'Also, is a 14-day cruise too much of a chunk to bite off for newbies first cruise? "
Probably not. But if it is your first cruise, you might be ahead to actually talk one-on-one with an experienced travel agent to get an idea about what you want.
For a cruise of that length, especially to Hawaii a balcony is a real advantage, and a starboard room would give you a better view of Kilauea at night and so forth. A room amidships would have a little less motion if that is a concern, and the food on Holland America would be better than on Princess -- and on and on. I'd talk to the travel agent personally for my first. (IMHO)
Landlocked in Denver, but cruisin every chance we get.
Polynesia, Carib. '86
Cr. Odyssey, Scandinavia, '91, 30 Day S Pac. 2002
Crystal Harm, Aust., N.Z., '94
Royal Odyssey, AK,'96
Old Cr. Pr. Canal, '97
RCCL, Carib, 1998
Volendam, Car, 2000
Ryndam, 35 day S. Am., Antarctica, '03
Is. Pr., Canal, 2004
Statendam, 34 day China, Japan, AK '06
Cr.Pr., Carib. 08
Eurodam, Atlantic, Med. '10