First I will say that I have read many bad reviews about this ship so I was really looking for some of the things that I had read about and many of them were non-existant.
We flew to Hawaii a day early and stayed at the Marriott Waikiki Beach. The cruise line met us at the airport and took care of our luggage and transprotation to the hotel. This went suprisingly quickly. We were already checked into the hotel and room keys were distributed as soon as we arrived. This was very quick and easy. Next we went to the cruise office at the hotel and checked in for our cruise the next day. I will say that Norwegian needs to do something here to make this a little more efficient and help the line to move a little faster. But all in all it was not a bad experience but it could have been more organized.
The next day we were picked up at the hotel by the cruise line and taken to the ship. We then proceded thru security, next on to the photographer and get our picture taken. This went really quickly and is the first time I have had a cruise line take that first picture before you recieve your room key. They had 2 or 3 photographers there so there was not a back up. You did not have to wait more than a minute or 2 to move on to the next step. We then proceeded to the check in desk to recieve our room keys. There is a separate desk for those who stayed at the Marriott Waikiki Beach and all we had to do was show our ID and we were given our room keys and we were off to board the ship. Because we were on a bus whose driver got lost and actually took us to the wrong ship we arrived at the same time as the bus that left the hotel 1/2 an hour after us (we all told the bus driver which ship we were on but he tried to tell us we were on the other ship in port not a very bright man I actually think they fired him when we got to the correct pier at least his supervisor met us there). so we were in a longer than normal line but it still only took a few minutes.
The ship is acutally very beautiful. We went to our cabin and dropped off our carry on luggage and our checked luggage was already there. Very quick never have I gotten luggage that quickly on a cruise ship. We then went up to the buffet restaurant. The food here was very good. There were several stations and it was organized so that there were 2 of every station one on each side of the restaurant. We went outside to eat and both the inside and outside areas of the ship were very clean and had many waiters ready to help. (There could have been a few more smiles on their faces but they were very friendly and took the time to talk to you if you asked a question or greeted them in a friendly way).
That first evening we went to the Liberty Restaurant, this was the prettiest of the 2 main restaurants (it also is the smallest of the 2), our waiter and assistant waiter were the best. Both very friendly and the service was outstanding. We were late leaving Honolulu as a snow storm had hit in Cincinnatti and some of the passengers were delayed. The captain came on and told us we would be departing later than scheduled and why. We actully pulled out of port almost 2 hours late and still did not have all of our passengers. Some of them met us in Maui the next morning.
The second and third days of our cruise were in Maui. We had a wonderful time here. We ate both evenings in the Skyline restaurant. We had a window table and the view was excellent, that is the best thing I can say about that restaurant. The service here is friendly but not as good as in the Liberty Restaurant. We did try the Skyline Restaurant one more time later in the week and the service had not improved. I will say the waiter we had the first time we tried this restaurant was the best they had to offer.
We did not get the opportunity to try any of the speciality restaurants except for the Cadillac Diner one afternoon for lunch. The service was slightly slow but they were packed and short staffed.
Now I will also say that to give the cruise line credit many of the crew were down with a 48 hour bug. I only know this because a couple of the people in our group also got this bug and one of them had to go to the ships doctor. While she was there at least 50 of the ships crew were also there for the same reason she was. The doctor said that one of the passengers on this sailing had brought it with them.
Our cabin was not made up until 2pm most days but I will also say that our origional cabin steward was one of the crew members out sick and the person making up our cabin was doing 22+ cabins a day.
The shows were excellent. The crew talent night was wonderful. The juggler/comic a must see. The 2 musicals/plays put on by the ships preformers were ok. I liked them both but they were nothing to write home about.
It rained almost everyday of our cruise and we were still able to have a great time. We arrived in Kauai the day after the dam burst and many of the roads were washed out. Almost all of the shore excrusions were canceled. The last day there we were advised not to leave the ship as the local athoriteis were afraid of another dam bursting and we would be stranded unable to return to the ship. The cruise line added many activities to this days schedule as we were unable to leave the ship.
So I will say in closing. We had a great time despite the rain (which the cruise line could do nothing about anyway). The ship was clean, the crew was friendly, the shows were great and the food was very good. I did not see any of the crew standing around talking on their cell phones (most were not even carring cell phones).
When we left many of the crew that I had talked to gave me a hug as I left.