7 Night Hawaii (Maui Roundtrip) Sail Date: August 04, 2006 Cabin Type: Oceanview Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 10 years ago
We recently did a 7-day cruise of Hawaii. There were 5 ports of call on the four major islands. Overall, the ship was clean, the staff was courteous and friendly, and the food was good if not inspired. The cruise seems to be a good value, particularly for first timers to the islands because you get a lot of shore time and also a chance to see multiple islands without having to fly from island to island, which can get very pricey for inter-island flights. NCL takes care to make sure that you have an easy time finding their reps when you get to the airport and start looking for the ride to the ship. It was an effortless experience.One of the neat things on this trip was the "drive-by" of the volcano on the big island (Hawaii) at about 10 at night. The Captain spins the ship around 360 degrees so everyone can see the lava flow.The food and entertainment on this trip were not spectacular, but more than adequate. Even though we didn't book a specialty restaurant on this trip, other cruisers told us that the specialty restaurants were a great value and worth trying.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
Without exception, the servers in every area from the bars to the main dining rooms to the buffets were very pleasant and professional. This was our first experience with freestyle dining and it is convenient in theory as you can go anytime between 5:30 and 10:00, but in practice we ended up waiting an average of 30-40 minutes at night to get into dinner. Evidently everybody else wanted to eat at the same time we did. We didn't do the specialty restaurants, but the main dining rooms always offered steak, a fresh catch fish dish and a vegetarian dish every night in addition to 2-3 other more creative meals. There was a lobster night and always an unusual soup offered along with the regular kind (cream of banana for example).
3 out of 5
The cruise director and staff on this ship were some of the hardest working I have ever seen. They seemed to be everywhere morning, noon and night. They put on dance shows with instructions on the dances and actually went out of their way to kind of drag people out of their chairs to get involved and have fun. The down side was that this was most of the entertainment. There were a couple of comedians on a couple nights, a really good magician one night and one production show "Sealegs Cirque" which was rather good considering that it was done on night of very rough seas and the performers managed to stay on their feet. There were also the usual art auctions and "not so newlywed" games.
3 out of 5
We didn't have kids with us but noticed that the ones on the ship never seemed to be at a loss for stuff to do. The basketball court on the top deck was nonstop and there always seemed to be a kid or 3 in the pools and spas.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
All of the staff was very personable and friendly. Our waiter made sure to tell us what night the lobster would be on and also gave us suggestions about what to see in port.
5 out of 5
The ship was overall very clean. In fact, when we ate outside on the lanai especially, we barely finished a plate or a drink and someone would come by and pick it up from the table. The decor was very upbeat, almost kitchsky Hawaiian style, but very appropo for the cruise. The layout of the ship was a little confusing at times, as we had to take one elevator to get to another in order to go all the way up or down, but this may just be a "ship thing". We never felt crowded out the ship is really big.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
Stateroom was kept very nice. The bed seemed to get made up 3 times a day. It was a little on the hard side, but other cruisers said that you could request a mattress topper if you were uncomfortable. The bathroom was like an oversized RV bathroom, but very clean and everything worked great.
The ship is in Honolulu on Sunday. That means you can go to the huge swapmeet at the Punchbowl for some really good bargains. If you plan to go to Hilo Hatties, the bus picks you up right at the pier and gives you a little minitour of the city on the way to their store. Then they give you a bead lei and a free soft drink. It's kind of fun shopping there for aloha clothes to wear on the ship that night. If you are athletic, try the hike up Diamondhead, it's an awesome lookout and workout.
Don't Miss: The Arizona Memorial. It is really moving.
Because of recent rains, the tubing the ditch excursion was canceled, so we ended up renting mopeds and ran all over the island for two days. It was great fun and a good way to see Kauai up close.
Don't Miss: Waimea canyon, Poipu beach
If you want to take the time,drive the Hana road. It is stunningly beautiful. Iao needle is a really neat park. Activity nuts can really get their fill on this island, it has it all. Biking down the volcano 38 miles is really cool, there is a artsy/hippie town called Paia that is fun to visit if you have a car for the day, you can also go to Lahaina which is fun to walk around and shop, eat at CHEESEBURGER IN PARADISE or hang out under the biggest Banyan tree you will ever see and listen to the Mynah birds scream
Don't Miss: probably snorkeling at Molokini crater or biking down the volcano
Kahalu'u Beach is about 8 or 9 miles straight up the main drag from the pier. It has sea turtles and lots of fish and coral that you can see very easily and closely. It does get crowded by afternoon.
Don't Miss: snorkeling almost anywhere
Pros: The staff seemed tireless and were very helpful and pleasant all around. The itinerary for the Hawaiian Islands tour is very good, particularly for a first timer to the islands. It is a great way see all 4 of the major islands.
Cons: The entertainment in the evenings is a little deficient. Most of it consisted of staff led shows (which were enthusiastic) and small venue stuff such as piano bar type entertainment rather than production shows.
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