Sapphire Princess - March 5
It’s now half way through the cruise, and the good news is I can still fit in the shower.
Awoke this morning to find the ship tied up at the pier on the island of Kauai. I was not…tied up that is. Waking passengers were looking at very cloudy skies, and a few showers. For a time it appeared it might be a day of disappointment for passengers ready to see the beautiful sites of what is justifiably known as the “Garden Island”.
Early on some of the helicopter tours were cancelled. That’s truly a shame because flying over this amazingly lush, green and beautiful island is one of my fondest memories.
Mrs. Kuki and I planned to do our tour of one of the most famous sites throughout the Hawaiian Islands; an ABC Store.
During the last few times I visited Kauai I played golf. Two of my favorite golf courses are located here, Kauai Lagoons at the Marriott Hotel, and the Poipu Bay Golf Club. Kauai Lagoons is located within minutes of the pier, and one of its very scenic holes is visible from the ship. On my next visit, in April I’ll be playing Poipu Bay. Today, Mrs. Kuki and I walked the 10 minutes or so to the Aloha Shopping Center, which is located next to the Marriott Resort property, and right off the beach.
It’s mostly just souvenir shops, bars and restaurants, with one of the outlets for “Dukes” which is a name well known in the Hawaiian Islands, named after one of the most famous surfers. Sadly, it appears Hawaii hasn’t been spared from the tough economic times. Both yesterday in Honolulu and today in Kauai, we saw too many space available signs in the windows of retail property.
From the pier free shuttles are offered to the Aloha Center, Hilo Hatties, and even K-Mart. Some CruiseMates friends headed to Hilo Hatties, and agreed to purchase one of the best snacks ever for me; Macadamia Nut Brittle. YUM!
I bought some in Hilo, but I snacked away half my supply yesterday. If you’re coming to Hawaii, take my recommendation and try some. You’ll be thanking me, even if your waist line doesn’t.
By afternoon the sun was shining, and I’m sure those who booked ship’s tours, private tours, or just went to the beach enjoyed the Aloha Spirit. I spoke to a number of people who did the Arizona Memorial tour yesterday, and to a person they were all touched by the history of it, and it’s fallen heroes.
There’s no gambling allowed in Hawaii, and the casino was closed all day and all night in both Hilo and Honolulu. Yet tonight, strangely, the casino was opened from 6 P.M to 11 P.M. Most nights I’ve spent an hour or two in the casino somewhere during the course of the evening. It hasn’t been very busy during this cruise, and the staff tell me when the ship is doing the “Hawaii run” the casino generally isn’t busy. Though apparently busier on the return trip, after people know how much they have spent in the islands.
I gleamed some more tidbits about the way some staffing matters are dealt with these days. Apparently there are now stringent rules in place for the amount of time foreign crew members are allowed to be off the ship in U.S. ports of embarkation, as well as U.S. ports of call.
These are cruise line restrictions, not U.S. Customs and Immigration restrictions.
Time constraints have been placed on crew’s time ashore in U.S. ports because of late there is a growing concern (probably due to experience) of crew members, especially new ones, disembarking the ship and just “disappearing” into the crowd. In other words they are getting hired by the cruise line, and once the ship lands in a U.S. port, they are choosing to be become illegal immigrants, seeking out family or friends already in the United States, and seeking illegal land based employment.
The first night of the cruise I met a casino dealer who had just joined the staff that day. During the port visits this cruise, even though the casino is closed, and casino staff are well known for a bit of partying in all ports of call. They’re also a great source of info on where to go and what to do in most ports. However, the new dealer is required to stay onboard during all port visits this trip, if though she didn’t have to work. After the Sapphire returns to L.A. from this cruise, she does a seven day Mexican Riviera before returning to Hawaii again.
CruiseMates David, Sandra and the ship's newest dealer Cherry.
Once the ship makes it back to Hawaii again, this new dealer may be allowed to get off the ship during port visits.