I've got some good news and some bad news for you, Jetpage. I used to be a Bar Server for NCLA and had a lot of fun doing it. Hawaii is wonderful and training in Maryland wasn't all that bad (in retrospect). You will be working 7 days a week from 5-13 hours per day so savor the time you have off and get off the ship if possible. Maui is by far the best place to be and you shouldn't pass up the opportunity to rent a car and drive around the island. They are strict on drinking (.04 limit) and DO enforce it frequently so don't get drunk! Let me give you a thorough run down here:
Training in Maryland: This will seem odd while you're there seeing how everyone is wearing a uniform similar to your on-board uniform and all look alike. I thought it felt like you were living with a cult for awhile. They have you do classwork everyday but it really is very simple (I didn't know anybody who failed other than the final Bartender/Bar Server/ Barback test which is pretty difficult). You share a 'hotel' room with 2-4 other people with one bathroom between you all. This is supposed to simulate living conditions on-board. You will have room inspection once a week so keep it reasonably clean. The firefighting test and swim test is AWESOME!They train Bar staff in the hotel lobby bar and it is a great place to work compared to the other positions. You get very close with your class (I was 63, WOOHOO!) and make a lot of new friends and some who become more than friends. I still talk to a couple that I met in training. It seems a little sucky while you're there, but like I said, you actually almost miss it when you leave. Oh, and you aren't allowed off the premises for the entire training duration. They say it goes for 3 weeks, but some people are there as long as 6 so keep your fingers crossed.
Working on-board: The first couple days will be rough just trying to familiarize yourself with the ship. Even once you get the hang of it, you still get lost from time to time so don't get discouraged. Remember I said I had bad news for you too? Here it is: as a Barback, you are the lowest person on the Bar totem pole. Bar Servers are technically ahead of you and next in line for a bartending position which even they won't get until their 2nd or 3rd contract. Your job will primarily consist of cleaning used glasses and refilling ice bins. FYI - the glasses never stop so stay on top of them seeing how you will have to go to 2-3 different bars each shift to take care of all of them. As with any job, politics plays a role in promotions and distribution of work. It will seem unfair at times but just stay with it and keep tough and people will recognize you for it. Tipping to Barbacks is usually done by the Bartenders but occasionally a couple nice Bar Servers will kick you back something too. The work itself isn't all that difficult. However, it is pretty tedious and with no days off, you start getting pretty burned out. Again, stay mentally tough and you'll do fine.
For NCLA and any other cruise job, start accepting the fact that you will not see your family or friends for quite sometime and you will be surrounded by new and sometimes strange people. You must keep in open-mind for things that might make you uncomfortable (i.e - Loads of gay people, hardcore religious types, hippies, gangsters, hillbillies - all of these people and more work on ships together and must remain harmonious with eachother regardless of bigotries. Besides, you learn a lot about other people and yourself this way). Your cabin will be SUPER small so make sure you have a happy relationship with your roomate(s). Avoid eating too much and the food is a little greasy so go easy on it.
That should cover your experience. The job really is what you make of it. Although frustrating at times, repetitive, uncomfortable, and exhausting, the work was also very rewarding and fun. All in all it was a great time and I don't regret working there. I recommend it to all my friends who are in need of work, money, and a healthy dose of adventure. Have Fun!!