Over all this was the best way to get a taste of the main Hawaiian Island. It was a busy cruise so put some time aside for just relaxing on a beach or on the ship. Most of the excursions have you up really early in the morning.
Try to do your research in advance for excursions through cruise critic. Local tour companies are much cheaper and the smaller buses make your experience more personal. The ship will try to advise you not to and warn about missing the ship etc. but those claims are pretty groundless since these locals have fine reputations to uphold.
4 out of 5
Embarkation went very smoothly. There were many people to direct and answer any questions.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
I have to agree with other posters here who were disappointed with the quality of food compared to other cruises. Even other Norwegian cruise ships were far superior to POA.
We booked one specialty restaurant, Jeffersons Bistro, a French cuisine eatery. The quality of the food and selection offered was disappointing especially considering the cost. The atmosphere was beautiful. After consulting with other passengers, we didn't reserve with another specialty restaurant.
We did have some very good meals in the two main dining rooms. We also had some very mediocre ones. Breakfast buffets were plentiful with a wide selection, though very confusing at the beginning of the cruise until we were able to understand the layouts.
We haven't been on a cruise for a few years and I was dismayed to see how small the drink sizes were. Half the size of what used to be served. The fact they fill the glasses with ice before adding the beverage made it even worse. I wish this didn't feel like such a rip off.
4 out of 5
POA is a very busy cruise since every day but two we were at a different port and being there we felt we wanted to see as much as we could, so other then the pool and the shows in the Hollywood theatre, we didn't do many onboard activities.
5 out of 5
Excellent entertainment. The two big show productions in the Hollywood theatre were wonderful. There was also an Eagles tribute and Beatles tribute that was excellent. I unfortunately missed an Abba show. Also very good was the rock bands at the pool on certain days.
Service and Staff
4 out of 5
For the most part I found the service and staff very friendly and helpful. A couple of wait staff seemed board and unhappy but the majority made up for it.
I especially liked the Cruise director. His enthusiasm and sense of humour was contagious. I also appreciated the Hawaiian cultural gentleman who gave talks and tips each morning on the different island ports, as well as a commentary when we cruised by the beautiful Naplie coast.
4 out of 5
The ship was very clean. The design easy to navigate before too long. I did find the layout of the buffet a bit confusing and congested.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
We had an obstruction view outside. I loved the natural light from the big window. I'm thinking the next time Ill splurge a bit and do the patio. Would have been lovely to walk out that big window to a nice deck.
I was very impressed with the amount of storage space available. Ample room to move around as well. Very clean.
Get the wine package if you enjoy wine in the evening and with your meals. Check out the daily drink special everyday on your daily event pages. Bring wide mouth water coolers to fill. Bottled water is very expensive to buy.
Make sure you see the North Shore with a local tour company. The Surf Bus was so much fun and the guides were local boys who know the sites inside out.
If you do Pearl Harbour on your own, choose a small tour company not one of the big buses. It's busy and crowded and like us, you could lose track of your tour. We were almost left behind and had to flag our bus down as it was pulling out. That wouldn't happen on a small tour bus.
Loved Hilo. Did a local tour company to see the Hilo side of the Island. Marylou's Big Island Guided Tours. Her husband Ken showed us all there was to see in a fun packed day trip to Volcanoe National Park, Rainbow Falls, Thurston Lava Tube and many more sites of interest. Fabulous smaller tours at a fraction of the cruise ship price.
Again we booked a local tour company that offers smaller size tours. We were sorry that Marylou was full for this side of the Island so we booked with Mauka Maiki Adventures at their recommendation. Turned out we had a private tour of the coffee farm, historical and cultural sites, gorgeous beaches. Price was a bit more then Marylou but an excellent tour.
Loved the Smith family Luau and river cruise to the grotto here. I booked directly through Smiths Kauai. An old and authentic Luau. Great food and show. Transportation is available to the Luau when you book, at a fraction of what the taxi fare is.
5 out of 5
Luggage is sorted as to the time you want to embark. Different coloured luggage tags. Choose an early disembark time even if you are a little later to avoid waiting for your luggage. We chose 8 am and had no problem finding our luggage at 8:30. Excellent system compared to some past cruises.
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