Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hawaii Cruise Day 8 - Kauai, HI What a Wonderful Place

As we pulled into the harbor at Nawiliwili, it was warm out and the sun was shinning.  We had to make a decision regarding whether to head North towards towards the Napali Coast or West towards Waimea Canyon "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific".  

As the oldest island in the Hawaii Archipelago Kauai's features are very dramatic, and with the possibility of rain we headed out to try to maximize the great weather.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hawaii Cruise Day 7 - Honolulu, HI The Island of Oahu too much to see...

After a long exhausting day in Hilo, we quickly descended upon Honolulu.  Frankly this is the island where we were warned that there would be too much to see and not enough time to do it.  Of all the ports I had focused on Oahu with most of my planning.  What a beautiful morning, as we sailed into Honolulu the skies were clear and with 16 hours I felt we were going to nail that list..... How wrong I was

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hawaii Cruise Day 6 - Hilo, HI. Land at last

After four long days at sea (1.5 of them being fairly rough for most of the ship) we now approached Hilo, and on Deck 4 where disembarkation was to occur you could tell by the large crowd that gathered upwards of 35 mins before that people were anxious to get back on solid land.  One lesson learned here was it does not pay to lineup early as folks would take an elevator down 2 minutes before debarkation and cut the line.  On past cruises the stairs leading to deck four were roped off so traffic could flow in an orderly manner, it was not the case on the Golden Princess until our last port which was Ensenada.

A little about the Port of Hilo, for those of you who have not cruised to Hawaii the port is a commercial port and as such there is a lot of commercial traffic flowing up and down the single road that leads from the port to the "main" road leading out to elsewhere on the island of Hawaii. Most of the car rental agencies are located at the airport and due to volume of passengers were only taking the drivers with them on the shuttles.  If this happens to your party I would recommend you have them exit the port (stay within the pedestrian areas !) and take a right turn and walk down the road and say meet by the Nissan Dealership or some other building (depending on people's walking speed) as having to drive all the way back into the port can easily eat up one of your precious hours on the Big Island. Another challenge we experienced but most probably will not was the Merrie Monarch Festival, the world's Premier Hula Competition. Our Cruise Director told us there would be upwards of 20,000 people in town for the even and cabs (should you be travelling in that fashion) were going to be hard to get and if you managed to snag one you should probably negotiate a day rate.   

Our plan for today was to visit Volcanoes National Park, everything else was secondary to this, the Golden Princess docked at 9am and by the time we were all sorted out and on the road it was about 10:30am. and off we went !

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hawaii Cruise Day 5, Last day at sea before Hawaii !!

After a truly amazing magic show last night we slept in and by the time we made it out it was Easter everywhere. First time spending Easter on board a cruise ship and boy what a surprise.  The Piazza was festively decorated with all sorts of chocolate eggs and they had a variety of activities for kids.  Dinner that night was Easter themed at least according to the menu.  Apparently all the eggs are actual chocolate...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hawaii Cruise Day 4, Day at Sea

Another day at sea, with lots of things to do.  Yesterday I didn't have my camera with me and was too lazy to go grab it to take pictures of the sushi buffet that was laid out. Granted it was sitting out at 9:30 as I wandered back from the gym.  One little quibble is so far most of the dinner's have been "Princess Dinner's" as opposed to being themed as in the menus of old.  Supposedly these menu's are fusion of the old and the "Homestyle" menu's that Princess introduced in mid 2012.

However today I packed the camera along to grab some shots of the international buffet.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Hawaii Cruise Day 3 - Day at Sea

1 sea day town 3 more to go.....  The biggest fear of this particular itinerary was the 8 days at sea, four days to Hawaii and four days from Hawaii. Today I made an effort to get to the gym a little earlier, could you believe there was a lineup of about 25 people trying to get in at 7 am when gym opened?  By mid afternoon the seas started to pickup and at dinner tonight (which after the fiasco on day 1 we found ourselves some new friends to dine with) there were very few folks in the dinning room. My guess would be about 15 tables or so.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hawaii Cruise Day 2 - Day at Sea

After an interesting day 1, we submitted a request to have our dinning time change from 5:30 fixed early seating to the 8:00 fixed late seating.  As I made the phone call first thing after breakfast I did not expect us to have a table ready for us that night. My first complaint of this cruise was how the patter (for those who don't know the patter is the daily newsletter telling you what is going on for the day) was arranged, as the interesting activities overlapped and you had to choose between going to one or the other.  I understand that there is a need for crowd control but why not schedule multiple sessions or have the repeated?

Today as in most days we avoided the grazing buffet and decided to enjoy a more leisurely lunch in the dining room instead

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Happy 2013.... Hawaii Vacation - Cruise Day 1

It's been over a year since I last posted and wow how time flies.  With lots a lack of planning we booked a trip as Hawaii was on our bucket list of places we would like to visit and being only a couple of time zones away was reasonably accessible.

Some background.....

Hawaii has always been on our list of places we would like to visit, however we were unsure of which island we should visit first and after hearing great things from others who had done a Royal Caribbean  re-positioning cruise either to or from Vancouver to Honolulu we decided that a cruise would be the best way to have a "sampler" of Hawaii.  We decided on a round trip Los Angeles 14 Day Hawaiian Cruise primarily because it fit our schedule and I had a couple of vacation days I needed to burn before the end of March.

After a lengthy 2 hour 30 mins flight from YVR-LAX we got on a shuttle and made it to the World Cruise Center in San Pedro, California.  Compared to embarkation in Fort Lauderdale and Vancouver it seemed very chaotic (according to various people we spoke to they found that the boarding was more organized than normal).  Anyways onto the food !