We found this cruise superior to the Costa cruise we went on this time last year. The ship is nicely appointed, although our inside cabin seemed cramped, mainly because of the two (unneeded) fold-up beds. The crew were friendly, helpful and efficient, particularly in the buffet restaurant, where the tables were cleared and cutlery, etc replenished promptly. The service in the Skyline restaurant was slow, and we only used it twice, as the choice in the buffet restaurant was very good. On one of these occasions, we went to the Liberty restaurant, which is above the Skyline restaurant and has exactly the same menu, but where jeans and trainers are not allowed. There were about twenty people queuing in the Liberty restaurant, so we went downstairs and were seated immediately. We also tried the Cadillac Diner, but again we would have been better off in the buffet restaurant. We had looked at the excursions online and found them very expensive, so we booked hire cars in advance for one of our days in Maui, our Hilo day and both our Kauai days. For the first two bookings, we used Thrifty.com and although the fee quoted online was under US$31 for the day, extras such as loss damage waiver, uninsured motorist protection and supplemental liability insurance took the total to US$85, and we also had to fill up the tank at the end of the day. For the Kauai days, Thrifty’s cars were all booked, so we used Alamo, via www.carhire3000.com; they charged about US$61 all in, and we didn’t have to fill up at the end. Both companies ran shuttle buses from the ports to their pick-up points and back, and we had no problem with either. Anybody who tried to book a car on arrival at the port was disappointed. As an example of the saving, although I don’t now know the excursion price, for our US$61 with Alamo, we did Wailua River boat trip to Fern Grotto (plus boat trip fee) and Waimea Canyon easily in one day, returning the car about 7.30pm. If we had kept it for the second day, we would have had to park away from the port and walk to the ship. Our US$85 with Thrifty on Maui took us to Haleakala Crater – if you drive yourself, stop at the Sunrise Market on the way there or back for refreshments – it’s marked on the hire car free map, it’s easy to spot, it’s good and it’s the only food and drink place in the area.