Age: 31 - 40
Number of Cruises: 6 to 10
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Wind
Sailing Date: October 29th, 2000
Itinerary: Hawaii - Ensenada
Overview: This cruise was an 11-day cruise around the Hawaiian Islands and then sailing to Ensenada. We booked a pre-package in Oahu (Hyatt-Waikiki). First off we had problems with United getting the plane off the ground (brake problems). Finally, six hours late we took off and were on our way. At Oahu the NCL provided ground transportation was terrible. Even though we had 12 NCL passengers, they still through us on a standard bus that stops at every hotel in Waikiki. We were in no mood for a bus tour!
The Hyatt was very nice and the NCL desk was staffed during the day. On cruise day we hopped on a bus and headed for the ship. This time the bus was chartered and we got to the ship before they were allowing boarding. Once boarding started it was quick and smooth, in fact we were the first to board the ship (surprised some of the crew!). We left at 8pm and unfortunately the CD was doing the standard “bon voyage” routine instead of letting everyone know that we were getting a fireboat escort and that a helicopter was dropping flower pedals on the ship (you sometimes wonder if they just get a bit too robotic).
The first stop was Kauai. We did our own thing and the weather was somewhat temperamental depending on which side of the island you were. Next we sailed to Lahaina. This was originally an overnight port, then NCL changed the schedule to a single day to expand Hilo. When we boarded the ship it was back to overnight. We found out that the flip-flop was due to the fact that Lahaina has a major Halloween celebration and we would be there on the 31st. What luck! This was an amazing party that was part mardi-gras and part Halloween party. I am so glad that NCL decided to stay the night. We also did the Maui downhill bike ride. It was a lot of fun, not much exercise. My only suggestion is to get in a group that is geared towards your desired speed. We had an older group that rode fairly slow.
The big island was our next stop and Mother Nature let us know it was November. In Kona, a major storm hit that pounded us with rain and wind. The Wind was dragging her anchor so the captain had to move the ship to a safer area that was also calmer for the tenders. While all this was going on, the tenders were trying to get back to the ship. They could not go back to the port, due to the rough storm so four of them ended up riding it out, until the ship could take them again. We on the other hand had the foresight to ride out the storm in the ship’s hot tub where we watched the whole ordeal unfold. Later we turned on the local radio and heard all of the bad news around the island, especially Hilo (our next stop) where they got over 30 inches of rain. The afternoon cleared (of course all tours were cancelled since the road were impassable) so we walked the town. After Kona we did a night sail by the volcano and saw several active fields flowing. It was very late by the time we got there, but very cool too. Hilo was our last stop and was in pretty bad shape. All tours were cancelled, so we rented mopeds (right near the dock) and rode around.
The second half of the cruise was the Pacific crossing. Weather was not bad for November, though the wind was blowing strong almost everyday (wind hits the Wind, Film at 11pm). We had one semi-rough day (of course it was on the formal nite). The Pacific always has swells, but they were not bad.
We reached Ensenada and got to wait in our room until our bus was called. The bus trip was boring and we got a complete tour of Tijuana since we had to pass through the border at Calixco. The Ship then was racing to try and get to San Diego on time (it’s hard to get the old grumpies off fast). By the time we took off in San Diego, the Wind had docked.
ROOM & SERVICE: We had an owner’s suite this time. Very nice and almost too much room, but great for the 5 day Pacific crossing. This was our first cruise where we did not have to have sex with the shower curtain in order to get clean, since we had a full tub with shower. Service was great as always. We only had one issue with a vent not working and flooding our bedroom with cigarette smoke from the casino (A towel stuffed in the vent fixed that problem). Our room steward was great and the concierge visited us everyday. One interesting tidbit: The paper shipment in Hawaii was damaged and could not be loaded. By the end of the cruise the ship was running out of TP, Kleenex and other paper essentials. Another day at sea and Super Jackpot bingo would have had TP as the grand prize.
FOOD: We have always found NCL to have good food. We spend most of our meals in the Sports Bar or the Pizzeria. Both have expanded their selections for Breakfast and Lunch. The Sports Bar now has expanded from the buffet area to take over other areas of the Bar in order to expand the selection of food. We had our favorite table in the Terraces. We even got lucky and had the same waiter we had on our Panama Canal cruise two years ago! Needless to say we were happy campers. The wait staff is always very concerned that you enjoyed your food. One night my wife was not very hungry. This really depressed our waiter, since he could not find her anything else to eat. If you are on the Wind ask for Elvis Robinson for your waiter.
SHIP/ENTERTAINMENT: We have been on the Wind many times and it feels like home. The ship was well maintained, even though she is heading to dry-dock in January. We had just been on her in May, so most of the entertainment was a repeat (which is funny, because a couple of the entertainers had just come back on…talk about timing!). Since this was an older cruise (grumpy old people part 4), the main seating shows were crowded. That was easily solved by going to the late seating show instead. The ship would really quiet down at night. Most of the musical entertainment was geared for the older crowd (in other words all of the music was from dead singers!), so we found other things to do.
The captain, Tor Dyrdal, was great. We were worried when we did not hear from him the first couple of days. He later explained that during port days, he does not do a daily briefing. We saw him at several occasions and he was always very entertaining. Since this was a Latitudes cruise we had two parties. Both had free alcohol, which explains why it is tough getting a drink. Those poor waiters come loaded with drinks and they are gone in minutes. Of course, the grumpies are moaning about not getting a drink, even though they were practically tackling the poor waiters.