Date of Trip: June 2010
HAWAII is beautiful and nothing can take that away, it is paradise. I have cruised almost every line including some foreign ones and I will be very honest. This itinerary is one of the best ever, however if you want to spend double your price of the cruise this one is for you. They even have a coffee bar where coffee costs you $1.79 a cup.
This cruise might be OK for the first time cruiser who has nothing to compare it to. To start with the price increased several times before final was paid to NCL. But since this was a family cruise and we wanted the romantic setting and vacation times were set for the family we proceeded. The food was OK, but certainly nothing great. The specialty restaurants are pricey and again nothing great. Free Style dining is certainly that, you should plan on extra time for dining even with reservations which you will need unless you want to eat in the buffet and fight the crowds, hunting an empty table.
Service is lacking in every aspect, perhaps the American staff attributes to that, I am not sure. Be prepared however, they are not what you are used to with other cruises with foreign staff. There is an over abundance of staff who are always getting in your way, and are not friendly or helpful. I never met an officer (white uniform and they are all over the ship), that greeted me or was helpful. They do not offer anything special for anniversary couples anymore, they used to have a nice party that you could renew your vows, not any more. The have opted for magic acts and comedy for entertainment, which is sadly lacking again. Entertainment does not compare to other cruises in any way.
I did not meet one person that thought this cruise was great except for the itinerary. While they offer lots of excursions they are exceedingly expensive. I would suggest pre-renting a car in each port and seeing the islands at your leisure or if you do not want to drive, hire a taxi at each port and ask for a tour of the island. They are great and they know all the special places to see. I was warned this cruise was not good and the reviews support that but thought perhaps it had gotten better, not so. Beware and be warned if you book this cruise, I certainly wish I had.