I stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village before our cruise on the Crown Princess. While this is an idillic spot for a precruise stay, I've assembled some tips for your upcoming Cruisemates arrival:
Transfer from the airport--There is a bus from the airport to all Waikiki hotels, $8. While it stops at any hotel requested, the Hilton is one of the first stops. A taxi runs $16 to $20+. There are countless other shuttles and limo services, from $4.95 per person to $25-$45 for a limo (up to 4 persons).
I strongly recommend that you acquire one or more of the local guide magazines before you go.. The are full of information on dining, transportation, tours, and other tourist attractions. While they are widely available on each island (free), you can order a copy in advance to be mailed to you. The info may be a few weeks old, but little changes from week-to-week and the coupons do not have any expiration date. Each of the following have separate issues for each island: This Week--www.thisweek.com, 808-843-6000; Spotlight (Oahu Gold, etc.)--www.spotlighthawaii.com; 101 Things to Do--www.101things.com, 888-580-8555. Usual charge is $5, $6-$15 for multiple island copies. You might look at these and make transfer arrangements in advance.
The Hotel: We were fortunate to get a corner room on the 26th floor of the Rainbow Tower--perfect. There are a number of towers, try for the Rainbow for the best views and proximity to the beach. The property is huge and beautiful with multiple restaurants and many shops.
We often complain of being nickel and dimed on cruiseships, but Hilton has perfected the technique. Not only are the drinks twice the price of the ship, but the food is very expensive (3 sandwiches and 3 drinks, $62+tip). What takes the cake is the Motel 6-type in-room coffeemaker, a nice touch until you discover that the little packet of coffee you put in it is $3.25 and the tea bag, $1.95!
There is an ABC Store (Hawaii's largest convenience-type store) in the complex. There are no vending machines in the hotel towers, so if you want a Coke, you either order from room service, use the minibar, or go to ABC. There, the prices of booze, wine, sodas and other necessities are fairly reasonable. This should be your first stop after checking in. Beware of the in-room minibars. Not only are they very expensive, but their inventory system is pretty shoddy. I used one can of orange juice, and when I checked out, I had a $59 minibar charge. Apparently, the guests before me raided the thing. The charge was removed without question, but watch your bill.
There is a nice restaurant across the street. Very good (and reasonable) breakfast. Also serves lunch and dinner and has a bar and lounge with entertainment at night. TGi Fridays, McDonalds close by, too.
In conclusion, Hilton Hawaiian Village is a beautiful place for the Cruisemates to stay, but if you need to reserve funds for your shipboard account, BYOB, packets of coffee, teabags, etc., stay out of the minibar, shop at the ABC Store, and explore the neighborhood for alternative dining. Have a great time.