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kkwm

POA review - 5/27-6/3

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Hi all! Back from our trip to Hawaii and finally getting around to posting a review. It will probably take me a few posts. I will also attempt to post the daily for each day - although not necessarily each page.

A bit about us to help you determine if my review is relevant to you. Me & hubby (in our early-mid 50's) and two kids - boy (15), girl (13). We are not avid cruisers so cannot compare this cruise to other cruise lines or even other Norwegian cruises. But we thought this would be a good overview of Hawaii being our first time there. We had been trying make this trip happen for a few years. We were finally able to get the kids sail free to coincide with a time when they were out of school and the planets aligned and we were also able to get the airline miles to work in our favor at the same time - so we jumped at it. We are independent travelers and have been fortunate to travel many places. We seldom take arranged tours unless it is required to visit a location. We tend towards budget travel - but we do at times splurge a bit. Although we hit many of the name tourist destinations (they are popular for a reason) we also love to get to places the locals go that may be a bit off the beaten path.

 

Day 1

Arrived the Friday the day before the cruise at about 1:30 p.m. We picked up our rental car from Thrifty (rented through Orbitz) with no trouble. We headed straight to the Bishop Museum for the Hawaiian Hall and the Pacific Hall. We enjoyed those exhibits. After the Bishop Museum we drove over to Diamond Head. We got out an looked around a bit, but it had been a long day of travel so we were fine with just looking at diamond head and not hiking up for the view. We drove over to Waikiki and parked in the post office lot (Parking was $5 I think). We walked over to the beach - it happened to be a king tide while we were there so the tide was way up - neat to see. We stopped at KOA Oasis - a beach bar right on the beach for very good Mai Tais and enjoyed watching the tide. We then got meals from the Steak Shack a short walk up the beach. My son, who is a VERY picky eater (on the spectrum), immediately said "Ah man that's good!" The food really was that good and very reasonable price for all that you got. We brought the food back to the table where we were sitting by Oasis and continued to watch the tide and the beginning of the sunset. On the way to our hotel we stopped at Leonard's for malasadas to have in the morning. We each had one that night. The were good, but to me just a donut and really not that special (also - they need to be eaten right away - they were not good in the morning - only good when hot and fresh). We stayed at the Best Western by the airport. It was fine - just a place to lay our heads, which is all that we wanted. We chose this because of proximity to Pearl Harbor in the morning and we did not want to pay a high resort fee (which most all hotels charge) when all we were going to do there was sleep. Parking there was less if you had a best western rewards.

 

Day 2

We got up a bit early (not a problem because bodies still on Central time) and ate some malasadas (again not very good next day) and headed to see Pearl Harbor and visit the Arizona Memorial. A bit about tickets for the memorial. You can get advanced tickets two months before your visit. These go fast. My son tried to get them for us at that juncture because I was away and without internet at the time - because he was inexperienced with such tasks he was not quick enough to get them. He had some issue with the computer refreshing and by the time that was done all the tickets were gone. So that left us with the option of getting them the day before or lining up the morning of. The day before tickets are made available at 7 am Hawaii time and can be obtained by calling or using internet. Fortunately we were between flights at that time and I used the internet on my phone and was successful in getting tickets the day before for the 8 a.m. ferry. I actually finished up as we were boarding the plane. The Arizona Memorial is very moving and contemplative. After the memorial my husband and son toured the Missouri (Heart of Missouri tour), which they loved. Daughter and I walked around a bit then ran an errand. We dropped the rental off and took a taxi to cruise port. I think we got there about 2. We were greeted with leis and checked in. I believe the whole process of dropping luggage and the check-in process took about an hour.

When we got on our cabin was ready so we stopped in there first then went to the Aloha Buffet to eat lunch. We thought that the food at the buffet was fine overall. We had an interior cabin on deck 9 forward. It was fine for us as we were seldom in there. After lunch we went to muster then spent our time exploring and finding our way around the ship until sail away. We found a spot on deck for sail away. After sail away we went to the buffet again to eat. We went to bed fairly early afterwards.

daily 1.pdf

daily 1b.pdf

daily 1a (1).pdf

daily 1aa 20-Jun-2017 17-20-27.pdf

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Day 3 (2 of cruise)

 

Ate breakfast at buffet as we arrived in Maui. We grabbed a few things from the buffet to bring along with us and packed up our soft cooler. We walked off and got our shuttle to Thrifty rental (booked through Hawaii Car Rentals). We are blue chip members so did not have to wait in line to get our car and were out quickly. We drove the road to Hana. We went straight to Haleakala National Park and did the Pipiwai Trail (bamboo forest hike) then the Pools of Oheo hike. Both were beautiful. A ranger was stationed near the pools because they are closed to swimming. We also received an origami bird and origami flower from one of the rangers. We ate our packed lunch and headed back to the ship. On the way back we stopped at Wai'anapanapa State Park - we swam at the black sand beach and explored the small sea cave there. Nice stop. We made brief stops for pictures at some waterfalls. We stopped for shave ice at Tobi's in Paia. Of the four places we stopped at for shave ice during our trip, this was our least favorite. In Maui you are really supposed to park your car at the airport and get shuttle back. My hubby ended up parking at a nearby mall (which turned out okay for us). We got back to the ship in time for my daughter and me to go to the kukui nut lei making class. We ate at the buffet then attended the Aloha Polynesia show on the ship. It was hokey, but okay.

daily 2 20-Jun-2017 17-34-34.pdf

daily 2b 20-Jun-2017 17-37-09.pdf

daily2a 20-Jun-2017 18-09-10 (3).pdf

Edited by kkwm

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Any menus?

No, sorry, I did not get copies of any menus.

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Thanks for the information. We are considering this cruise and any information helps!!!

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Day 4 (3 of cruise)

 

Last day on Maui.

 

Got up and out fairly early after breakfast at Aloha Cafe. I also forgot to note earlier that we typically ate our breakfast on the open deck at the back of the ship. Beautiful way to start the day and usually easy to find a spot. We drove to Haleakala Crater. Such an otherworldly landscape! We enjoyed exploring there. We saw a lot of bike tours riding down. We had thought of doing the ride but were actually a bit glad we had not after watching the riders coming down. Fortunately on our drive down we did not get stuck behind any of the tours.

 

After Haleakala we went to Big Beach at Makena State Park. It is a beautiful beach! Unfortunately the day we were there it was still a king tide and the lifeguards were warning of the dangerous shore break. They were spectacular to watch though! After that we stopped in Kihei to get shave ice at Ululani's. Yum! This turned out to be our favorite for three of us by a little margin of the four shave ice places we tried. It was the fluffiest of the four and the customer service was good. We dropped off the car and got back to the ship. We were back early enough for daughter and I to get to the flower lei making class. The flowers were big and the leis turned out beautiful! A few people asked where we got them. Tonight we had dinner at the Liberty dining room. We thought the food was good, but nothing spectacular.

daily3 21-Jun-2017 06-35-39.pdf

daily3b 21-Jun-2017 06-37-37.pdf

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Learning so much. Planning on booking cruise the end of February, 2018. All help appreciated!

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My DGD might enjoy the lei making class. Do you recall the price of the class?

The classes were free! Not many free things onboard. There was also a ribbon lei class that we did not attend. There were kukui nut lei kits that you could purchase afterwards if you wanted to make another one.

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The classes were free! Not many free things onboard. There was also a ribbon lei class that we did not attend. There were kukui nut lei kits that you could purchase afterwards if you wanted to make another one.

 

Nice! Thanks for the information. My DH gave my DGD the kukui nut necklace he bought from a vendor and then teased others he saw on the ship with the line that he made the necklace. He would tell the truth after a good laugh. We went on the Wind years ago and it is still one of favorite NCL cruises.

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The classes were free! Not many free things onboard. There was also a ribbon lei class that we did not attend. There were kukui nut lei kits that you could purchase afterwards if you wanted to make another one.

Yes, the lei making classes were free. Toward the end of the cruise they were selling kits for all of the leis that were made during the week. I attended the ribbon lei class and though it was challenging at first, I enjoyed it once I got the hang of it.

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Day 5 (4 of cruise)

 

Big Island! Hilo. After breakfast we got our shuttle to Dollar rent-a-car (reserved through Hawaii Car Rentals). We drove straight to Volcanoes National Park. We stopped at the visitor center where they told us that lava was currently visible in the lava lake. So we went straight there. The lava was putting on quite a show! How awesome to be able to see active lava! After viewing the lava we waited a little while longer for the museum to open up. It had a nice little exhibit. Next we went down to Thurston Lava Tube and walked through. That was neat to imagine it full of lava and the volume of lava that would have been flowing through there.

After we had our fill of volcanoes we headed back towards port. We stopped at Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo. It was a nice quick stop and it is a free zoo. We spent about an hour here. Next we stopped at Rainbow falls in Hilo. It is right near the road an a yard or two from the parking lot to view the falls. Nice quick stop. After that we took the Pepe'ekeo Scenic Drive (aka Onomea Bay). Very beautiful 4 mile scenic drive. Next we stopped at Akaka Falls. Nice impressive falls. Definitely worth the stop.

After that we drove back to Dollar and dropped off the car and got our shuttle back to the ship. After dinner we went to the magic show, which was fun. After the magic show we snagged one of the cabanas on deck 13 to wait for the lava sail by. The lava was spectacular! We were a mile out. Could not imagine being much closer with so much power. Also wanted to note that even if you got one of the cabanas, people will just wander in there if you are not standing at the rail. So if you sit in the chair they will stand in front of you. So make sure you are at the rail.

 

We ate at the Skyline Dining Room one of the nights (can't recall which right now) and it was good. Service was fine.

Also wanted to note that we saw mongoose many times on Maui.

dail4 23-Jun-2017 09-24-14.pdf

daily4a 23-Jun-2017 09-24-55.pdf

daily4b 23-Jun-2017 09-25-38.pdf

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Thanks for the awesome review! Just wondering how far from the ship was the mall you parked at in Maui? We are looking at doing sunrise at Haleakala Crater and trying to decide where to park for an early morning.

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Thanks for the awesome review! Just wondering how far from the ship was the mall you parked at in Maui? We are looking at doing sunrise at Haleakala Crater and trying to decide where to park for an early morning.

 

If you haven't already, you might want to find the Hawaii message board in the Ports of Call section here on Cruise Critic and look back a few pages reading any threads with "Maui Parking" in the title.

 

Be aware that this mall has a "No Overnight Parking" policy which is posted in the lots and which has been verified through a call to Mall Magement by a Maui resident who frequents the Hawaii Board. If you are going to take this risk, at least let it be an educated one as far as potential fines and fees, and loss of most of your second day in port. This resident also looked into the fees associated a tow and they were pretty substantial.

 

The safest option is to park at the airport lot near the Rental offices at the end of day 1, and take the shuttle back to the ship. The problem with this of course is that a taxi may be required the next am if needing to head out very early to pick up the car before the shuttles start to run. You will see info on the board re taxi to the airport, etc.

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Thanks for the awesome review! Just wondering how far from the ship was the mall you parked at in Maui? We are looking at doing sunrise at Haleakala Crater and trying to decide where to park for an early morning.

As Brenda said, the policy of the Maui Mall is that there is no overnight parking. So you do it at your own risk. We parked late and were out early and parked far from the buildings. I believe it was around a 10 minute walk. We were lucky. So, although we did do it, there is a possibility that you could find your rental towed.

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To all who have said "thanks" - you're certainly welcome! I used cruise critic in part of my planning too, so happy to help if I can!

 

Day 6 (5 of cruise)

Big Island - Kona. We got up an ate breakfast early so that we could be at the Mardi Gras lounge as soon as they opened door to get our tender tickets so that we could get started as early as possible. We were some of the first people there so no problem getting tender tickets on the first tender. They did no call us down right at 7:00 though, it was maybe 7:20 or so. As we were going down to the tender there were some young men coming back up complaining about needing tender tickets who obviously did not pay any attention to the many announcements about needing tender tickets. :rolleyes:

We rented our car from the Enterprise in town location because they will pick you up at the cruise port. That way you do not have to mess with getting a cab to the airport to get your car. Also it was substantially less than the hotel by port that rents cars. We called their number to get the shuttle and they were there within 5-10 minutes. Got our car and went straight to Pu’uhonua O Honaunau (Place of Refuge) and got there as they were opening so we had the place to ourselves. Very interesting site in a beautiful location. Afterwards we parked just outside of the parking lot for Pu'uhonua O Honaunau and went snorkeling at two step. Fantastic snorkeling! Just be careful getting in and out - so the waves do not knock you up against the lava rocks. Also, there are many little crevices with sea urchin in them so watch where you put your hands getting out. I also wanted to mention that we brought along full face snorkels. They are awesome! We have done a fair amount of snorkeling before and I always want to enjoy snorkeling, and do for the most part, but would spend so much time sputtering and messing with the mask that it would put a damper on things. Using the full face snorkel really helps with that and made snorkeling more enjoyable for me and my daughter - even for my husband who used our son's mask after his regular mask broke liked it.

We spent a couple hours snorkeling then took a scenic shore drive then stopped at Super J's for Lau Laus and Kahlua Pork. Super J and her daughter (I think it was her daughter helping) were super nice and the lau laus and kahlua pork were very good. The Taro leaves that the pork is wrapped in for the lau laus taste a bit like collard greens, which I like. The kids still liked the pork, just not the taro leaves. There are a couple different sauces on the table you can put on too.

After Super J's we stopped at Hula Daddy for a quick tour. It was an interesting tour and the coffee was tasty. The neighbors pig even stopped by for a visit. I have to admit that I did not buy any of their coffee to bring back because although it was good coffee I am not enough of a coffee lover to justify the price. There is a beautiful tree by the parking lot that they warned us against touching because it is related to bella donna and the sap is toxic and will cause hallucinations. Luckily they informed us because my daughter had touched it so we had her wash her hands just in case. After our coffee stop we dropped the car off and got the shuttle back to get our tender. We did not have to wait too long - I did hear that the line can get quite long at times. Showered, had dinner, then sat in some big round lounge chairs overlooking the pool.

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Thinking of possibly taking this cruise next summer as graduation trip for a friend. Thanks for posting the dailies and the great review.

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