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donna@donnaanderson.com

Pride of America 8/6 cruise

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8/4 NCL booked our travel; left Tucson at around 7:45AM via United; connected at LA to another United flight; we had about a 1 1/2 hr layover in LA, which was fine.

Both flights were fine; even the $5 purchase food was good; nice plane and good service which you do not find on many flights these days and we did not find on our flights back.

Arrived around 2:45P in Hawaii. As we got out of our gate there was a large NCL sign with a person standing behind it. We followed her to a room where she waited for other passengers for about 20 minutes; then she escorted us through a 10 minute walk to where the luggage was coming off the planes. We all were told to get our luggage (personally) and take it out to the curb which was a fairly short walk away; if you have a lot of luggage you will need to get a cart or a porter. There were NCL personnel telling us where to put the luggage which was carted off in vans; we had tags on it stating which hotel it was going to (the NCL staff provided these tags). (Our luggage made it to the room about an hour after we arrived from the airport and was taken to our rooms by NCL.) We then waited about 30 minutes for our bus to come to take us to the hotel. The bus stopped at Sheraton, Marriott and then Radisson where we stayed. This took about 25- 30 minutes since our's was the last stop.

We went to the lobby and registered and were told we would get our keys from NCL staff in the lobby. The NCL staff called our name out in about 10 minutes. And we got our keys. Radisson has only 2 out of 5 elevators working; they are renovating 3 at the same time, so there were very long delays on the elevators; John said we would never stay there again. He travels a lot and thinks Radisson is going down hill. There was no advertised Sleep Number bed here. It was a typical 3 star hotel to me and was part of our NCL package; I tried to upgrade to the Marriott with NCL several months before we left and was told I would have to cancel the whole package to do so; thought this was weird and looking back, I should have tried to talk to a supervisor since it only seemed appropriate that they would upgrade if we agreed to spend more; there was still room in the other hotels. NCL staff off the ship is the pits; so unknowledgeable. They really are not ready to handle all these people going to Hawaii!

We were upgraded to an ocean front club suite since I was the one that insisted there were many NCL people coming in on Thursday to do 2 day pre cruises at the Radisson; when I called to re-confirm my ressies with Radisson a few days before we left for Hawaii they said there were no NCL people booked including me for this Thursday and Friday. Asked to speak to a supervisor and told her not only that I should be booked, but there should be many others. Next day she called back and said she was very grateful; there was a snaffo and it would have been horrible had I not insisted that there was a mistake--there definitely would not have been room for everyone, etc. So they upgraded me and thanked me for my persistence. I would estimate there were at least 75 people in the lobby that were NCL when I arrived around 4PM and others arrived at other times as well. So they had many NCL people staying pre-cruise, no doubt about it. I appreciated the upgrade, but this hotel was not for us.

The room was on one of the highest floors and had a small balcony with an oceanview. Was too high for us to go out there. Room was very musty. But it included breakfast and hors d'oeves from 4-6 and we took great advantage of this.

We thought Waikiki Beach was nicer than we expected; a nice lagoon that was safe for swimmers--right out front and another area to the right of it with surfers that was fun to watch. Reminded me of Fort Lauderdale and Cannes, France. Loved both other places to. Had cars driving by the front of the beach. There are ABC stores everywhere and their prices are affordable and they sell everything under the sun--even booze, food, medications, gifts, towels, etc. Every block has one!!!

2nd night in Waikiki we rented a car--Mustang convertible from Hertz--cost about $100, but had an American Express coupon that covered that and went to Turtle Bay Resort for lunch. It is on the North coast and about 30 miles away (Past Polynesian Cultural Center), but it takes about an hr to drive. Loved the beach; loved the lunch; loved the hotel. Costs a lot to stay there, but we will on another trip. Food was reasonable and offered a great view of the ocean. Along the way we stopped at one of the quiet pristince beaches for a swim. There were many on our drive up North. Water was aqua-marine and many beaches were pretty quiet and had showers and bathrooms. All beaches in Hawaii are public.

That night I met one of my close friends for dinner; I used to live in MD for 25 years and she had come from there to Honolulu on a business trip. We ate at the Italian resturant in front and part of the Marriott; service was good; food priced well and tastey.

Next day we had breakfast in the club service area.

We were told to leave our bags in the front section of our room before 10 and they would take them to the ship for us. And we were told to meet downstairs for the bus to take us to the ship at 1. The bus met us at 1PM and was prompt. It takes about 20 minutes to get to the pier.

We embarked quite easily. From the time we got to the pier until we were on the ship it was about 30 minutes and we are not Latitudes members.

Our room was made up; it was the small size we expected from previous posters with a not so wide but deep balcony with 2 chairs; no lounge chairs, but good quality chairs; plenty of room for a table and chairs to eat out there, but none was provided. Asked for a third seat for my daugher but never given one and did not ask again. I think they could have made the balcony smaller and cabin bigger.

They stored the bed extension on the deck and our little coffee table out there since there was no room in the cabin. We thought the bed extension would suffer salt damage after a time and a poor idea, but we were not using it since our little one at 8, did not need it. When she was in the bed, we did not have to climb over her to get to the balcony, however, if an adult slept there it would be a problem getting to the balcony. I think this cabin is too small for 3 adults or 2 parents with a teen. The max is 2 adults with a little child. More than that and you will stay out of your cabin every minute except when you sleep. As it is only one can unpack at the same time. Room was well appointed and pretty though.

We packed light since we knew we could do laundry at our hotels in Maui and Kaui, so although drawers were limited, it was okay for us; closet held more than I thought it would and they left more hangers than I had had on other cruises. Bathroom as tiny as could be; you sat on toilet when putting makeup on or brushing teeth; the shower was a tiny one with a handle that detached and was the smallest one we have ever had on a ship; before we always cruised Disney with a balcony or Celebrity skysuite. Had we known this was so small, we would not have booked the ship, but it was somehwhat mis-represented to us as far as cabin size was concerned; we thought it was over 200 feet and it was probably about 130 feet.

We ate at the Steak House first night; made ressies when we got on the ship and when you got on the ship you could make ressies only for that night. Starting the next night you could make reservations for the entire week, but they were fully booked by the next day. And we always found the resturants only half full, so we do not know why they advertised them all as full after night 2. I guess the wait staff can not handle a full or close to full resturant. The food was okay. My hubby had surf and turf for $25 and mine was $15. Ordered my steak Med-Rare; got it well done--returned it, and came back 20 minutes later. My daughter got a small pizza (really tiny) which she ate first--when she brought it I told them she would need another one and they did bring her another one. So Chloe ate at one time, John another and mine another. Service was sub-par. Waitresses looked frumpy in their baggy jeans. Restaurant was supposed to be one where you had to wear long pants and no tee shirts, etc, but 25% did not follow this dress code. It should be a casual restaurant sinice this atmosphere is very casual as are the wait staff. They need to have the same casual dress code here as they have in the Aloha Cafe'.

Went up to the ship's main deck for embarkation at about 9:30PM and there was no departure party from Honolulu going on; if they had a party it had to be before embarkation. We thought this very odd.

I was told by one of the staff that they did not bother since most were jet lagged and went to bed, but there was a band earlier while in port. Again, very odd, especially since other lines always have a party when embarking the first night.

Went to bed at about 10 PM.

Although this report seems pretty negative, I must tell you the ship was gorgeous and the ports were beautiful. The cruise was really nice. As I stated before, I will post a long and honest narrative, that will help future cruisers.

Will continue with another post tomorrow--the next one on Hilo on Sunday.

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Thanks for the post. I am anxiously awaiting the rest of your review. We are considering this cruise next June.

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Thank you Donna, I look forward to hearing more. From what I've seen in your other posts you really enjoyed your trip and the ship. It will be nice to read a really honest review!

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Just a thought here. Raddisson have their own ships, it might be the case that other cruiselines who book their hotelrooms with Raddisson are given standard rooms and the guests on Raddisson ships are given the better rooms.

 

When I go on my cruise I am staying at Sheraton hotels both ends.

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Decided to put both these ports together since they are both in the Big Island of Hawaii:

Hilo - arrived on Sunday morning and departed ship around 8:30 AM and waited about 20 minutes for the Hertz Shuttle, since we just missed another one.

We were upgraded from intermediate to full size; very big and clean car. Waited in line at Hertz only for 5 minutes; they needed to update our Hertz # 1 Gold since they said our credit card info expired; that was funny since I had already updated it on line a few weeks before.

Make sure you sign up or update Hertz # 1 Gold or any other fast pass user info with car companies you are renting with; exception is Enterprise - I do not think they have a frequent user program and even if you only rent a car once and a while, enroll, so you can just pick up your keys and be on your way and not wait in a long line.

It was raining hard and we were glad we had not rented a convertible or jeep here like some others did. We all had jackets since it is cool at Volcano National Park. Wish we had brought rain gear. Also bring binoculars (a good set--not small ones like we brought) and a few umbrellas. This is the rainest spot on earth - or the rainiest island I read.

Volcano National Park is only about 1 hour away; you pay $10 per car to get in and go into a building with information and a short film. We drove around the volcano and visited areas that were smoking from the lava. Also saw areas that the volcano had erupted in the 70s and 80s and saw black hardened lava and places where vegetation had started to develop. Warning some areas have sulfar gas pretty strong; do not bring young children or pregnant women or people with asthma or lung problems here. We kept Chloe (8) in car, but she develped a cough after the ride for a day or so. Very interesting visit.By the way I was told in order to view the lava you would have to walk 6 miles each way and it was not easy walking and would be in the rain. We opted not to do this; it was very rainy and we had our little one.

Some had plastic rain parkas and were on bics for this lava looking which you may or may not see depending on your luck.

We drove to town and went to Ross to buy some clothes. Next door was Hilo Cafe' and was recommended in my "Hawaii with Kids" book. Food was excellent and priced very well. Gourmet food, no doubt about it. Glad we stopped there. It is right in the strip mall with Ross and Wallmart I think. Address is 315 Makaala St in Waiakea Center. We had portable GPS that we brought with us and this is a god send. I am a realtor so really need it, plus my hubby has one since we are new to Tucson and get lost easily. It is a quick and easy way to find your destinations and I highly recommend having one to all.

We arrived back to our ship and ate at the resturant that is the main resturant that is not "Liberty"; maybe it is called "Skyline." It was a very pretty resturant. We were told me would have a 20 minute wait, but it turned out to be 5 minutes and there were tables everywhere empty--and the waiting time board said no wait but there was a slight line of people. They still have not gotten their act together I think. Food was average; service okay but not what we were used to on other cruises. There was no separate person to take drink orders as we had found with Celebrity and Disney. The server and assistant seemed a little overwhelmed, but we were on vacation, so no big deal; did take 1 1/2 hrs - 2 hrs to eat here. Forget what I ate, but desert was like what you get out of Hostess or Entemmans box--really not very good. Other food was just okay.

Went to Napa Wine bar and had good service; it was always fairly quiet here and many went to the Pink's Champagne Bar where there was great piano entertainment--located off the lobby with heavy cigar and cigarette smoke; that is why we avoided going here. Walked around the ship some more and loved all of it except the Madi Gras Caberet--gawdy etc. What I liked about this ship is most places have windows and are not so closed in. The Washington Monument also looked cheesey. But really it was gorgeous and to only find a few areas that were not is great. However, they were not keeping up the ship like Disney or Celebrity; we never saw anyone cleaning or polishing the public areas and some of the varnish had already come off some of the landings, etc. It is sad to see since the ship is so gorgeous.

That night the captain brought the ship very close to the volcano for about 1/2 hr each side of the ship; we witnessed this from our balcony and wished we had brought our good pair of binoculars. It was very dramatic seeing the lava flow to the sea and then witness all the steam etc; also saw other areas where it was beginning to form. This was wonderful experience for the 3 of us!!!

Like every night we found chocolates and our beds turned down with fresh towels. The first night I left a note that I wanted fresh towels at night and got them every night thereafter. I noticed that the attendant did not clean under the soap area and other than that she left the room clean. By the way, unless you want to use the liquid soap they provide, you should bring your own soap; we brought our own soap, shampoo and conditioner. They provide shampoo; did not check to see if they provided conditioner; they had dispensers in the shower. BTW, there are two silver areas under the sink that have a cover; those are for trash. Hair dryer is located on the desk in the main cabin and is a very good and strong one. No need for you to bring your own. We also brought a steamer combination iron; they did not detect that we had the combination so it made it through without question.

Kona - Sunny gorgeous day--on the sunny side of the island

We arrived on Kona on Wed and rented an intermediate car and were upgraded to a small Honda SUV for $6 more; it was rather dirty and had 3/4 tank of gas; we were asked to return it 3/4 full. Next time would rent with one of the others since we drove by the airport anyway and getting Enterprise you had to call them and wait for them at the hotel across the street, and wait fo the car etc. Easier with others I would think and they always shuttle you back to the ship; it was probably only 7 miles out of the port to the airport and shuttles were waiting for you. No one but us rented from Enterprise from the ship that date I was told. This is a good place to rent a convertible!!!!! We wish we had done that!

Drove by the airport through areas of hardned black lava rock on both sides for about 10 miles I would say; then the landscape changed and became greener and we went by many luxury hotels; we drove to the end called "Waipio Valley"and then drove back and stopped at the "Marriott Resort "for lunch at the pool bar. Great place; great food; not expensive; nice pools and gorgeous huge beach with tons of equipment out front. Was told this is where ship took its snokelers. Was called the "Wailoloa Beach Marriott Resort" at Waikoloa Beach Drive in Waikoloa. Recommend if you rent a car to go here; there were other places with nice beaches but did not have the multi facilities and equipment that could be found here.

That night we ate in the Liberty Resturant and it was better than the Skyline; service improved; waitress and waiter very friendly. Pretty area. We noticed a piano in this resturant, but no one playing and we were there 1 1/2 - 2 hrs. Not quite as good as Celebrity and Disney, though but improved from Skyline and the Steak House.

Chloe went to the kid's club from 7-10 PM both Sunday and Wednesday and loved it; it seemed well organized and the space was nice with windows to the ocean and a small kid's pool with a hot tub overlooking it that we never saw used. We would have liked it if the kid's club was open more hours; babysitting was just that, no real interaction with kid's her age with the counselor; counselor sat at desk; Chloe opted not to have this. She is an only child and loves other kids and interacting in a kid's club; I would say Celebrity and Disney are better because they are open more and even at Celebrity where you must pay for hours while in port; they interact with the kids etc. As far as babysitting time was concerned the counselors only interacted with the real little ones; I know since I visited a few times.

Checked out the teen club next door and it was a great large space and there were many teens in there the few times I checked; they were having a ball!

Will write on Maui tomorrow.

Want to take this time again to tell you this ship is gorgeous!!!!! Really beautiful and by far much prettier than Disney Magic or Celebrity Century. The service was not as good, but it may get there in the future. Cabins were better in Disney and Celebrity, but we had booked balcony with Disney and then skysuite with Century. I liked this NCL cruise the best and my hubby thought it was the worse. I think reading these boards so beautifully prepared me that I was not as disappointed as he was. He definitely thinks service would improve if the tipping policy changed. However, I must say there was always exceptional service at the bars. He enjoyed the freestyle idea as far as eating when you want except in Specialty restaurants where you have to make ressies. Freestyle embarkation was not great for us and I will tell you more later.

Also should note the pools were never full until the last 2 days and that there is an area with a small pool and hot tub and bar at the end of the ship; go there in the beginning if you want quiet. However, by the end others have discovered it; go there for your viewing of the Kauiai coastline between 4-7 PM on Friday. And do not leave your viewing area after 5 or so since the most dramatic viewing is between 6-7 and it is unbelieveable. We left and wish we had not; but fortunately brought our daughter to the kid's club and noticed how dramatic the view had become; think the captain should have announced when the best viewing came as he did when we could see the lava flow.

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Every morning just before we arrived on the pier the Aloaha Cafe was pretty full; maybe you will want to try the restaurants or get room service or get continental breakfast from 6-7.

Food was good though, but they only had this great french toast one day and that disappointed us.

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Thank-you for posting about your trip Donna! This is the first report I have seen on the kids club for POAM. Glad to hear that your DD loved it. I've already warned my two that the club is only open for a few hours each night. Sounds like they will enjoy themselves during their time there.

 

 

So do you think the sevice is better in the Liberty dining room or that service improves as the week goes on? I'm thinking we may just stick with the Liberty or the cafe for dinner all week long and not fiddle around with the others.

 

Looking forward to reading more about your trip. I appreciate the time you are taking to type it all up for us. Just a small thing, would you be willing to put spaces in every fifth line or so? I have trouble reading large sections, my eyes won't stay put where they belong, lol. I really am enjoying your reports.

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The Kid's Club is good; it is also open some mornings but no afternoons. We did not send her in there in the morning since we were always touring off ship.

 

On Tuesday they have a night that they take them to dinner at 6 in the diner; she loved that. One night they have PJ night and the first night they have a pirate costume party. This is the info for age 6-9 year olds.

 

Re: restaurants--would book Jefferson Bistro as much as possible; superb service and best food. Liberty was okay and the Alohoa Cafe had great food; really impressed and never really too busy except in the AM around an hour before people get off the ship. Definitely pass on the Steak House. Not worth the extra charge here.

 

Things will probably continue to improve and I do believe NCL reads the comment cards and these posts.

 

Tommorrow I will post about Maui.

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Actually they were just caps, etc; and they made them and paraded around the ship and had photos taken of them.

 

Oh good, I'm glad I don't need to pack anything extra. Sounds like something they will enjoy.

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We opted to stay in the Renaissance Waleia Beach Maui hotel Monday night. We got a good rate because we belong to Marriott Rewards; we did not use points thought; they have special rates if you belong to them; join if you have not already.

We got off the ship at 9AM and took the Hertz shuttle to the Airport (closeby)to pick up our Mustang convertible. It was very dirty, so we asked for another one and got one right away. We belong to Hertz # 1 so service was quick. When we returned it the next day, the shuttle immediately took us back to the ship.

Drove to some big drug store and Starbuck's. Stocked up on soda and water since we knew there would be a refrig in our room.

Arrived at the hotel at 10:30 AM and we only had to wait 15 minutes for a room even though this was early arrival.

Hotel is gorgeous and setting is magnificent with gorgeous (one of the best in Maui) beachin front of it; with some beach rental equipment rentals in front; a smallish pool that was not crowded though and decent pool bar area to eat at. Only problem was the room was real real musty. It was ground level and we loved the fact that it was right across the hall from the laundry room. Anyway we decided to try to live with it, and headed for the pool. Really enjoyed it there. That night we only went out for ice cream since we ate late at the pool bar. When we returned we found the musty smell overwhelming, so we asked for another room and was given an ocean view room on a higher floor that was also musty, but not as bad. This hotel has been sold to Starwood, so they are not really keeping it up, but also giving great rates for this hotel as a result. You will pay double at the Four Seasons which is only a few hotels away and the beach is not as good as this gorgeous, not rough, aqua-marine water beach that faces the mountains. We did laundry and went to bed. Next day we went to the beach in front and loved it; water warm and calm and gorgeous with a setting to die for. We paid only about $200 for the hotel including taxes. Had great valet service for $14 a day; went in and out many times. Also knew this hotel would have some problems since it was sold by checking "Trip Advisor" on the internet which is a great way to check people's opinions of the hotels they have stayed at. Although it was a little musty; it was a great value and we really enjoyed the beach, pool and location. In Maui prices are higher than Kauai and you need to book as soon as you find a good rate. I tried Price Line for 4 star and resort for a month and went up to $225 and could get nothing. Kauai is cheaper and prettier and my opinion, so if you are not going to stay off the ship 2 nights like us, opt for to stay overnight in Kauai. Although Maui is beautiful. We had stayed at Four Seasons Wailea before which is a gorgeous hotel, pool etc, but beach is not as good. 4 Seasons usually costs at least $500 with tax and that is the lowest room and you have to walk a long way to get to the beach. However, if you want super luxury you can stay there and walk to the Renaissance beach - it is closeby and there is a boardwalk type walkway around Wailea at the beach area which connects the beach hotels.

Tuesday we went to Cafe' Lahaina for lunch--on main drive - had a great view of the ocean and parked right on the main street with no charge and short walk. We had been to this quaint town before and loved it. Food great and reasonable; I had a Mai Tai and Fish and Chips.

Returned to the ship and had dinner at the Liberty. Restaurant was better than Skyline with service a little above average but not up to Celebrity or Disney's standards. Very friendly waitress and assistant waiter. It took about 1 1/2 hrs to dine, which was fine by us. There was a piano in the resturant, but no one playing; it would have been a nice touch.

Chloe went to the Kid's Club and I think this was PJ night. We did not know since we had been off the ship. She had great fun though; picked her up at 9:45PM which is the time you are supposed to pick her up bet 9:45-10 PM.

Returned to our room with town down service and chocolates on our beds and fresh towels.

Tomorrow we did Kona and you already heard that review. Nice place; sunny side of the big island.

Tomorrow I will give you my review on Kauai.

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for posting. Couple of questions please - did u have a balcony cabin amidship, fore or aft? U mention 130 sq ft but I believe it is 169 sq ft which, of course may include the balcony. How many sq ft wld u guess the balcony is? Did it have an overhang for shade? If u were to book this cruise now which cabin wld u choose? Am travelling single so presume the cabin is large enough although the bathroom sounds like a bit of a 'horror'.. Really wld appreciate a reply.

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Our cabin was 11026 and was in the front; we had a large balcony but all cabins do not have this; it was a very small room and I do not think it was more than 140 feet and I think they are alll this small unless you get a handicapped room.

There was a lot of wasted space on the balcony; it had an overhang; there was 2 nicely constructed chairs; our maid put extra stuff such as the bed extension and coffee table that cramped the room with 3 on the balcony. Bathroom is unbelieveably some. Cabin very pretty though and well done; for a single person it would be fine.

I do not know what room I would chose, since I would have to investigate; would not pay much more than we did for this cruise though since the cabin was so small and we were off the ship so much that we did not eat there as much or utilize the ship entertainment. Also since we have done Hawaii on cruise, would chose another ship.

For the 3 of us, we would definitely get a bigger cabin; we would have not booked a cabin this small had we known it was this small; NCL published incorrect cabin size for this room befre.

Cruise was great though and we were finally forewarned so it was not so disappointing to have such a small space.

The ship is gorgeous as well, so keep that in mind.

If I were going single this cabin would be fine!

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I thought I might jump in here. We just returned on the same cruise. We did not spend the night off the ship. We had an 8 year old with us in the same room and we had 3 teens in an inside room across the hall. All of our rooms were the same size, but we had a large balcony (8028 aft cabin). The room was definitely "cozy", but it did not take away from the trip. I was prepared for the size by reading these boards, and was pleasantly surprised that we were able to fit all of our clothes in drawers and closet. The bathroom was not that bad...yes small, but do-able. Like Donna, we put desk chair and extra table outside on the balcony. The last day after we packed our bags we put them outside. We enjoyed our trip, despite the small accomodations. We slept well (I thought the beds were comfortable) and our room steward was wonderful! We always had extra towels, extra pillows, ice, and turn down service. Perhaps that made up for some of the short-comings. Enjoy Hawaii...it is beautiful and worth the trip!

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Thank you, Donna, for the onfo on the cabin. I have booked the same cabin for June and knowing that the cabin is 138 ft. and the balcony, 95 ft. and now, being aware of your comments on the bathroom and nice furnishings, there will be no surprises. I appreciate your time and info and am making many notes. If there's any other points for this particular cabin, please let me know(viewings and such) already noted Hilo and Kaua'i.

Thanks again.

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Thank you, Donna, for the onfo on the cabin. I have booked the same cabin for June and knowing that the cabin is 138 ft. and the balcony, 95 ft. and now, being aware of your comments on the bathroom and nice furnishings, there will be no surprises. I appreciate your time and info and am making many notes. If there's any other points for this particular cabin, please let me know(viewings and such) already noted Hilo and Kaua'i.

Thanks again.

 

Hi Deb, when are you going next June? We have a CC group going June 10, will you be on the same trip?

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We got off the ship in the morning and rented a convertible from Thrifty-it was a chysler convertible and was fine, but not as nice as the mustang convertible which cost about $80 more per 2 day rental.

We stayed at the Sheraton Kauai Resort on Poipu Beach. The hotel was very reasonable price; we were in the back, but had a distant beach view. Our room was in serious need to updating; looked like it had not been since the 80s, was not musty like the Radisson in Waikiki or the Renaissance in Maui, so we were grateful for that. Also got a great rate. The beach area was gorgeous; the pool had a slide. The waves were pretty high and there was some undertow; my 8 yr old is a good swimmer, but my hubby opted to put a life preserver on her that he rented for $4 day at the beach stand in front of the pool area. They both tried to snorkle, but couldn't because the beach was not calm enough for them. The ship takes the surfing lesson tour to this beach. Others were able to tolerate it though. The luncheon at the pool bar with expensive and not very good. We enjoyed the pool and the gorgeous setting. This was the only place I had a bad Mai Tai. At around 3:30 we drove up the east coast to Princeville; so gorgeous; lush and it followed the ocean and mountains. Had dinner at a resturant in the Princeville shopping center and it was expensive and not very good. Drove through the Princeville resort area and was very impressed; would have loved to stay there, but it would be upwards of $400 per night plus tax and was fully booked within the last month of the cruise. The Princeville Hotel and the Hyatt Regency (near the Sheraton) are the most luxurious hotels on the island. The high mountains that are in so many movies could be seen here. Absolutely gorgeous.

We went back to the room and went to bed. In the morning my hubby did our laundry and then we went to the breakfast which was included in our room price--it was excellent and the restaurant had an ocean view to die for!

We spent the rest of the morning at the pool and left for the car rental return around 1; it was about 20 minutes from the hotel; stopped in Hilo Hatties and bought nothing. The shuttle driver took us right back to the ship as soon as we dropped off the car and it was closeby.

We left the port about 4:15 PM. I kept hearing my name on the loud speaker; they had problems with many cards not working when checking in. They wrote down my name and cabin # since the automatic check in did not work. The called many names and I am guessing most were on the ship. Anyway it was hard to reach them at the reception desk to tell them I was on board, just when I was ready to go down to tell them, I got through to them; the phone was always busy; I told them they should have read my name as a printed sign in. Anyway other cruise critics must have thought I might have been one who delayed the ship's departure, but that was not so. We had several drinks at the top floor at the rear of the ship and this is the best viewing area for the mountains of Kauai. Whatever you do, don't get bored with the scenery because as time goes on, it only gets better and is its best around 6:30PM - 7:30 PM before the ship goes out to sea.

It is my understanding that from now on the ship will depart at 3:30PM Friday and not the later time that had been given us on our itinerary.

We ate at Aloaha Cafe' and had excellent prime rib and lamb, etc. Great desserts; good service; this is cafeteria style.

Chloe went to the Kid's Club and they had a small show that the Kid's gave for the parents at 9:30PM; it was rather cute. I have to comment though that I think the kid's club should be open later. Chloe did like the Kid's Club but there was not enough hours open for it. We are older and did not want to go clubbing, but if we did, the Kid's Club would not have participatory activities for the kids.

We packed and were told to have our package outside our room by 1AM; we were given special tags for the Marriott and our disembarkation time was set at 10AM since we were post-staying with NCL. More about disembarkation tomorrow.

We had a great cruise; like Kauai the best. Had a better appreciation of Hawaii. The ship is very beautiful. I loved this cruise. The service was not up to par with Disney or Celebrity but the ship was nicer. Cabins too small for us as I mentioned before. Am glad we rented cars in every port for everyday except the day we flew in from Hawaii and we had shuttle service from the Airport to the hotel. We saw more because we had a car. We are not the type who like to go on tours and we are the type that want our cruise to be relaxing. We are older--I am 55 and my hubby is 46. There were all ages groups represented on this cruise.

There were 350 kids on the cruise, but few participated in the kid's club probably since we were in port every day. It was nice to have Chloe at dinner with us; before we let Disney take her to dinner. She behaved well at the restaurants and I was proud of her. I am glad we stayed at hotels in Maui and Kauai; we needed a larger space and it gave us a more relaxed time at the hotel beach and pool areas without rushing back to the boat located in another area for dinner etc. I would have stayed in nicer hotels if I did it over and I would have rented a convertible instead of a small suv in Kona. Would have pre-stayed 3 days instead of two and post-stayed 2 days instead of one.

Would not do an NCL package again since did not like that the problems with Radisson reservations; problems with too quick a connection in LA that led to us having to stay over in LA at midnight. Was not impressed with NCL customer service off the ship. However, we went this route because our flights were about $430 each from Tucson and our travel agent had a special which included 2 days pre-stay at the Radisson.

We tried to get the Marriott pre-stay and pay more, but NCL would not allow it unless I rebooked the whole cruise. They are short-sighted and very poorly trained, plus you spend a lot of time on hold when you call them. Hopefully this will get better in time. I definitely would pay more to stay in Marriott pre or post stay. Also have heard the Hilton is a zoo from more than one person.

More on diembarkation and last day in Hawaii on next posting.

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I thought I might jump in here. We just returned on the same cruise. We did not spend the night off the ship. We had an 8 year old with us in the same room and we had 3 teens in an inside room across the hall. All of our rooms were the same size, but we had a large balcony (8028 aft cabin). The room was definitely "cozy", but it did not take away from the trip. I was prepared for the size by reading these boards, and was pleasantly surprised that we were able to fit all of our clothes in drawers and closet. The bathroom was not that bad...yes small, but do-able. Like Donna, we put desk chair and extra table outside on the balcony. The last day after we packed our bags we put them outside. We enjoyed our trip, despite the small accomodations. We slept well (I thought the beds were comfortable) and our room steward was wonderful! We always had extra towels, extra pillows, ice, and turn down service. Perhaps that made up for some of the short-comings. Enjoy Hawaii...it is beautiful and worth the trip!

 

Sounds wonderful!!

 

Glad to hear you enjoyed you trip!

 

Thanks for sharing your adventure;)

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We got off the ship in the morning and rented a convertible from Thrifty-it was a chysler convertible and was fine, but not as nice as the mustang convertible which cost about $80 more per 2 day rental.

 

Great review. I was debating whether to rent a Mustang or a Sebring...... thanks for your comment.

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The bed was very comfortable and loved the duvet cover! The sofa was hard, but did not bother my 8 year old at all.

The hair dryer on the desk was a great place to put it and worked better than any hairdryer we had experienced on any other ship.

On all my other cruises I got sea sick sometimes and had to take dramaine; on this one I had no problem whatsoever; I do not know if this was because we were on the 11th floor or if the seas were calmer; of course, we we off the ship more here and cruised less, since we were in port during the day.

Also the ship's corridar's were wider and prettier than other ships. All in all the interior of the ship's public areas were very beautiful. There were many areas to frequent; coffee area, Napa wine bar, Champagne bar (though smokey), the diner which I wish I had gone to, but my daughter experienced on Tuesday night at 6 with 49 other rascal kid's club kids and loved it. I think she had spagetti. Many people went to the saloon which was interesting. One of the things I liked most about the ship was that most of the public areas had views of the ocean, as the resturants did; did not find this on other ships. Loved the top floor bar in the area overlooking the small pool and hot tub, and as I mentioned before, the best place to few the last night departure and mountain views of Kauai; great service at this bar too. It was very well designed. Only areas did not like were Madi Gras Caberet and the statute of Lincoln Monument. The rest was so so pretty!

Just wish they had fewer balcony cabins, so they could make them a little larger or have 2 categories of balcony cabins. I do not think I would want a family obstructed view and that is the next category up; I always want a balcony and a non-obstructed view and probably would not pay the prices for a penthouse suite. But maybe, someday.

Great ship; you will love it!

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I did work out in the exercise facility and it was wonderful; tons of equipment with beautiful view of the ocean; all exercise bics and stairmasters, etc had their own tvs and earphones. There was also an exercise room for classes that cost extra such as pilates and yoga. A lot of free weights and the weight machines were plentiful and really state-of-the-art.

Also on the women's side there was both a steam room and sauna.

Enjoy!!!!

I think you reach it by going to the 12th floor rear elevator; it was a little hard to find.

This was truly very impressive and even if you do not exercise much, you will love your visit here; I have been to many gyms and have used fitness facilities on Disney and Celebrity and this really beats them all!!!!!

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