Hawaii Cruise 2014
This is the story of our fifteen day cruise to Hawaii from San
Francisco April of 2014. (April 13 - 28)
Peg had been on Princess to Alaska and thought this would be a
nice trip for us to go as a group to Hawaii. Lots of cruising
and some sightseeing. The price was right and it left from San
Peg rode the train down from Portland to San Jose and stayed
Sunday night with us.
After looking at various options I finally made a deal with a
small taxi company to take us to the ship for $150 each way
including tip. Slightly more expensive then driving and parking
my car near the ship. It will be a professional drop-off and
The trip is five days at sea then a stop in Honolulu Ohau, a
stop at a small port on Kauai, a tender to Maui, a stop at Hilo
on Hawaii. Five days at sea and A final stop in Ensenada Mexico
then back to San Francisco.
An uneventful trip to the ship. We got the wheelchair for Peggy
and away we went. We passed the lines and got on board promptly.
Peg found her "scooter" in her room as expected. Deb had a
bottle of champagne ordered which we
requested to be delivered. We went to lunch
at the buffet on the Lido deck and got
a bit of a preview of the ship. When we got back we called for
the roses Deb had ordered.
Away we sailed. We passed Alcatraz
which was on our side of the ship. Then the ship
turned around. Apparently there was a very ill passenger and
they were taking him back. So we sailed back and under the Bay Bridge. We hung around there for a
while. I guess a boat came out and got the passenger. Away we went again.
We went to dinner. I'm not going to describe every meal we had
but I do plan on putting a bunch of pictures up of various
dishes. We found the menu nicely varied. Usually three
appetizers, three salads or soups and three or more entrees.
Dessert was from a different menu.
We found the ships cabin to be older but nice enough. A pretty
good flat screen tv. Deb thought the storage was lacking and she
would have liked a bathtub. We used the balcony about as much as
we could. The hallways were the longest
continuous hallways we had ever seen. Pretty nice though for
getting from one end of the ship to the other.
Peg came over and had breakfast with us every day. Very nice.
Deb, Peg and I played pinochle nearly
every afternoon. We usually played in our cabin but occasionally
played in other parts of the ship. They were teaching me the
game. We never did get to the auction part. Guess I need to go
on line and learn it properly.
At some point we went up to the bar
"One Five" which is on the 15th level of the ship. We had some
appetizers and a fancy drink. Peg has
to refrain from drinking because of her diabetes.
The next day we went to dinner at
"Sabatini's" which is the fancy Italian restaurant on the ship.
I'm sure it was the best meal on the
entire trip. I'm not sure why we didn't go back. It was $25 per
person without wine. Thank you Peggy.
On the 15th there was some "weather" out
there. This was the first formal night. We ate
well and had our pictures taken. Deb and
I went to see the entertainment in the big theater in the front
of the ship. Wow! A great show. In fact
there were great shows every night. The dancers were amazing.
Sometimes we went to the "Vista Lounge" in the front of the ship
to see acts in a more intimate setting. Peg went to the casino
because the big theater has poor accommodations for people with
On the 16th we went to a hypnotist show. Deb
volunteered and ended up on stage doing crazy stuff including
playing the clarinet. Quite a hoot.
On the 17th we went for lunch in the
pub. We had a beer and fish and chips.
Very good. Peg found us and had lunch too.
We continued to explore the ship.
Deb had had some gin delivered to our room.
I nipped at that, usually while playing cards and eating a few
peanuts. We also had brought three bottles of wine on board so
we opened one of those.
We found the gym on deck 15 and used it several times. I had a problem running on the treadmill
while the ship was moving so I mostly used the elliptical. Deb was ok with the ship motion.
Another activity was a wine tasting
paid for by AAA. The cheese appetizers
were particularly good. The wine was
pretty small servings and a lot of lecture.
On the 18th we found ourselves in Honolulu. A nice location
right downtown. We met
Peggy's old college roommate Robyn for
breakfast. She gave us nice Lei's. The girls Lei's were of ginger and
considered very special. Mine was also beautiful in a
traditional sense. She took us over to where we had rented a
car. Off we went for a nice drive
around Ohau. This was really a great experience and a highlight
of the trip. We stopped at an overlook
and spotted the largest snail we had
ever seen in our lives. Yikes!
We continued around the island looking for the restaurant
recommended by Robyn. We thought we
found it, but not really. We had a nice
lunch at "Hawaii Joe's" and continued our trip to "Paradise
Cove" where we were going for a luau. We
got there way early and had to wait around until they opened.
We had expensive seats
which means we could see the stage
clearly though it was a bit far away. We were off the sand and
under a cover - thank goodness because it did rain a few times.
Deb and I hiked around and saw some of the activities before the
main show. There were a couple seals laying on the beach.
Finally when we sat down there were servers so we didn't have to
go stand in line.
The family next to me was a hoot. The wife/mother
looked like Elaine on the Jerry Seinfeld show and twice as witty
- though a bit loud.
We were a little panicked about getting the car
back and not missing the ship. It wasn't clear how long it was
going to take to get back so we left early. We missed the fire
dancers. Oh well. On the way back we kept looking for a place to
fill the gas in the car. We could not find a place. At the car
place they told us to go down the road and we'd find a place -
nope. We dragged back and told them what happened. The attendant
let it slide... Whew! We had left Deb at the car place. She
apparently made some friends and found a group going to the ship
who had ordered a taxi which was a van and could hold all of us
(barely). So we made it back to the ship in plenty of time.
The next day we went into Nawiliwili Bay
on Kauai. We hiked over to "Anchor
Cove" shopping center nearby where Deb
and Peg looked over the items for sale.
We took Peg back to the ship where she
was going to go on a bus trip to see the Waimea canyon. We saw
it many years ago when we stayed here on Kauai.
Deb and I hiked back to the center and had a very
nice lunch at JJ's Broiler overlooking
a beach and small bay. The paddle
boarders and surfers were out. We told waitress that my Hawaiian
name was "Fullahuie". She asked what it meant. Suddenly it
dawned on her and she just about fell down laughing. What a
Later we saw a spectacular
sunset. Apparently this was another formal dress dinner.
The next day was Easter. They did a spectacular Easter display. We are
at Maui. The harbor was too small so we had to "tender" in - we rode lifeboats
to shore. Peg opted out - too much walking and climbing in and
out of boats. We marveled at the big Banyon tree
here. There were vendors selling stuff
to us tourists. It was very pleasant. We decided to have lunch
in a place above the street - "Captain Jack's". We got the best table
over looking the Banyon tree park and
the street. What fun. I had a local dish
- a bed of rice with a hamburger on top and then two fried eggs
on top of that and the whole thing smothered in mushroom gravy.
Deb wanted to mail something and get a lei for Peg.
We hiked up the street and discovered several impressive art
galleries along the way. We finally found the post office in the
same center as a theater we went to in
2010 with Peggy. Some lady gave us a stamp.
Back to the ship and another spectacular sunset.
The next day we stopped in Hilo. We got off the ship to scope it
out. We rented an interesting car for
our drive up to the volcano. Apparently the lava wasn't
cooperating at this time so we had lunch in the National Park Lodge - a
spectacular view of the crater. We drove around a bit. Deb and I hiked through a lava tube and got a bit wet. We then
drove home. We tried stopping at a small farmers market but didn't buy anything.
Back on the ship for our trip back to
the mainland. Of course we did our usual thing - breakfast in
our room with Peggy, hiking around, getting lunch, napping,
playing cards, a drink, then dinner and a show afterwards. The
ship stopped in Ensenada for a couple hours. Somebody said it
was for refueling - probably saves money on taxes and fees.
Another formal night. We met lots of fun and nice people. Maybe Deb can help
me with names.
Earlier I had noticed that they had a ship chorus.
Judy, one of the people we made friends
with talked us into joining. We
practiced everyday for several days and finally put on a show.
It was fun. No talent necessary. The
leader referred to it as a "pub" choir - no parts, just
male/female and front row/the rest. We not only sang but did
Finally back to San Francisco. Getting off the ship was a bit of
a trial. Because Peg needed assistance we had to wait our turn.
It took a couple hours to finally get off the ship. Thank
goodness our taxi guy waited the whole time for us. With some
tension we got in the taxi and rode home. Later that night Peg
got on a train for Portland. I guess it was a rather harrowing
trip. When she got on the food service was closed for the night.
Then they had some problems which delayed the train. She finally
got to Portland several hours later where Amber picked her up
and drove her home. Despite having a cold she went to work the
next day. Whew!
It was our first Princess cruise but likely not our last.
The ship was bigger then the Holland America ships. This means
they had more to offer. The entertainment was spectacular,
particularly the dancers. One shipmate said the bigger the ship
the more room per passenger. He says the bigger the better.
I think our cabin guy was new. No complaints he just seemed to
take a long time taking care of things.
We thought the liquor bill was rather large. They would only let
us take on one bottle of wine per person. They didn't seem to
have many discounted special drinks like on Holland America.
We missed the Crow's Nest bar on Holland America. It's a good
place to meet and see people. We mostly met people at dinner.
The ship had an odd layout. The dining rooms were in the middle
of the ship so it made it so if you wanted to go from one end of
the ship on deck five or six you had to go up to deck 7.
We didn't do much gambling so we didn't lose much.
This was over all the smoothest cruise we've been on. Only a
couple rough nights and even then not that bad.