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 Francisco.

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 pick-up.

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 mobility problems.

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. Whew!

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 hoot.

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. Delicious!
   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 some choreography.

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!

Comments -

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.