Wow! I had a vacation of a life time. Thank you soo much cruisemates for making my vacation the best ever. Half my fun was reading about my trip and preparing.
I knew I had to set my expectations realistically, (Thanks to cruisemates) so the more I researched the more I became realistic in my expectations. Many of my expectations were exceeded and some were a bit disappointing, but that was expected too!
First, let me try to give back a little to pre cruisers to Hawaii. I'm from Florida so the time change was 6 hours. I was so glad that I booked a package on Lanai with the Four Seasons that included the 5th night free if you stayed at both FS on the Island. That gave us 5 days to go through Jet lag and we really needed that to enjoy the cruise.......... It was really relaxing, fun and got us into the Aloha spirit before boarding.
We booked a room on POH on the 14th floor. A mini suite on the courtyard. We were offered an upgrade to an owners suite for $1,000. Much to my delight, my DH jumped at the chance. I was definately not expecting that one!!!!!
Our room was amazing, big, 3 balconies with one of them at the front of the ship.
I'm glad I knew the color scheme before boarding because purple, pink and lime green aren't really my colors if you know what I mean.....
Wally was our butler. How easy is that to get used to? He was awsome. It was really his pleasure to make our vacation as great as possible.
We were able to make reservations at special restaurants by calling directly from our phone or using a concierge. No lines. We were treated with real VIP service.
We ate a Cagney's the first night, and it was obvious they sat us with the best waiter in the restaurant. Qwok was fantastic! We made sure to sit in his station when ever we enjoyed the luxury of eating on that floor. I did eat in the buffet a few times and totally understand why I read about so many complaints. It was very crowded and people had to share tables. One woman sat down with me during breakfast one morning and complained the entire time. I had to finally interrupt her to be excused and exit, stage right!
My DH has never eaten Sushi and I never expected him to, but He came with me to the Sushi Bar and I ordered him some of the Tempura fried (I can't remember the name now) dishes. He loved it!!!! So did I........
There have been many complaints about service on POH. The reason I read for this was because POH is an American ship and can only find Americans to hire. But now that I have been there, I disagree with this theory because the hotels can only hire Americans and we had awsome service in them. I think that the reason POH has trouble with service is their "no tipping" policies. Your account is charged $10.00/person daily to cover tips. This leaves the wait staff unmotivated to give the customers the best service. They know the ship is going to give them a set amount weather they smile or not. You are encouraged to tip those who go over and above, but this is very vague and I can assure you that the complaining breakfast friend of mine did not tip anything extra, just complained about the $10.00 auto tip.
I know that smoking was a big issue too. I don't smoke but did notice that smoking was allowed in your room.
The private courtyard was a big let down for me. When you look at the pictures of it, you see beautiful flowers and a soft breeze blowing through the many covered sun chairs. Totally not the way it really is. The flowers are all fading silk plants and the courtyard is really an indoor swimming pool. It feels like an indoor pool, smells like an indoor pool and there isn't a breeze at all. They must have set up fans for the picture on the ncl website. I think it would make a great green house so I don't see why they couldn't use real flowers, but anyway...........
We are not night people so I can't tell you much about the entertainment but we loved visiting each Island and our excursions were fantatic. We did the Turtle snorkel in Hilo. (I think the snorkeling is better in the Caribbean, fire coral in VI really adds so much color) But is it was great. We saw a huge, I mean HUGE turtle. Very cute. We also did the Captain Zodiac snorkle and that was really fun too. We took a heli over Volcanoe National Park and saw glowing lava flowing, AMAZING! We also did a heli over Kuai and could just imagine all the Dinosaurs roaming around in Jurasic Park............................
We rounded the trip out with a real splurge at Kahala Resort in Ohau. We paid for two nights in advance, and when we got there, they upgraded us to the best room in the Hotel!!! Wow what a great surprize that was. We were booked for an ocean room w/ balcony and they moved us in the exclusive suite, NO CHARGE!!!. AMAZING. Three balconies, two bathrooms two refridges, closets, kitchen, living room, we were in total bliss.
I hope you all have as much fun as we did, and thankyou you again, friends at cruise mates for making it all happen!
(Old Lahaina Luau)
Luckily we were off the ship before the Hurricane and Earthquake! Just in the nick of time. We did get stuck in Houston with Erin, but finally made it home safely.