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  1. Happy to help! Sorry it's taking me so long to get this done lol!
  2. Day 5 (Thursday) - Kauai (end of the day) We headed back to the shopping center and we caught the shuttle from the shopping center to the ship. Such a great day!! NCL kept promoting the Luau for this night, but I'm so glad we did the Old Lahaina Luau on Maui and had this day to spend as we did!
  3. Day 5- Dinner at The Beach House This was a highlight of the trip. I checked when the sun would be setting when we would be there, and scheduled our reservation a half hour ahead of that time approximately. We had great seats ( I don't think there was a bad one there) and went out on the lawn with everyone when the sun was setting and got some spectacular pictures. It was a little sunny until the sun set, and pricey, but I feel the experience was worth it - and the food was great too lol. My Mai Tai... Lobster Deviled Eggs The views from our table Best picture of the night The afterglow..
  4. Day 5- Kauai (still contd) After lunch we headed to Poipu beach. We found a parking place (not an easy thing to do) and found a picnic table and put our Monkey Mats there (these things are cool - lighter weight than taking a blanket to the beach etc. I saw them on GMA deals and steals. They were also on Shark Tank). This was a great beach. There was a protected area that was pretty shallow, and then open areas where there were a lot of surfers and beautiful waves crashing in. More chickens.... At one point, we heard a car alarm going off, and turned to each other and said "wonder if that's our car lol". Well it turned out it was - someone hit our bumper and left, no note etc. Luckily we had the extra car rental insurance. We usually don't get it, but since our friends were taking the car the next day by themselves, and it was just for the car itself, my hub got it. Thank God he did, or we may still be dealing with that. As it was, our friends just dropped it off and showed it to them. We had 6:15pm reservations at the Beach house, so we changed in the bathrooms at the beach and headed that way. We had time, so we stopped at the Blow Hole just down the road from Poipu beach. If you go to any blow hole, go to this one - it was very cool. It made this incredible noise, like a giant groan. No wonder people used to think there was a god or mystical creature underneath it.
  5. Day 5 - Kauai (contd) Ok if you go to Waimea Canyon, you HAVE to eat at the Shrimp Station (if you like shrimp, that is). I had the best Coconut Shrimp of my LIFE! The Papaya Ginger dipping sauce was the clincher. There were chickens and roosters everywhere. At one point, I felt something on my foot, and looked down to see 4 baby chicks pecking at my foot! They scurried off and I fed a rooster a french fry... My coconut shrimp
  6. Day 5 - Kauai Hello Kauai! <3 This was my favorite day of the entire cruise! We had breakfast at the Cadillac Diner. The menu was somewhat limited compared to the buffet (obviously) and we were used to the buffet by this time, but it was still good. I would recommend eating here early in the cruise, so you don't get spoiled by all of the choices at the buffet lol. We headed out and took a shuttle to the airport to rent a car. We rented another jeep, a hard top this time, so only the top above the driver and front passenger came off. The car rental place told us to go back to the shopping center by the ship and prepay for a parking spot overnight, in case they were all taken later, so we did that. Turned out later that we could have parked on the street for free, but better safe than sorry. We headed to Waimea Canyon, once again using the Shaka app and it did not disappoint. We got into Waimea town and headed towards the canyon. Looking down on Waimea Town There was some amazing pull offs, each one better than the one before. The red dirt waterfall was especially cool... We got some homemade bread when we got to the main lookout for the canyon and walked up to the look out. It wasn't a big hike or anything and there was handicap access for most of it. There was a LOT of people there when we were there. We stopped at the next stop after the canyon, which was a cool state park shop etc, thinking we would eat lunch there, but weren't super impressed with the menu so we decided to just eat at a shrimp place in Waimea town that we had seen earlier. We didn't head down yet, as we knew there were more things to see going up the canyon road. We followed the app to the end of the road for an amazing view of the Napali Coast/Valley.
  7. A few more pics from Kona Coffee Plantation - completely different from the one we visited in Hilo. Honey Tasting! If you buy some and it's bigger than a liquid size carry on, don't put it in your carry on like my husband did - it didn't make it through TSA... :( The Painted Church - we just stopped for about 10 minutes, but it was a nice stop Small lava tube below a coffee place
  8. Day 4 - Kona We were scheduled to meet Mary Lou at the dock at 8:30, so I followed the directions in the Freestyle Daily (see my post above) and went to Pink's at 6 am and got 4 tickets to get on the tender between 8-8:30. We were group 3. They announced at 7:50 that group 2 and 3 could board the tender, so we headed that way and got right on a tender. Easy peasy! Here is a pic pulling away from the ship. Mary Lou was waiting for us at the dock, and we all followed her to where she had parked her mini van. The first place we stopped at was a small local craft market that was set up on the grounds of a hotel. There was some great shopping there - local handmade things. I bought some baby things for new grandbabies made with Hawaiian material, knowing I wouldn't get to a fabric store myself. My friend bought some jewelry and her husband bought a beautiful wooden knife. There was some knives with shark teeth in them. Very cool and a great place to get some local handmade items. Next we went to a beach where you could see the Captain Cook memorial across the bay. It was a nice place for some good photos. Here is the memorial. We then went to the 'City of Refuge' - the main place I wanted to go. The tikis were very cool and we had some great photo ops there too - we saw another turtle and a barracuda that is trapped in a lagoon area - he was washed in there in a storm. We also went to another coffee plantation, a honey farm, the painted church and a small lava tube. Mary Lou was once again a font of information, and very accomodating. She was going to take us to the Kona Brewery, but everyone else wanted to get back to the ship, so she took us back, but we saw a shaved ice place that was across the street, so she drove around and took us over there. We had ice cream in the center of the shaved ice - definitely try that!! We walked back to the ship and waited for the tender, while eating our shaved ice. We didn't have to wait too long for the tender, but it was about 3:30, so maybe it got busier later. The last tender was at 5pm. We went to the Margarita tasting at 5 and had a great time! They also had Mojito and Martini tastings on other nights. I think they were all $19.95 a person. We got 5 different margaritas and they were pretty good sized - not just a 'tasting'. Plus they had extras so we got a few extras.... here is a pic of the table next to ours..... We had reservations at East Meets West at 6:30 but they were backed up and we didn't get to our table until 7:15! I was excited to eat here, but we weren't that impressed. The wait didn't help any. Ended up at the Waikiki bar and then back on our balcony. All in all a great day!
  9. Thanks! You are going to love Mary Lou! It didn't take us very long at all. I'm attaching a pic of the info we had on tendering. It worked really well for us! Thanks for following and I hope you have as great of a trip as we did!
  10. Day 3 - Hilo (contd) Next Mary Lou took us to a black sand beach, and I bought a shell necklace for $5 and a bracelet from a guy named Dave for $20. It has a 'velvet seed' in the bracelet - it's my new touchstone lol - love that bracelet! We hiked just a bit to the beach, which was basically gone - not sure if it was because of the rains, or high tide or what, but it was still very pretty. Dave of the jewelry design... Walking to the black sand beach We then went to a local place for lunch and had some great fish. We also went to a coffee plantation and Rainbow Falls. It rained for a bit, but for the most part wasn't too rainy. Our weather was actually pretty great for the entire trip. We also drove by the Banyan trees and King Kamahamaha's statue. After Rainbow Falls we stopped at the Black Sand Beach close to the port - we could see the ship from there. We saw a turtle there and some interesting trees and flowers. Mary Lou is a font of information on the local plants - I really missed her on Kauai later on the cruise - I got spoiled with her telling us what was what. This was our anniversary, so we parted ways with our friends for the evening and had dinner at the Liberty restaurant. The choices were ok, nothing really jumped out at me. I had the Teriyaki dish and my husband had the sirloin (I think that was the cut). They were good, but we could tell the steak wasn't from the midwest... We had told them when we made the reservation (which we didn't need - the place was half empty at 7:30) that it was our anniversary, and we got a rather large cake after we ate dessert. It was really nice. The lava was not flowing into the ocean unfortunately, so our cruise didn't do the southern route to Kona. Here is a picture of my $5 shell necklace - such a great deal and I love it!
  11. Day 3 - Hilo We woke up to a beautiful sight off of our balcony! We ate breakfast at the buffet, and sat out in the back enjoying the view. We booked Mary Lou's Big Island tours for both of our days on the Big Island. Mary Lou and her husband Ken were both in the building you enter when you get off of the ship. We had booked a private tour, so it was just the 4 of us with Mary Lou and her husband had 6 people with him. We were on our own, but did go to most of the same places as Ken and his group. I can't say enough great things about these 2! If you don't have plans yet for Hawaii, contact them - we had a great time! We were planning on going to Akaka Falls, but with the hurricane and rains wreaking havoc from the week before, the road was slow going and so we went a different direction. We drove past the checkpoint for the active Fissure 8, where you couldn't go any further unless you lived in the area. Mary Lou too us to an area where buses couldn't go - we drove over lava that had covered the road, past steamy ditches where people were not allowed out of their cars due to the emissions etc. We ended at a neighborhood that was covered in lava in 2014. It was like walking on the moon - unbelievable. And people are rebuilding homes right on the lava! It was an amazing experience.
  12. You need to buy a package - you will have cellular service in ports, but out at sea you are too far away from the towers, etc.
  13. Thanks everyone for your kind comments! I'm glad this is helping you! I'm sorry I haven't finished this report yet! My laptop is still on the fritz but I'm planning on confiscating my hub's laptop tonight and hopefully getting it done or at least mostly done :)
  14. I still have the dailies! I will take pics of them and post - do you just want the times etc or all of it? We were on United/American from Springfield Il to Dallas, then Dallas to Honolulu. It was a super long flight, we were in the back of the plane, and it wasn't very comfy at all lol. We talked about how a break in LA may have been a good idea, but we talked to a couple who flew Chicago to San Francisco, got delayed and missed the next flight. Had to fly to LA and then Honolulu the next day. Ugh. We went through a travel agent with Operation Vacations (online, her name is Amy - wonderful help!). She got us the free hotel night with the flight so we could use the NCL freebie for the service charges which she said was the most bang for our buck. We also had $25 credit each from some deal only a travel agent could get us. Our friends that went with us used her for the flight but booked the cruise themselves and didn't have a credit.
  15. You're going to love the cruise! A tip for the hotel and the trolley - if you want to head to Waikiki Beach, don't get on the trolley directly across the street from the hotel- go around the corner (away from IHOP) and catch it there. You'll miss the extra 45 minute ride we took going to the mall etc Tip for the Shaka app - I kept reading about taking a car charger and the aux cable so you can listen through the speakers, but we also needed the jack for the lighter plug. We are so used to having a USB in our cars, we didn't think yo bring one, and neither keep that we rented had a USB - ended up buying it at an ABC store I think.
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