The Grand Hawaiian Adventure. A trip report with Patters, Menus, Elvis, and ...

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#1
Western PA
1,226 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
I was trying to think of a good lead in for this trip report, so that it would captivate the reader with all things great about Hawaii. A couple of the reports I have written have been the Joe Friday versions. You know, "Just the facts mam, just the facts." But those may end up a little dry, so I will try to throw in a little humor along the way.



This was not my first trip to the Hawaiian islands, but it was the first by ship. I have done six, land based vacations there, spending a minimum of two weeks each time. I have been to the four islands we visited on the cruise, and have done most of the things that you will find offered as excursions on the ship. In a land based vacation, you can set your pace, and visit what you want, when you want.



I may throw in a little about the the islands from prior trips, but this report will be mainly about the cruise, and a little of the time we spent in the Bay Area before the cruise. The cruise was booked 13 months ahead, when Princess had their "come back new" sale that offered a $600 OBC. Our TA was offering an additional $350, and we got a little extra on top of that, so we started out with about $1,000 OBC. It may not be the greatest, but it was a decent deal. We booked a balcony on the Caribe deck just aft of the rear staircase.



This trip report will be just that, a report on both the lead up to the cruise, as well as the cruise itself. The report will have lots of photos, as well as copies of the Princess Patters, drink menus, and restaurant menus. So here are a couple of photos to peak your interest. It may take a little while to finish the report, so keep checking back as I work on it. If anyone has questions, I will be glad to answer them.



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Grand Princess - April-May, 2017 -Hawaii Review with photos
Celebrity Summit - January, 2017 Review with photos
Oasis of the Seas - November, 2015 Review with photos
Coral Princess - April 2014 -Panama Canal Review with photos
Allure of the Seas - March, 2013
Voyager of the Seas - March, 2012
Grandeur of the Seas - September, 2010
Serenade of the Seas – May, 2010
Independence of the Seas - March, 2009
Serenade of the Seas – Nov, 2007
First Cruise – SS Norway – Aug, 1980
Several between on Carnival, Princess, RCI

Future cruises
Serenade of the Seas – Jan, 2018
Allure of the Seas - March, 2018
#2
Calimesa, CA
4,786 Posts
Joined May 2013
This should be interesting.
I've been there exactly 4 times (all on a cruise). DH was stationed on Oahu while in the Navy during the Vietnam War era.
We love it and can't get enough.
#3
Southern Cal/Maui No Ka Oi
18,311 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
Looking forward to reading your trip report!

We sailed the Hawaii itinerary in January on the Star from LA and as always enjoyed this cruise & driving to the port is a nice bonus.

With everything you're providing it should be a comprehensive report & helpful for anyone sailing to Hawaii...Mahalo.
#4
Northern California, US
2,230 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
I'm excited to read this, as we sail on her in November to Hawaii
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April 9, 2010: Celebrity Equinox, Ultimate Caribbean
April 19, 2010: Celebrity Equinox, Transatlantic
March 15-29, 2009: CelebritySolstice, B2B, Eastern Caribbean
June 10-22, 2007: Summit, Alaska Cruisetour
Sept, 2005: Summit, Mexican Riviera
March, 2003: RC Legend of the Seas, Hawaii
#5
SAN RAMON, CALIFORNIA
1,603 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
I look forward to your review! Since I was on the same cruise, it will be interesting to read it from your perspective.
#7
Western PA
1,226 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
So with our planning that started a year out, I started looking for really detailed photo reviews on the Cruise Critic Princess boards, and found them lacking. Current Patters of the Hawaii cruise from San Francisco were nonexistent. So hopefully, this may fill that gap, and it may provide a little information to those who may be considering this cruise. If you haven't guessed by now, this was a 15 day cruise that would take us from San Fransisco, to Lahaina, to Honolulu, to Nawiliwili, to Hilo, to Ensenada, and back to San Fransisco. The cruise would cover a total of 6,004.4 miles according to the Captains log.

This was the planned route.



And our plotted route.



I will give you a little information about us. Everyone's likes and abilities differ, but it may give some insights if yours align with ours. We are both newly retired, so as anyone in that age group knows, you have less time than when you were working. I will not tell my age, but like a math problem, I was just eligible for my Medicare card. DW will not let me tell her age, but she is five years younger. (Oops, I think I just blew it)

We like to stay active, and we try to maintain our active lifestyle even on a cruise. We both wear Fitbit activity trackers, so I will talk a little about the limitations of those while on a cruise. Since we use them in place of a wrist watch, we encountered a few problems as we had to move clocks forward or back on the cruise. More about that and dealing with iPhones, iPads, and internet later in the report.

In any event, we logged 165.5 miles for the 15 day cruise, or roughly 11 miles per day. (Hmmm, does that mean we actually went 6,169.9 miles?). We typically do 5 miles every morning in the fitness center, so the rest is just getting around the ship, or on excursions. We never use elevators, so that adds a bit as we go up and down decks for different activities.

This is a summary from our first week. The almost 17 mile day was our day in Honolulu, and when I get to that part of the report, you will know why.




But next, on with our pre-cruise activities in the Bay Area.


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Mark
Grand Princess - April-May, 2017 -Hawaii Review with photos
Celebrity Summit - January, 2017 Review with photos
Oasis of the Seas - November, 2015 Review with photos
Coral Princess - April 2014 -Panama Canal Review with photos
Allure of the Seas - March, 2013
Voyager of the Seas - March, 2012
Grandeur of the Seas - September, 2010
Serenade of the Seas – May, 2010
Independence of the Seas - March, 2009
Serenade of the Seas – Nov, 2007
First Cruise – SS Norway – Aug, 1980
Several between on Carnival, Princess, RCI

Future cruises
Serenade of the Seas – Jan, 2018
Allure of the Seas - March, 2018
#8
Wisconsin
5,768 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
Mark, thanks for taking the time to do this review of your 15 day Hawaiian cruise round trip from San Francisco. It's a cruise my wife and I would like to do in the future. We have been to Hawaii 5 times over the years, 4 land vacations and one cruise around the Islands on Norwegian Cruise line. We just came back from a week long stay in Honolulu on May 2nd. The picture you posted of the Aloha Tower Marketplace has been converted to a college (Pacific University). We stopped there and were surprised to see all the stores gone. The Gordon Biersch Brewpub and Hooters Restaurant were the only remaining tenants. The rest is now all university facilities. We did take the elevator to the top of the Aloha Tower. The views were outstanding and it's free. The tower I believe was built in 1926. I remember seeing several people with their Princess bags near Waikiki Beach on main street, who knows, it could of been you.

Looking forward to reading and following along on your review. Hawaii is one of our favorite destinations.

Cheers - Ken & Darlene
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Regal Princess East/West Caribbean Feb 2017
Caribbean Princess Canada/New England Sep 2016
Crown Princess Alaska May 2016
Crown Princess California Coastal April 2016
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Regal Princess Eastern Caribbean Nov 2015
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Star Princess California Coastal April 2015
Ruby Princess Western Caribbean Jan 2015
Regal Princess Eastern Caribbean Nov 2014
Ruby Princess Canada/New England Sep 2014
Crown Princess Wine Country Coastal May 2014
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Caribbean Princess Canada/New England Sep 2013
Norwegian Breakaway Bermuda June 2013
Sapphire Princess California Coastal April 2013
Ruby Princess Eastern Caribbean Jan 2013
Emerald Princess Eastern Caribbean Nov 2012
Crown Princess Southern Caribbean April 2012
Ruby Princess Eastern Caribbean Jan 2012
Crown Princess Western Caribbean Dec 2010
Emerald Princess Western Carbbean June 2010
Ruby Princess Southern Caribbean Oct 2009
Sapphire Princess Mexico Feb 2009
Ruby Princess Western Caribbean Dec 2008
Caribbean Princess Canada/New England Sep 2008
Caribbean Princess Eastern Caribbean Apr 2008
Golden Princess Mexico Jan 2008
Pride of America Norwegian Cruise Hawaii Oct 2007
Sun princess Alaska July 2006
#9
Western PA
1,226 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Originally posted by Kenosha Cruiser
Mark, thanks for taking the time to do this review of your 15 day Hawaiian cruise round trip from San Francisco. It's a cruise my wife and I would like to do in the future. We have been to Hawaii 5 times over the years, 4 land vacations and one cruise around the Islands on Norwegian Cruise line. We just came back from a week long stay in Honolulu on May 2nd. The picture you posted of the Aloha Tower Marketplace has been converted to a college (Pacific University). We stopped there and were surprised to see all the stores gone. The Gordon Biersch Brewpub and Hooters Restaurant were the only remaining tenants. The rest is now all university facilities. We did take the elevator to the top of the Aloha Tower. The views were outstanding and it's free. The tower I believe was built in 1926. I remember seeing several people with their Princess bags near Waikiki Beach on main street, who knows, it could of been you.

Looking forward to reading and following along on your review. Hawaii is one of our favorite destinations.

Cheers - Ken & Darlene

Thanks so much for following along. We were in Waikiki on the 29th, but we were not carrying a Princess bag.

I will probably talk about the changes in the islands. My first land trip was in the mid 70's, and what changes since then.


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Mark
Grand Princess - April-May, 2017 -Hawaii Review with photos
Celebrity Summit - January, 2017 Review with photos
Oasis of the Seas - November, 2015 Review with photos
Coral Princess - April 2014 -Panama Canal Review with photos
Allure of the Seas - March, 2013
Voyager of the Seas - March, 2012
Grandeur of the Seas - September, 2010
Serenade of the Seas – May, 2010
Independence of the Seas - March, 2009
Serenade of the Seas – Nov, 2007
First Cruise – SS Norway – Aug, 1980
Several between on Carnival, Princess, RCI

Future cruises
Serenade of the Seas – Jan, 2018
Allure of the Seas - March, 2018
#10
Western PA
1,226 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
We make the cross country trek to the Bay Area on average four times a year, because we have a son and his family that live in the north Bay Area. There are plenty of things to see in, and around San Fransisco if you have the time and the money. Compared to our area of the country, things are very expensive there.

We have done the visits to China Town



Alcatraz



Golden Gate Bridge



Lombard Street



and others, so we were looking for things we had not seen, or that may not be on everyone's radar.

Our pre-cruise travels were pretty crazy for this one. We flew out two weeks before the cruise, only to fly back east for three days to celebrate our granddaughter's birthday, then back out for a couple of days before the cruise. Talk about royally screwing up your body clock with the time changes.



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Mark
Grand Princess - April-May, 2017 -Hawaii Review with photos
Celebrity Summit - January, 2017 Review with photos
Oasis of the Seas - November, 2015 Review with photos
Coral Princess - April 2014 -Panama Canal Review with photos
Allure of the Seas - March, 2013
Voyager of the Seas - March, 2012
Grandeur of the Seas - September, 2010
Serenade of the Seas – May, 2010
Independence of the Seas - March, 2009
Serenade of the Seas – Nov, 2007
First Cruise – SS Norway – Aug, 1980
Several between on Carnival, Princess, RCI

Future cruises
Serenade of the Seas – Jan, 2018
Allure of the Seas - March, 2018
#12
Los Angeles
6,711 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Love Hawaii. I was lucky enough to be able to do this cruise 4 times! Can't wait for the rest!
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Nina


Past:
2008 - Monarch of the Seas - 4 days
2009 - Carnival Paradise - 4 days
2010 - Sapphire Princess - 7 days - Mexico
2010 - Golden Princess - 14 Days - Hawaii
2011 - Golden Princess - 14 days - Hawaii
2011 - Golden Princess - 14 days - Hawaii
2012 - Golden Princess - 14 days - Hawaii
2012 - Sapphire Princess - 14 days - Hawaii
2012 - Carnival Splendor - 7 days - Mexico
2013 - Sapphire Princess - 7 days - California Coastal
2014 - Sapphire Princess - 4 days - Getaway
2014 - Crown Princess - 7 days - Mexican Riviera
2015 - Crown Princess - 7 days - Alaska
2015 - Star Princess - West Coast Getaway
#13
Northern California
1,522 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Looking forward to hearing all about your cruise. We love this itinerary and also love vacationing in Hawaii


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#14
Western PA
1,226 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
American Airlines must have thought we didn't really want to fly out late in the morning, so they changed our flight to a 6:10 a.m. departure that would take us from Pittsburgh to Philly, to San Francisco. Really, who wants to go to Philly, especially that early in the morning.

With such an early flight, we ended up booking a room at the Courtyard Marriott, so we could leave our car there, and they could take us to the airport. So before check-in at the hotel, we had to make a stop at Primanti Brothers for sandwiches and beer.



Ah, if we only had these prices on the west coast.



One thing I like about American is the ability to track your bag. It is a good thing to know that our bags are on the way with us.



We are going on a Hawaiian cruise, so what gets photographed along the way? The snow in the Sierra Nevada range.






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Mark
Grand Princess - April-May, 2017 -Hawaii Review with photos
Celebrity Summit - January, 2017 Review with photos
Oasis of the Seas - November, 2015 Review with photos
Coral Princess - April 2014 -Panama Canal Review with photos
Allure of the Seas - March, 2013
Voyager of the Seas - March, 2012
Grandeur of the Seas - September, 2010
Serenade of the Seas – May, 2010
Independence of the Seas - March, 2009
Serenade of the Seas – Nov, 2007
First Cruise – SS Norway – Aug, 1980
Several between on Carnival, Princess, RCI

Future cruises
Serenade of the Seas – Jan, 2018
Allure of the Seas - March, 2018
#15
Western PA
1,226 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
For one of our pre-cruise trips, we went to the California Academy of Sciences located in Golden Gate Park which is bordered by the Richmond and Haight-Ashbury sections of San Fransisco. It is a large natural history museum which also contains a planetarium, aquarium, and rain forest.

An albino alligator



Aquarium



And, as a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, I am always looking for penguins to photograph



The Golden Gate park also has a Japanese Tea Garden.



We stopped at the Chili House for a meal. I know, you are thinking chili, like Wendy's chili. But no, the Chili House is a Chinese restaurant located not far from the Golden Gate park. Since we didn't know what time we would be there, we did not call ahead to order a Peking Duck, so we ordered from their menu. Their ad says the chef has cooked for two Chinese Presidents, and maybe that is why he is now working at this little place. Honestly, we have had better Chinese food in New York and Toronto, but it was good with a fair amount of spice. Sorry, no food pictures from here.



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Mark
Grand Princess - April-May, 2017 -Hawaii Review with photos
Celebrity Summit - January, 2017 Review with photos
Oasis of the Seas - November, 2015 Review with photos
Coral Princess - April 2014 -Panama Canal Review with photos
Allure of the Seas - March, 2013
Voyager of the Seas - March, 2012
Grandeur of the Seas - September, 2010
Serenade of the Seas – May, 2010
Independence of the Seas - March, 2009
Serenade of the Seas – Nov, 2007
First Cruise – SS Norway – Aug, 1980
Several between on Carnival, Princess, RCI

Future cruises
Serenade of the Seas – Jan, 2018
Allure of the Seas - March, 2018
#16
Western PA
1,226 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
On another of our free days, we made the drive to Muir Woods National Monument, which is located about 10 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. This is a national park, and if you have an America the Beautiful pass, your admission is free. It is the home to a large amount of uncut redwoods.



Don't be deceived by the lack of people in some of the photos. The place was packed, and parking was hard to find. They do have a series of easy loops that are accessible.





Finally, we are getting closer to the actual departure day of the cruise. I know, get on with it. That's what we want to hear about.





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Mark
Grand Princess - April-May, 2017 -Hawaii Review with photos
Celebrity Summit - January, 2017 Review with photos
Oasis of the Seas - November, 2015 Review with photos
Coral Princess - April 2014 -Panama Canal Review with photos
Allure of the Seas - March, 2013
Voyager of the Seas - March, 2012
Grandeur of the Seas - September, 2010
Serenade of the Seas – May, 2010
Independence of the Seas - March, 2009
Serenade of the Seas – Nov, 2007
First Cruise – SS Norway – Aug, 1980
Several between on Carnival, Princess, RCI

Future cruises
Serenade of the Seas – Jan, 2018
Allure of the Seas - March, 2018
#17
Maine
1,006 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
Lovely photos. I'm looking forward to the rest of your trip report.
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Happy Cruising,
Doreen



Previous Cruises
6/2010 - Alaska - Island Princess
5/2011 - TA & Med - Ruby Princess
4/2012 - TA & British Isles - Grand Princess
2/2013 - Hawaii - Sapphire Princess
9/2014 - Caribbean B2B - Caribbean Princess
3/2015 - Western Caribbean - Emerald Princess
9/2016 - Mexican Riiera - Grand Princess
3/2017 - Caribbean B2B - Crown Princess
#18
Wisconsin
5,768 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
Mark, by chance did you attend the Spam festival on Saturday April 29th when your ship was in Honolulu. If you were down by the Waikiki area during the afternoon, you may have noticed the street blocked off with tents and stages going up for the festival. That was the day I saw a few people with Princess bags. The event was from 4 PM to 10 PM. Over 30,000 people in attendance, we had a blast, great entertainment and some decent spam dishes to try. Enjoying your photo's and the review.

Cheers - Ken & Darlene
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Regal Princess East/West Caribbean Feb 2017
Caribbean Princess Canada/New England Sep 2016
Crown Princess Alaska May 2016
Crown Princess California Coastal April 2016
Royal Princess Southern Caribbean Jan 2016
Regal Princess Eastern Caribbean Nov 2015
Crown Princess Alaska May 2015
Star Princess California Coastal April 2015
Ruby Princess Western Caribbean Jan 2015
Regal Princess Eastern Caribbean Nov 2014
Ruby Princess Canada/New England Sep 2014
Crown Princess Wine Country Coastal May 2014
Crown Princess Southern Caribbean Jan 2014
Royal Princess Eastern Caribbean Nov 2013
Caribbean Princess Canada/New England Sep 2013
Norwegian Breakaway Bermuda June 2013
Sapphire Princess California Coastal April 2013
Ruby Princess Eastern Caribbean Jan 2013
Emerald Princess Eastern Caribbean Nov 2012
Crown Princess Southern Caribbean April 2012
Ruby Princess Eastern Caribbean Jan 2012
Crown Princess Western Caribbean Dec 2010
Emerald Princess Western Carbbean June 2010
Ruby Princess Southern Caribbean Oct 2009
Sapphire Princess Mexico Feb 2009
Ruby Princess Western Caribbean Dec 2008
Caribbean Princess Canada/New England Sep 2008
Caribbean Princess Eastern Caribbean Apr 2008
Golden Princess Mexico Jan 2008
Pride of America Norwegian Cruise Hawaii Oct 2007
Sun princess Alaska July 2006
#20
Western PA
1,226 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Originally posted by Kenosha Cruiser
Mark, by chance did you attend the Spam festival on Saturday April 29th when your ship was in Honolulu. If you were down by the Waikiki area during the afternoon, you may have noticed the street blocked off with tents and stages going up for the festival. That was the day I saw a few people with Princess bags. The event was from 4 PM to 10 PM. Over 30,000 people in attendance, we had a blast, great entertainment and some decent spam dishes to try. Enjoying your photo's and the review.

Cheers - Ken & Darlene

Yes, we did attend Spam Jam. We started out around 3:30, and got some early tastes before the official 4:00 opening. The place got packed really early.

My one Hawaii t-shirt from this trip was a Spam Jam festival shirt. Will have some photos of Spam Jam later in the report.


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Mark
Grand Princess - April-May, 2017 -Hawaii Review with photos
Celebrity Summit - January, 2017 Review with photos
Oasis of the Seas - November, 2015 Review with photos
Coral Princess - April 2014 -Panama Canal Review with photos
Allure of the Seas - March, 2013
Voyager of the Seas - March, 2012
Grandeur of the Seas - September, 2010
Serenade of the Seas – May, 2010
Independence of the Seas - March, 2009
Serenade of the Seas – Nov, 2007
First Cruise – SS Norway – Aug, 1980
Several between on Carnival, Princess, RCI

Future cruises
Serenade of the Seas – Jan, 2018
Allure of the Seas - March, 2018