Hawaii – Day 2, Boarding the Ship

This was seamless for us.  As I mentioned before we stayed at the Marriott Beach in Waikiki.  The shuttle to the ship leaves from there.  Norwegian gives you a loading time when you check in and we had received 12:00 noon.  In the morning we walked down to the restaurant that is in the hotel complex and had a very good, very expensive (this IS Hawaii) breakfast.  Afterwards we walked along the beach.  Now, this is where the sadness comes in.  There are a lot of people living on the beach right across the street from the hotel we stayed at.  I don’t imagine it is much different anywhere else though.  There was an encampment of about 20 homeless people occupying one of the covered shelters on the beach.  And I saw several homeless people just wandering around.  I noticed later that every day on the daily news sheet the ship hands out you are warned to watch your belongings and be vigilant of your surroundings.  We didn’t have any trouble with the homeless people.  They didn’t beg or even approach us.  It just makes you feel sad and kind of, well, ashamed that you have spent so much on your vacation and they are living with nothing.  Honolulu is the most populous city in Hawaii.  And that makes it just what it is, a city with all the foibles of any city.

Hawaii - 2013 010

Anyway, we arrived safe and sound back at the hotel, collected our luggage and headed to the lobby to await our shuttle.  And to enjoy the pigeons that were enjoying us in their lobby!  Norwegian takes a full bus to the pier so we actually were allowed to board an earlier bus.  Arriving at the pier we found ourselves inspected, photographed and standing in line.  Then I noticed that we had priority boarding because I had joined the Norwegian Latitudes Reward program when I booked the cruise.  We skipped over to that line, bam, we were done checking in and onto the ship.

This was our first time to have a balcony.  We’ve gone from an inside cabin with no windows to twice taking a cabin with a “seaview” and now we have moved up to the balcony suites.  Ah-h-h-h-h, yes.  Moving in the right direction.  However, the smaller suites are really small!  I didn’t realize, but should have, that they take your balcony out of the space you would of had in a cabin with just a window.  Regardless, we considered it one of the best things we did.  However, and this is another tip for you, most of the disembarkations on Pride of America are done on the port side.  That means usually your view is of a dock, a working dock with all kinds of shipments coming and going.  If you want the view of the islands instead book the starboard side.  You won’t miss a thing and you’ll have something pretty to look at all the time.  Not only that as hard as I had tried to figure out which way the ship was going to circle the islands, I didn’t guess right.  The starboard side had the traveling view too.  Now, we did occasionally see a whale on our side, but you have to go at the right time for that to be a factor.  I will discuss this when we get to Maui.

Stepping upon the Pride of America is like having a huge party for being an American.  The main lobby is done in Colonial America decor.  They have the John Adams coffee bar and the Thomas Jefferson Bistro.  Having been raised in Virginia that made me homesick every time I walked through it.  So, silly.  Now, I’m planning a trip to Williamsburg to get a fix.  Dastardly cruise ship!  Match that with the hula dancers swaying away on the steps up to the sixth floor and you’ve got quite a combination.

We were soon settled in our cabin and ready for a little refreshment.  We didn’t sail until later that evening so we had plenty of time to explore the ship.  And then we said good-bye to Honolulu and headed for Maui.

Hawaii - 2013 026Mahalo!

Hawaii – Day 1, The Flight Over

Aloha!  We have been to Hawaii and back.  As promised earlier I will share our trip with all the information that I think would help someone else.  We decided to fly to Hawaii and sail from there then fly back.  That may have been our first mistake or it might have been the best thing we ever did.  I don’t know, maybe someone else can share their experience.  Our cruise ship was Pride of America from the Norwegian Cruise Line.  More on that later.

We did a lay-over in Los Angeles.  That allowed us to stretch our legs and get a bite to eat before proceeding to Hawaii.  However, that put us arriving in Hawaii after 8:00 p.m. which was more like 1:00 a.m. at home.  That being said getting the shuttle to the hotel was a bit tedious.  So, if you fly American to Hawaii and you want to take a shuttle to your hotel, assuming you spend the night before boarding, here is how you get to the shuttle!  Amazing what being exhausted and on your last nerve can do to you at 1:00 a.m. your time.  We did actually stop and ask the guy sitting at the information desk how to get to the shuttle, but that was almost no help at all.  I noticed when we went back there was no one sitting there so I don’t know what you do in that case.  Unless!  Of course, you have read this blog.  Then you’ll know what to do.  So, American dumps you off at the end of a long concourse.  You go down that concourse toward the baggage claim area.  Go to baggage claim “D” and you will pick up your shuttle outside the terminal at “D.”

The shuttle takes you on a mini-tour of Honolulu.  We stayed in a hotel in Waikiki which is the beach area.  Very nice hotel.  I was amazed that it had no front door nor windows.  It is open to the atmosphere and everyone else all the time.  The elevators have a lock out though.  If you don’t have a room key you aren’t going up in the elevator.

Orchard Lei

Orchard Lei

We stayed at the Marriott Beach because Norwegian has an office there and they run their shuttle to the ship from there.  We checked in early and received an orchard lei.  Sorry to say the real flower leis made me itch.  So I just took a picture and called it all good.

Since the hotel sits open to the skies the birds take advantage of that.  This became a fascination with me while we were there because I’ve never eaten a meal in a building with birds walking around my feet.  Not that I minded.  I thought it was pretty cool.

Pigeon on the Approach - in the lobby of the hotel!

Pigeon on the Approach – in the lobby of the hotel!

 Mahalo — until tomorrow.