Hilo does have some sprinkles and so does Kauia.
there is a difference between international vs. american crew.
We were able to have a real conversation with our room steward while on the POA
. He turned out to be one of the best stewards we've have had.
It is extremely easy to rent a car. There are shuttles from several companies that meet you at the pier. I believe Budget is at all ports.
When in Kona I suggest you book with enterprize or dollar. They are the only companies that have a office in town. The others are located at the airport... a 30 minute drive.
the cruise offers a excusion to the Drums of Pradise. As stated before, if you want to go to the Old Lahaina (the oldest running and traditional) you need to make your reservations asap. They sit people according to when they made their reservton. The earlier you book, your table is closer to the show. (you will also have a choice of traditional sitting (on mats) or at tables.) I couldn't see myself on the ground for several hours !
I can't remember that much about the ship itself..... so it didn't bother me that it was a older ship. Basically we got up early, went to breakfast, got off the ship and toured, returned to the ship, showered, went to dinner and then to the show and off to bed.