Here are my suggestions from the Holland America, Veendam, Circle Hawaii cruise in early January.
If your port call is in Lahaina, go whale watching with Pacific Whale Foundation http://www.pacificwhale.org and book online yourself. You don’t need a tour. The Pacific Whale Foundation booth is just as you exit the tender.
Rent a car and drive to the Waimea Canyon and Na Pali Coast Overlook. There is plenty of time to do this and maybe stop by the Kauai Coffee Plantation. You pick the car up at the Lihue Airport, but the rental car companies offer free shuttle bus service between the pier and the airport. The cars are cheap and this is a great day.
Enterprise Rentacar: http://www.enterprise.com/car_rental/deeplinkmap.do?gpbr=3642&bid=004&cnty=US
If you’re interested in a tour of Pearl Harbor, a ships tour is not necessary to visit the Arizona Memorial. We made reservations for the FREE tickets online through the government recreation website http://www.recreation.gov/unifSearchResults.do?topTabIndex=Search. There is a small fee of $1.50 per person for reserving tickets online. Tickets might be available on a walkup basis at the memorial on the day of your visit.
You can take a taxi or there are two city buses (#20 and #42) that operate from the pier area to the Arizona Memorial parking lot http://thebus.org/Route/Routes.asp. Exit the ship and head to Ala Moana Blvd. Cross the street, turn right, and walk to the corner of Ala Moana Blvd and South Street. You will see the stop for bus #20 (Waikiki – Pearl Ridge) near the corner after you cross South Street. This bus takes about 50 minutes to get to the memorial. For bus #42, continue walking down South Street to Avahi Street. This bus makes fewer stops.
To return to the ship exit the parking lot and walk to Kamehameha Street and turn left to the bus stop. Both buses will take you back to the pier or you can continue on the Waikiki Beach for the remained of the afternoon and return to the pier by bus.
We opted for the ships tour that offered small group tours to Volcanoes National Park for a five-mile hike of Kilauea Iki volcano crater. This was a great tour.
We opted to just walk around Kona for a few hours. Things to see include: Huliheʻe Palace/Museum and Mokuaikaua Church, both dating back to the early 1800's, less than a block from the end of the pier; Farmers Market, about 4 blocks from the pier; have a MaiTai at the Royal Kona Resort - a great spot to take pictures of your ship in the bay while sipping a delicious drinks; and there is a small beach as you exit the tender.
Click on http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showpost.php?p=41478436&postcount=314 for information on viewing my shore excursions for these ports – a picture is worth a thousand words.
Enjoy your cruise,
Originally Posted by Cruzmama
We are sailing on our first Hawaiian cruise on the Grand. Other than seeing Pearl Harbor, we're not sure which excursions are the best. We like volcanoes, waterfalls, lava tubes, snorkeling. Which excursions are not to be missed? Should we consider booking through someone other than Princess?
1999 Sun Princess, Alaska - 2000 Holland America Veendam, W. Caribbean - 2001 Grand Princess, E. Caribbean - 2001 Grand Princess, W. Caribbean, 2004 Royal Caribbean, Majesty of the Seas, Bahamas, 2004 Holland America, Oosterdam, Baltic Sea - 2005 Norwegian, Star, Mexican Rivera, 2005 Diamond Princess, Asia/Orient - 2005 Celebrity Galaxy, E. Mediterranean/Greek Isles and Turkey, 2006 Dawn Princess, Pacific Coastal - 2006 Star Princess, Europe/Transatlantic - 2007 Caribbean Princess, E. Caribbean - 2007 Golden Princess, Pacific Coastal - 2007 Caribbean, Princess, E. Caribbean, Princess, Star 2007, European Explorer, 2007 Island Princess Panama Canal - 2008 Holland America, Rotterdam, South America Explorer & Antarctic Experience - 2009 Royal Caribbean, Legend Of The Seas, Suez Canal, 2010 Caribbean Princess, New England & Canada - 2011 Norwegian Jade, Morocco & Canary Islands, - 2011 Cunard - QM2, Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing - 2011 Holland America Ryndam, Western Caribbean - 2012 Voyages of Discovery, Black Sea & Gallipoli - 2012 Caribbean Princess, North Cape & Norwegian Fjords - 2012 Ruby Princess, Transatlantic - 2012 Caribbean Princess, Southern Caribbean - 2013 Holland America Ryndam, Transatlantic - 2014 Holland America Veendam, Circle Hawaii - 2014 Holland America Prinsendam, Amazon Explorer - 2014 Holland America Maasdam, Canada & New England - 2015 Royal Caribbean, Allure of the Seas, E. Caribbean - 2016 Emerald Princess, Transatlantic - 2016 Viking Lif, Windmills & Tulips
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