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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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