lamb shank. I missed the wonderful rare thick lamb chops we have had on a couple of cruises. I had a couple of the sugar free desserts which were pleasantly good. Dinner desserts were much better than the WJ. With limited changing menu choices, I think they should avoid 2 steaks or 2 chocolate cake choices on the same menu--just my preference. Thought the cruise director John was very good. His afternoon Neil Diamond show was one of our favorite entertainment offerings. OA, the entertainment was pretty average but seats more available. Sea Day trivia was very well done with most of the questions just about right in the degree of difficulty. Hannah, James and Sophie did a good job. Played bingo once--very expensive and games are too short. My favorite game was the football goalpost which took a while. Prizes were good. Enjoyed the Hawaiian duo. I would also like to see more classic country music on the ships. We were sorry to miss Hilo. They subbed an ON in Lahaina instead. We were doing several nights on Maui after the cruise so this was not quite as good for us. Weather on the cruise was lovely. Hawaii was rather hot and humid due to recent hurricane activity which caused no problems for us. Our group usually plans its own excursions. No children in our group. I always have fun and a good time on cruises and my first on ROTS filled the bill nicely. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We sailed from Vancouver on April 12. It was cold for the first 3 days and the last 3 days. Even the Canadians were wearing their coats outside. Many people hung out on the aft pool deck because there is no smoking on the ship except ... Read More
We sailed from Vancouver on April 12. It was cold for the first 3 days and the last 3 days. Even the Canadians were wearing their coats outside. Many people hung out on the aft pool deck because there is no smoking on the ship except for a designated area on the aft pool deck. There is no cigar lounge. Many people were seasick the first day due to rough seas. The mid-ship pool is in a large atrium that can be opened, a great feature for a ship especially one sailing through varying weather. It was warm in there when cold outside. In warm weather, they did open it. We had fixed dinner reservations for 5:45. A 7:45 seating and walk-in dining were also available. The dinners were all very good. Portions were right-sized but they would be happy to bring you seconds if you wanted. We ate at each of the specialty restaurants once. There were certainly good too but we thought the value proposition is questionable given the quality of the main dining room. At the Lido buffet, the food is put on plates by servers, as opposed to the self-serve we were used too. Their lunch time taco bar and hamburger stand was very good. It was hard to find a seat during breakfast and lunch, they could definitely use more tables in the public areas. Drinks were about $7 for a beer and about $8 - $9 for a cocktail. But, they have two happy hours, one from 4 - 5 pm and one from 10 - 11 pm. During happy hour, you can get a second drink for $2 more. Happy hour is only valid at two of the bars. They are named on the daily itinerary sheet that is placed in your cabin. Fountain sodas are $2:30 each. The entertainment was good. The main stage was typical cruise ship entertainment, mostly singers and one magician that was very funny. We especially enjoyed the BB King Blues Club. They have a laundry service that can be unlimited, by the item, or by the bag. The by the bag option was $20 per bag and we could stuff about 3- 5 days of clothes in a bag. Highlights of the trip included the Capilano suspension bridge in Vancouver, the Old Lahaina Luau on Maui, the Arizona Memorial, and hiking Diamond Head. Try to get your tickets to the Arizona memorial in advance or you may not get in. Hiking Diamond Head requires the ability to walk 2 miles and climb many stairs. On days the ship tenders, be sure to pick up your tender tickets early or you may be waiting a long time to get off the ship. It seemed to take forever to get anywhere on the public bus in Honolulu. We finally gave up and used Uber. The gym was large and in good shape. It had several treadmills, ellipticals, bikes and weight some weight equipment. They offered several classes for additional fee including spin, stretching, yoga, etc. Computer classes were offered daily, but they filled up quickly. You had to be there well in advance to get a seat. All are listed on the ship's daily itinerary. Classes from America's Test Kitchen were offered daily in the BB King Blues Lounge. They were informative and entertaining. You don't get to eat the food though. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
Everything was awesome and ate way too much food. The captain took us away from a storm. Just one glitch with communication and appreciation of different faith backgrounds. The embarkation and disemarkation went very smooth. The ... Read More
Everything was awesome and ate way too much food. The captain took us away from a storm. Just one glitch with communication and appreciation of different faith backgrounds. The embarkation and disemarkation went very smooth. The cabin steward was very attentive to our needs and the MaitreD was awesome in looking after my friend who had allergies. The food was always hot and you never ran out of water. most of the time we never had to ask for a wedge of lemon or cup of tea after dinner. The Zumba class was awesome and the hula dancing was lots of fun. It was nice to have a walk for the cure. Very poorly attended but well worth it. The evening entertainment was high class and the comedian was awesome and kept his jokes clean. The information about the various ports was very informative and the hula dancing and Lei making was lots of fun Iwoould definately go again with princess. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
The very best part of the entire cruise was the staff. To a person, each of them was helpful, smiling all the time, and very courteous. The 15 day round trip cruise was very restful and relaxing. The food was about as good as it can be, my ... Read More
The very best part of the entire cruise was the staff. To a person, each of them was helpful, smiling all the time, and very courteous. The 15 day round trip cruise was very restful and relaxing. The food was about as good as it can be, my wife and I have been on 5 cruises and that was as good as any. We chose anytime dining for the first time and loved it. We sat with different couples each night and loved them all. I am disabled and must stay in my chair all the time. This is where the Star Princess fails a bit. The ADA room has a balcony (that we paid extra for of course) and the lip out to the balcony was 5" high. I was unable to roll out, so I never got to enjoy the fresh air at all. The Princess Theater is large and wonderful, unless you need to sit in a wheelchair. They have exactly 4 spaces per side. We must have had 40 wheelchair users on the cruise. We ended up going over an hour early to each show just to have an area to see from. This is a much older ship and was not accessible for me to enjoy the Sanctuary deck at all. There is no elevator to that section, only stairs. Getting on and off the ship in Hawaii was embarrassing, debilitating and difficult at best. The ramps are very short which makes them steep. They have ridged slats to keep the foot passengers from slipping but it makes it WRONG for wheelchairs. This was the only area where the staff was short, pushy and not good at their jobs. They put someone in front and someone in back and pretty much shove you up and down the whole time yelling; and they do it all wrong but will not listen to the person who does it daily, me. The excursions were fantastic and every bus we used (ROBERTS TRAVEL) had a lift for disabled persons. The locations and themes were perfect sights for Hawaii and we booked separately with Roberts because Princess was sold out 8 months prior to the cruise. Booking the excursions separately saved us almost half the cost and Roberts is the same company the cruise line uses. The entertainment in the Theater was over the top. Their dancers and singers are 1st class and worth seeing every show. The behind the scenes staff (sound, lights and such) were professional and managed well. Theater has the best people on the ship. Other than the main restaurants I have to tip my hat to the Trident Grill. It is simple such as hamburgers, dogs and daily specials but he meat is well seasoned and is grilled to order. Great job! The buffet is what a buffet should be - tons of food. This is one of the places that the staff was over the top. Every time I rolled into line someone would be there to see if they could carry my tray or assist in any way. The area was wide enough for me to roll through and not hit anyone. That's a bit rare from many of my past cruises. Overall, I would do it again - even on this same ship. The staff and relaxation makes it all worth it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
We had done this cruise on the Star before, but in September. At the time it was our best cruise ever. So we decided to do it again, but in April. As it turned out the weather was not a s good. Hawaii had just finished the wettest ... Read More
We had done this cruise on the Star before, but in September. At the time it was our best cruise ever. So we decided to do it again, but in April. As it turned out the weather was not a s good. Hawaii had just finished the wettest winter in memory and the first 3 days of the trip out of Vancouver were pretty rocky due to a large pacific storm. Well these are the risks we take when we travel. Fortunately we do not get sea sick and the ship, being fairly large, handled the rough seas pretty well. Anyway, apart from the weather the Star in most areas did not disappoint. The entertainment was high quality and there were many choices of act. The cruise staff were excellent in all areas. Kudos to all. Food was excellent at all venues. I still think they make the best pizza ever on deck 14. On the down side I would say that despite a recent dry dock, the Star is due for a facelift. Our cabin furniture and cabinets were deteriorated and common area chairs were frayed. I suggest they cant compete with newer ships until they take care of this. Another area needing attention is the buffet. It is undersized for the number of people using it. While they try to offer a variety of foods there is not enough room to display them. this results in crowding of the buffet area. This does not compare well with newer ships. We found the gym to be crowded. perhaps more people use gyms today than when the ship was built. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
THE ITINERARY Our main objective for this trip was to visit Hawaii, and we would like to visit these interesting islands again—there’s more than you can possibly see in 5 days. EMBARKATION Embarkation at Vancouver was ... Read More
THE ITINERARY Our main objective for this trip was to visit Hawaii, and we would like to visit these interesting islands again—there’s more than you can possibly see in 5 days. EMBARKATION Embarkation at Vancouver was very smooth and very well co-ordinated. THE SHIP Comparisons between the Eurodam to her sister-ship (the Niew Amsterdam) are inevitable. As you might expect, she is very clean and tidy above decks and below. We found the ship layout very easy to navigate, and really appreciated the unobstructed Promenade Deck (3 times around = 1 mile). The back-lit navigation signs located by each elevator provided all necessary information and directions in a highly visible manner. Likewise, the menu screens outside the Lido and MDR were easy to read, much better than paper menus. TIP: many of the comments and observations we made after travelling on the Niew Amsterdam also apply to the Eurodam. For more information refer to our previous reviews. DÉCOR We found the décor on the Eurodam to be rather sombre compared to that of her sister-ship. There are some interesting cabinets-of-curiosities near the Main Dining Room (MDR) and next to B.B. King’s and a few good paintings of ships in the stairwells, but the overall feeling is (in our opinion) rather drab and dated. A lighter palette might help – there are large areas of grey and dark blue throughout the ship and the theatre seems to be especially dingy. TIP: Sightlines in the theatre are not good from the balcony seats on deck 3 (except for those seated in the middle section). Avoid the two boxes on the port and starboard sides: it is almost impossible to see the action on the stage, and you get blinded by the stage lights located in the wings. THE CREW The crew of the Eurodam always manage to be upbeat and are very pleasant company. They are busy, but always seem able to find a few minutes to share a joke or a comment, and their hard work makes life as pleasant as possible for the passengers, so we want them to know how much we appreciate their efforts. Our cabin stewards (Mantri and Hari) were excellent. They kept our cabin neat and tidy and were always cheerful and friendly. FOOD We found no reasons to complain about the food in any of the restaurants onboard the Eurodam. The Lido Market serves a range of interesting dishes from all over the world including Asia and Italy. It tends to get a bit hectic at times, especially when people are lining up to get served at the buffet stations. The Tamarind restaurant has the same Asian-Fusion menu offered on the Niew Amsterdam, but the dishes and presentations fell short of the standard we had experienced on the sister ship. We decided to try the Canaletto restaurant, and we were pleasantly surprised at the innovative dishes presented. We believe the extra $15 was very well spent. We usually ate dinner in the Main Dining Room and never regretted any of our menu choices. The menu is always very inventive, although it does list some dishes that you might call standards every day for the less-adventurous diners (for example, salmon and strip-loin steak). For some reason seating assignments were chaotic during the first few evenings, and again on a Gala night. Passengers (including those who had made reservations) waited for ages to be assigned a table. We complained to the maitre d’ and the following night diners were issued pagers that would signal a table ready to receive them. This didn’t seem to improve matters because after being told we should expect a 20 minute wait, we gave up after 25 minutes and ate in the Lido market instead. TIP: Try varying your arrival time at the MDR, or make an early reservation. MARINERS’ LUNCH This is a special event for members of the HAL Mariners Club (aka, repeat customers). The food was excellent (set menu) and you get an opportunity to meet the Captain and the Cruise Director in person. Disappointingly, this time we did not receive a small Delft tile featuring the ship, as we have at other Mariner Lunches. ENTERTAINMENT BB King’s Blues Club featured a very capable band, who treated us to a wide range of R&B, Motown, and a few contemporary pieces, and this time the band included plenty of blues classics. This entertainment was a big attraction that helped us decide to take this HAL trip. In the Main Stage we were entertained by a magician (James Cielen) a juggler, a comedian and an accomplished flautist. Song and dance shows featured on two nights, and these were very good indeed – we appreciated them because they added to the variety. There were no guest aerialists/acrobatics on this cruise, perhaps because of the many sea days or the stage wasn’t built to accommodate them. The Indonesian crew members gave a very good cultural show one evening, but it started at 11:00 p.m., so the theatre was only about 25% full. Guest speakers Ginny Stibold and Lawrence Taglatino presented outstanding lectures on the biology and history of the Hawaiian Islands. On the outward leg of the voyage, a group of Hawaiian women presented workshops on a number of topics including making leis and hula dancing, while a musician taught volunteers how to play a ukulele. FELLOW PASSENGERS A much older demographic (our opinion) than those we met on other HAL voyages. The number of passengers using walking frames, wheelchairs, scooters, or sticks was incredible, and we wondered how the crew would cope during a real emergency in the event of needing to evacuate the ship. Waiters in the MDR had to valet-park the scooters! No wonder many reviewers refer to it as a floating retirement home. We met plenty of Canadians, some Americans, and a few Australians. A FEW PROBLEMS TIP: If you have any problems or concerns, raise them with appropriate people (usually the Front Desk) immediately. They are very responsive, and take all complaints seriously. SMOKING Smokers are no longer allowed to poison themselves (and others) in the casino nor on their balconies. Smoking is now restricted to on the starboard side of the Lido deck aft, allowing most of us to avoid the deadly cancer fumes. However, there will always be some determined puffers who think the rules do not apply to them. For example: we detected the smell of smoke in the corridor outside our cabin on a several days and reported this to the Front Desk. Guest Services came to our cabin, agreed that the smell was noticeable and promised to investigate. The problem occurred a few more times, and Guest Services eventually discovered the source (a balcony suite opposite ours). The problem did not recur. Full marks to HAL for eliminating this menace. GENERAL TIPS Bring jackets or wraps as the temperatures vary widely in different public areas around the ship. B.B. King’s is predictably chilly. If you need to use the mid-ship elevators, the glass ones on either side of the ship are much faster than the regular ones in the middle of the ship. PORT REVIEWS We went ashore at every port of call, and took four excursions from the ship. Hilo—Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Garden. A do-it-yourself walking tour of a lush, tropical garden that was created in a valley reclaimed from a previous garbage dump. TIPS: Steep hills and a vertiginous boardwalk to descend into the valley. Golf carts run continuously up and down the narrow path (there are one or two passing places). You may need some DEET-based insecticide or some drinking water (both available at the on-site shop). Be smart and bring your own from the ship. Honolulu—Blue Hawaiian helicopter flight The flight lasts 50 minutes, and cameras record you in cockpit and the outside scenes. We flew over Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, and Pearl Harbour. Weighing in, but they keep it secret—6 persons per copter pilot plus 2 passengers in front, 4 behind. Only the two outer seats offer decent photo-opportunities. You will be buckled into the harness by company staff: they are not trying to grope you, so don’t be offended. TIPS: If flying over active volcanos and flowing lava is on your bucket list, book the helicopter trip in Hilo as soon as you get onboard the ship—it sells-out very quickly! We were too late, so we had to sign-up for this trip instead. Dark clothing is preferred because light colours reflect off the canopy and spoil any photos you might take. Wear a dark shirt if you have it, but if you don’t, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters will lend you a dark T-shirt. You can’t bring anything with you except a camera; excess items must be checked before you board the helicopter. Lahaina—Atlantis submarine trip Passengers sit back-to-back along central seats, each seat has an individual porthole. The sub dives to a depth of 124 feet taking you over coral beds and the wreck of sailing ship called the Carthagininan. This vessel was deliberately sunk as artificial reef. We saw a range of different fish including White-tip Sharks, Barracuda, Puffer Fish, Porcupine Fish, Moray Eels, Surgeon Fish, etc. TIP: If you think you might be even slightly claustrophobic, give this trip a miss. After the crew closed the hatch, one female passenger panicked and had to leave the vessel. Nawiliwili—National Tropical Botanical Gardens. A guided tour of two gardens (Allerton and McBryde Gardens) led by a very knowledgeable guide. We also stopped for a brief visit to the Spouting Horn volcanic lava tube. TIP: This is a chance to visit some of the locations used for filming Jurassic Park and for birders to see a rare Hawaiian Gallinule. This tour involves step climbing and negotiating muddy paths so if you have mobility issues, consider carefully before you sign up for it. A FEW GRIPES! Yes, we have a few! We sincerely hope HAL is listening: Eurodam’s library is very poorly stocked. No pins as prizes for winning games—winners receive a bottle of sparkling wine instead! No Trip Log at the end of the voyage to keep as a record of the trip, describing distance travelled, ports of call, etc.! This was particularly disappointing for us. DISEMBARKATION Very smooth and fast because HAL uses a system of numbers and colour-codes to direct disembarking passengers off the ship, but there was a long wait to load the buses to the airport, with only one bus being loaded at a time. WOULD WE SAIL ON THE EURODAM AGAIN? Possibly, it really depends on the itinerary and we will always be open to trying different HAL ships. While we enjoyed our trip, the ship fell short of expectations because of the missing items we had anticipated after previous HAL trips. Read Less

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