HONOLULU: We arrived one night prior to the cruise. We stayed at the Ala Moana Hotel. This one is going condo, and was showing its age. We rented a car from Alamo, and wished we had not. I spent the first 5 minutes arguing about whether I would be charged a drop=off fee, even though my confirmation clearly didn't include one--then they tried to keep my confirmation. Then driving in Honolulu after 13 hours of travelling is not fun. It is very crowded, and the signage made it difficult to find things. We did Pearl Harbor the next day, returned the car to ALAMO and headed to the port.
HILO: I rented a car from National. The shuttle would only take the driver, so I had to go back to the port to get my family. I am a Emerald Club member, so all the paperwork was ready for me. I booked at a compact rate and was upgraded to a Trailblazer. We drove to Volcanoes National Park--awesome views. Stopped at Big Island Candies. Did a little shopping and returned to port--very easy
FANNING: I booked the Napali Beach Excursion about 3 weeks prior to sailing. When we arrived at Fanning, I realized that the time for this was noon. They would not let us tender over any earlier than noon. Since the last tender to the ship left at 3:30, I didn't think this was worth the extra money, so they let me turn my tickets back in and didn't charge me. We enjoyed the public beach very much.
KAUII: Again we had rented from National. Quick shuttle to the car. We drove the Waimea Canyon (another awesome sight), and then toured some of the small towns along the way. We returned our car and got on ship. At dinner, the captain announced that we had over 400 passengers left on shore due to a traffic accident which tied up traffic on the road, so we delayed sailing. Thank goodness, they were all onboard by 7, otherwise we were going to have to sail out of the port, and they would have had to tender onboard in the dark.
MAUI: Loved Maui, could have just driven around and stopped to see the view. We again rented from National. On the shuttle, there were two others--one who had made no arrangements for a car, and could only find on SUV available for $80++. The other was a lady who had booked hers at the airport and had to rebook-convertible for $79. Was I happy with my car--booked in advance and upgraded. $25 total for a premium car. We went to the Maui Ocean Center and to the Whalers Museum. Had lunch at Bubba Gump's. We returned the car after it closed at 5 (last shuttle leaves for the port at 4). Took a taxi back to port for about $11.
KONA: We just walked around and shopped. Hot and humid day.
HONOLULU: We stayed 4 nights post cruise for a convention. We stayed at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Not my favorite. This place was BUSY. The facilities were too small for the large resort. OUr sink bubbled with other people's plumbing issues (YUCK).