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Review: Radiance Circle Hawaii May 7-21

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Our first cruise to Hawaii (hopefully not the last!)

Here are some of our thoughts from of our 14 day cruise.

 

We arrived in SD the morning of the cruise. We always fly in the day before, but since PHX is just a 45-minute flight to SD we opted to go the day of the cruise. Our flight arrived 10 minutes early and in no time all we had our luggage, got a taxi and were at the pier where we were greeted by organized chaos.

People everywhere, long lines for checking of your documents and passports before even getting into the terminal. Checked our luggage with porters and were directed inside no waiting at the Diamond check in and with in 2 minutes had our Sea Pass in hand! From the cab drop off to Sea Pass took about 20 minutes. All together we were on board within 1 hour of arriving in SD. We headed straight for our cabin to drop off our carry on and then up to the Windjammer for lunch.

 

We were in cabin 8600, which is the aft part of the hump on the Starboard side. Excellent location, very quiet, never heard any noise from the elevators or stairs. The balcony was small but nonetheless still a balcony. However it was too cool to use the first 2 days out at sea and the last 2 days coming back.

 

 

SEA DAYS: 4 of them going and 4 of them coming back, that’s 8 all together. We heard some very interesting comments regarding sea days. Some pax were just not the sea days type, others just couldn't’t handle the rougher water on some of the days and you never in your life saw so many cell phones whip out when we reached the first port if Hilo. You didn't’t pass one person without a phone growing out of their ear! No, we weren't’t one of them…at least not till Sunday Mothers Day.

I myself enjoyed the sea days, however DH did say he thought 4 in a row was just one too many….And don’t forget HE was the one who didn't’t want to fly to Hawaii!!!! :eek: But he did OK and was glad to see land the first day. He did better coming back, probably because he knew what to expect. Again we heard many comments….can’t wait till this is over, never again this long of a cruise or I can’t wait to get off the ship.

 

MEET & MINGLE:

We were The Pineapple Express! The best I have ever been to. Our CD Kieron Buffery said he has never seen such a large group with that big of a turnout. He was really impressed.

What a great bunch of people that we made new friends with! We didn't’t get to talk with everyone but it was great to stop and have a drink with a M&M friend or go to one of the many organized activities planned. The cabin tour was a great way to see other types of cabins for future bookings! The galley tour was interesting to see behind the scenes. Thank you for all who made these tours happen! You’re the best! I miss meeting all of you in the Hollywood Odyssey deck 13 for our happy hour!

 

PORTS:

 

Hilo….. It rained all day. We didn't’t have any tours booked so we got off the ship for about an hour then jut went back and played cards and Yahtzee on deck 11 watching everyone come and go.

Tonight was the lava flow. It was spectacular! The skies cleared and Captain Rune Lokling did an excellent job of turning the ship so everyone had excellent viewing and the lava was flowing! We had a Naturalist on board and he was on the bridge with Captain Rune and he was trying to teach Captain Rune how to pronounce some of the terms….what a hoot! We’re talking about a Captain that can’t say Pacific (he would say, pass-a-if-ic) as he would try and pronouce some of the Lava terms you could hear everyone in the background on the bridge cracking up. When it came to Captain Lokling and his announcements it was always entertaining! Go Hurdy Gurdy!!!!!

 

Nawillwilli, Kauai…... Partly sunny and warm. A docked port.

Free shuttles! Wal Mart, K Mart, & Anchor Coves. It was funny to see the shuttles return with pax buying luggage. We went to Kalapaki Beach at Kauai Marriott Beach Club just 5 minutes via free Anchor Coves shuttle.

 

 

Kona…beautiful day. This was an anchored tendered port.

Free Shuttles!! Wal Mart, K Mart and Hilo Hattie’s. I did Wal Mart on this one, what a hoot! We did a glass bottom boat tour, short tour and interesting to see the ocean floor.

After returning from shopping the lines to board the tenders was unbelievable. Hundreds of pax lined up, a few disgruntled pax that just can’t accept security, twice, once to get past the State of Hawaii to re-enter the port and for the shuttles back to the ship and the second on the ship. The lines were slow because everything is hand searched and hand wanded by the Hawaiian authorities. Some crew tried to “cut in line” got caught. One crew member had his sea passes revoked when he defied the order to go to the back of the line( he was right in back of me and defied this 6 times)

 

Oahu, Honolulu….. Docked at Aloha Tower Marketplace Pier 10 and greeted by a warm welcome Aloha serenade...that woke up a few people!

We had the AZ Memorial and Mighty MO. tour booked. The AZ Memorial I won’t give comments on it as it is best to see it for yourself if given the chance. Mighty Mo was good, that thing is huge! Not enough time to explore all of it, we did as much as possible but DH can’t walk that much so we were limited. We did the fighter pilot simulator that was very good. Before we knew it our tour ended and we had to leave and it was back to the ship for lunch. After lunch we were off to Waikiki Beach. We stayed on the beach a few hours and watched the surfers, hundreds of them! The water was warm and we laid on the beach most of the afternoon. Once again returned to the ship for dinner in the Windjammer and then I headed out one more time for some shopping at Aloha Tower Market Place right at the pier. I finished shopping and we then relaxed in the Diamond lounge on deck 13 before going to bed. We were exhausted and in bed by 9:30, I couldn't’t tell you what time we left Oahu, we never heard a thing, as we were dead to the world!

 

Lahaina, Maui…..a tendered port. Not enough time here!! :(

We were greeted with a nice Seniors Citizen Serenade.

We had a tour of the Maui Ocean Center and Iao Needle Park. I would of preferred not to do any tour and spend the day in Downtown Lahaina and time at the beach. Again very long lines for the tenders, security again very slow and again some pax just don’t get it! It’s post 9-11 and a fact of life, just get use to it.

Maui is beautiful and a place I would love to go back to weather it is on a cruise or land based. For anyone booked this cruise next year, this port is overnight giving you plenty of time to do more.

 

4 More Sea Days returning and this is where we heard more comments of wanting to get home, I could have stayed on with no problem. However dreading getting home and facing the reality. We met a couple that was doing the ultimate B2B. They started with the last 7 Day Caribbean, then the Panama Canal, then Hawaii, then 5 day repo to Vancouver and finally a 7 day Alaska…that about a 50 day cruise! So they won’t be off the ship until Saturday June 3. Whew!! Now that’s a B2B!!

 

FOOD & SERVICE

 

Food was good to OK, Hey if I don’t have to shop for it, lug it home, cook it, and clean it up then its good! Service was very slow; we had early dining but never got out of the dining room until 8 pm every night. We ate in the Windjammer 2 nights and lunch in The Sea View Café 3 or 4 times!! Yummy!!!

 

ENTERTAINMENT

 

Santino & Blackjack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Excellent, Santini can really get the audience going!

Marty Allen and his wife Karon, were entertaining. The Happy Days guy Ron? Was also good. We are not big fans of the productions shows so not too much to comment on.

 

CHAIR HOGS

Yep! No one patrolling and I saw a few people return just to pick up the towels and move on. I really didn't’t have any trouble finding a chair in the Solarium or at the pool, only twice I had to go up to deck 12, but that turned out to be better with more glass for protection from the wind.

There were a few elevator hogs….I believe some of these people are worse than chair hogs. They just squeeze in no matter what…to go one deck!!!

 

DIAMOND STATUS

Our first cruise as C & A Diamond Members. A few nice noticeable differences from Platinum, we didn't’t use the Concierge Lounge on deck 10, but were up at the Hollywood Odyssey every night before dinner. Robes were in our cabin at embarkation, sweet goodies on the 2 formal nights and I thought great service (or extra efforts) when any crew member saw Diamond status on our sea passes as compared to the past cruises as non Diamond. We didn't’t use the Concierge for anything so can’t comment on her or her services. We did hear from several people that the Loyal Ambassador was very rude.

As Diamond you get # 1 tender tickets delivered to your cabin the day before. However that makes for some confusion a to why you are letd to the front of the line when they are still calling ticket numbers. We and some other Diamond pax around us to explain to a couple who were on their first cruise but they about bit our heads off. Finally CD Kieron came to our rescue and led us off to safety assuring the others another tender was on its way. I am not a fan of tender ports to begin with so that just about the last straw there! It was not a pretty site and glad it was the last of the tender ports. :eek:

 

Disembarkation, not to quick here. First, Ensenada...were we there? Didn't even know it at AM.....best foreign port we ever went to!!!! :D

We sat in the Diamond area in the Dining Room deck 5 listening to all the names being called to immigration. We had Brown tags and were finally called at 9:45. Once we got down the stairs to deck 4 and off the ship it was a mad mad mad world of finding luggage. Why on earth would they have you enter the same way people are now coming out of? The luggage was so tightly packed together you could barely walk between the rows and most bags have been tipped over by others now towing out theirs. This was the absolute worst I have ever seen for luggage. I went through the brown section 3 times and only found 1 of our 4 bags. After hearing more was being delivered because of a mix up I decided to look at a few of the other color tags, sure enough there were the other 3 bags all together in purple, must have been the color blind dock worker! :D

The Serenade was also in port along with NCL's new Pride of Hawaii. 3 ships downtown SD was very crowded but had no trouble getting a taxi and off to the airport with a quick curbside check in, short security lines and our flight had an early departure! We were home by 3:30 and started in on laundry!

 

FINAL THOUGHTS……The Radiance is a beautiful ship and this was our second time on her. She is in great shape; I really didn't’t notice too much wear and tear, which is to be expected with 2500 hundred pax each week! Our Captain Rune Lokling was a hoot and very entertaining, he was always out and about and very approachable.

 

If given the chance I would book this cruise again in a heartbeat!!!!

 

We have no future bookings. The only things in our future are 2 new grandchildren. The first one is due in September and the second one in December. That makes 6 all under the age of 7….And all living in IL. So I think lots of travel back there later this year.

 

***

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Thanks for the great review.....Were their many children on the cruise?.. ....

I think we'll have to wait for our Hawaii cruise till our DS is in college....

8 sea days with a 12yr..:eek:

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your trip sounds wonderful- just hope we are able to book one like this in the future- glad you had a great time!

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Welcome back Linda!!!

 

Sounds like you two had a wonderful vacation :) So why didn't you use the concierge lounge? And did you play bingo?

 

I don't think I could handle 4 sea days, we'd be broke from the casino and bingo :D

 

That b2b2b2b sounded wonderful, I bet that cost them a pretty penny!

 

###

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Thanks for taking the time to write your review it was great. We are on the 9/23/06 RT Hawaii and are looking forward to it. We just saw all 3 ships in San Francisco yesterday.

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What a wonderful trip! We too have to wait until the kids are out because I would go crazy with our 13 and 14 year old kids on that length of trip! Can you say..."Are we there yet?"... :)

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Good ot read a good report. We went last year on the ROS from VanCoover to Hawaii and flew home. This year we're doing the LA to Hawaii back to LA 14 day cruise in September. We love the days at sea and look forward to them. No phone, pagers, emergencies, and plenty of ship's staff wanting to meet our ever need, don't get much better than that!

Bill

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Thanks for the review. I don't have any cruises planned :( but I still love to read every review. I certainly don't feel sorry for the whiners who didn't want to be at sea for that long. ;)

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We met a couple that was doing the ultimate B2B. They started with the last 7 Day Caribbean, then the Panama Canal, then Hawaii, then 5 day repo to Vancouver and finally a 7 day Alaska…that about a 50 day cruise! So they won’t be off the ship until Saturday June 3. Whew!! Now that’s a B2B!!

 

Hey- we were just on the last carib trip before the canal and I think that we meet these people too- is he in a wheelchair?? My son held the door for him to get off, and we all went to the coffee bar together- really nice people!!

reading yr review makes me want to be back there- i keep looking for the WJ in my house- but can't find it:cool: :cool: :eek: :mad:

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Great review , my family is diamond next cruise and we have panama canal scheduled for next March on Brilliance. I would like to book the roundtrip Hawaii for october 07 for my mother who has never been to Hawaii. She loves sea days but was wondering how rough the seas may be. It was mentioned it was cool out but was wondering if the boat was really rocking?

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I'll try and answer some more questions....

 

pacthepuppies, yes that's them! Very nice couple. I can't even imagine being on a cruise that long, I would have to bring 3 dress sizes!!! :D

 

swarmmarketing, yes the ship was a bit rocky, however we have a high tolerance for it, so we were not bothered while some were. I would advise your Mom not to worry about it, she can get meds for free at the Pursers desk.

 

sailormoon.....LOL we heard that from adults!!! :eek:

 

 

***

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ArizonaCruiser85374,

 

Enjoyed reading about your cruise very much. Have always wanted to take this itinerary, since we live right here in San Diego, however what has always stopped me was the way that most cruise lines disembarked in Ensenada and bussed across the border. From reading your report it sounds as if you just stopped in Ensenada and kept on coming until you docked and disembarked in San Diego? Am I reading it right? If so, things have changed and for the better I must add.

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Have always wanted to take this itinerary, since we live right here in San Diego, however what has always stopped me was the way that most cruise lines disembarked in Ensenada and bussed across the border. From reading your report it sounds as if you just stopped in Ensenada and kept on coming until you docked and disembarked in San Diego? Am I reading it right? If so, things have changed and for the better I must add.

 

Yep... they just docked in Ensanada for an hour and then continued on to San Diego where they disembarked... :)

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Thanks for the great review! :)

 

We're cruising on Serenade for the 15 night Hawaii next year with the "Serenade Ohana"... alot of the Ohana is part of your Pineapple Express group... what a great group of people!

 

Congatulations on the future grand babies! :D

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Arizona: Gald to hear there were 25 kids on board. My 2 will be on the 9/23 sailing. Did you notice any special/different activities scheduled to fill up your sea days? Did you have any Hawaiian themed entertainment? When were your formal nights? Thanks for taking time to answer!

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We originally planned to do this cruise but when my son decided to get married on 5/20..it wasn't a possibility..

 

Therefore, I'm living vicariously through your review!

 

How did the "fat people" comment get in here???

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Great job with the review, Linda! We were also on the cruise and part of the Meet and Mingle (though we did miss some of the events.) I think the only bad thing I can think of was the disembarcment (the big kick-off) What a mess! We've been on 19 cruises and it was the worst one. Somebody screwed up there. We felt so bad for the disabled passengers and the elderly who were so confused and had such a tough time. We missed our flight and had to be put on standby. Luckily it was only a 2 hour wait(only??) and we finally made it to our daughter's home in southern NH at 2:15am. What a day!

We thought the crew on the ship was outstanding. Michael up at the 13th deck passing out drinks was fun. What a nice kid. Also the girl helping him, Carolina, I think was her name. We drank way too much wine and my husband complained of being tired all the time. I wonder way? Our tours were mostly nice, the one to Waipi'o Valley was crazy! Nine people stuffed in a mule-powered wagon being pulled through over-flowing creeks! Kinda scary, but not soon forgotten!

I think I've found another cruise to book but am a wee bit afraid to mention it to my husband yet. i'll give him a few more days to recuperate.

Janice (the one on the barstool on deck 13 from NH)

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How did the "fat people" comment get in here???

 

It was posted by an obnoxious new poster last night along with other nasty emails. All of their posts were removed. They should have removed mine as well to avoid confusion.

 

###

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Thanks so much for you wonderful review!! We're booked on the 9/28/07 sailing next year, and can't wait!!! One question for you re: Formal night. I've heard the Hawaiian cruises are much more casual. How was your formal nights? Still basic evening clothes? Were there 3? Thanks!

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Geesh, I missed the "fat" postings :eek:

 

Janice...aka.....ondeckatsea....yes that was a great cruise! Sorry you missed your flight, getting home at 2:15 am is rough!!

And we sure agree that Michael in the Hollywood Odyssey Diamond Lounge was great! Our glasses were never empty! He is off now on his vacation, but will be back in August to finish up with the rest of the Alaska sailings.

I agree about the disembarkation and luggage...it was the worst we have ever seen as well.

Funny you mentioned about another cruise, DH just mentioned at dinner a few minutes ago he wishes we were back on board, he said we'll have to book another one! :eek: I think he was kidding, I'll let you know! He talks about the cruise everyday, so I know he is thinking about it!!! :D

 

elleluv...thanks for the grand babies wishes! It is exciting!!

 

cruildy....yes only a quick 1 hour stop in Ensenada at 1 am so we didn't even know we where there! Captain said it was just a formality of paperwork for the Jones Act.

 

 

***

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We were also on this cruise and were two cabins from Linda. This is the same cabin we were in when we sailed the Radiance through the Panama Canal. Except for a little wear and tear to the outside of the drawers at the make-up table, the ship is in grand condition. They are doing a fabulous job keeping her up.

 

We got to Ensenada just before midnight. We were snapping pictures as there was another ship in port. We didn't know whose ship it was but found out, by taking digital pictures and then bringing them in close on our camera, that it was a "semester at sea" ship for students. Nice looking boat...it was all lit up for us. We also tried taking pictures of the Mexican flag as it started to unfurl. The picture is a bit blurry but nice. The Mexican authorities entered the ship right below us at port. We stayed in Ensenada for about an hour. We passed a vessel, if you want to even call that a vessel that had seals locked up on it. They were just "barking" away. At first I thought they were dogs but it was confirmed by Brenda and Allen that they were seals. As we sailed away, we finally went to sleep.

 

Disembarkation was a mess because there were 2 ships, side by side, trying to disembark at the same time. Some 4000 people were getting off and trying to get to the airport all at the same time. This is what caused a real problem and a real backup at the bus depot. We didn't wait for our actual color to be called. Once they called the color purple (ha ha ha), we just left. It took us quite some time to get off the ship as my card wouldn't scan. (first I had to locate where I had put it - found it - but it wouldn't scan me off). They had to do it manually. Then it was the luggage ordeal and then to the bus. Luckily for us, as we hit the bus area, an empty bus had just returned. We just walked over to it, they took our luggage and we were sitting on the bus within 10 minutes. We made our plane but had to travel home to NY through Dallas. The guy at the airport put the wrong tag on our luggage...well let's say he only put one tag on our luggage and we arrived in NY after midnight (high winds delayed us landing) but the luggage stayed in Dallas. We got home at 2 am and the luggage never made it. It was delivered the next day or I should say the following morning at 2 am when American Airlines called us and said they were at our door. This has indeed been a hectic week for us getting back to work.

 

Now that it is Sunday, we were fine. As for the tours, etc, we did private tours through Hawaiian Green Tours. The Hilo and Kauai tours were excellent. The Maui tour had a guide that really wasn't up to par. She knew a lot but I don't think she is a tour guide. I would classify her as a driver rather then a tour guide. Her favorite thing was to point out every hotel and condo in Maui (some of which she worked in herself). The best tour we had was in Oahu. We took a tour with the Polynesian Adventure Tour Company for $27 that took us all over the island. The tour guide was excellent and had "show and tell" of items from Hawaii throughout the tour.

 

Our two favorite memories...the sail bye of the lava flow and Wiamia Canyon in Kauai. It is almost surreal seeing that canyon....fabulous...a place you don't want to miss.

 

Other favorites...the cruise critic group of people. Everyone was so nice, so friendly, so great. We didn't hear anyone complain about the sea days. Going, we were a bit anxious to get to Hawaii...coming back, the days flew bye too quickly. We could have stayed on the ship for another 14 days without a thought...but the clothes were getting tight;)

 

Here's to cruising with all of this great group again. We know several people are on several of the cruises we have booked for the future.

 

Linda is was a pleasure meeting you and your husband.

 

Darlene & Larry

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[quote name= As for the tours' date=' etc, we did private tours through Hawaiian Green Tours. The Hilo and Kauai tours were excellent. The Maui tour had a guide that really wasn't up to par. She knew a lot but I don't think she is a tour guide. I would classify her as a driver rather then a tour guide. Her favorite thing was to point out every hotel and condo in Maui (some of which she worked in herself). The best tour we had was in Oahu. We took a tour with the Polynesian Adventure Tour Company for $27 that took us all over the island. The tour guide was excellent and had "show and tell" of items from Hawaii throughout the tour.

 

 

[/quote]

 

We are going on this cruise in April and can't wait. Reading all about yours is making it more and more appealing. Can you tell me where to find the tours you took. they sound lovely. Did you do a lulau? If so which one?

 

Thanks

Kim

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The phone number for (Hawaiian) Green Travel & Tours is 808-937-5625. The owner's name is Chun. The email address to look at his tours is:

http://www.hawaiigreentours.com/. As I previously stated, we loved Hilo and Kauai but the Maui tour guide was not the best.

 

The Polynesian Adventure tour email address is:www.hawaiiactivities.com

 

We used them in Oahu and would not hesitate to use them again. We did the $27 tour with them which was excellent.

 

Enjoy yourself in Hawaii...Note for all of you who are going on that Sept Hawaiian cruise: Every place we went on tour with the above tour companies, we saw other people from the ship on the RCL tour...which apparently cost a little bit more money for the same tour!!!

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Thanks Darlene....we enjoyed meeting you and Larry as well. Our gruop was the best M&M I've ever been with.

 

LOL, we didn't hear a thing in Ensonada!!

I agree I could of stayed on for another 14 days!!!

 

Keep plugging away to Diamond status for your CL Cappuccino"s!!!! :D

 

***

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Hi Linda. I agree with most of your review, except I didn't hear too many complaints about the sea days. I'm sure there were some complainers (there usually are) but I have a tendency of blocking anything negative out.

 

In all the comments, reviews, feedback, etc.I have yet to see the one and only thing I saw wrong with this ship even mentioned. THE PLUMBING:eek:.

They had the same problem last fall when I was on it, so don't believe the little story on that card about how someone threw something wrong in the system.

 

Emerald777, Formal nights....Less than half the men wore tuxedos, most were dressed in nice suits. the women ran everything from formal gowns to dressy pantsuits. that was the first formal night. I didn't see many tuxes or gowns on the second one. there were only two. The rest of the evenings were casual/ hawaiian attire. I OVERPACKED. keep to more casual clothing, summer type dresses. khakis and hawaiian shirts for him. and there are lots of god buys for hawaiian style dresses on the islands, that you'll probably pick up a few items there. HILO HATTIES is overpriced. everything I saw there I saw in other stores for a good $20 to $30 dollars less. In fact the dress I bought in HH I saw the very next day in a shop on Maui for $58 less, (call me aggravated). sorry all you HH fans, but truth is truth.

 

Over all I loved this cruise and have it booked again for next year in the fall.

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Nice reading the positive reviews of this cruise. We are going on it in Sept.Were there 2 or 3 formal nights? I think we all overpack.Were women wearing capris in dining room for dinner?How were the seas?Were they pretty calm? How was the weather?Any rain? Did anyone go to the Old Lahainia Luau in Maui?We are planning on doing that. So glad everyone had a great time.We have a pretty active roll-call going and everyone seems so nice.I think we will have just as good a time with our group as you did with yours.

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Diane, you have a different itinerary then we do so none of us did a luau. Some may have done it at the cultural center in Oahu but I didn't hear anyone talking about that one. I think the timing was too close for comfort so everyone skipped it.

 

People wore what ever they wanted. Every night was Hawaiian casual and each night it was Hawaiian shirts, fresh leis (once we got to Hawaii) or silk leis which is what I opted for and nothing dressy. There are those people who dress up every night. You don't know if they have a special event going on, were going to take one of those special pictures with the white background, or they just liked to dress up. I have to admit that we dressed up formal for the first formal night but when the second one came, Thursday of the second week, I just put on a long travel leisure black dress with a silk jacket. I never took out one of the two other formal dresses I had brought with me. There were plenty of people who were very dressed up for formal night - more then first formal night and less the second or maybe they were dressed up and changed quickly after dinner, like we did.

 

Brenda, I forgot about all the bathrooms that were out of order. They are having a really big problem with this on this ship. Something they need to work on really soon. I thought this ship was just in dry dock..hummm

 

Yes, that cappuccino is calling me...soon we will be Diamond....

 

Darlene

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Darlene,thanks for the information.It sounds like there were only two formal nights,not three.I was just on a Princess 14 day cruise and they had three.To is plenty, I think.Did not check what your itinerary was.They cancelled a couple of our ports,Kauai and Hilo. DId you get to go to those.It looks like some people cancelled because of that but I am looking forward to the ship itself as we have been to Hawaii many times.We do have two days in Oahu and a late sailing from Maui.People have time to do a luau in either place.

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