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Xmansmom

Review- Land and Sea Hawaiian Journeys cruise

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It is me (41), DH (53) and DS (10).  We are flying from Virginia (USA) on the Sat before the Friday sail date. So 6 days in Oahu before the cruise. I have booked an AirBNB in Hauula (close to Northshore on the windward side of the island).
AirBNB- Beach front cottage. It is at a condo location but a separate cottage. Still get use of the amenities (pool, washers and dryers) https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/18076704?guests=1&adults=1

I bought us the Oahu Go card from Groupon. the 3 day one.

I used the Go Cards to book a shoreline fishing tour for Sunday Morning so my boys can get some advice before the rest of our week there. They have bought collapsible fishing rods for our time in Oahu. 

I also used the cards to book Pearl Harbor-USS Arizona-Honolulu City through Roberts Hawaii. Doing this on Monday

And to book the Ka Moana Lu'au at the Sea Life Park. It includes admission to the park. We are doing that Sunday evening.

Separate from my Go Card reservations, I booked cage diving with sharks for Thursday. Through North Shore Shark Adventures

I also plan to try to get to the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet & Marketplace that is Sundays and Wednesdays 6:30 am to 3 pm (though I here that everyone is packing up by noon). And may try a beginners diving thing or a hike up Diamondhead

For the cruise, we have already pre-booked chef's table. We have done this every cruise (except Alaska) and have loved it every time.

For excursions (all booked privately)"

Hilo- renting a car using a free day I had accumulated

Maui- "Hana Bound" through Adventure Maui

Kauai- Snorkling Cruise- Blue Dolphin Charters

Kona- Off shore fishing using Camelot fishing charters

 

 

Throughout the week I will try to post while we are in Hawaii. And be warned I love to take pictures. I will share some here,.

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It is now Wed. Morning and I am so behind posting. I thought I would have time to post a little each day but....

Any Woo, We flew in Saturday all the way from Virginia. Long plane flight but everything went smoothly. I had rented a car from Thrifty. Maybe it is because it is Hawaii. Maybe it is because it is Thrifty but this car was beat up (on the exterior). Spent a good amount of time documenting all the dents, scratches and dings including taking pictures. We started our drive to the rental cottage. Along the way we stopped at Waiahole Poi Factory for lunch. First taste of Hawaiian food. We got a little of everything. It was ok but we will have better. A little further down the road we stopped at the Shrimp Shack for some garlic sprimp. This was pretty good but not the same as Giovanni's (I'll tell you about that a little later).  When we got to the house it was perfect. The beach just a few feet from the back porch, plenty of room for the 3 of us and quite. We wound up spending the rest of the evening here. The one picture is the condos that are on the same property as our cottage. You'd never even know that there are condos here. the second is the view from the porch. Even though it is windy this place is paradise and great for exploring. We rarely have a bunch of traffic unless we head to Honolulu.

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Sunday morning our shore fishing trip was booked for 7am. No issues getting up since we are still fighting east coast time. It was a beautiful 45 min. drive to North shore to Mokuleia Beach Park where we met up with our guild Chris and another family. Again the views here were spectacular. I spend most of my time taking pictures and exploring while the boys fished. We didn't catch much but the they enjoyed themselves. I will say DH caught one of the Hawaiian state fish (Picture below). It is a type of trigger fish. We saw ghost crab holes as big as our hands. On the mainland, east coast, the fishing methods and bait as fairly similar. Very little new information was gained but is was nice exploring a new place.

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After leaving the fishing trip, I decided to drive around, with no destination in mind. My friends and family would be shocked at this. My husband certainly was. You see, I am a planner, I never just wander around. But I had my Gypsy app and decided to just drive. It was beautiful riding into the mountains and eventually I turned to head back towards the house. Along the way I found the Dole Plantation. DS and I both wanted to go, DH not so much. But we stopped and so glad we did. This was our first time having Dole Whip. DH is still talking about it. He said he never imagined that it would be that good. We didn't do everything but we did look around the store and take the train.

 

Alright the boys are getting restless. Ready to head out to the Stadium for market days. I will be back later to talk about the Luau at Sea Life Park.

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Giovanni's!  I always try to go there at least once when on Oahu.  Great that you get to spend some time there prior to your cruise.  North shore area is the way to go.  Enjoy your stops in the other islands.  Each one is different.  

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Nice pictures, I will be following along.

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I am so happy to have found this!!!  We were in Hawaii (land vacation) in Sept. 2017 and spent 5 days on Oahu, 4 in Kauai, and 5 in Maui.  We stayed in Waikiki Beach and rented a car.  Before our trip, everyone else I knew who had been to Hawaii raved about Kauai and Maui, but didn't seem to like Oahu.  Once we got there, we were not disappointed at all and loved it.  So much to see and do and it was just beautiful.  We couldn't get over how much the scenery changed from lush/green (east coast) to arid (southern/west coasts).  The rental cars there have a lot to be desired.  We're also from Virginia so I know exactly what you mean about that long flight (9.5 hours) and waking up very early while there.  I never did get used to their time, but it made it easy for me once we got back.  Hope you get to some of the beautiful overlooks just before getting to Sea Life. 

 

I'm looking forward to following along.  Your pictures are beautiful!!!  Thank you for taking the time. 

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So fun to read.  Hawaii is my absolute favorite.  Heads up, I found the road to Hana really really boring. I would consider snorkeling in Maui and doing something else in Kauai (I can think of a ton of things but many are a pain to do from where the cruise ship docs).  We visit Kauai a lot and the snorkeling is not at all great.

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After another great day, back to my review. We left the Dole Plantation and decided to drive along the North Shore. We didn't really make any good stop there on Sunday but made it back another day. I would definitely say, North Shore is a must do. So after the big adventure on Sunday we went back to the o=house to enjoy a little down time before the Luau. The boys fished while I got ready. Then off we went to the Luau. I decided to do the one at Sea Life Park. From the reviews the show looked to be decent and the food sounded better than others. We were not disappointed. I wasn't sure how DS would like it but he seemed to have fallen in love. He insisted on trying every activity: playing ukulele, making a headband, making a lei, getting a tattoo, learning the other instruments. BTW, my son isn't usually like this but he hasn't seemed to stop dancing since we arrived in Hawaii. Overall, while the luau was a bit touristy, it was pretty decent. We all enjoyed the show and the MC for the evening was pretty funny.

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Monday was another early day as we had a Pearl Harbor City tour with Robert's Hawaii booked. Now I will stop to say that Pearl Harbor is extra special to me. I work at a large shipyard that builds Navy ships in Newport News, VA. My grandmother was the only other person in my family that worked there. She came to work there in 1942 from the Mountains of North Carolina (about 9 hrs way today by car). She came because her brother was in Pearl Harbor the day it was bombed and survived. In the 90's my Great Uncle Jess was awarded a survivor's medal for Pearl Harbor. He gifted that to my grandmother for her sacrifices and efforts for the war. Today I have that medal. So Pearl Harbor is special to me. Just thought I'd share.

 

We got up early to drive to Honolulu to meet up with Robert's. We were promptly taken to Pearl Harbor (after picking everyone up)and given tickets to the USS Arizona. We were told to get in line early for the movie and sit by the exit. this way we could quickly exit and get seats by the sides of the boat. This allowed us to get pictures without others in the way. Since we had gotten go cards we also got the Bowfin sub and museum for free too. I will tell you being there was very moving. And if you can take in the other exhibits there do it. I work on submarines today and it was super cool to see one from that time frame.

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Going to Pearl Harbor and the Arizona is a very emotional experience, thanks for the tip about where to sit during the movie.  I will remember that if I ever go back.

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We went to Pearl Harbor when we were in Oahu and so glad we did.  I have no personal connections, but found it very moving.  I really liked seeing the movie first since it gave the whole experience a personal feel.  And to think we almost skipped it since my husband had already been there when he vacationed in Hawaii the year he graduated from high school.  We both agreed tht yoiu can't go to Hawaii and NOT visit.  We were able to book it through our hotel, which worked out perfectly.  

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Once we left Pearl Harbor the tour took us through the city but we only stopped one other place, by the palace. We had about 15 mins here. Honestly, if I had it to do all over again I would just go to Pearl Harbor on my own.

 

Once we got off the tour we went down to Waikiki beach. We parked at the Zoo. You can park there for just $1/hr. We got out and wandered around. Went down to the beach. I wish we had brought out swim suits and snorkel gear. Inside the walled in area (man made walls to help calm the waves) there were lots of fish. We could see them from the little pier. We then walked down the strip for a bit. We were due to have dinner with an old friend of mine whose husband is stationed at Pearl Harbor joint base. 

 

I don't know the name of the restaurant we went to but in the back of the base by the water there was a great little place with an outdoor seating area. Funny enough this was the first sit down restaurant we went to. The food was good and prices reasonable.

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Tuesday morning we awoke to a bit of rain. Sitting outside we were lucky enough to see one of the most beautiful, full rainbows I've ever seen. It was super bright and a second rainbow even started to form for a few minutes. We snorkeled for a bit off the beach at our cottage and the boys fished (with no luck). I did see some fish snorkeling.

 

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After hanging at the cottage for a bit we decided to take a drive. Using my trusty Gypsy App we got in the car and headed towards North Shore. Along the way it had us turn off into a residential area. Up this road was an incredible view from the cliffs and a sea arch (we called it a key hole). There were a few people here but not too many. One guy was fishing (the boys were excited about that). I even got to see a turtle in the water. We would have never found it without the app.

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After a brief stop at the cliff we continued on our trek. We made a quick stop along the way to take a few pictures of the moron church. The grounds and the church are very impressive. We didn't go inside. We then stopped for lunch at the food court of food trucks. Now I thought Giovanni's had to be overrated and we had seen the truck on Sunday but the line was so long. Well there was no line so we got Giovanni's and some BBQ from HI BBQ. The BBQ was good (we got the sampler with pulled pork, ribs and brisket) but the shrimp from Giovanni's was amazing. That sauce was incredible. It went real well with the rice too. I now know why there was such a line. This is a must do. Belly full we continued along our drive where the app took us to a heiau. This a place that ancient Hawaiians used to bring sacrifices to. The view from here was another stunning one. It over looked Waimea bay. this was another spot I would not have found without the app.

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Continuing along our route we stopped for a quick swim at Sunset beach. Really, DH and I sat on the beach and watch DS body surf. It was neat. I got quite a few good pictures of a guy out surfing.

 

But by far the best place we stopped on Tuesday was a place called Shark's cove. this little park was just North of Pupukea Beach Park. It had a great little area that was enclosed by rocks except the middle where the ocean waves filtered in the fish. It didn't matter if you were in ankle deep of over your head it was full of fish. Great little spot for snorkeling but if you are one of those who doesn't like to put your head in the water (or if you have young kids) you can still see plenty of fish just by standing in the water. I got good pictures both above the water and below. Now I will share with you a tip I found here on CC once. I took a milk bone dog bone with me and sat on the rocks close to where the ocean water came through the rocks. I had a hoard of fish eating right out of my hand. Now some of them got pretty aggressive and nipped me. Thank goodness they had no teeth.

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We ended our day Tuesday with dinner down by the commercial fishing docks on the North end of Honolulu at a little place called Nico's. We were just driving and in a kind of run down area and got hungry. So when I pulled up mapquest and looked for restaurants two places came up over by the fishing piers, Nico's and Uncle's fish market and grill. Both were highly rated so we went over to Nico's. It was excellent. Very glad we didn't let the area deter us from stopping.

 

Wed. we started our day with the swamp meet at Ahola Stadium. They have this every Sat, Sun, and Wed. I had heard that this was the best place to buy souvenirs. Boy was it. There was just about anything you found in the stores and then some. I loaded up on gifts for the family, $5 sarongs, $12 hawaiian shirts, etc. Plus there were a few places with home made goods like banana bread, local honey, peanut butters and jams. I have some of that stuff coming home with me too. There were several booths with guys hand craving wood and art. If you are there during a swamp meet day, I recommend it. BTW, DS and I both got henna tattoos. Leaving there, before heading anywhere else we stopped for a quick lunch and came across a Leonard's bakery truck. I had wanted to try Leonards but with the line outside I didn't think that I would be able to. I didn't know that the trucks existed but we saw them a couple different places. Let me tell you those malasadas were great but only when they are hot. We took some home but they weren't nearly as good the next morning.

 

Since we were already in Honolulu area we decided this was the day to hike Diamond Head. Now I will tell you, I sometimes have mobility issues. I have a disorder that causes my joints to be loose. This can be tricky places like Diamond Head, but I made it up in one piece. The views were spectacular.

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This is a great trip report and an added bonus of lots of pictures!  I used to live in Hawaii (9 years) and my wife was born there so it's great to see some of my favorite spots.  We go back every few years and spend 1-2 weeks in Maui (my favorite island).

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After leaving Diamond Head (which was a very hot spot) we followed my app to Hanauma Bay. We got there later in the day so our entry was free except for parking (after 4 pm) but that also meant that the beach would be closing soon. Last shuttle up was 5:30. I would tell you that was plenty of time for us. There was so much in the bay to see. It was teaming with fish all over including close to shore. Now the tricky part is that this is living reef so you must not touch or stand on anything but the sandy bottom which is few and far between. I heard some folks say they saw a turtle. We weren't that lucky but there were plenty of fish of all sizes. For those who don't know this bay seems to be an old crater with one side of the wall collapsed letting the ocean in. It is a state park so they are protective of how many people can come in and you must watch the quick safety video. Also, I highly encourage you to trade in your normal sunscreen in the gift shop for some reef safe sun screen. Fairly soon that will be an actual law. Many of the sunscreens we use today have stuff in them that can harm our sea creatures. Also, in all the places that you snorkel, look in the holes and crevices of the rocks. Most likely they will be filled with spiny sea urchins.

 

Now after a full day we of course had to figure out a place to get some dinner. I went into my note (as friends from work gave me a list of places to eat) and found that Haleiwa Joe's. There are actually two of these.  There is one on the East side between Diamond Head and where we stayed and the second is on the North Shore. When we walked in we were told there was about 1-1/2hr wait. I wanted to eat there so we waited. We grabbed a couple drinks and headed to the rail to look over at the Gardens. What a beautiful view. Looked like the setting of a romantic movie. Time passed pretty quickly and after about an hour we got a table. We decided as we often do to get a bunch of appetizers and share. I will tell you if you make it here the ribs and the crab dip are the ones to get.

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On to Thursday, the last full day before boarding the Legend. I will stop here and say that we have been on the Legend several times over the years so I'm super excited to see her again. I love the smaller ships. We have done the Carnival Magic and the NCL Epic. They are ok and have lots to do but I still like the smaller ships. The last time we were on the Legend was 2 years ago in Alaska. If you haven't done that trip do it. Like Hawaii it is a once in a lifetime trip. I did a similar review for that including pictures from snorkeling Alaska. (Yes you read that right, I snorkeled in Alaska.)

 

Anyways, back to Hawaii. So Thursday morning I had us booked to cage dive with sharks. After all we are in Hawaii. We used North Shore Shark adventures. They were amazing. No they didn't chum the water (throw in food). They didn't need to. There were at least 10 big sharks swimming around us. I will say the water was rough and started getting rougher the longer we were out there. Beat us up a bit inside the cage. They had a discount if you booked online ahead of time. I found out about it from another lady in our sailing on our group page. So we got to meet her before the actual cruise. I love that about the message boards. I love meeting new people and some of them become friends for life. I met a couple through the message boards for our Alaska cruise. hung out the whole cruise including dinner every evening and still keep in touch. In fact, they came to my beach week birthday party last year to celebrate my 40 birthday and fit right in with all my friends from home.

 

We were in the second group to get in the cage. I got a few good shots of the sharks from the boat and a few more from the cage. As I said it was rough so it was hard to get good pictures. I will say DS and I both had underwater cameras. Different brands. His is a fuji and mine is Lumix. His takes better pictures. As for the above water pictures for anyone wondering, I'm using a Canon EOS. The first shark picture is from DS camera the rest from mine.

 

On the way there that morning, we stopped by Turtle beach to see if we catch a glimpse of the famous sunbathing sea turtles. There were none to be found. But on the drive home we stopped again. There were none on the beach but lots in the water and swimming very close to shore.This is another must stop for you. Alright well it's now time to head to Honolulu to board the Legend and begin my Sea time part of the adventure. I will continue to post each day if time allows.

 

P.S. if you find yourself on the windward side of the island and getting hungry there is a little fast food looking taco place (North Shore taco) the shrimp tacos here are fabulous. We ate here twice and I am not a taco person.

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Thank you so much for posting all this!  I'm excited to hear all about your cruise since we're on Spirit next year on the same itinerary.  We'll be spending six days in Hawaii before the cruise but not sure yet where.  I'm on a wait list for a timeshare resort in Maui but have a hotel booked in Oahu as a backup.  So I'm trying to research both.  🙂 I'm loving your review and pictures!

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Wonderful pictures.

Funny story about my trip to Hawaii withour children.  We bought and underwater camera to get pictures.  First time using it our daughter asked to take a picture of a turtle close to shore. She took the camera and tried to use it right where the waves were breaking on the beach.  The sand was pretty coarse and messed up the camera on the first try.  It was rendered useless and we had to resort to disposable ones for the trip.  I was really disappointed in the camera, this was 2007 so hopefully they work better now.

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So I don't have but a couple minutes before I need to cut off wifi but it has been an adventure sine we got on the ship. I will leave a little teaser. Today while fishing in Kona we found a whale shark.  This guy hung around to visit for a while before we decided to take off and fish some where else. I will post more when I get back home.

 

For those that are waiting for it. I will have all the funtimes and let you know our first elegant night was last night in Hilo.

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