I recently completed a Holland America Line cruise to the Hawaii Islands. The cruise left from San Diego and visited the four major islands: Kauai, Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island. The exceptional 14-day cruise let me experience the best of Hawaiian culture, foods, and people (both on the ship and on the islands). It also gave me a great way to learn about the distinct personalities of each island. There is no better way to sample these islands in true luxury than aboard a Holland America Line cruise ship. This is an excellent way to learn about Hawaii, the Hawaiian life, and the islands. Here is an overview of the cruise aboard Holland America Line’s Zaandam, by the numbers:
• 14 Day Hawaii Cruise
• 5pm Zaandam set sail from San Diego, California
• 4 islands visited
• 9 days at sea
• 2,169 nautical miles from San Diego, California to Hilo, Hawaii
• 4,941 total nautical miles traveled during the voyage
• 74 degrees Fahrenheit average temperature on the Hawaiian islands
• 58,695 total horsepower of cruise ship engines
• 12 cylinder diesel engines powering the ship
• 785 feet in length on the Zaandam
• 1410 guests onboard the Zaandam
• 606 crew members
• 1 very happy cruiser enjoying a Holland America Line Cruise to Hawaii!
I highly recommend Holland America Line’s Hawaii Cruise for its immersion into Hawaiian culture and experience. This is a well-rounded trip for those who would like to learn more about the different islands, get a better understanding of the unique Hawaiian culture, and experience the true Aloha spirit of Hawaii.
When we arrived at the airport in Oahu, I couldn't believe how many limos waiting at the curb just outside of the airport. I thought, boy, there's either a lot of stars arriving today or they just held the Miss Universe Pageant. Well, it was neither! To my surprise, I later found that limos charge about the same going rate to and from the airport as a beat-up old taxi (give or take a fiver)! You too can feel like a very important person for a very moderate price! In 2000, the standard taxi fare to the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel from the airport was about $30 one way for one person or more. The cost for a limo was nly about $35!
There is a shuttle bus that came pick us up from our hotel at the Pacific Beach Hotel to go to the Atlantis Cruise ship. The shuttle bus is operated by the Hilton Village Hotel and goes from one hotel to another.
RENT A DUNEBUGGY.....This was the most fun we had in Hawaii, it was $170 for a 24 hour period. I went around the whole island and did all the tours and same places the tours went to. I would have spent $480 on the places I went to, and it would have been crowded and been on the schedule of the bus. Renting this Dune Buggy I spent $170 and saw everything on my own schedule, went to North Shore, the eastern part, Peral Harbour, USS arizona, Diamond Head Volcano, The snorkeling bay (in which he gave me a free snorkeling gear)
The best part is while your driving, everyone stares at you because the Buggy is so cool. It is street legal, and feels great going 80 on the freeway.
If you are not the driving type he also has dune buggy tours, where he drives you and your group around on a cool tour its like $50 for 2 hours, $80 for 4 hours or $100 for 8 hours, and he'll customize the trip to what you want to do. I cant stress how much fun this was, and you have to take out of these babys out..... you'll be glad you did!!!
This is more for my information as I frequently get asked about it and I can never remember such things.
We left Hawaii with Delta at 10:15pm (would not do this anymore...day got too long from check outtime of hotel) to LA (2553m, 5h 22m) arrived a day later at 6:37 am. Then flew from LA at 9 am to Reno (382mi, 1h21m arrived 10:21)
More for my information (I tend to forget such things) as I get frequently asked by people. That's how we got to Hawaii:
We booked Delta as we had to have a stop over in Reno, Nevada on the way home. Its always the cheapest option for this. We flew from Zurich to Paris (292 mi, 1h 20m, 10am). From there we were lucky to be on a Air France plane (own TV, better food and service) to LA (5653 mi, 11h30m, 1:15 pm). There we had a 2 hour stop over (not to be recommended for non US people, due to customs. You can only make it if you are lucky and fit...had to run through the different terminals). LA to Honolulu (2553mi, 5h 40m, 5,55pm). Landing time Honolulu: 8:35pm. All in all not bad as you quickly get into the rhythm that way.
JULY 2006 UPDATE: The first paragraph below is not quite true anymore. However, you should still check national carrier airfares from your hometown to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Salt Lake, or Oakland and then check fares on Hawaiian or US Airways from there to the islands to see if there is a deal to be had.
When checking airfares, it is usually cheaper to get flights through Los Angeles than San Francisco. The savings can go from $50 to $100 per ticket. For us, buying separate tickets from Orlando to LA and then LA to Honolulu (sometimes on different carriers) we can save about $350 on two tickets rather than buying tickets from Orlando to Honolulu from one airline as a single flight (your mileage may vary). Break your trip into segments and search for tickets to see if you can save $$, too. Be mindful of allowing a longer layover (maybe 3 hours) since you possibly have to claim and then recheck your luggage if you are on separate airlines. However, you may be able to get the airline to transfer your luggage to the other for you. Just ask at the ticket counter and have your other tickets handy for verification.
You definitely need a rental car. On Kaua‘i or the Big Island, a 4WD is handy for the off-the-beaten-path places. Without it, your exploration capabilities become limited.
Just a little advice before you start planning: DO NOT trust advice from a travel agent about what is "best".
Unless they've traveled to the destination many times - which most agents have not - they are simply spewing the marketing garbage they are fed by the trade publications they get in the mail. And those guides' BEST ratings are usually based on who paid the most for the listing.
On top of that, agents are going to steer you in the direction that pays them the highest commission or what is on their "hot list" and not quite what is best for you. As an example, you may end up in a $400+/night fancy hotel rather than a $150/night place that would have been your true choice. The reverse of this could also be true.
Although travel agents get discounted travel and are offered "fam trips" (familiarization trips), very few go on them. After all, if they went on all of the trips offered them, they would not have time to work. Besides, when on official fam trips, they are usually whisked away on a Friday afternoon only to return by Sunday evening. The whole time they were at their destination they were pushed and pulled from place to place in a blitzkrieg with not much time to soak it all in.
Plan your own trip!
Stick to advice you get from this site since there are so many great pages from people who are passionate about it (be cautious of banner ads here).
Use the guidebooks in the section above.
Read as many VT pages as possible since so many offer simple suggestions that you may overlook while trying to plan your vacation on one of those big travel sites.
Ask as many questions as you can in the forums.
Then use an agent, if you so desire, to just make reservations for you.
I prefer to plan my trips a la carte and make my reservations directly. In my opinion, it makes for a much more enjoyable trip.
There are different ways of travelling around the islands and within Honolulu. If you just wanted to go shop at Ala Moana, you can just hop into the bus. The city bus stops in Ala Moana Center. Just for a $2.00 you get to and fro the city. Find out more about the bus by calling the information line 808-848-5555.
Some tourists get into the pink trolley - it has double sided seats and gives you better views of the Waikiki Beach and the beach shops. This runs raily every nine minutes.
Roberts Hawaii brings tourists to the Polynesian Cultural Center and a trip around the island. If you wanted something different, mopeds are being rented out and the smart cars are also available.
Once settled into you room, Motorbikes are the quickest transports thru the city.
Ask your hotel doorman about how much to pay for your destination. Although not the safest they will shave hours of headache in manuvering thru traffic at times. They are a bit crazy at times though. They will drive into oncomming traffic, sidewalk, alleys and anywhere there bike will fit to get there quicker! So if your faint of heart, stay in tuk tuks or taxis.
We stayed on 4 different islands while visiting Hawaii. We rented a car on each island. I will admit that it did get a little old to have to wait in the rental car lines 4 times, but it was well worth it. It was very reasonably priced...I think we paid less than $300 for a compact car on each island....total of 3 weeks. We used Dollar, but I think the others are comparable.
These travel guides proved very useful for both their insight and maps with directions to the off-the-beaten-path places they write about. This is not an advertisement for them nor do I receive anything from them. It's just a fair endorsement of a very fine product.
They opened our eyes to the real beauty of Hawai‘i. I believe they can do the same for you.
Even if you've been there a dozen times without them, I believe if you look through their pages, you WILL find places you never knew about. Incidently, the authors do brag in the book that they have written about places that even the locals knew nothing about.
You may have heard some of the bad press these books have received lately. It seems there are a lot of locals who do not appreciate their little secret places being revealed. They feel that their little piece of paradise is being overrun. It's not that they do not want to share, it's just that they would like a respite from the hordes of tourists who have invaded their lands. And these little hidden places offer just that.
Therefore, you need to be respectful. If there is a "No Trespassing" or "Private Property" sign, please heed it, regardless of what the books might lead you to believe.
If you are planning a trip to Maui, Kaua‘i, The Big Island, or O‘ahu, be sure to buy these books and plan your trip with them. You WILL NOT be disappointed!
Are you wondering what the weather will be like? Sure you are. You are hoping that it will not rain during your stay, right? Well, I can honestly say that it WILL! But maybe not where you are at.
It rains just about every day somewhere on most every island. This has to do with the way the ocean breezes interact with the high mountains. Just remember that it is more likely to rain on the north and eastern sides of the islands since this is from which direction the typical trade winds blow.
But a bigger concern would be a hurricane or tropical weather system like in the photo here. If you want to see current satellite pictures, go here: http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/trop-epac.html Or, for more info from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, go here: http://www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/cphc/
If there is a tropical system heading towards Hawai‘i, there is a good chance of rain everywhere or, at the least, clouds everywhere. So start looking at these sites about a week before your trip to see what's in store for you.
Return to my main Hawai`i page.
Do you want to relish the thoughts of that wonderful vacation you had in Hawai‘i all those years ago? Do you want to plan another vacation there with a closer look at the culture that is Hawai‘i? Or, if you've never been before, do you just want to learn more about the Islands of Aloha before you plan that big trip? Or, (if you're like my wife and I) since you've been to the Islands several times and just can't seen to get enough of it, do you want to live and breathe everything Hawai‘i while back home until that next trip?
I have one suggestion if you answered yes to any of these questions: HAWAI‘I MAGAZINE
For planning your trip, you'll find a section for each island that highlights the local activities, a listing of scheduled events, and plenty of web links for you to obtain more details. This alone is worth the price of subscription.
Then there are the stories that dive into the Islands' past, explore points of interest, detail the lives of prominent Hawai‘ians, or just detail cultural aspects of Hawai‘i. As an example, in the Jan/Feb 2004 issue, there was a wonderful article entitled A Culture Speaks that dove into the history of Hawai‘ian chant, which was such a vital communication tool for this civilization that had no written language.
Whatever your disposition on traveling to Hawai‘i, you will definitely want this magazine sitting on your coffee table while you plan that next trip.
No need to rent a car really. Public transportation is good. One way ticket ride costs $2 (and you are allowed 1 transfer).
You are better off buying a 4-days bus pass for $20, which gives you unlimited bus rides for 4 consecutive days (excludes special service buses) . It can be bought in ABC and 7-Eleven stores and the BusPass Office at 811 Middle Str.
Upon arrival to the Halekulani you are greeted at the desk and assigned a staff member to tour you...more
The hotel room I had, had a balcony. When I looked to the right, I had a view to the ocean.more
2417 Prince Edward Street, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815, United States
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