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Old April 23rd, 2006, 01:08 PM
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Default HELP! - Activity Recommendations - Hilo, Kauai, Maui, Kona

I was just wondering if anyone has some recommendations and tips on what to book for excursions at our ports of call. Also what to or where to go in Honolulu.

We are renting a car in Honolulu for 2 days.
Is it worth getting the most expensive tickets to the Polynesian Cultural Center?

Our cruise, Pride of Hawaii departs June 5/06 for 7 days.

Need to arrange plans for the following days:

Tues 6/6 in Hilo 8am - 7pm
Wed - Thurs 6/7 - 6/8 in Kahului, Maui 8am - until 6pm next day
Fri 6/9 in Kona 7am - 6pm
Sat 6/10 Nawilliwili, Kauai 10am - overnight

We love water activities and adventurous kind of things. I would love to try ziplining if anyone knows where it would be possible at any of the ports or in Oahu.
Thanks to anyone willing to help us to plan our trip.

Lynn
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Old April 26th, 2006, 01:05 AM
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Hi Lynn,

We did the 15 night R-T on the Island Princess in January -- had a wonderful time.

First, I would highly recommend the Revealed Hawaii books -- there is one for each island. These were a God send to us, compared to Fodors.

* In Hilo (our favorite port), we rented a car (easy) and went to two water falls and Boiling Pots, and then to the other side of the island to Volcaanoes National Park. A *wonderful* day and lots to see. You can also stop back after Volcanoes at the Madamia place and Orchid store if you still have time.

* In Maui, our friends had rented a car -- lovely scenic drives, and lunch at Kimos in Lahaina I would say is a must

* In Kona, it's easy to do the town on foot and using the shuttle buses. Some things to see but a low-key port.

* In Kauia, again we rented a car and drove out to Kauai State Park (gorgeous) and all the way to Princeville. Again,. the Revealed books were our guide.

Hope this helps,

Harry
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Old April 30th, 2006, 05:21 PM
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Hi Harry,

Thanks for all the tips. I really appreciate you taking the time to help me.

I am going to see if I can find Reaveled Hawaii Book to study.

I still have not planned every port yet but I think we will rent a car in Maui, Kauai and Hilo. I will definitely try lunch at Kimos in Lahaina.

Again...thanks so very much. You were very helpful.

Lynn
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 01:31 AM
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Lynn, there are Revealed books for each island. Absolutely great and great directions.

We stopped at the Polynesian Center for lunch and that was it ... I didn't really see much I wanted to stay for ... reminded me of Seaworld, and a very homogenized version of Polynesian life. You make the call.

Here is a link to the photos from our cruise ... maybe they will help you decide what you wish to do:

http://cruisemates.com/gallery/view.php?id=2682

On the cars, we went through:

www.discounthawaiicarrentals.com and had a great experience in every port. Plus great rates. We rented Dodge Neons and got 'em for $35 a day, with tax. Nice comfy car for two (and I am 6-4). Be sure you click the button at the top for pier pickup. I would *not* spend the money for a convertible (as advised in the Revealed books) due to rain and sun.

Finally, we did see the USS Arizona in Honolulu ... definitely worth it in my opinion. But in this case, I would book the excursion (about $39), because the tour groups get preferential treatment to get on the ferry over to the Arizona. Schleps off the street wait 1.5 to 2 hours. We lucked out and got there when a tour bus was late and got in 15 mins but we were the exception.

Hope this also helps.

Harry
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 02:24 AM
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Lynn,

I was just wondering if anyone has some recommendations and tips on what to book for excursions at our ports of call. Also what to or where to go in Honolulu.

We are renting a car in Honolulu for 2 days.
Is it worth getting the most expensive tickets to the Polynesian Cultural Center?


I'll be in Honolulu for two days in October. Having never been there, I'm planning to spend one day at Waikiki and the other day at Pearl Harbor. Then again, I had a very authentic encounter with Polynesian culture on a cruise to "French Polynesia and Samoa" a few years ago so another encounter with Polynesian culture would be third on my list. Your mileage may vary.

Wed - Thurs 6/7 - 6/8 in Kahului, Maui 8am - until 6pm next day

I had to go to a technical conference at Wailea (Maui) a couple years ago to present a paper, so I decided to stay and see some of the island. Since lodging in Wailea was pretty expensive and lodging in Lahaina was considerably more affordable, I decided to relocate when the conference ended. I actually did get to see much of the island. Kahului is the island's commercial hub so it has a good shopping center, a couple hotels, an airport, and a few restaurants, but you won't find much else there. Here's my take as to good options.

>> 1. If you take the ride to the top of Haleakala (over 10,000 feet), you'll get good view of the crater and, on a clear day, the cost of Maui's "South Shore" region. If it's a cloudy day, you'll get a nice view of the tops of the clouds. The astronomical observatories at the summit are fascinating, but they are "off limits" to the public. The road to the summit is very windy, so the trek to the summit from Lahaina will pretty much kill the day.

>> 2. Tedeschi Vineyards, located at the base of Haleakala on the southwest side, produces a very interesting selection of wines. Their "Maui Blanc" is a white wine made from pineapple, but most of their wines are made from grapes. Champagne lovers should sample their "Maui Brut." If one is driving, the country store across the street is a great lunch stop. The farm that operates the winery is also a working ranch. Unfortunately, a segment of the Pi'ilani Highway (route 31) between Wailea and Tedeschi Vineyards is closed so one has to to all the way north to Kahului, then turn south on the parallel road to combine this trip with a visit to Wailea.

>> 3. The best accessible scenery is the drive along the north coast between Kahului and Lahaina, but one needs to allow plenty of time for this drive. A major segment of this road is single lane and very winding, with many hairpin turns, and you WILL meet vehicles going in the opposite direction. (Fortunately, there are plenty of places to pull off and let them by), so allow about three hours for this drive. The return trip, by the more southern route, will take only an hour.

>> 4. Lahaina, the island's historic whaling town and the state's former capital, has some worthwhile attractions of historic significance including the Best Western Pioneer Inn, a historic hotel that still serves that function located right next to a park with a huge banyan tree in the center of town. Lahaina's downtown shopping, aimed mostly at the tourist market, is pretty honky-tonk, but a relatively new mall seems to be trying to attract a better class of stores. For good shopping, to the mall in Kahului (mainsteam) or to The Shops at Wailea (upscale).

5. Wailea, on the island's "South Coast," has some of the most spectacular resorts in the islands. The Marriot Resort is the least most affordable. The Grand Wailea Resort is the most impressive and most expensive. There are three resorts in between that are pretty competitive, including a Four Seasons property. The Shops at Wailea offer the most "upscale" shopping on the island, but they also have some very good -- and reasonably priced -- restaurants for lunch.

You won't have enough time to do the drive to Hana, on the east side of the island, because the road is too long and winding. You also won't have enough time to take either of the ferries from Lahaina to the islands of Molokai, site of a historic leper colony, or Lanai.

Fri 6/9 in Kona 7am - 6pm

I have heard from several sources that the excursion to Volcano National Park is a "must see" trip, so I'm planning to check it out in October.

I don't have suggestions for the other ports of call, than that the guide books indicate that there are also good beaches along the Kona Coast of Hawai'i.

Have a great cruise!

Norm.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
I have heard from several sources that the excursion to Volcano National Park is a "must see" trip, so I'm planning to check it out in October.
Norm, I totally agree about that ... it was one of our favorite outings. We just lucked out when we were at the waterfalls outside Hilo when we overheard some other folks were heading to Volcanoes Park, so we decided to squeeze it in. Consulting my Revealed guide, we got the route and 40 mins later were at the park. I remember telling Art, "We have one hour," so we adopted our "speed tourism" strategy -- see, click photo, 5 min, and back in car. By this, we got to see the steam vents, the crater lookout and the lava tube/rain forest in the course of one hour.

On the drive back, is a huge orchid place where the ship's tours stop (easy to do on your own) and the Macadamia nut outlet (again, easy to do on your own).

By the way, Hilo had the easiest car pickup/drop-off, too ... at the airport, which was easy to get out of and easy to find on our way back. Very centrally located to hit the main streets to get to the sights.

By the way, because we had the shortest day in Hilo (we did not get off the ship till 10 and had to be back by 3:30), I feel like we crammed a lot in. *And* it never rained!

Harry
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Old June 16th, 2006, 12:12 PM
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Renting a car in Honolulu is definitly a great idea. My husband and I took the Pride of Aloha cruise in March for our honeymoon. We shared the rental fee with another couple and it was well worth the money. If you have some time you should try to see Pearl Harbor. It was free to get in. We paid $5 pp to get a headset which gave an audio tour. (If you do go, make sure to get your tickets as soon as you get there to see the Missouri.


I didn't get to do the Polycultural center because we were only there one day but I heard doing it on your own was definitly the way to go.

In Hilo, I would definitly go to volcano national park. I strongly suggest doing the excursion for this through the cruise line. I found the tour guides extremely knowledgable. It is amazing to see the different parts of the volcano. If you are booking through the cruise line there are two different tours. Make sure to book the one that says "lava viewing.". I booked the other one and didnt get to see the flowing lava. However it was still a great tour. You have to be fit to do these as they both are long walks on some rough terrain.

Make sure the night you are in Hilo you are on the port side of the ship. Lucky for us we had a balcony as we just stayed there. The ship does a 360 turn in front of Kilueau to see the lava going into the ocean.

Hope this helps.
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Old June 2nd, 2007, 09:53 PM
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For the big Island I would recommend taking an excursion to the Volcano, it is a one of a kind experience!!! We went on the Lava Walk as well, which was amazing. I guess you do not always see lava though, so it is a hit or miss type of tour.

On Kauai I would highly recommend an Air tour with Air Ventures. They have a brand new six-passenger plane. Our tour was breath taking, by far the most beautiful scenery we had ever seen. Kauai is an amazing experience by air! We booked out tour off the web site www.airventureshawaii.com and they provided free transportation from the ship!

Enjoy Hawaii!
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