Has anyone taken the POA shore excursion for the road to Hana?
I wanted to rent a car and just do half the trip, however the people we are going with want to take the 8 hour bus tour. Is it worth taking the entire day for this tour. Any suggestions welcomed.
Wish I was going with you, been to Hawaii 5 times in the last ten years. My advice to any and all Hawaii visitors is "do it on your own". We were on Maui in August of 2003. Have done the Hana trip in a rental car. Also did the west Maui loop from Kaanapali to Kahulia which in my humble opinion is even better than the Hana one. Its shorter but even more spectacular.
I don't believe anyone need take shore excursions on any of the Hawaiian Islands, good to excellent roads throughout each island. You can usually get a decent rate on car rentals. I booked mine via "Priceline" $50/day on each island for a Mini-Van. (There were 5 of us) Some other great trips:
1. Take a tour to top of Mauna Kea on Big island, (rental cars not allowed on saddle road, we tried but our Rental started overheating as soon as we started up to the top. So we booked a tour (around $150 p/p but worth every penny)
2. Hanauma Bay on Oahu
3. Kileaua lighthouse on Kauai
Kokee State Park and Waimea Canyon on Kauai.
4. Sunrise on Haleakala on Maui
5. Volcano National Pk on Big Island.
Drive Route 130 along coast from Hilo toward volcano.
I agree with Richard about the rental cars. My wife & I cruised Hawaii on the Star in 9/03 and had a blast. We didn't take any ecursions through NCL, just booked our own rental cars and did our own thing. NCL was very helpful with helping out with rental cars, or we booked on the internet a day or two ahead of the next stop. On Maui, try to get a convertable. I agree that the west Maui route was more spectacular that the Road to Hana, but be careful about time. The trip to Hana is several hours. There isn't much to see in Hana, but there is a great black sand beach about half an hour from Hana. Just time yourself and turn around when you need to. We didn't get to the top of Mauna Kea, but our highlights were about the same. The volcano on the Big Island was flowing and I stood 6 feet from fresh lava (air temp was probably 130 to 140)! The other highlight was a helicopter tour of Kauai on Island Helicopters.
We rented a car in Maui and traveled the road to Hana only half way. It was a rainy day and I get car sick very easily so it was a good thing we didn't take a bus tour. The road in very narrow and has a lot of turns and one road bridges. By renting your own car you can spend time at the places you like a skip over other things that may not be of much interest to you.
the road to Hana is an experience in itself. We rented a car- it takes several hours as there is alot of traffic and it is truely 1and 1/2 lanes with about 50 one lane bridges. We did see at least 3 car accidents while on the way up the mountain. It is on the side of the mountain and in spots there are no guard rails. If you do this- be very careful and drive defensively. I personally would not go by van or bus- as I liked riding with the top down and being free to stop where/when we wanted. Go all the way to the 7 pools- it is worth it.
Just remember- what ever you chose- enjoy it to the max and Have fun!
We rented a car and were very thankful we did the Road to Hana on our own. It took us half the time than the ship excursion.
The Road gets boring after awhile - after the first few waterfalls, they all start looking looking the same. We were thrilled we could keep going where alll the buses kept stopping. I think I would have been bored to tears sitting on the bus for the entire day.
We finished the Road in less than 5 hours and had plenty of time to do other things. On the way back from the Road to Hana to the ship dock, we stopped at a great beach where there were tons of windsurfers who sure made windsurfing look easy.
We would have paid a lot of money for the Road ewxcursion - it cost us a fraction of the cost renting a car and doing it for free.
We were very happy we had a rental car in Maui, as there is plenty to see on your own.