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newbees

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About newbees

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    san jose, ca
  • Interests
    travel
  1. newbees

    My POA april 11-18 trip report :)

    We rented a car everyday. In Maui, parking was free in the designated area. In Kauai, we had to pay. A lot of people only had their cars for 1 day in Kauai. For Kona, a lot of people did not rent a car. For Oahu, we got a car, but parking in Honolulu was expensive. Our hotel charged $28/day.
  2. newbees

    My POA april 11-18 trip report :)

    I booked my tour at 2pm. We did not go directly from the ship to Pearl Harbor. We got our car in Waikiki, drove to Dole Plantation then to Pearl Harbor. From Dole Plantation, it should take 20 minutes to Pearl Harbor if there were no traffic. It actually took us 1 hour because there were constructions on both 99 and H1. There were also fender bender accidents on both 99 and H1. Honolulu traffic is pretty bad. From google map, it should take 15 minutes to go from Pier 2 to Pearl Harbor, but you should definitely allow some cushion for traffic. I am from the Bay area so I am used to bad traffic. Honolulu does have bad traffic :)
  3. newbees

    My POA april 11-18 trip report :)

    I did not regret that I did Molokini, but I would never do it again. The corals and fish were nothing like the pictures that I saw online. I am sorry that you missed it, however, it could be an excuse to go back to Maui in the future :)
  4. newbees

    Car Rentals in Hawaii

    my experience with Enterprise and Budget was very good. In Kauai peer, we saw Budget's shuttle at least 2 times before a Dollar shuttle showed up. In HOnolulu, we saw Enterprise's van at least 4 times before Dollar's shuttle.
  5. newbees

    Help Needed - Pier 2 Port of Honolulu Taxi Availability

    On April 18, I saw a lot of taxi at the peer. They are right outside the door.
  6. newbees

    My POA april 11-18 trip report :)

    If anybody has any questions, I will try my best to answer. My children loved the entertainment on the ship especially the magician Charles Bach.
  7. newbees

    My POA april 11-18 trip report :)

    I have used this forum so much for research in preparation for my trip. So here is my trip report. I will not have any pictures because I am terrible at taking pictures :) This trip report will mainly highlight our mistakes :) We traveled as a family of 4. We are in our 40's, 1 son (14) and 1 daughter (11). We considered ourselves pretty well traveled. We have been to more than 15 countries. Day 1: We departed from SJC (San Jose, CA) @ 9am with Hawaiian Airline. Everything went smoothly, we landed in Honolulu around 11am. We got our luggages and took a cab to Pier 2 to board the POA around 12pm. Taxi cost $27. Check in went very smoothly, however, we did not get our room until 3:30pm. Day 2: We arrived in Maui around 8am. Because we stayed in Maui before, we did not leave the ship until 930am. We booked Budget rental car thru Discount Hawaiicarrental. Everything went very smoothly. Loved Budget. We did Road to Hana. However, half way there, my children's whininess caused my husband to turn around. We got to see a few water falls and a botanical garden. Day3: We booked a snorkeling trip to Molokini and Turtle Cove with Pacific Whale Foundation. POA used the same company for their excursion. Thru Discount Hawaiian we only paid $77/ adult. We saw a few fish. Molokini was not very good. We had done the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, so Molokini was somewhat of a disappointment. Day4 (Hilo): We only planned for the Volcano national park. So we booked a car with Dollars. The drive to the Volcano was pretty simple, but Hilo rained a lot. Day 5 (Kona): We got a car with Enterprise. Tendering was simple. We had to go to Hollywood theater to get our tendering tickets. From there we took the stair down to level 3. We were able to bypass a few people who took the stair midship. Once in the peer, we crossed the street to the big banyan tree and called Enterprise. They picked us up right away. Loved Enterprise. We went to the Seahorse farm. They only have tour at 10am, 12pm and 2pm for self drive people like us. For tour ship people, they got their own tour. After the Seahorse farm, we visited Captain Cook monument and a Coffee farm. Day 6 (Kauai): our ship did not get to port until 9am. We booked a car with Dollars and they only had pick up every 2 hours. We waited by the fence for an hour, and people got pretty angry at Dollar and Thrifty. All the other rental car shuttles came and went. At 10am, Dollar shuttle showed up and we all jammed in that shuttle. We were explained that shuttle was only available at 8am, 10am and so on. We got our car and went to Waimea Canyon and Allerton Garden. We keep our car overnight, so we had to park it near the ABC store near the port. Compared to Maui, fewer people actually kept their car overnight. Day7 (Kauai) We drove to the North and visited the light house. We got there around 8 am and the park would open at 10 am, we decided to turn around and visit a Costco. We got a lot of gifts from Costco with very reasonable prices. Day8 (honolulu) We made another mistake of booking a car with Dollars again. We got off the ship at 845am. Called Dollars and told that they only had pick up at 830 and 10am. We and another couple were left at the peer to be picked up by Dollar Waikiki. After getting the car, we drove to Dole Plantation, and Pearl Harbor. We prebooked the tour for Arizona Memorial, so everything went very smoothly. After that we checked in Luana Waikiki. There is a $35 parking fee at Luana. Luana also charged $15 for housekeeping but it was worth it. They had free wifi, free bike rental, free towels, free beach chair and free video and game rentals. There was a mini- fridge in the unit. There were also a coffee maker, cups, plate and utensils. Loved Luana. Day9 (flying back to sjc): We drove ourselves 2 hours before departing time to the airport. Once we got to car return, we could not find Dollar. After asking around, we found out that Dollar return was on Nimitz ave. We had to get on the freeway, missed the exit one time and got to Dollar. The return was done quickly, but it took a while to catch a shuttle back to the airport. We got there 1215pm and our flight was at 1:15pm. We asked a few agent to let us bypass but were told to get to the end of the line. 30 minutes later we went thru security, ran to our gate and got there at 12:55pm to see our plane 's door had been closed. We basically missed our flight. We turned around and saw at least 10 of us missed it. We talked to an agent and were able to book the next flight to SFO. We ran our gate quickly and got our seats. Hawaiian airline is very good, but I realized that they closed their door 20 minutes before departing time ( our flight to sfo closed its door at 1:35pm for a 1:55 departure). Honolulu airport on Sunday afternoon was very crowded. It took a lot of walking to go from security gate to agriculture to our gate. After all, this is our first time missing a flight, but we were very fortunate to get a flight back to sfo. After all, I don't think I will ever book a car with Dollars and Thrifty again. After all, we had a good time. Thanks for reading
  8. newbees

    First time Alaska cruisers need help.

    Thank you so much for your inputs. I am heading to my public library for more reading :)
  9. Our family of 4 have decided to do a round trip Alaska cruise from Seatle from June 15-22, 2014. However, there are 3 options available for us. Please help us decide. We are 47, 40, 13 (boy) and 10 (girl). We have never done Alaska before. We have done Norwegian Epic (Western Med), Norwegian Star (Baltic cruise) and Royal Caribbean (Mexico). We are pretty easy going. We have not had a bad vacation. We are pretty active and fit. We love to do things on the ship. My kids also would love to see magic shows and spend time in the kids club. Which cruise will be a better fit for us? 1. Holland America- Amsterdam 1 Seattle -- 04:00 PM 1 Puget Sound -- -- 2 At Sea -- -- 3 Tracy Arm 03:00 PM 08:00 PM 4 Juneau 07:00 AM 06:00 PM 5 Sitka 08:00 AM 04:00 PM 6 Ketchikan 07:00 AM 01:00 PM 7 Victoria 06:00 PM 11:59 PM 8 Seattle 07:00 AM -- Itinerary Map 2. Norwegian Pearl 1 Seattle -- 04:00 PM 2 At Sea -- -- 3 Juneau 02:00 PM 10:00 PM 4 Skagway 07:00 AM 08:15 PM 5 Glacier Bay -- -- 6 Ketchikan 06:00 AM 01:30 PM 7 Victoria 06:00 PM 11:59 PM 8 Seattle 08:00 AM -- 3. Grand Princess 1 Seattle -- 04:00 PM 2 At Sea -- -- 3 Ketchikan 06:30 AM 04:00 PM 4 Tracy Arm 06:00 AM 10:00 AM 4 Juneau 02:00 PM 10:00 PM 5 Skagway 06:00 AM 05:00 PM 6 At Sea -- -- 7 Victoria 07:00 PM 11:59 PM 8 Seattle 07:00 AM -- Thanks.
  10. For us, Versailles also had the option of morning buffet which was quite nice. We had no problem with luggages on the train. We put out our luggages the night before. We just walked off the boat and found our luggages neatly stacked with the proper colored tags. In St Petersburg, there was a Russian theme show at 445pm-545pm. A lot of people missed it. I booked with SPB tour for all 5 ports. If I only went with St Peterburg and Berlin, I could have saved $100. However, I think $100 is definitely worth it for the Stockholm, Helsinki and Talinn. They provided excellent guides and entry tickets to Vasa and Stockholm city hall. Overall, I recommend booking with them with all ports. I did hesitate about Berlin because it was so far from the port, however, I am glad that I went. Berlin made me understand my highschool world history more. From day 2-8, our group of 17 alway made reservation with either Versailles or Aqua. They did allow reservation for the same day. I personally don't care for Aqua.
  11. They had several magic, acrobat and juggling shows. However, kid club and the water slide were not very interesting to them. Upper deck could be windy and cold. Compared to my last year Med. cruise, this cruise did not have many kids. My kids are 9 and 13. They liked Copenhagen, St Petersburg and Stockholm. However, they would prefer Orlando, Cancun or Hawaii. I took them to beach/Disney destination when they were younger. It is now my time :)
  12. Ncl put 2 local shows on the boat. One was in Warnermund (we missed it because we did not make it back until 830pm). The second show was in St Petersberg. Both shows were at around 430-5pm. We had breakfast in Versailles and the buffet. The first day of St Petersburg and the last day were busy. I was jet-lagged, so I tended to get up very early. I went to breakfast very early. I never had any problem.
  13. for June 17 (the second day in St Petersburg), there was a local Russian folk dancing and singing show on board around 5pm. June 18: Helsinki. THis is my least favorite port. The church in the rock was closed in the morning. We were on a tour bus driving around Helsinki. We got back to the boat around 12pm. June 19: Stockholm. SPB took us to Vasa first, then to City Hall, then we got 2 free hours in old town. We chose to buy tickets to go to the Royal palace. 2 hours did not allow us enough time to see all 4 areas of the Royal palace. We should have skipped it and not wasted money on the tickets. We went back at 2 pm. Personally, I love Stockholm. I wished we had more time in Stockhohm. There were so many sights to see and so many things to do, but the Star left port at 5pm, and all aboard was at 4pm. June 20: sea day. They had activities and shows throughout the day. June 21: disembark: everything went smoothly. Taxi from the port to airport cost 370dkk.
  14. June 15: St Petersburg-day 1. The Star did not clear custom till 9am. For people who used the ship tour, Star had the forward gangway for them. For private groups like us, we were stuck on the boat for an hour. Once got out, passport control took another hour. We did not meet up with SPB until 11am. However, our tour guide was very understanding. She provided us with water. She took us right away to Hemitage, then to Spill blood, then lunch. After lunch, we went to Peter and Paul fortress. It was nice to have a guide because she took care of all the tickets, begged to the officer at Hemitage so we could go inside. It was very crowded and hectic in front of Hemitage. She also took us to the free restroom stop :) We finally got back around 530pm. June 16: st Petersburg day 2: everything went much more smoothly. Passport control took 5 minutes. We started out with the Canal ride. Then we went to Catherine Palace. Right after that we went to Peterhof and it became raining very hard. Our guide took us to a local place for lunch. SHe was very nice to exchange rubles for us. As the rain died down, we went in Peterhof. Our kids loved it. According to them, that was the highlight of our trip.
  15. Honestly, I don't really know. Last year, on the Epic (West med. cruise), they did not take any reservation. However, on the Star, they did.
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