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About Suskies

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    New Castle, DE, USA
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  1. We thought the weather was perfect. Generally highs in the upper 70s to maybe low 80s during the day, and lows in the upper 60s or maybe low 70s at night. Kauai was cooler--highs in the low 70s. We thought it was ideal weather for walking, which is what we like to do best. Bring a hat, sunscreen, and water ashore--just because it isn't hot doesn't mean you can't get sunburned or dehydrated. It can be very cold and windy on higher elevations, including the top of Waimea Canyon on Kauai. Sometimes it was not cold but very windy, such as at the Nakalele Blow Hole on Maui. Definitely pack a sweatshirt and windbreaker. I don't know whether our weather was typical, however. We were told it rained two weeks solid just before we arrived.
  2. I wish our cabin had been on the opposite side of the ship, like yours is. It almost always faced away from port--we never saw our cabin from land. To be specific: In Honolulu, our cabin faced downtown Honolulu, so we had something of a view, although a good bit of it was obstructed by the large port terminal building we faced. The morning we docked in Maui, we did see the coast during sunrise as we approached the dock, which is great if you're an early riser. But once we docked, we had no view. The morning we docked in Hilo, again we did see the coast including Mauna Kea during the sunrise, but once we docked we had minimal view. When the ship left port in the evening, we faced out to sea. At Kailua-Kona our side of the ship faced to sea, so we had no particular view. During sailaway we did see a bit of Maui off in the distance. The morning we docked in Kauai, again we did see the coast as we approached the pier. Once we docked our balcony faced south with a view of some mountains along the coast. And of course we missed the Napali coast completely, as I explained in my original post. Keep in mind, though, that on this port-intensive itinerary, the cabin view isn't as important as on other cruises (except for the Napali coast). The ship generally docked shortly after sunrise and left shortly before sunset, so there wasn't much to see. All the ports except Kailua-Kona are industrial ports, so the view isn't exactly spectacular, especially if you're on one of the lower decks. Hope this helps!
  3. Wow... that's a big group! I planned a Caribbean cruise for about 11 people a few years ago. One of the things I love about cruises is they're great for families and other large groups because you're not together 24/7 like you would be on, say, a car trip. So you don't get on each others' nerves as much. 😁 But you probably want to spend SOME time together, and it would be easy for everyone to vanish, doing their own thing, and never see each other. So one thing we've worked out in advance is an understanding of when we WOULD spend time together. We agreed to eat dinner together every night, and I made reservations. It was fun--we spent most of our time talking about what we did that day and what we'd be doing the next day. A challenge on most cruises is staying in touch ("We're going to the 9 PM show. Want to join us?"), because phones don't work when you're at sea. Fortunately, the POA is in a US port most of the time so you can keep in touch by texting except in the evenings when the POA is at sea. I've also packed post-it notes and pens and put them in the slot by our cabin door where flyers are delivered. That lets people leave messages for us ("We're playing Scrabble in the game room. Join us if you like.") when there's no cell phone service. I think the other thing we talked about in advance was evening dress code. Some members of the group wanted everyone to pack dress-up clothes for a group photo; other members of the group wanted to pack only casual clothes. That took some negotiation! But otherwise, everybody did their own thing, and we made clear that no one would be offended if someone else didn't join them for something. On the rare moment anything got unpleasant, we were able to walk away and do something else. And we've had wonderful, memorable cruises. Hope this helps!
  4. That **IS** a great deal! For what it's worth, we've cruised exclusively in balconies for the last 10-15 years, but on this cruise they were SO much more expensive than oceanviews that we decided to get an oceanview, again because the itinerary is so port-intensive that we figured we wouldn't use the balcony much. It ended up that we bid on a balcony and got one, but we were happy with our initial decision.
  5. We love aft balconies because they're larger than side balconies. Some people (on all cruise lines) complain about wind or soot, but we've never experienced that. Watching those waves churn behind the ship is hypnotizing (but of course noisy). Note that the POA aft slopes outward. That means the aft decks will be in the sun more. We only book aft balconies when the aft of the ship slope inward, giving the aft balconies lots of shade. That's a matter of personal preference. Also keep in mind that with this port-intensive schedule, you're not going to be spending tons of time on your balcony. We sat there in the morning before getting breakfast and disembarking. We also sat there sometimes in late afternoon, when the ship was departing a port, but that depended on how the ship was positioned--sometimes the balcony was too sunny and hot to enjoy. (We were on the port side, which seemed to get more afternoon sun throughout the cruise than the starboard side.) You could sit in an aft balcony to watch the Napali Coast, but you'll miss the narration, which is very good. Hope this helps!
  6. Thank you! The Gypsy self-guided tour app was fantastic. That plus a rented car were a bargain compared to a shore excursion. We learned so much, plus we had the option of turning him off when we wanted a break. Can't do that with a real tour operator!😁
  7. No, we are US citizens and arrived from the US, so we didn't go through customs or even bring our passports. We only needed our drivers licenses. We went through security, then completed a health form, then went straight to the check-in line.
  8. Thanks for the info on Newark! We've sometimes flown out of there if the schedule and fare work. The nonstop to Honolulu is good to know. We got an email from NCL inviting us to submit a bid about 2 1/2 months before our sail date. We submit our bid the next day. We were notified we got our upgrade a month later. I would guess that the upgrade invitation process depends on supply and demand. If your cruise is already close to sold out, NCL might not invite upgrades. You're going in prime spring break season, so maybe that's what happened. The dress code for men in the Liberty (and the specialized restaurants) is jeans or slacks with a collared shirt and closed-toe shoes. DSIL wore shorts the second night and was turned away--he went back to his cabin to change into jeans, which he wore the remaining nights. The dining room host said they bend the rules on the first and last nights and allow shorts, but not on the nights in between. For what it's worth, the Liberty dress code for women is jeans, slacks, dress, or skirt. I wore capris several nights and had no problem.
  9. You're welcome! My review was "semi-real-time"-- I took notes on my phone (on my Evernote app) during the cruise then wrote the review once I got home. I really enjoy writing it because it is a journal for us as well as a way to give back to other CCers. The coffee was not a Keurig (I wish it was!). It was one of those single-serve coffee makers made with little packets of coffee often seen in hotel rooms. We had one in our balcony cabin, but DD and DSIL didn't have one in their oceanview room. I didn't use it because I wake up before DH and don't want to disturb him. One of my favorite things to do on a cruise is watch the ship come to life over a cup of coffee in one of the public areas of the ship. We didn't go to Meet the Captain--we were so busy and tired that we participated in very few ship activities. I didn't notice when it was scheduled.
  10. That's a great idea! We talked about staying on the west coast a bit, but it would have turned a 2-week vacation into a 3-week vacation, and we didn't want to be gone that long. That's the main problem for East Coasters visiting Hawaii--it really is far away. 😣 It's like going to Europe, only in reverse.
  11. For decades we figured why go to Hawaii when Florida and the Caribbean are so much closer? But we love it--it's really different and really nice! Whatever you decide to do, you'll have a great time! 🙂
  12. Lucky you! The Big Island was my favorite, and the one where I felt we only scratched the surface of all the things to see and do. I can't wait to go back!
  13. DD and DSIL had similar flights out. On their first day they took a Hop-on-hop-off bus tour of Honolulu and Waikiki--that let them see a lot even though they were tired. After the first day they were fine, though they went to bed early (9 PM). We're in our 60s and we're finding it's taking us longer to deal with jet lag as we age. 😣 The harder part is flying home. Long-haul eastbound flights are redeyes, just like when you fly to Europe. DD and DSIL took a redeye home and bounced back quickly. We stayed overnight at LAX so we wouldn't have any redeyes. It really helped.
  14. No, we didn't see any whales from the shoreline. There are whale-watching trips that people strongly recommended to us, but we just couldn't fit them in. Whale watching is best in winter (they migrate, I think to and from Alaska). So check if they're still around in April--I'm not sure.
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