Aloha means hello and good bye. Last week we said “aloha” (goodbye) to Hawaii, and I had a great time. After a rough start with our transfers from the airport to the hotel, we were all very pleasantly surprised when we got to our rooms. Our room, at the Marriott Waikiki beach Hotel, was very nice and when we opened our drapes we looked out on a beautiful ocean view of Waikiki beach. Our first dinner in Hawaii was at the Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant about a block away from the hotel. I had a taste of the islands with the Cheeseburger Island Style hamburger. It was delicious.
Our first excursion began bright and early the next morning. We all began a tour around the the island of Oahu that ended at the Polynesian Cultural Center. I felt the tour of the island could have been a little better. Our guide was a little difficult to hear. She really didn’t speak up loud enough to keep our attention. We arrived at the PCC about mid-day and we sought out a food truck to have lunch. The Polynesian Cultural Center is an open air immersive experience in the various Polynesian cultures. We arrived in time to see a canoe pageant. We enjoyed the demonstrations of island dances and performances. We continued exploring the different villages. We caught a performance of a traditional Tahitian wedding ceremony, a hilarious drum performance in the village of Tonga, and a personal demonstration of husking and harvesting coconut oil.
Our dinner was a traditional luau with roasted in the ground kalua pork, poi, and tropical fruits. It was served buffet style and the food was plentiful and delicious. During the dinner we were entertained with different Polynesian dances and performances including a fire twirler.
The main event of the evening was the performance of the “Breath of Life”. An extravaganza of Polynesian dance and storytelling. As described in their promotional literature “ It is a Pacific isle saga of birth and death, love and family, triumph and tragedy.” After the performance we found our way back to our van and guide for our return trip to the Marriott.
I hope everyone got a chance to meet and talk to everyone at our Ha-waii cruise meet and greet. We missed you Joanne and we hope your tooth situation gets remedied. I told you I would send you a “review” of what we talked about, pertaining to the cruise. So …. here we go. First, we discussed getting down to the airport, and whether some of us wanted to stay down there for the night before we leave. The web-site I found that had the most reasonable park, sleep, fly package was the Ramada Inn, one mile from airport. The total cost, after taxes, was about $112. Here is the website http://www.buyreservations.com/airport-hotel-search/Orlando-Airport-Hotels-MCO/ . This package includes 2 weeks parking. Second, I needed to know if you definitely wanted to book the Polynesian Cultural Center Circle tour and luau. If I book you we can get a 10% discount. This is on the Friday, after we get to Honolulu. If you want to join us call me and give me your credit card # and I will make those reservations. Third, I also need to know if you would like to join us on the “Road to Hana” small van tour. I can make those reservations all together. The company, Adventuremaui, offers a senior discount if $111.99 (60 yrs. +, sorry Ray). Forth, if you want to go on the Pearl Harbor or Molokini snorkeling trip, or any other ship excursions, you can book those yourself, after you create an Account with Norwegian. Fifth, remember we are subject to bag-gage fees on our checked baggage to and from Hawaii. The charge is $25 for the first bag (pp), and $35 for the second. This can be paid at online check-in or at the desk at the airport. If you do it online be sure to print out the receipt and bring it with you. Finally, every cruise ship always adds gratuities for the convenience of the passengers, so they don’t have to go around tipping everyone that served them or are unsure who to tip. The cruise will add $12.95 per person for each day of the cruise, to your final bill. At the end of the cruise you can go to the desk and adjust that charge up or down if you want. They also give you the option of pre-paying your gratuities so you don’t have to worry about that issue while on board. Brenda and I are going to pre-pay our gratuity charges. I’m not sure if you can do that yourself from your Account. If you want to do this and need help just call me.
The Island of Maui is our first stop on our discovery of Hawaii. Our ship stays docked overnight, so we have the better part of two days in port. In researching this port it appears that we dock at the industrial port of Kalului. There doesn’t seem to be anything near this port area that would be interesting to visit on foot http://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=472. Many of the reviews read and research I have done recommend renting a car, if you don’t reserve an excursion. The ship offers several excursions showing the best of Maui, from a drive along the beautifully scenic Road to Hana to the summit of the Haleakala volcano, 10,000 feet above sea level. Two things that look especially interesting is a snorkeling excursion that goes out to the Molokini crater https://www.tombarefoot.com/hawaii-activities/aloha-bluecharters/morning-molokini-snorkel/2661 and renting a scooter from the Scooter Shack to “putter” around Maui http:// www.mauiscootershack.com/scooter-rentals/ .
Fun Facts: In Hawaii, no celebration’s complete without a lei. And the flower garlands come with strict rules. For starters, it’s impolite to refuse a lei, remove it in front of the person who gave it to you, or wear one that you intended to give to someone else. A lei should never be thrown away. Instead, it should traditionally be returned to the earth, ideally to where its flowers were gathered. And it’s bad luck to give a lei to a pregnant woman, as it suggests an umbilical cord around the baby’s neck. (mentalfloss.com)
One of the most reverent and sacred places in America is the memorial for the battleship Arizona. It is especially sacred to those of the “Greatest Generation”. We all have some degree of contact with these great Americans. My father was a bombardier/navigator on B-17’s in the European Theater during WWII. Some of you probably have relatives who fought or supported the war effort during that time. The memorial at Pearl Harbor was the beginning of that great conflict, which further tested the “mettle” of our citizens after coming out of the greatest economic crisis America has ever known. Many people who have written reviews for their visit to Pearl Harbor express how emotional the experience was. Norwegian offers a dissembarkment excursion of Pearl Harbor and the U.S.S. Arizona memorial, where World War II started, and the battleship U.S.S. Missouri, where the conflict ended. Our ship, the Pride of America, docks around 7:00am on Saturday. Our plane doesn’t leave for our trip home until about 7:00pm that evening. I think it would be a great opportunity to take advantage of the dissembarkment excursion to Pearl Harbor. The excursion ends at the Airport where we can wait for our departure. Aloha :-)
Well, I hope you all are as excited as Brenda and I are. There are 10 of us going on this trip. The purpose of this little news letter is to keep in touch and to offer tips and suggestions to make your trip the best ever.
First, we are having a little “meet and greet” get together at my house on August 15. Invites with directions will be following. We will try our hand at some Hawaiian goodies (not to compare to the real thing). The pool will also be open, if you’re of a mind to cool down.
Our group consists of Lew and Nancy Lushear, Frank and Annemarie Munroe, Ray and Marilyn Bielfelt, Joanne Nix, and Alice Quatro.
Something to think about. Our flight leaves Orlando at 8:20 am. Sept. 24. Let’s think about the easiest, most stress free way to get to the airport. One option might be to book a room at a hotel that will let you park your car for free during your trip. I’ve checked out the Ramada Inn at the Airport and they have a “park stay fly” deal for $95 with up to 14 days parking. This may be one option. Any other suggestions please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
DON’T FORGET!!!!!! Don’t for get to set up your account with Norwegian Cruise Lines at www.ncl.com/myncl. Our Edocs. (trip documents) will be available, online, about 30 days from our sale date. This also gives you access to excursion sold by NCL.
08/15 Hawaiian “get together”
09/24 Fly away to Hawaii