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  1. Remember to check back on the Discount Hawaii site from time to time as the prices often drop closer to the date of travel. You can book, cancel, and re-book as many times as you like. We usually book at a price we can live with, then check back later. We've had substantial price drops - not always, but worth a check.
  2. Look up (Google) the website for the specific luau you are going to. The website will show the menu they serve. There will be vegetarian items (some more than others).
  3. I don't know that anyone can guarantee or foresee "quick pick up and drop off" as it's entirely dependent on how busy any given location is on the day. The major car rental companies run shuttles to/from the port when there are rentals with them. We use Discount Hawaii Car Rentals for both cruises and land vacations in Hawaii. They are a local car rental consolidator - i.e. They search all the major car rental companies for the best prices in real time. You can book and don't have to pay until you pick up the car. You can also cancel at any time and re-book if you see that the price has dropped. We've used them for years and have never had any problems with them. If you go to their site, they have different locations for pick up on the different islands - just pick the "cruise passenger" option for the ports you want a rental.
  4. If you're just going to one place in Vancouver, I'd recommend Van Dusen Botanical Garden for both the variety of plants as well as the setting. It has lots of meandering pathways that lead you to different plant groupings and is beautifully tranquil. If you have time, there's also Bloedel Conservatory nearby that's under a dome and has tropical plants and birds and is situated inside Queen Elizabeth Park with its rock quarry gardens. Just wanted to add that there are lots of specialty gardens - eg. Nitobe Memorial Japanese Garden, Sun Yat Sen Garden, gardens throughout Stanley Park. But for a serious "gardener's" garden, it's hard to beat Van Dusen.
  5. They will serve you a mix of assorted nuts - just ask your server or bartender. No crisps.
  6. Besides those already mentioned, you might like Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman. It's next to Hula Grill and across from Leilani's at Whaler's Village. It's a more casual cousin to the original Merriman's. Their Happy Hour is a fabulous deal - you can easily make an early (3pm - 5:30pm) dinner out of the appies and drinks. They also have one of the best Mai Tais on the islands!
  7. In San Diego, you don't have to limit yourself to just the waterfront/downtown area. You can easily get to Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo by public transit - 20 -25 minutes by bus takes you practically to the entrance.
  8. ell52

    Beach in Kona

    There is a very small beach close to the pier in front of The Courtyard King Kamehameha Hotel. It gets quite crowded when cruise ships are in town. Another beach nearby is the Old Airport Beach just north of town. It has washrooms, picnic tables, some shade trees, and a decent sandy beach. It's only a few minutes away by taxi or uber. The best beaches are really much further north along the coast - eg. Hapuna, A-Bay, Kauna'oa (beach fronting the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel).
  9. You probably will find that the best Asian (fusion or otherwise) aren't in Chinatown (eg Richmond District). Perhaps ask the folks on Chowhound San Francisco. They have some very knowledgeable posters who seem to keep up with all the latest 'best' spots. Our standby hole-in-the-wall noodle place closed so we've been trying different spots in and around Chinatown. This year, we'll likely try Harbor View which is within walking distance of the ship's pier.
  10. ell52

    Hawaii Advice.

    As previous posters have noted, please provide more information if you want to get more relevant suggestions. e.g. How old are the children? Are they old enough to enjoy and have the patience for historical tours and museums? What are their interests? What are your interests? Do you/they like to be at the beach? Are they swimmers and snorkelers? What have you all enjoyed as a family on other vacations?
  11. Also to add: It's a level, then slightly downhill walk to Canada Place. I'd just walk it especially if the weather is at all decent.
  12. I wouldn't be comfortable doing the backpackers hostels either. They've been trying to make the area a bit more 'upscale' with some trendy restaurants, but it's not an area I'd want to spend a lot of time in. There are no shuttles to the train station but downtown Vancouver and the city centre are quite compact. You'd be much better off finding a hotel downtown and taking a taxi to the train station in the morning. As mentioned in the above posts, the YWCA hotel is a good choice if you're trying to watch your budget. Do a search on Tripadvisor to narrow down some preferences within your price range and posters here can give you more specific feedback.
  13. There are no shuttles from YVR to Canada Place unless you mean a cruise line transfer. Three and a half hours should give you sufficient time to get to the port provided you have no flight delays or delays at border control/customs. Considerations: - Strictly speaking, Skytrain is the quickest, but you need to factor in the short walk to YVR platform, purchasing tickets and the walk from Waterfront station to Canada Place - Skytrain doesn't have to contend with car traffic - A taxi will take you right to the drop-off luggage point for your cruise. - Your comfort level finding/using transit and handling your own bags If there is no traffic (i.e. not rush hour and no accidents en route), then time difference between Skytrain and taxi are negligible.
  14. Ditto this!! (Former public health nurse here.)
  15. You're probably better off asking this question on a place like Tripadvisor. You can read reviews from people who have used the trolley plus read comments/questions on the Waikiki forum. The number of ships in port make little difference to how busy they'll be since the bulk of tourism in Honolulu doesn't come from cruisers. Plus, first-time cruisers who arrive in Honolulu often like to take excursions further afield.
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