We have booked the Statendam from SanDiego to Hawaii and on to Vancouver, BC. Reading the boards it appears that at least Kona is a port where you have to tender in. Are any of the other ports [Hilo, Honolulu, Nawiliwili and Lahaina] tendering ports?
Anyone done this trip and have suggestions as to excursions? Interests are the geology, flora/fauna and culture of the islands more than shopping. The only definites we have on our list so far are the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor and a helicopter tour of the volcanoes.
You dock in Hilo , Honolulu and Nawiliwili (Kuai). You tender in Lahaina.
In Hilo , look for a tour that offers the orchid farms, Lava Tree State park and the hot springs. One tour offers all that and some snorkelling too. On Maui if you are truly interested in the geology, don't miss driving up Haleakala Volacano and go to Iao Valley (and on the way to Iao stop at the rather commercial but still beautiful Plantation and take the tram tour best way to see all of Hawaii's flora and fauna in one place). Maui Ocean Center is another good idea. Do you overnight in Maui? If yo do, the best Luau by far is Old Lahaina Luau .In Kona , maybe take a snorkell tour that takes you along the coast. The zodiac boats actually back into some of the lava tubes at the oceans edge.
Going to the Arizona Memorial? Tickets are free but are first come first served. Get there very early to avoid a long wait. Even if you are on a tour, you don't jump the line.
Drive up the H3 to the Dole Plantation to see the pinaapple and cane growing areas.
On Kuai you will want to see Waimea Canyon. It is several hour ride each way. To get the most out of your day on Kuai consider an all day tour. They will take you to the canyon, to the blow holes on the coast, to Wailu Falls and the Wailu River and to The Fern Grotto. You will get to see cane fields and the like along the way. Let someone else do all the driving here and you will get the most out of the island.
There are helicopter tours available on every island. They are all the biggest, best , with the best helicopters and most experienced pilots (at least if you believe their advertising). It would seem to me that there would be three tours I would consider.
1) Hilo- taking a flight over the active volcano 2) Kuai- taking a flight along the Napali coast (like Jurrasic Park) and into Waimea Canyon 3) Maui - taking a flight over Haleakala Volcano .
Gram is deathly afraid of helicopters so it is not something we have looked into in depth. There are a number of companies on each island and they are very competitive.
It is hard to get a reservation when there is a cruise ship in port, you might want to look into booking online. The one compnay that advertises the most is Blue Hawaiin.
Try a google search for helicopter tours hawaii. I'm sure you'll get all the information you need. Also check out guide books like Frommer's , Fodor's or Maui Revealed for their
recommendations. Worth the research as the trips are not cheap.
Can you explain to me how "tendering" is done from the ships? I know it is a method of deboarding, but how is it done? We will be going on Serenade of the Seas on 5/8 and I am concerned about someone who is not extremely stable on their feet getting from the ship to the port when they are tendering the ship. How does tending work? Any info would be appreciated.
The ship is anchored offshore . They use the large tenders, usually carried by the ship, but sometimes public tenders from the port are used. A stair case usually goes down one flight from a side entrance to the ship to a platrorm at water level to which the tender is tied. There can be anything from calm sea with no real issues to large swells
which can in fact hamper someone not terribly stable on their feet. At every point there will always be crew to assist you on and off , but, let me reiterate, in large swells you can have a problem getting on and off the ship.
On shore there will also be crew to assist your getting out of the tender and back on again.
If you think you have a problem, make your problem known to the officer in charge of the tender operation and he or she will get you as much assistance as you require.
Let me add a couple points to PapaBill's good explanation about tendering. The size of your vessel is also a factor. There are ports which can accommodate small to medium sized ships at the dock, but megaliners will have to anchor offshore. If the sea is too rough, the captain may decide to cancel a port call altogether rather than risk the passengers' or crew's safety. So keep in mind that you may not get to visit a particular port if conditions don't permit. If you do tender to shore, it's also possible you'll be unable to return later. That has happened to people on rare occasions, even when it means staying on the beach all night without shelter. Always block off extra time to reboard the ship when you must take a tender and try not to plan on using the last one or you might have a longer wait.