Hello...My wife and I are going on a 9-day cruise to Hawaii on October 27th. We will be sailing with Princess Cruises on the Dawn Princess.
Can anyone give us advice about shore excursions in Hawaii. Is it better to book one through the ship or should we plan our own before we go with several places that we have seen listed on-line and in information sent to us by the tourism bureau in Hawaii?
Do any siteseeing tours stick out that you may have taken and can reccomend.
Finally, would love to hear from anyone else who might be on the same cruise.
We did the Radiance to Hawaii from Vancouver in Oct 2001. It was a wonderful vacation. I think there are more things to do than time to do them in Hawaii. Lot's depend on your activity level and interests, but I will list some of the things we did and the rating.
1 Helicoptor tour on Kauai ( We did the Jack Harter tour which is the longest of any on the island, 90 minutes. They are one of the oldest operators and the best. I thoroughly checked them out before the cruise and they lived up to reputation.
2 Old Lahaina Luau in Maui... The super bowl of luaus. When they do the xmas parade from Hawaii their dancers are front and center on TV.
3 Haleakula bike ride (this is not for those craving comfort, sleep, or safety!) 30 mile ride from near freezing temps to 90 degrees and it is all downhill except for about a 100 yard hill. We woke up at 1:30 am and took a tender to Lahaina, Maui and a 2 hour van ride to the top of the crater. The sun came up over the crater and it was spectacular. We also, lucked out as it was the peak of the Orionids meteor shower that night and we saw falling stars about every 30 seconds... spectacular. I probably won't ever do the bike ride again, but it was something I will never forget. It is freaking cold at 4 am on the top of the crater!
4 Snorkeling any island all are great... this depends on the weather and where the boat goes more than anything else.
5 Volcanoes national park rent a car and drive and hike. Very beautiful.
6 Arizona memorial. What more needs to be said.
7 Waikiki shopping and viewing and if you have the time swimming.
8 North shore of Oahu get a car drive around the island probably 3 to 4 hour drive. Spectacular scenery on the southern end and beautiful and awesome waves hitting the north shore, Hang Ten dude.
There is simply tons of things to see and do. I have no ax to grind with RCI as I think they do a nice job, but in Hawaii there is no reason to book shore excursions. Rental cars should be booked on each island and they are friendly and reasonably priced. You can book any tours with the many tour operators in Hawaii if you want to do specific excursions. We used Tom's barefoot Hawaii for most and did the rest on our own. The best excursions like Jack Harter and the Old Lahaina Luau are not offered by RCI. Enjoy! It is a wonderful trip! I can't say that this is an absolute ranking as my wife and I would probably put things in a different order. Like I said we did so many wonderful things, and some of the best were simple like sitting under a palm tree having a Tiki drink in hand and watching the ocean!
PS for the Hawaii lovers who read this. I will not disagree with your unhappiness of any special trip or excursion that I may have left out as there were no unsatisfactory moments during any time on this cruise and extended post stay on Oahu! Hawaii is as good as people say and then some!
Legend of the Seas RCI 3/03 New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii
Adventure of the Seas RCI 2/02 Southern Caribbean
Radiance of the Seas RCI 10/01 Vancouver to Hawaii
Millennium Celebrity 10/00 Eastern Mediterranean
Galaxy Celebrity 12/99 Southern Caribbean
Sensation Carnival 4/98 Eastern Caribbean
Majesty of the Seas RCI 1/96 Western Caribbean
It's always better to book direct!! And I would definitely do a helicopter tour on the Big Island - the volcano is absolutely beautiful - and the only way to really see it is from the air.
I flew with Paradise Helicopters and they did an awesome job!!
The Hawaiian Islands are meant to be done on your own. Go Rent -a car and do the things you want. Virtually any part of the islands can be reached in an hour from any cruise port. Exceptions are " Road to Hana" and Volcano's Nat. Park if you don't go from "Hilo"