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1st time in Hawaii

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  1. We booked the Antarctica cruise (Basic Polar Outside cabin) leaving in November.   Since this is a new ship, there are very little reviews about it.   I have downloaded the brochures but there are things they do not mention.   Trying to pack as light as possible so I don't want to bring unnecessary items.

     

    Question 1 - does the ship have a self service laundromat ?    Cost ?   I do not like sending some of my delicates out for laundry service, which is often very expensive.. 

     

    Question 2 -  Toiletries:  what do they provide ?  Anything ?   Do they have separate body wash, shampoo/conditioner or is it the one for all ?

     

    Question 3 -  Cabin temperature - I did read a review that said it was very hot and stuffy and that the cabin temperature controls did not do much.

     

    Thanks.  

     

  2. Booked the West Indies Explorer (since it is a new voyage, there isn't a lot of information available yet)

     

    Shore Excursions -

     

    - Is there enough time in most ports to take the included excursion and another one ?

     

    - We booked a Veranda stateroom so we have to wait until last to book.

    Does everyone get to go on the included shore excursion or does it fill up ?

     

    Laundry - availablity ? are there a lot of machines or is it very busy ?

    Hours - open 24 hours ? Nice that there is no charge and they have detergent available.

  3. We just booked West Indies Explorer on Viking Star (930 passenger) for November. Since we haven't sailed, I can't review, but you might want to check it out. The initial price is higher, but it is all inclusive with all veranda rooms. Flight to San Juan is free (included) with airport transfers, one shore excursion in each port, all restaurants, wine, beer and soda at lunch & dinner, and wi-fi. So all in all, it seems like a nice package.

  4. I agree, you need to take the cruise before you write about it in a book.

    But there is a good book which will answer some of your questions:

     

    "Hawaii by Cruise Ship: The Complete Guide to Cruising the Hawaiian Islands",

    by Anne Vipond (Author)

     

    It is nothing like the Love Boat.

  5. If you are going to Waimea Canyon, be sure to drive all the way up into the Koke'e State Park to the Kalalau Lookout. It is a very beautiful view of the Pali Coast and valley. if you are on the PoA, you will cruise by this valley. The view from the top is spectacular. I am mentioning it as I have heard several people say they didn't think the view was anything different from what they were seeing at Waimea Canyon. Not so. Go the extra mile(s).

     

    Waimea Canyon is not to be missed as is the Kalalau Lookout.

  6. Waimea Canyon is a place not to be missed.

    Some people say you don't have to go all the way to the top. IMO the most beautiful view was in Kokee SP - the Kalalau Lookout. You can see the Pali Coast & Valley - it was awesome. Later when you are the ship cruising the Pali Coast, you will see that spot from the sea level view.

     

    IMO, I would go to Waimea Canyon on day 1 since you don't have an all aboard. We stopped at the Sprouting Horn (another spot I would recommend), then Wailua Falls. It was around 3pm by then, traffic was starting to pick up so we decided to return the rental car and go back to the ship and relax in the hot tub.

     

    We considered driving to Hanalei but we had had enough driving for one day.

     

    Day 2, we took the Anchor Mall shuttle, walked around the shops, and went swimming at the beach.

  7. If you are driving the Road to Hana be sure to stop at Wai'anapanapa State park. The scenery, the lava rocks, etc is just awesome.

    It was the best part of the journey.

    We found the Road to Hana, not hard to drive, just monotonous and overrated.

     

    The park is free too.

  8. You guys carry some extra stuff. I usually find that there are enough outlets so I have never carried a power strip or extension cord.

    We try to travel as light as possible, and do carry a small electronic suitcase scale to make sure we don't go over weight at airline counter.

     

    One thing I do for clothing organization is to use clear zipper bags (quart or gallon freezer bag type) for different types of clean clothing. One each for lingerie, socks, tops, etc. - this way you just put the bags in the room's drawers. You can also squeeze out extra air for packing suitcase. Doesn't add any additional weight.

  9. I wouldn't be concerned. Yes there are a lot of cabs waiting. Charley's has the "contract" with the port (what I mean is that they are authorized to enter); others wait outside the security gate. It's a short walk to outside the gate and there are shade trees you can wait under. We did it with 4 pieces of luggage. You might pay a little more using a cab that's there than if you pre-book. That's about it.

    As far as getting off the ship, you select your time, with 9:15 being the latest. I will write a topic on this.

  10. Good meeting you at the Roll Call meeting, which ended when we all had to report to our lifeboat stations. Sorry, we never crossed paths again.

    It was a great cruise. I read some people's negative reviews on the PoA, but we never encountered any such problems. I called one of the numbers that we were given on the meeting with a minor stateroom issue. It was taken care of, and a letter of apology was sent to our cabin, giving us a free dinner at our choice of specialty restaurants (with bottle of wine). I was surprised as I didn't complain, only asked that they check on the problem. NCL really wanted to make sure we were enjoying our cruise. (Did being in the Cruise Critic meeting have anything to do with that ?)

  11. For the airport arrival to hotel, I booked online in advance with Hawaii23 (the flat rate of $23+tip). I gave them my flight info and received a confirmation. When we got to the designated pick up spot, they were not there, so I called. Apparently there was a mix-up, so he sent Mike 808-393-0907 (Green Cab). We called Mike for our other transportation needs. He was very personable and his rates were better than others I saw posted. He even took us to a lookout over Honolulu at no extra charge. If you decide to call Mike, tell him the couple from Florida recommended him.

  12. The cruise was great and we had a fantastic time. NCL makes an effort to please their guest, but there is still room for improvement.

     

    These are just a few minor things that I would have liked to know so that I could have prepared accordingly. Many people have written reviews, but there are a few things I never saw mentioned.

     

    Interior staterooms are small but adequate, nicely decorated. We had a large mirror in the shape of a port hole over the bed. Room can get dark. so

     

    Tip #1 – you might want to bring a night light. I prefer the flat LCD type with no bulb to break. Someone mentioned leaving the TV on to the Bridge camera. You can then see when you pull into port, etc.

    The bathroom outlet (found overhead) only works when bathroom light is on.

     

    Tip #2 – There are no clocks in the room. Yes, you are on vacation, but you might need to know when it is time to get up, especially if you have a shore excursion, etc

     

    Tip #3 – if you want to use the mini refrigerator, ask the cabin steward to empty the mini bar and note that you didn’t use anything, so you won’t be charged.

     

    Tip #4 – bring your own toiletries (soap, shampoo) if you need to know what you are using (i.e. in the case of allergies). They have dispensers for soap, shower gel, & shampoo). This may not be the case in all cabins like suites.

     

    Tip #5 – turn your cell phone to Airplane mode when cruising away from port.

    While in port (and close to the port), you should be able to access your own carrier without any additional charge. Hard to get a signal in the staterooms, so you need to go up on deck or to the cafe. No electrical outlets near the nightstands. They are located in the desk area. The only reason I mention this is if you want to leave your phone on to check the time, your battery may run down overnight.

     

    Tip # 6 - We had no problems with the shower, plenty of water. It is small so if you are a larger person, you might want to upgrade to a cabin that has a larger bath.

     

    Hair dryer, beach towels are provided.

     

    Tip #7 – The interior staterooms have a fold down bunk bed so that you can sleep 3 or 4. I would find it difficult to sleep with the bunk over my head. So if there are more than 2, consider a larger stateroom.

     

    Tip # 8 – If you have a problem, let them know. In most cases, NCL will try to rectify it.

     

    Some background - this is my first cruise with NCL but have cruised on another line, and first time with an interior stateroom.

    I have spent up to 3 weeks traveling in a Class B RV so I am used to small places. I am someone who loves the sun & seeing daylight, but found no problem with an interior stateroom.

  13. We didn't use Charley's so I can't comment on that. I will say that they had the most taxis in the airport and port area. Their rates are higher than some of the smaller companies, that will negotiate a flat rate. Be sure to ask for a flat rate, and find out if they charge extra for baggage.

     

    (FYI We paid $23 from HNL to Wakiki - and $10 from hotel to port, $20 port to airport)

  14. I booked with Hawaii 23 - flat rate of $23 from airport.

    Had a confirmation with flight #, time, etc.

    Apparently, there was some mix-up and no one was there to meet us.

    So when I called to say I was outside waiting, he sent another cab.

    I would highly recommend calling Mike from the Green Cab 808-393-0907

    He gave us great service and a better rate from hotel to cruise ship,

    and cruise ship to airport than other rates I have seen posted.

     

    Tell him the couple from Florida recommended him.

     

    BTW, the cabbies have a "network", they will call friend or cousin, if they can't meet you at the designated time and charge the agreed upon fare.

  15. In reading the posts, there are lots of taxis in line waiting at the pier.

    How much can you expect to pay NCL pier to Airport ?

     

    Do all the cabs charge the same fare ? Flat rate or metered ?

     

    What is the latest that you can get off the POA?. I have several hours before my flight, but not enough time for an excursion. On another cruise line, they were anxious for everyone to disembark so they could prepare for the newbies.

  16. Going on Pride Of America in September. Since we are in Kauai for 2 days I am trying to get some ideas of must things to do while we are there. Any suggestions welcome.

     

    Thanks!

    We are also on a POA in Sept. I plan on renting a car for Day 1 and driving up to the canyon, but we're open for suggestions for Day 2.

    Should we return the car the evening of day 1 ?

     

    Ladybug - have you signed in roll call for the cruise ?

    Which day do you embark ?

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