We had some family members visit us recently and we took them to all of the fun places on the island. The one thing I haven't done before though, was the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau.
We've been to PCC many times, I've blogged about it before and we've been to the HA Breath of Life show several times and loved it just as much each time we go.
But we'd never eaten at the luau before so we decided to try it.
First of all we were late, we were waiting to ride in the canoe and it was a longer wait than we expected, so we were one of the last groups to be seated. They led us to a table in the rear, but the view was still very good. The tables are tiered so you aren't trying to see over people's heads. Rather than bring you plates of food as they do at the Hale Koa luau, there are four buffet tables set up. The servers dismiss the tables to go to the buffet line so there isn't a huge log jam of people waiting to get to the food. Because we were one of the rear tables, we were also one of the last to be dismissed to the buffet.
I noticed some dancers come out on the stage, but we were heading to the buffet line so, I didn't get to see them.
Once we reached the food, I noticed the salad was all gone. A server came by and announced, "There is more salad on the next buffet line. Feel free to head to the next buffet table to get your salad." So we continued on through the line. The food was standard luau - pig, fish, chicken, poi, lomi-lomi salmon, poke, fresh fruit, etc. As we continued through the line, we were told, "There is more pineapple on the next buffet, you can get more over there. There are more rolls on the next buffet, feel free to fill your plates over there." I believe there were four items missing off of our buffet that we had to get off of the next buffet.
As we sat back down at our table, I registered that several acts of dancers had been performing on the stage. I think I saw a group of male dancers, a group of female dancers, some children dancing, and some kids with poi balls. As we were filling our plates, eating, asking for refills, and talking, I honestly missed most of the entertainment.
We noticed they were shutting down the buffet line almost as soon as we were through it, so we asked the waiter if we were not able to get a second serving. He advised us that one of the buffet lines would be kept open while the others were cleaned off.
All in all, I didn't love this luau. I also didn't hate it. The food was very tasty, and the service was great. I just wasn't a fan of going through the buffet line (although I'm sure it is more efficient for the servers to not be tied up delivering people's plates to them) and having to go to a separate line to be able to finish filling our plates was a mild inconvenience, not a major annoyance. I also missed most of the dancing because it was going on during the buffet line. What I saw of the dancing was just nice, it wasn't dramatic like what you see earlier in the day during the canoe pageant.
However, if you are in Hawaii, a day at PCC is absolutely not to be missed, and you MUST see the Breath of Life show (I'm not kidding) and if you want a luau, it's right there and you need to eat. I just didn't feel that the experience was as fabulous as it could have been.
The best part (for me) were the smoothies served in a hollowed out pineapple. That was awesome (although we ordered the non-alcoholic Pina Colada flavor and Katie thought it was gross).