Sail Date: November 01, 2011 Cabin Type: Balcony Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 5 years ago
For anyone who wishes to explore multiple islands yet return to one home base each evening, this is a good (actually, the only) option...but if you have cruised before, you will likely be disappointed with the food (both variety and quality), with the attitude of many of the crew (though some were excellent), and especially with the entertainment and "nightlife" options. I recommend it if your goal is to explore the islands (and cost, though higher than any other cruise I have taken, is certainly comparable, or less than, the cost of staying in Hawaii hotels -- face it, Hawaii is expensive!), but if you are expecting a top of the line cruise experience, you will be disappointed.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
The only good food is in the restaurants with the additional cover charges. Other/free food is mediocre, and they serve the same thing day after day...gets very boring. We tried the steakhouse...great steak, lousy sides...and the Italian restaurant...food not as good but service impeccable. One of the free restaurants, Cadillac Diner, was beyond awful, both in terms of food and service...I don't recommend it.
1 out of 5
There were a few fun activities and shows, but most were not worth the time. One of the lounge singers was so bad (warbly and off-key) that I'd actually cringe when we went by there. I think NCL knows that most of their guests are there to see the islands, and on-ship entertainment is not a super high priority...plus they have no competition in that market to force them to raise the bar...but we still would have enjoyed some really good shows and a fun nightclub to go to later in the evenings....
Service and Staff
3 out of 5
I'd say about 40% of the staff were at the same level of friendliness/helpfulness as on other crews, but 60% were not. No one was terrible; we have just become accustomed to FANTASTIC service on other cruises.
3 out of 5
This is an older ship, smaller, and not laid out with the wide hallways and soaring atriums, so it ifeels a bit cramped and doesn't "flow" very well. It was very clean, though, and decor was festive. Rooms are smaller than we have been accustomed to, but our balcony was HUGE. (Party central!) Ship also seemed to have a problem with hot water...we were without one morning, and our traveling companions were without FIVE TIMES. Fortunately, it's warm in Hawaii, and a cold shower is at least tolerable if not enjoyable.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
Nice decor, plenty of storage space for two people. Smaller than we have had in the past, but still comfortable. Tiny shower. GREAT bed, slept like a rock. Again, this is an older ship, and the rooms were probably considered huge back in the day...just not in comparison to the the new "super ships".
Pros: Floating hotel...able to see four islands without having to constantly pack and unpack, no moving from hotel to hotel
Cons: NCL needs some competition in Hawaii...bar is low and they have no reason to raise it. Food, service, entertainment all well below standards set on previous cruises, yet most expensive cruise by far.
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