After 4 full days at sea with lots of relaxing and hand washing (Norvo virus was spreading) we docked at our first port which was Hilo on the big island of Hawaii. It rains a lot on the Big Island and the sky didn’t look very good. Lots of rain clouds and wind. We decided to take a free shuttle to Hilo Hattie (a well known Hawaiian store chain) If you see a couple with matching outfits (flower shirt for the man and a flower dress for the lady ) they most likely bought them there. We picked up a few little things for the kids and checked out the mail right next door. The sky cleared up so we jumped on the next shuttle and headed back to the ship. We were back at about 2 pm and we set sail at 5pm. We saw some whales as we departed. We had 5:30 dinner reservations and then when up to the Lido deck to watch another movie.
In the morning we arrived in Maui at 7am. What a beautiful island. We tendered to the shore (which means we were transferred to the shore in life boats). The boats hold over 200 people so it sure didn’t take long to get ashore. We jumped in a taxi and went to Whalers Village in Kaanapali. I loved it there. Lots of duty free shopping in an outdoor mall, restaurants on the beach and an awesome beach. We sat on the beach for a couple hours just taking it all in. The last tender was leaving shore at 5pm (set sail at 5pm) so we decided to head back at 4pm to beat the rush. The announcement from the captain came at 5pm with an update on the Noro Virus outbreak. The virus had spread to 2% of everyone on the ship and was expected to increase. To me it seemed safer to stay away from the buffets and enclosed dining rooms so we ate at the Smokehouse BBQ located on the Lido deck right by the pool. Again we watching the Movie Under the Stars. it was “Last Vegas” and was really good. Honolulu in the morning!
Today was our first organized excursion. We were picked up at the pier and drove through Waikiki and down the coast. We stopped at Hanauma Bay. It is a huge bay with calm water and beautiful white sand beaches. From there we continued down the coast and stopped at another beach where “From Here to Eternity” was filmed (that movie was playing on the big screen at the pool when we got back) we drove part way up a mountain to Paili Lookout and saw an amazing view of the whole area from up there. After the tour we were dropped off at Hilo Hattie. In the entrance they have the biggest Hawaiian shirt ever made. It was a size 400XL. The store offers a compliment shuttle to Waikiki and back to the ship so we went to the one hotel I have always wanted to see: the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It is a huge complex with lots of hotel room tours, lots of shops (including 3 ABC stores). The resort has a man-made lagoon and it is featured lots on the new Hawaii 5-O series. I looked for McGarret and Dano but no luck. We hung out at the beach for a couple hours and too the shuttle back to the pier. On the way back the shuttle driver pointed out the area where President Obama went to high school and where is mother lived. We were back at the ship at about 5pm (not sailing until 11pm) so the ship was fairly quiet. Message from the captain was that the virus numbers had increased to 2.26%. He also advised that the show in the main theatre which was to feature local dancers etc from the Polynesian Cultural Center was cancelled due to the virus. The deck attendants were setting up for a deck party for later in the evening at 9pm. We were going to check it out but is started to rain so we went to our stateroom and ordered room service. We sailed a little late… they were waiting for a couple stragglers. In the morning we would be in Kauai.
We had booked a tour that went up to a waterfall, river cruise to Fern Grotto, Botanical Gardens, and Luau with a romantic ceremony. It was about a 20 minute drive to the waterfall. The waterfall was pretty small. The river boat held at least 100 people and it was a scenic cruise down the river. We got off and walked up a path to the Fern Grotto. It was beautiful up there. There was lots of flowers, plants and a small waterfall. There was a band and dancers that entertained us for about a half a hour. At the end they played and danced to the Hawaiian version of the Hawaiian Wedding Song. After we went back down the river we were picked up by trolleys and went for a ride through the botanical gardens… it was really nice. We stopped to watch the ceremony where they dig up the pig for the Luau and blow the conch shell. The food at the Luau was really good. There was a band and some dancers to entertain us. During the meal they started the ceremony. Any couple that wanted to take part had to sign up in advance on the ship (this is something they just do for the Princess guests) . When the couples name was called they were presented with a certificate and leis to give to each other. After the meal they asked the couples to get up and repeat vows to each other, kiss and then the band played the English version of the Hawaiian Wedding Song…it was an awesome way to finish our last day in Hawaii. When back at the ship the announcement was the virus was increasing at a slow rate….we chose to go with room service again and then went to the Lido deck to watch the Hobbit. When we got back to the room the bed had been turned down with an invitation from the Captain to join him for a Cocktail reception in a couple days…so cool!!!! I did take lots of pictures but I will wait until we get home to post them – the internet is really slow on the ship.