This is an ideal cruise for anyone who has not been to Hawaii or for anyone that has been to Hawaii but hasn't been to each island. Don't worry too much about your room or location - save your $ and spend it wisely exploring all that Hawaii has to offer. We rented a car in Maui, Hilo and Kauai and thoroughly enjoyed the overnight stays in Maui and Kauai.
5 out of 5
Carried our own luggage on (about 3:00), grabbed a cocktail and our room was ready about 3:30
Food and Dining
4 out of 5
We ate dinner in the MDR Liberty (2 nights) and Skyline (2 nights) and 1 night each at Cagney's & Moderno, with dinner out 1 night while in Kauai (The Beach House). We had breakfast at the buffet a few mornings, as well as, breakfast at Skyline a few times and Cadillac Diner once. Lunch was at the buffet or the Key West Bar/Grill. Overall - we were pleased with the food, but have had better on other NCL ships. I liked the layout of the buffet and the amount of space available to get a table.
4 out of 5
Since the main activity is being off the ship and enjoying the various islands, we really didn't do much by way of onboard activities. However, when we were on the ship, we never had an issue getting a lounge chair or just enjoying the views from the assorted decks.
5 out of 5
We enjoyed the comedy show, as well as, the piano player in the main lobby bar area, but most of the time was spent on the islands.
Service and Staff
4 out of 5
Our room steward was very nice, but failed on a few occasions to give us the extra bath towel we requested for each day. This wasn't too big of a deal as we ended up using the pool/beach towels that were more than plentiful each day. We had fairly good service in the dining rooms, with exceptional service from the wait staff in Cagney's and Moderno. I did have an issue with many of the bars as they seemed understaffed and were unable to handle the volume of people. However, they were respectful and understanding to each patron. This was our first cruise as "Platinum" and were rewarded with 2 free specialty dining meals (Moderno & Cagney's) but were never provided with our coupons to use, thus having to inquire at Guest Services when the high $ showed on our bill at the end of the cruise. Unfortunately, I had to wait in GS for almost 30-minutes, only to be told to go to the restaurant reservation staff, which was not able to help me, and then told to go to the Cruise Next member, Lauren, who was able to rectify the issue and get the charges off of our bill. I would think that in this day of technology, that NCL would have a better grasp of being able to add certain Latitude perks to a person's card.
5 out of 5
My wife and I were very impressed with the POA's lobby area, bars, decks and restaurants. What we could observe and view showed an attention to detail and a staff that works hard at what they do.
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
Although we had initially booked and inside stateroom on the 4th deck, we were successful in our upgrade bid to a mid-ship ocean view cabin. This was also on the 4th deck. Our prior cruise rooms have always been in a balcony. We really liked our room location as it was 1 deck up from where you left/or got on the ship each morning. It was also only a few rooms from the stairs and elevators. However, the bathroom in the mid-ship ocean view room we had was way too small. My wife and I are not overweight, but felt very claustrophobic in the shower and tiny sink/toilet area. There is plenty of closet space and 4 drawers and assorted shelf area where you will have more than enough room. This would be a 5 star room if the bathroom were a bit bigger.
I am not sure it is worth splurging on a balcony room or suite, as this POA cruise itineraries ports are where you need to spend all of your time.
Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, Waikiki Beaches and plenty of great restaurants, shops and bars. The beaches are spectacular and we enjoyed our day prior to the cruise and the day after the cruise as well.
My wife and I spent our honeymoon on Maul back in 1985. We enjoyed our first day and did the Road to Hana excursion via Valley Isle Excursions (booked directly) that offered a scenic, twist and turn roads, great BBQ lunch and a memorable, yet teeth chattering experience as our tour went all the way around Hana to areas where good roads are hard to find. Our tour guide/driver, Dennis, was wonderful. We rented a car the 2nd day and went back to the hotel where we had our honeymoon. Walked around, went to a few beaches and then drove up to Kapalua Resort for a beach visit then down to Lahaina for some shopping.
We rented a car from the local airport and drove to Volcanoes National Park ($25 per car admission fee) and toured the areas that were open. We did a bit of hiking as well from the visitor center to the steam vents and crater views. We also drove to the lower level of the volcano and various vantage points. The drive offers some amazing views of solid lava rock that is vast across various areas of the park. The drive down to the Sea Arch area is well worth it as the rock formation is spectacular, as well as, the views looking up at the lava flow. If you decide to stop at the petroglyph area to hike, beware that it says .7 miles each way, but it does require some effort and don't forget your water.
We opted for the NCL excursion for snorkeling on the Body Glove. With our latitudes status, the price was about the same as booking direct. This tour company is first class. It is within walking distance of the pier. They had an elaborate breakfast spread of assorted fruit, pastries, bagels and yogurt, along with water and coffee. We ended up going to a different location than Red Hill, so not sure what happened with this stop. Anyway, the water was ultra clear and offered plenty of colorful fish. We also some dolphins from the ship. This tour also offered a great spread of burgers, cheeseburgers and vegan burgers, with purple potato chips. We did the early morning tour and had some free time so we decided to do the Atlantis Submarine tour directly as it was right at the pier. I would highly recommend this as well, but it is a bit steep in price ($122 pp).
We rented a car for the day and a half we were in Kauai. Our first day, we drove up to Waimea Canyon while stopping at the various locations in the park. There is a $5 parking fee that will cover you at each of the parks assorted lots. We were lucky as we got there pretty early (around 10:00) and beat the big tour buses and crowds. Make sure you drive to Kalalau Lookout for one of the most spectacular views you will ever see. It is only about 20-minutes from the main parking lot area via car. Since we had plenty of time on our 1st day, we googled beaches on Kauai and chose to drive up to Polihale State Park. Just FYI - I suggest only going here if you have a jeep or some other type of larger vehicle. We, however, had a Hyundai Elantra, and had no idea what was in store for the teeth-chattering drive (about 20-minutes) over a rutted, pot-holed gravel road, that brought us to one ofthe most beautiful and secluded beaches you will ever see. Once you arrive, the sand to get to the beach is "VERY HOT" so make sure you have proper footwear. Our 2nd day, we drove up the north shore area to Princeville and viewed the sites and did some shopping.
We saw much of the Napali coast from land the 2 days prior. However, it was nice seeing it from the ships vantage point. I really would've preferred more on island time as we felt NCL could've accomplished this part of the itinerary in less time.
5 out of 5
Carried our own luggage off the ship and only waited about 10-minutes.
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