ED’S 82 DAY GRAND ASIA & PACIFIC SAILING WITH HOLLAND AMERICA – PART 33

December 15, 2018 – Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

Our last port of call on this incredible 82 day journey we have been on.  Lahaina is a location that is experienced by two million people, or approximately 80% percent of all of Maui tourism per year. Lahaina has over a thousand years of rich history and was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845. From beaches to restaurants, Lahaina has some of the best attractions Maui has to offer.

Lahaina’s Front Street has been ranked one of the “Top Ten Greatest Streets” by the American Planning Association. Enjoy a relaxing stroll, and if rest is needed, please take a break under the massive Banyan tree located in the town square.

Maui, known also as “The Valley Isle,” is the second largest Hawaiian island. The island beloved for its world-famous beaches, the sacred Iao Valley, views of migrating humpback whales (during winter months), farm-to-table cuisine and the magnificent sunrise and sunset from Haleakala. It’s not surprising Maui has been voted “Best Island in the U.S.” by Condé Nast Traveler readers for more than 20 years.

Maui is also where a recreational investment group we belong to, called Tropica Properties, has a condo!  We typically come to Maui every year, so we have seen most of the worthwhile sights on the island.  Instead, we went to our condo to do an inspection and to measure up our lanai space (patio) as we are going to replace our outdoor furniture soon.

As mentioned before, I lost my driver’s license somewhere in Australia and so Karen had to drive.  Our condo is not far from the car rental station and so it wasn’t too bad for her.

Our condo is unit G106 at Papakea Resort.  If you would like to see pictures of the condo or if you are ever interested in renting it, you can see it at https://www.vrbo.com/279543.

All is good at the condo and ready for our winter bookings.  We are back to Maui at the end of January, so looking forward to spending more than a day there.

Well, that’s it for our ports of call on the Holland America 82 Day Grand Asia and Pacific Cruise aboard the ms Amsterdam!

image009

It seemed like such a long voyage and now we are just a few sea days from ending back in Los Angeles where we will fly home immediately and give our kids and grandchildren hugs and kisses. While we have had a blast, as Dorothy said…”there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home”!  No magic red slippers, just a reliable WestJet flight home.

Thank you so very much for reading our blog!  We hope you have enjoyed it.  Until our next travel blog, in the words of Hans Christian Anderson – “To TRAVEL is to live”.

If a cruise like this sounds like your dream trip, reach out to the team at UNIGLOBE Carefree Travel.  They would love to help get you on your way!

uniglobe-basebar

FAIRMONT KEA LANI – JAMIE’S IN MAUI PART 2

As the remainder of my time in Maui was spent mainly in conference meetings at the Fairmont Kea Lani, I think it is important to comment on their meeting and convention facilities. The meeting rooms were very nice and unlike some, the A/C was very adjustable – one day was too warm, but they were able to cool the room quickly and one day the A/C was too cold, but they were able to turn it down and warm the room quickly, making the setting comfortable for attendees, which is important. We had several coffee breaks with fruit and baked goods, all of which were good – a nice selection of coffee and tea as well. The three lunches we had were lovely, set either on the patio outside out meeting room or on the lawn – beautiful settings, a nice break from being inside and good food as well. The staff were friendly and attentive, always saying hello and asking if they could help. The WIFI worked quite well through most of the hotel, although a little spotty in my room, which was at the end of of one of the wings. Although I wasn’t the organizer, from what I could tell, everything went very smoothly. Fairmont is a high quality product and everything was well done.

IMG_2166

One evening we had a sponsored dinner in Lahaina. Although I have been to Maui before, I had never spent much time in Lahaina and was looking forward to going. We had a bit of time to wander Front Street and shop for a few souvenirs and the setting felt very Hawaiian with the ocean on one side and the green mountains on the other. I don’t think I found any great bargains, but I did manage to pick up a couple of things I was looking for and have a nice stroll around the area. We all met at the Pacific’O Restaurant for a sunset dinner.

The Sunset was gorgeous and the setting was perfect. Beachfront, ocean views, a nice evening with warm weather and no wind. It couldn’t have been any better. The staff at the restaurant were great, very attentive and quick at bringing drinks, taking drinks, bringing around trays of pupu’s. For dinner, we had a choice of fish, lamb or beef. As I had fish the night before, I thought i would try the beef filet with Gorgonzola cheese on top, even though it was Hawaii and fish is usually the way to go. I was pleasantly surprised! The filet was as good as any I have had at a steakhouse back in Canada. It was the best meal I had the entire time I was in Maui – a big thumbs up and the next time I go to Maui, I would make a point of going back.

I would usually rent a car on Maui as it’s necessary to get around, but as I knew I wouldn’t have time to be out exploring, I decided to use a car service instead. I used a company called Maui ATS – Maui Airport Taxi Service – for a rate of $49 USD each way, it was less than taking a taxi. The drivers were waiting on time both ways and the drivers were friendly and professional. I would recommend them to anyone needing car service in Maui.

Sadly, my time in Maui was not longer, but I was lucky to be flying Air Canada Rouge in Premium Rouge class. It made the longer flights and night flights much more comfortable. The staff was friendly and the meal service was good. I also had a 7 hour layover in Vancouver and decided to get a day room rate at the Fairmont Vancouver airport. For a rate of $129, I had a room for 4 hours. I was able to get another 3 hours of sleep after not getting a lot of sleep on the night flight from Maui and have a shower and change my clothes before having to continue my journey home. It was well worth it and I felt significantly better for having spent my time there.

IMG_2149

Get Social With us @UniglobeCarefree on Facebook and @uniglobeYXE on Instagram and Twitter

www.uniglobevacation.com

FAIRMONT KEA LANI – JAMIE’S IN MAUI PART 1

This is my third time to Maui, second time to the Fairmont Kea Lani.  The first time I stayed at this hotel was about 8 years ago and I remembered it being an oasis of calm and beauty after the busy-ness of Honolulu.  I was not mistaken.

24775145_10155009822345009_385372031145172010_nAfter a long day of travelling, stressing over almost missing a connection and making it through a very bumpy landing (not my favorite), I walked outside the airport to meet my car service and 30 minutes later stepped out of the car to be greeted with a fresh orchid lei welcoming me to the Fairmont Kea Lani, a grand lady of a hotel that sits oceanfront in Wailea.  She is a large, white, elegant and classy looking hotel, with sweeping green lawns, flowers everywhere you look and endless shiny marble floors, columns and staircases.  She is really something to see.

As always, Fairmont provides exceptional service.  I was checked in within a matter of minutes and they had all my preferences on file and even welcomed me back, knowing exactly when I had last been here.  They sent me a text message so I would have that message on my phone and could just reply to the message if I needed any help with anything during my stay.  Instead of having to go to the front desk to ask, I could text and they would come to me.  WOW!

Due to the time change, it felt more like bedtime than dinner time when I arrived, but the Fairmont has a deli/bakery that is wonderful and allows you to pick up fruit, deli meats and salads, cereal, milk, yogurt, baked goods, wine, beer, etc.  So, I picked up a few things and had an early night.

The rooms at the Fairmont Kea Lani are fantastic.  For the most part, all rooms are one bedroom suites and very large.  A full bedroom, large bathroom with soaker tub and separate shower and a living room with sofa bed, plus a beautiful large lanai with a sunbed and table and chairs.  There is also a small fridge, microwave and coffee maker, allowing you to have a simple breakfast or small meal in your room, if you like.  The breakfast items from the deli are perfect.  I don’t usually eat a large breakfast, so there isn’t much point spending around $40 USD for a breakfast buffet when all I really want is toast or cereal!

There are three pools, one is adults only, one is geared for smaller children and one is more active and has a small water-slide.  The beach has nice sand, but is smaller.   There is some lava rock and some areas good for snorkeling.  I spent some time at the beach and pool yesterday morning.  They have cold water stations and towel stations throughout the property and I had no problems getting chairs at the beach or pool front, even at 9am.  I had lunch of shrimp quesadillas and a delicious cocktail called a Hibiscus margarita – and the cocktails come with orchid flowers in them, instead of umbrellas….how can you not love that.   The service around the pool was great, they were very quick to bring drinks and offer menus, etc.

We had a private dinner in one of the outdoor spaces last night.  It was also well done – a Hawaiian Duo with a pair of hula dancers for entertainment and some buffet food stations with the best Hawaiian Poke I have had.  It was a lovely day, in one of my favorite places.  Until next time, Aloha!

Get Social With us @UniglobeCarefree on Facebook and @uniglobeYXE on Instagram and Twitter

Colleen’s Hawaii Holiday – Final Blog

Our time in Kihei is done and we are moving to the Westin Kaanapali for our last 3 nights in Hawaii. Kihei and Kaanapali are 30 minutes apart but a world away.

Hawaii 06

View from Westin

Kihei is low key and quite and Kaanapali is high end and busy. The hotels that line this beach are higher priced but most think it’s worth it. The beach here is beautiful and stretches at least a mile. There is a path that runs between the ocean and the hotels for easy access to everything. In the middle is Whalers Village with plenty is shopping and ladies take out your wallets for the outlet mall in Lahaina. The shopping here is like a dream.   The prices here are a little higher than Kihei but they do have an ABC store in Whalers Village to get everything you need. There is something about Hawaii that keeps us coming back. I can’t really explain it. It’s just something you have to experience.

Hawaii 07 Hawaii 08

Colleen’s Hawaii Holiday – Part 2

After 2 relaxing days at the beach we decided to do something I have always wanted to do but never found the time: We are going to do the Road to Hana. Lots has been written about this trek and I think I have read them all. We are fortunate to have the Road to Hana CD in our condo so we took that along for reference. In all the books it says to stop in at Hana Picnic Lunch Co. for a lunch to take along and to get all the up to date Hana weather, road conditions and info to enjoy your trip. Truth is, they must pay a lot for that advertising as they asked us about getting the CD and bug spray and that was it.

To be fair the girl there was very nice and the food was good, but you could pack your own lunch or eat at one of he many stops on the highway. There is also a gas station right next door that sells food and styrofoam coolers. If anything I would recommend a stop here for the smoothie. It was perfect.

A couple of things that will make the trip better is to get started early:
– It is a long day and will leave you with more time to hit some spots along the way.
– Get gas before you get to Paia. The gas stations there were more expensive and were really busy.
– Take your runners not your sandals if you are wanting to trek to some of the falls. The trails are wet and muddy.
– Stop as often as you can. There are so many great places to stop and hike in to see falls or to just look at the coast line. Some places are pretty high up so the views are fantastic.
– Stop at Halfway to Hana for some of the best banana bread you will ever eat. We arrived just as it was coming out of the oven. It doesn’t get better than that.

About 15 mins before you hit Hana you will come across about 5 restaurants all side by side. From the amount of cars parked there I would assume they have great food. We opted to continue to Hana bay to eat our lunch we purchased in Paia. Yes the roads are narrow and winding and you have to drive slow but it is an experience you shouldn’t miss. We left Paia at 9:00 ( I know I didn’t take my own advice about leaving early but wished I did) and got back around 4:00 so it is a long day but was so much fun. Another thing off the bucket list.

Trail at Waikamoi

Trail at Waikamoi

Hana Highway

Hana Highway

Colleen’s Hawaii Holiday – Part 1

Aloha from Maui.

We had the chance to fly on Air Canada’s new product Rouge. This is their no frills flight from Vancouver to Maui. There is a charge for meals with water, pop, and coffee free. It was great to be greeted by a lot of young flight attendants happy to welcome you aboard. Nothing was too much trouble for them and they were happy to get everyone settled and on our way. There are no screens on the aircraft. They do supply a wide range of movies and TV shows, but you need to supply your own tablet or smartphone. The catch is that you have to download the app before you fly. If you don’t, then your only option is to rent a tablet from them for $10.00.

We arrived in Maui 10 mins early and our luggage was off within 20 minutes. We then went off to pickup our shuttle for our car rental. We booked a car rental with Advantage, but they are not located in the car rental building so you have to go out the front doors and stand by pole 2 in order to be picked up. The shuttle comes every 10 mins and it’s not long before we had our car and went our on our way to South Kihei. We decided to rent a condo in South Kihei that was recommended to us. It is the Kihei Kai Nani and is in a great location right across the street from Kamaole Beach Park II. We are in the first building so we are literally minutes from the beach. The condo has been recently renovated and is beautiful and clean. I love staying in a condo for many reasons – one of them being that we have a separate bedroom, we can cook some of our own meals and they usually come with all the beach toys. We have beach chairs, beach umbrella, beach towels, boogie boards, snorkel equipment. There are also floaty toys and beach toys which is great if you have kids. All you need to do is show up. We are also right next door to Moose McGillycuddy’s and many other great restaurants and shops. Contact me and I can give you the details on this condo. You won’t be disappointed.

Hawaii 01 Hawaii 02 Hawaii 03

Czarina’s Hawaiian Holiday – Part 1

Aloha!

The beautiful island of Maui is where I begin my next adventure.  It’s my first time visiting this tropical paradise and I’m in love!  The people and the Polynesian culture are so very rich and inviting.  We have met so many wonderful locals with great tips on the best snorkelling spots and restaurants.

Driving around is a breeze and it’s important to have a rental car to see the sights.  We started out by spending a few nights in the small beachfront city of Lahaina. I love the small town charm and neat stores and boutiques.  Lots of great restaurants are walking distance from the Outrigger Aina Nalu, our condo styled resort only blocks away from the town centre.

Staying in a condo has its perks like saving money on meals.  We aren’t far from a grocery store and managed to grab some breakfast and lunch items for later.  Saving money like that means we can spend more money on fancy seafood restaurants!  Being a seafood fanatic can be an expensive habit.  Thankfully, there are great deals to check out.  Like $1 oysters at Fleetwood Restaurant with a rooftop view of the ocean and the surrounding mountains.  They were delicious!

Lahaina has a laid back charm that entices most visitors to check out.  The island of Lanai is in the distance which makes this the perfect spot to try surfing as the waves are not as harsh as other areas of Maui.  How do I describe surfing?  It’s like getting up in the middle of a wave onto a slippery bar of soap and feeling exhausted and bordering on passing out.  Lol!   Also, there is a marina area that takes visitors out to snorkel, or visit Lanai or whale watching.  We even saw whales in the distance from town as December is a great time to see them.  The only downfall is there isn’t much of a beach in Lahaina.  Thankfully, we get to end our stay in Wailea, where the beaches are amazing…

Mahalo!

Jamie’s Hawaiian Escape – Day 5

Aloha!

Three words…Chai’s Island Bistro….WOW!  I would never come to Honoululu again without going to this restaurant.  Very easily, one of the best meals I have ever had.  When I left off last time, we were on our way to “dine around” downtown Honoululu.  We  had appetizers and martini’s at Indigo, which were excellent – an Asian Fusion, then off to Chai’s for dinner.  It was a great outdoor atmosphere, they had a fantastic ukelelele player and the food was out of this world.  Definitely put it on your list if you were coming this way.

Yesterday, Colleen, Jorgen, Mark and I decided to climb up Diamond Head.  We took the city bus to the base of Diamond Head, which cost $2.25 per person.  Park entrance is $1 each.  From the base of the crater, is is about 550 feet to the summit.  The trail, however, winds accross the crater, over various terrain – some is paved, there are dirt/gravel paths, a LOT of stairs (over 200 straight up!) plus some dark tunnels, etc.  It was a nice hike and took us 31 minutes to climb.  The brochure said it would be 30-45 minutes, so I guess we did alright.  There was a lot of people on the trail, everyone from little kids to older people…even some in flip flops!  We spet a bit of time taking pictures at the top, then headed down and had hot dogs and smoothies from the snack bus at the bottom.

We decided to walk back from Diamond Head to our hotel.  It would be maybe about 3 miles.  Mark and I stopped at the Kapiolani Beach Park on the way back as yesterday was “Lei Day” – a big festival here in Hawaii.  They have Lei making competetitions, food and craft vendors and live Hawaiian Music.  It was a very nice afternoon in the park – we even managed a nap under a big old tree while a lovely Hawaiian singer lulled us to sleep.  Very nice!

We walked back, stopping to shop a bit on the way and got ready for our farewell dinner, which was in the Ocean House restaurant at our hotel.  Once again, a lot of very good food and service and great company!  It has been a very enjoyable four days with the Uniglobe crew!

Now, onto today!  We are packing up and heading on to Maui and the Fairmont Kea Lani this afternoon.  I have heard so many great things about this hotel that I’m looking forward to checking it out for myself.  Tomorrow we also have a full day of Zip Lining lined up in Kaanapali….stay tuned!

Colleen in Maui – Day 5

Whale watching

Well this will be my last blog from Maui as we are off to Honolulu today.  Yesterday we were up early to go on a whale watching tour from Lahaina.  We went with the Lahaina Cruise Company for a 2 hour cruise.  It wasn’t long before we seen a  baby (if you can call it that.  15 feet long and 1500 pounds) and we knew that Mom could not be far off.  After about 10 minutes Mom surfaced and it was really something to see both of the swimming together.  Mom was huge as you could see her just beneath the water.  The boat does not come up really close to the whales but you really don’t have to to see the size of them.  It was really nice to be out on the water and look back at Maui.  The mountains are really something to see.  After the cruise, we went to the Pioneer Inn across from the harbour for breakfast.  After a little shopping in Lahaina, we came back to the condo and spent our last day on the beach before going to Honolulu.  While we were on the beach, we spotted a big male humpback who was out playing in the water.  It was unbelievab le.  He was rolling so his pectoral fins were coming right out to the water and then he we poke his head out almost to see if anyone was watching and then would do it again.  It was something to see.  We had binoculars so we could see him up close.  It was a WOW.  We went to Dollys across the street for supper and then came home to pack.  We really enjoyed out stay in Maui and sitting on the lanai looking over the ocean.  What I am going to miss most is the sound of the waves lulling you to sleep everynight.

Colleen in Maui – Day 3

Napili BayStill can’t seem to sleepin so we got up and headed over the farmers market about 5 minutes from our condo.  They had a variety of fruit, vegetables and bread.  We bought a pineapple and watermelon that were so sweet.  After breakfast we decided to check out one of the better beaches here in Maui.  Thanks to the people that own the condo, we had everything we need.  They had beach chairs, umbrella, cooler, snorkeling equipment and water shoes.  So with our car loaded, we were off to Napili Bay.  All beaches in Hawaii are public but it can take some work to find the public access between all the hotels.  The beach here is beautiful and the waves are quite big.  Great place for boogy boarding and snorkeling.   We stayed just long enough to get a new burn and were back at the condo by 4:00pm.  We decided to head back to Lahaina for supper.  It was quite busy as the cruise ship was in.  We had supper in the upstairs restaurant Cool Cat Cafe where the view and the food was really good.  We visited a couple of stores and then back to the condo to get some much needed rest.  I tell you sitting on the beach all day can be exhausting work 🙂