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Tom Ewall

Age: 44

Occupation:Computer Programmer

Number of Cruises: 8

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Legend of the Seas

Sailing Date: April 18th, 2003

Itinerary: HawaiiFirst a

summary (from best to worst):
1. The itinerary was great
2. The service was very good
3. The food was O.K.
4. Entertaining was so-so.

Now more details.

This cruise is a 10 day cruise with the first 4 days sailing and the following days at different ports. This was a different format than I had done before which has sailing days intermixed with port days. Having the sailing days to relax is a nice way to start, but having rest days in between is good for resting, so both have their advantages.

We lost our first port day because of a bomb threat. We supposed to have spent 2 days on the big island, but just got 1. I went body surfing and my wife went shopping, so both were happy. I had fish and chips at a close by restaurant with Ono, a local fish, which was excellent.

We rented a car in Maui, Kauai and Oahu. I kind of have mixed emotions about renting a car. On the one hand, it's a very economical way of exploring the islands and you can control when and where you'll go, and for how long. On the other hand, it's stressful, which counteracts one of the points of a vacation.

The islands were quite different from one another, which was interesting given they were all so close together. They are all beautiful with lots to do and see, so I don't think you can go badly regardless of what you choose.

If you're on a budget, there are visitor booths at each of the stops where you can decide what you want to do. And the car rental option is available. (I didn't have any trouble getting a car, but may have been lucky. If you know you're going to be renting a car, reserving ahead of time would be prudent.)

Where the car rental option really paid off was in Oahu. Our flight left at 5:00 PM, so we had a few hours to explore things. They did a good job getting everyone off the ship, so we were ready to go shortly after 9:00 AM There was a shuttle to the car rental place (it went to Waikiki beach, but you could drop the car off at the airport at no extra charge) right at the port.

Here are some suggestions at the various stops.
1. Hilo. Can't help here. Try to get a cruise without a bomb threat.

2. Kona. Great body surfing at Magic Sands beach. (not a surfing beach though). Snorkeling nearby too. An interesting art coop in the hotel right there where the tender lets you off. The artists themselves run the store, so if you have an interest in art your sure to get informative help. The fish and chips from the restaurant across the street and up just a ways was great. I don't remember the name of the restaurant, but their specialty is fish and chips using Ono, and they're across the street from the hotel.

3. Maui. In Maui you'll want to spend some time exploring the Banyan tree. It's an incredible tree that you have to see to believe.

There are many pretty places to see, including traveling along the road to Hana, the cliffs along the north shore (going north from Lahaina) and Makena beach. If you want to golf, Maui is a golfer's paradise. The only thing I would caution against would be going to see the volcano. It takes a long time to get to and if it's cloudy you might not get to see much. On the other hand, there are those who camp overnight there to see the sunrise which is supposed to be sensational.

There's also Paia beach which is one of the best wind surfing places in the world. There were an awful lot of wind surfers there. It was impressive.

4. Kauai. If you can afford the helicopter ride, I heard good things about it. The road doesn't go all the way around the island, so you can't see it all unless you rent a car and really hustle. If you rent a car and hustle, it is possible. Waimea canyon can't be missed. Hanalei bay is also beautiful, but you have to go really quick to catch both. If you give yourself 90 minutes to get back from Hanalei bay to car rental return at the airport, that should be plenty of time. The island is small, so it is doable to get around most of the island. You just have to choose whether you want to see more and go faster, or catch less of it but relax more.

5. Oahu. Renting a car and driving around the east coast is very picturesque and easy to do as its not far away. Lanikai beach is not hard to get to, and is beautiful.

The ship itself is not great but adequate. I thought the service was the high point. This may not be a ship-wide thing, but my wait staff was top rate, and in general I found everyone to be cheerful and helpful.

The food was never bad, sometimes excellent, but usually O.K. This ship doesn't have as many options as the bigger ships (no fancy restaurant or side restaurants -- however, they do have an ice cream stand that's often available, and free).

The entertainment was probably the most disappointing aspect of the cruise. There were only two production shows, which is certainly not many for a 10 day cruise. The quality of the shows they did have was O.K., but the mix of small shows (1 and 2 man shows vs. larger shows) was poor I thought. The variety of shows was good. The quality of the shows differed being on the average adequate. The ship band was excellent. The lady who entertains in the Schooner bar is definitely worth seeing.

Summing up, I would highly recommend this cruise on the basis of the itinerary. Apart from the itinerary I wouldn't recommend it, meaning that there are nicer cruises and better ships if you're primarily interested just in the cruising aspect. Overall I would recommend it as I had a very good time, even losing a whole day to a bomb threat.

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