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minnesota pam

Very, Very, Very long review of STAR 3-28-04

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My husband and I sailed the STAR the week of March 28th with a two day pre cruise stay in Honolulu. Stayed at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani. I've read mixed reviews but was a very nice hotel. Got upgraded from a standard room to a deluxe ocean view room on the 10th floor of the Princess Wing. It looked over the ocean and Diamond Head. Most spectacular view. Room was very clean, nice towels and toiletries including toothbrushes/paste. They had several restaurants, a food court and a Polynesian dinner show. The first night we arrived we were very tired from the flight from Minneapolis-Houston-Honolulu and it was raining cats and dogs so we visited some ABC stores, walked Waikiki Beach, had dinner and listened to live music poolside and retired to our room. Rented a car through Alamo on Saturday with Rate code 6T and got an economy care for $24 not including taxes, insurance. The Alamo shuttle picked us up at the hotel. Headed to the Arizona Memorial and it already was super busy by 9:00 a.m. Got our tickets and went to the USS Bowfin Submarine and museum as our tickets were for 11:00. Wanted to get more sights in before dark so we saved seeing the Battleship Missouri for the Sunday we disembarked. We drove up to the North Shore to see the Bonsai Pipeline, Dole Pineapple Plantation (must have the pineapple whip!) Crouching Lion and other sites I can't remember at this time. We pre-ordered 10 pineapple from Dole which met us at the airport at the end of the cruise for $25.00 (they were good and juicy). We continued driving around the east side of the island heading back to Diamond Head. Stopped at some beaches and saw sea turtles and lots of surfers. By the time we got to Diamond Head it was just closing so didn't get to climb to the top. We did go to the beach just below Diamond Head and spent some time. Returned the rental car and walked back to the hotel as it was a beautiful night. Went to Chili's for dinner and then went to the International Market. After dinner walked along the shops and watched the "ladies of the night" come out and do their thing. Returned to the hotel and listened to the live entertainment which was every night of the week. Returned to the room and sat on the balcony and continued to listen to the music and watch the "girls strut their stuff".

 

Sunday morning we checked out of the hotel at 10:30 and went to the lobby to catch a cab. The cab we were given was a huge stretch limo for the same cost of a cab. Didn't have to share it. The ride cost $20 to the pier. We were in line at the pier for about 15 minutes and a few minutes after 11:30 were were in the Lattitudes check in line which had no waiting. They asked us for our passports, tickets and pre-registration papers. Make sure you print a copy when you do this on line. This is where were were told we weren't going to Fanning Island due to mechanical problems and was given the new itinerary. Quickly got on board and went to the Shore Excursion Desk to make changes. They weren't suppose to be open but they did help us. They had our reservations that we had done on line and switched them to the day were were in that port. We also booked a helicopter ride in Kauai. Thank goodness we brought our cell phone as we had to change/cancel some car rentals we had done on line before we left. Went to our room to look around and then left the ship to shop at the Aloha Towers. Got back on the ship in time for the muster drill and our bags were already in our room. After the drill we went to the pool deck for the sail away party and barbeque. This was the only time other than the Chocoholic Buffet where we encountered large lines. Around 7:30 we went to the back of the ship to watch us sail away and to enjoy the hula dancers and music.Did some looking around the ship and spa and then went to the Welcome Aboard Showtime with Cruise Director, Kieron Buffery--nice guy. It was off to sleep after that.

 

Monday morning did not start off so well. My husband didn't take a dramamine and was feeling a little green. Didn't make it to breakfast or lunch--I brought food back to the cabin from the Market Cafe. Got ready to go to the Lattitudes Party at 12:30 but didn't make that either. We did make it to the Cruise Critic Party (refused to call it a meeting) and met Mr. and Mrs. Sports Dr., Mr. and Mrs. Marshe and Mr. and Mrs. LKay--All fun, wonderful people. Jagboy was no where to be found. Two NCL officers were there and bought us drinks but had to leave early as this was formal night. My husband and I were dressed up for formal night so after the CC Party went and had our pictures taken and then to the Versailles for dinner. Ate almost all our meals here. Food was very good, nice atmosphere, good service and the menu selection was great. It was a very romantic night. Got a table for two--had to wait less than five minutes to get the table. Went to the late show "Music of the Night" which was excellent.

 

Tuesday we were in Hilo and it was raining pretty good. Had a shore excursion which was to take us as close to the flowing lava as possible but the lava was not flowing so saw lots of sights in the Volcano National Park. On the way back to the ship we stopped at Rainbow Falls, Macadamia Nut Factory and Walmart--non of which was on the tour agenda. Thank you Tour Guide! After dinner in the Versailles did some on board shopping, visited some lounges and then went to the Stardust Theater to see Dominique Ava and Lucas. She was a fabulous violinist and her husband was a comedian juggler. Both very good. Listened a bit to Todd Wells in Gatsby's and hit the hay. The Theater is stadium style seating so always had good seats which do tip a tiny bit forward.

 

Wednesday arrived in Kona. Didn't expect to be here so had to do some quick research on what to do. Rented a convertible through Alamo with Rate Code 6T which cost $26.00. Drove South and went to Greenwell Coffee plantation--very interesting. Bought some coffee and continued south to as far as we could go. This is South Point which is the most southern point in the United States. Did a bit of hiking looking for Green Sand Beach but don't think we found it--no green sand. Nothing has signs stating where you are. We did go all the way to Papkolea Beach though. On this drive we got great pictures of the STAR moored in the ocean--this was a tender port. You don't need to get tickets and it was not crowded getting a tender going to shore or coming from shore unless you want to be the very first one on the first tender or the very last one on the last tender back to the ship. Checking out towels was never a problem. You could check them out before you left the ship or up on the pool deck. Wednesday is Lobster night so ate in the Versailles again. Shared a table this time with 4 other lovely couples. This night in the Stardust Theater were the Jean Ann Ryan Company's "FAME" show. Again, it was very good. NCL has very good entertainment. After the show we went to the Karaoke Circus and then returned to our cabin.

 

Thursday were were in Kahalui, Maui--our favorite island. So much to see. Lots of sun this day. Rented a convertible through Alamo which cost less than $27.00 with Rate Code 6T. Started in the center of the island and headed south to the Tedeschi winery. Sampled wine and bought some bottles. When we returned to the ship, the box was exrayed and looked at but never taken from us. Brought it right to our cabin. After the winery we continued south and then eat toward the seven sacred pools. The pools were closed off due to recent heavy rains. Couldn't swim but could hike around them. Continued east up the coast line and then headed north to Hana. We did the road to Hana backwards or counter clock wise. Stopped many times to hike to waterfalls. Stopped in Hana at the general store for snacks. After Hana we returned to Kahului and went to the Haleakala Visitor Center and did some hiking up there. It was cold and the air was thin. Didn't have to be back on board until 10:30 so we got a lot of sight seeing in. We were pretty exhausted from the day's activities so we at at the Blue Lagoon--the stir fry was very good as were the buffalo wings and baked potato skins. The burgers were better here than from the Grill which is poolside. That evening "Sea Biscuit" was shown in the Stardust Theater which was quite fun. I think this might have been the night there was suppose to be another deck party but it got rained out.

 

Friday was Lahaina, Maui. Again, we rented a car and did the west coast of Maui. Getting a car was hard as we didn't reserve one in advance and this part of the island doesn't have as many rental cars. Traveled all the way around the small part of Maui and ended up at the Iao Needle and did some hiking. This was a tender day. This was also the night for the Chocoholic Buffet at 11:30 pm--so much chocolate food! This night the show Cirque Asia was in the Stardust which we enjoyed. This was a good show but not as good as the Cirque show we saw on the Sky in 2000.

 

Saturday we were in Nawiliwili, Kauai. You must be sure to be on deck in the morning when you reach port. It is truly a miracle that the captain can get the ship to the dock. It is like threading a needle blindfolded. We booked a helicopter ride which started out in a van and doing site seeing around the island. We saw some beaches, small waterfalls, lighthouse, bird sanctuary and lots and lots of wild chickens. We were driven to an airport but were told we couldn't go in the helicopter due to the rain. We waited it out and finally we could go up but couldn't go to Waimea Canyon or some of the inland waterfalls due to poor visibility. Did get to fly along the Napalli (sp) coast, which was great. Went back to the ship and rode two shuttles to shopping including Hilo Hattie's. This night "Somethings Gotta Give" was in the Stardust but we went to the smaller cinema and saw Love, Actually. We had bought matching Hawaiian print shirt and dress so had our pictures taken. Went back to the room to pack and then went to one of the lounges and listened to some music.

 

Sunday we returned to Honolulu and the disembarkation process went very smoothly. Was able to stay in our cabin until we wanted to leave. Rented a convertible and returned to the Battleship Missouri and spent several hours there. Then we drove the west coast before we returned to the airport.

 

We had a very good time on the cruise and enjoyed everthing. The only real complaint we had was the wet weather but that didn't stop us from having a great time. There was no bingo or crack-its on this cruise. I really wanted to go to Fanning Island but wasn't surprised when we didn't make it there. The service was great in all the restaurants were were at, had great cabin service where our room was made up twice a day. The bathroom was nice with the sliding doors between the shower, the sink and the toilet. Didn't need the shoe caddy as there was plenty of shelf space in the bathroom. The toilet paper holder was a pain. There is a silver metal cover over the paper and it got in the way when you rolled the paper off. I took a long strip of t.p. and tied the darn thing up. When I left the cabin and returned the cabin steward fixed it for me. There is an ash tray right above the holder and if you tip the tray it becomes a holder for the silver t.p. cover. Did I feel stupid. Each time you get back on board or at the beginning of buffet lines there is a dispenser with some kind of hand cleaner. NCL is very careful about not getting the Norwalk (sp) virus. This was comforting. It smells like rubbing alcohol but doesn't dry your hands out. I think the entertainment is the best. Have been on RCCL and Carnival and NCL's entertainment is superb to them. The staff was great--thank you! The only person we didn't like was Roger Siewart the Port and Cruise Consultant. He seemed to talk down to people and always seemed too busy to help you. He never looked you in the eye. Maybe he's been doing this too long. Cathy Foy is now the Hawaiian Ambassador but we never had the chance to do activities with her. Heard she was wonderful. Kieron Buffery, Cruise Director was very fun, friendly and outgoing. The photographers did not force themselves on us, which was nice. We did buy five 8X 10's which were $19 a piece. My husband did buy the unlimited pop which was around $28.-- and he got good use of it. If you can get a cabin with a balcony I'd recommend doing this. We watched whales from our balcony and saw the glow of the lava. Peope who were on deck said they couldn't see the glow but that might have been because of the lights on deck. The people we met at the CC Party were all so very nice and it was fun running into them throughout the week. We had the same flight as Mr. and Mrs. Sports Dr. so we had another chance to talk as we waited for our LATE plane. This is a long review and I didn't spell check. I know I forgot lots of stuff. Ask questions and I will try and get them answered. NO COMPLAINTS. HAD A WONDERFUL TIME.

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Forgot to say that the Specialty Restaurants are now $15 per person. During our cruise they were never crowded--in fact a couple of times as we walked past them the host asked us if we wanted to eat there without reservations. We ate mostly in the Versailles, Blue Lagoon, Market Cafe and the Grill. Not because of the cost but the Versailles was very good--like the atmosphere and enjoyed the menu selections. The menu's of the specialty restaurants weren't that unique. I've read on other posts that people didn't like the "plastic serving bowls" at the Grill. I think they do that there to make it feel like you are at a backyard/by the pool barbeque--part of the atmosphere.

Also, I'd advise you to rent cars on line. You don' lose money if you don't use them, you usually can get them cheaper this way and you will be assured of a car. Each time we went to the rental counter we asked if they had any specials or what their cheapest car was and the internet price was always cheaper.

 

minnesota pamcountdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=191970&cdt=2004;3;28;20;00;00&timezone=GMT-1000

Countin until heaven on the STAR TO HAWAII

 

NCL Sunward II 1986

Carnival Festivale 1989

NCL Windward 1995

RCCL Rhapsody of the Seas 1998

NCL Sky 2000

NCL Star 2004

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Minnesota Pam:

 

Great review!! So glad you had a great vacation. We hope ours matches yours!! With all you had going on, you probably need a rest from your vacation!

 

You have already helped us with questions on other threads, too.

 

Mahalo nui loa, Pam. Aloha!!

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Thanks so much, minnesota pam! We have really appreciated all that you have passed on, including this review. It didn't seem long. I was sorry when it ended. You got us all excited for our upcoming cruise!

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Pam: Thanks for the wonderful review! Did you get a chance to see/hear Charles Nahale at all?

 

So glad you had such a great time. Tidbit: At one time, you could not catch or kill the chickens on Kauai and they became so abundant after Hurricane Iniki (SP?) I think they changed that now and there really isn't nearly as many as there were a couple of years ago!

 

Aloha,

Emi

 

NCL Star-08/31/03 in Hawaii!

NCL Star-11/13/04 to Mexico!

Alaska summer 2005!

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SweetEmi:

I didn't recognize the name Charles Nahale so I looked over all my daily's. His name was not on any day for any entertainment. We had so many different staff people than the ones I read in the posts before our cruise. Where did you see/hear him? We had a Butch Niauhoe Kekaulike O'Sullivan for the Hawaiian music.

 

I wish you had posted all the wonderful things to do in Kona before the cruise--but of course I didn't know then I'd be going there. It just gives me another reason to return--to do more touring in Kona. I also want to thank you and all the others for the pre-cruise information and tips. They came in handy.

 

I'm a little concerned about Fanning Island. Is NCL not going to go there with other ships anymore? What about the school they set up--who is going to keep it going?

 

minnesota pamcountdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=191970&cdt=2004;3;28;20;00;00&timezone=GMT-1000

Countin until heaven on the STAR TO HAWAII

 

NCL Sunward II 1986

Carnival Festivale 1989

NCL Windward 1995

RCCL Rhapsody of the Seas 1998

NCL Sky 2000

NCL Star 2004

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Charles may be off ship right now. I know they do a certain amount of time on and then have time off. That might also be why June wasn't there. Cathy takes over when she isn't on the ship from what I understand.

 

Charles is a WONDERFUL Hawaiian singer/entertainer who they had stuck up at Las Rambles. I understand that they did move him down somewhere by Le Bistro I think on Saturday night due to everyone's great comments on the cards. He is a good friend of friends and it was sooooo much fun spending time up there when we cruised.

 

I don't know how often ships will stop at Fanning. I think the Wind will continue to and I think another cruise line does also periodically. Maybe in a way it is for the best...

 

Of course, it is hard to plan for stops you didn't even know you would be taking! But I'm glad you ventured out anyway and rented a car and did some driving around. We certainly aren't "Big City" here (yet) which is why I love it here so much.

 

Aloha,

Emi

 

NCL Star-08/31/03 in Hawaii!

NCL Star-11/13/04 to Mexico!

Alaska summer 2005!

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Minnesota pam, and others on The Star in the past couple of weeks:

 

What was your experience with tendering at Kona? What time can we expect to arrive onshore? Do you think it would be likely we could make a 9am snorkel excursion (through Body Glove) that departs close to the ship at 9am?

 

thanks!

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Be sure to be one of the first tenders to leave ship. Let the staff know you have a specific time for the shore excursion. We got into Kona on time but there was no announcement saying they were starting the tendering at 7:00 a.m. There was an announcement made a little later stating that the tendering was going on and to remind us of the the last tender which was 5:30 p.m. If Body Glove knows you are coming off the ship it's a pretty good bet they will wait for you. Can you email them or call them to let them know that you will be on the STAR. We were pretty much on time for every port.

 

minnesota pamcountdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=191970&cdt=2004;3;28;20;00;00&timezone=GMT-1000

Countin until heaven on the STAR TO HAWAII

 

NCL Sunward II 1986

Carnival Festivale 1989

NCL Windward 1995

RCCL Rhapsody of the Seas 1998

NCL Sky 2000

NCL Star 2004

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I love the post-Iniki chickens on Kauai! It never fails to crack me up when they wander into a restaurant, bar or shop. You'll be yakking away over a pineapple juice or looking at some merchandise and all of a sudden a clucking fowl will bob into view next to your feet.

 

Great review, Pam!

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An excellent review, Pam. A week later.. and

it is still a tough come down. All the chat and

buildup for 3 months and it is quickly over.

Serious cruiser... Not sure what the 6T code

means, but I used it for rentals. Be sure to

reserve your Sunday car (if needed) by Tuesday

via NCL. As for the Kona tenders... generally

did not have wait long. Now... to cruise next.

maybe the western caribbean. I just love the

buildup.

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Amazing Roger and his not so nice assistant (can't remember her name) were the only nasty people that we met on the star. NCL lost a booking for next year due to the fact that we couldn't get in to see him and the woman was rude and nasty to us. Everyone else was great.

 

When we were on the Star in February Charles said he was going to be off the ship for awhile. He was great.

 

I am glad you had a good time. We loved the star and Hawaii!

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I don't know for sure what the rate code 6T means--I think some kind of special discount. I found out about it on these threads. I did reservations with and without this code to see if there was a difference in quotes and there was by several dollars. We even used this code when we phoned in a last minute reservation on the ship. You do not have to be from Hawaii to use this code.

 

Sports Dr. How are you doing? I agree--no buildup anymore. I'm hoping for a trip next spring to Sweden to see my son play Bandy and a few trips to New York City if my daughter gets in grad school at Fordham. Say hi to your wife for me. Any helmets of beer lately?

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Helmets of beer... That's a great idea. Some guy took five of those

off the ship with him.. don't know if he was charged for them.

Pam, Joyce says hi.. and wants to know if the animals missed you.

Keep in touch.. you have my email... let me know of the Bandy

progress.

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Thanks, Sports dr, for the feedback on the KOna tender times. You have encouraged us to relax (!) and go with our original early morning plan, even though every day is potentially different.

 

Only a few days to go...

 

mnstar ~ on The Star 4/18/04

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You are welcome about the information on Kona. If you look on the NCL website you will see what days you are in each port for that specific week. Just remember not to let any changes get you and remember a cruise is a whole lot better than work. You will have fun no matter what port you are in what day.

 

minnesota pamcountdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=191970&cdt=2004;3;28;20;00;00&timezone=GMT-1000

Countin until heaven on the STAR TO HAWAII

 

NCL Sunward II 1986

Carnival Festivale 1989

NCL Windward 1995

RCCL Rhapsody of the Seas 1998

NCL Sky 2000

NCL Star 2004

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I tried both of these for a convertible and they were never cheaper. Doesn't hurt to try. Our convertibles were always less than $27.00 not including taxes, etc.

 

minnesota pamcountdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=191970&cdt=2004;3;28;20;00;00&timezone=GMT-1000

Countin until heaven on the STAR TO HAWAII

 

NCL Sunward II 1986

Carnival Festivale 1989

NCL Windward 1995

RCCL Rhapsody of the Seas 1998

NCL Sky 2000

NCL Star 2004

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