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brrrdog

The somewhat definitive guide to skipping a port on the POA.

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Note that this applies only to American citizens on the american flagged POA. International cruisers or ships may be more complicated due to the passenger services act.

 

Summary (for TLDR):

 

  1. Call guest services the day you're not going to make it back and let them know that you will not make it back on time and let them know when/where you will be rejoining the ship.
  2. When you get back aboard your cards will no longer work since you would have been disembarked.
  3. You'll be instructed to go back to guest service where you will you do the complete set of embarkation steps again (health form, credit card, etc) and get a new card.
  4. Your bill that you get at the end of the cruise will only be from the time that you re-embarked. I presume that I'll have a separate set of charges for the first day.

The full version:

 

I had a ton that I wanted to see on the big island and doing it between ports was not going to be possible. I wanted to skip reboarding at hilo and get back on at Kona.

 

I called NCL a couple of months in advance. While they were unwilling to document my request officially, they said that it does happen accidentally all the time. I made sure there would be no fines or penalties for "accidentally" missing. He confirmed by saying "we figured you've been thru enough to rejoin the ship at your own expense".

 

When getting back on board on Maui (two days before Hilo), I asked the security guards at the scan-in station on deck 3 for their advice. They also confirmed that it happens regularly but to make sure the ship knew you would not be making it on time. They suggested I stop at guest services.

 

This is where things get whishy-washy. I talked to not one, but two different people at guest services and they were fairly clueless on any protocol. That may have been partly my fault since I was somewhat skirting the certainty of our plan but that also had to do with one of them telling me my request was at the discretion of the captain. After leaving my room number with the second person, I did get a call to my cabin from a manager, simply indicating to make sure that we notified the ship with the emergency number on our key card. Easy enough. We got off the ship and grabbed a shuttle to go pick up our rental Jeep.

 

At 2pm (3 hours until all aboard), I called the "emergency" number on my card - what a joke. A phone number for "dialaship.com", which required a credit card to pay for the $7.95/min call. We sucked it up, selected our ship from the phone menu, and then heard a person say "guest services, how may I help you". If this is all this was going to do I would have saved the 16 bucks and simply dialed from my room and told them definitively that we would not be making it back on time and let it be done.

 

When we rejoined the ship at Kona the following day, our key cards no longer worked since we had officially been disembarked. We had to go to guest services and redo the embarkation process and get new cards.

 

Our bill at the end of the trip only covered the last 4 days (from kona to the end). I'm assuming I've got another charge for the first 3 days waiting for me on my credit card.

 

On our time off the ship we went to the top of mauna key, took a tour of the subaru telescope, did a guided kalapana lava hike at night, stayed at a B&B in volcano, toured HVNP, swam at the black sand beach with a couple of sea turtles, did a quick tour at mountain thunder coffee plantation, returned the rental car to the airport (don't forget to map the nearest Tesoro gas station!), took a taxi ride back to the kona pier and finally did a little bit of shopping before we caught one of the last tenders - one of the most memorable days of my life. If you got big plans and don't know when you'll have a chance to get back to a place like this - then I'd go for it.

 

As a warning, it's possible that rough seas would have stopped the boat from tendering or we could have been late (don't underestimate the drive times), meaning that I would have throw away another day's worth of the ships services, plus the added cost of a plane flight to Kauai. This happens infrequently enough that I was willing to take the risk, but it did help to have it in my head as a possibility -if we were meant to stay another day in kona, then so be it.

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I like it ! ! ! !

 

Until you've walked out to see the lava at night it's hard to imagine anything like it. No matter what the expenses are to get back to the ship it is well worth it.

 

How many nights and port stops did you miss or did the ship just go directly to Kona the next day?

 

Do you have any pics to post of the flow and ocean entry?

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Thanks for the info! We plan to stay ashore on the overnight on Maui, but from what I understand from asking it about doing that on this website, they don't even notice. If something else happens, I will report back!

 

Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

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I like it ! ! ! !

 

Until you've walked out to see the lava at night it's hard to imagine anything like it. No matter what the expenses are to get back to the ship it is well worth it.

 

How many nights and port stops did you miss or did the ship just go directly to Kona the next day?

 

Do you have any pics to post of the flow and ocean entry?

 

It was well worth it. Seeing the lava flow from just a foot or two was amazing. A couple of people were smart enough to grab a couple of sticks at about the half way point to poke and prod the lava with. Later I was given the idea of attaching something metal to the end of one of these sticks to get an actual sample (it won't stick to the sticks, just catches it on fire). I have pictures of both the surface flows and the ocean entry. i will post once I get it all sorted out.

 

We just missed reboarding at Hilo. We drove around the southern part of the island and got back on the ship in Kona the following day.

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Thanks for the info! We plan to stay ashore on the overnight on Maui, but from what I understand from asking it about doing that on this website, they don't even notice. If something else happens, I will report back!

 

Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

 

Yeah, since the boat already stays overnight in maui so you wouldn't technically be missing any ports and they won't care where you are until the boat leaves the following day. Once the boat docks you can be gone as long as you like. The gangway is available for your leave or return as long as you are in port. We left at 3am on maui to drive up to haleakala for the sunrise.

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I would hope the gangway wouldn't be down overnight. I won't feel very safe with that scenario.

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The gangway is manned - they have several crew members available to scan cards and security officers, plus, there is always port security not associated with the cruise line at ports. Don't see any reason to feel insecure?

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Can anyone who did one of the lava hikes provide me with some information such as which tour operator and the duration of the hike. This sounds really interesting.

Thanks!

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A friend of mine hiked out to the lava in June 2012 with "Poke a Stick" and they (him, his wife and two sons 7 and 10) had a great time with this outfit, but almost all the major tours are the same just time spent at the flow and price are the big differences. Be sure to get specific time spent AT the flow before booking.

 

Most tour ops (or their hawkers on these boards) will tell you they are the only ones that can make the hike legally or that they know more about the safety issues and anything else to get your business but they are all legal or they wouldn't still be doing the tours. Beware of anyone telling you one guy is that much better than another.

 

You can legally walk out on your own but you need more time and lots of knowledge about color differences in hot but not red hot lava and flows you can safely walk over. Here again some will tell you it is not legal but they are just trying to sell tours. I'm all for most people taking the tour for time and safety sake but it is not illegal to do it on your own, it is just a lot longer walk and again you need to know what to expect.

 

Here is what the flow looked like Dec 2012 during the day and night, I have many more shots of the Dec 2012 Puʻu ʻŌʻō ( Peace Day flow ) Pahoehoe lava flow and the 2010 ocean entry (a mile or two east of the current flow) which I liked a little better.

 

http://s1277.photobucket.com/user/earlclep/library/PuuOo%20Lava%20Flow%20-%20Dec%2010%20-%2011%20%202012?sort=3&page=1

 

 

 

Kauai-PuuOoLavaFlow2012466_zps6ae847c6.jpg

 

Kauai-PuuOoLavaFlow2012567_zps632c32aa.jpg?t=1367459113

 

Kauai-PuuOoLavaFlow2012565_zps15769435.jpg

 

Ocean entry Dec 2012 day and night

 

Kauai-PuuOoLavaFlow2012978_zps1645e01a.jpg

 

Kauai-PuuOoLavaFlow20121049_zpsfbf038cf.jpg

 

One of my youtube Nov 2010 Ocean entry videos

 

 

and one of my Dec 2012 youtubes of the ocean entry

 

 

More information can be viewed at the USGS websight http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php

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Can anyone who did one of the lava hikes provide me with some information such as which tour operator and the duration of the hike. This sounds really interesting.

Thanks!

 

We used Kalapana Cultural Tours. Price was $100/person. Time was a bit more than 4 hours round trip I think (started at 5 pm ended 9ish). 1.5 hours each way of hiking. About 30 minutes at a surface flow and 30 minutes at the ocean entry. Kalapana was fine - got the job done - but I think anybody that sees lava up close would consider it a awesome experience. However, I would have appreciated more tips to get the most out of the experience. Only one person thought to pick up a stick at the half way point to poke into the lava. This would have been a nice tip. Another woman was standing on top of a crusted over but still hot flow with her shoes smoking before another patron suggested that she probably shouldn't be standing there. Guide didn't seem to notice. I've heard of other companies bringing marshmallows to roast. There's lots of little things that could make an awesome experience even better. In any case, wear good supportive shoes or hikers -but not something you just bought - 3 hours of hiking on uneven lava will put about 3 years worth of wear on your shoes. No joke.

 

In the context of a cruise, this would be tough to do if you're not overnight at hilo. You can do a day time hike but I'd have to imagine it would be really hot and with much less to see (the sunlight would wash out the cool orange light of the lava).

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Diverearl - spectacular photos and I appreciate your insight! Many thanks!

 

Thanks, I'm trying to pass on some of the insight a few others (very few) gave me my first time at the Public Viewing Area Oct 2010 at the end of hwy 130. Most everyone kept writing or telling me that this parking lot, a mile from the actual flow at the time, was as close as we could get. Then we walked out to the Ocean entry with a tour for $50.00 each. Here is a link to a few of our videos I posted on youtube. Even though they now charge $100.00 per person and even a lot more for some vendors it is money well spent in my opinion. Like me you can hike out on your own but it is a lot farther and there is a lot to know when being that close to lava. On a cruise ship port day I'd definitely walk out with a tour.

 

 

 

In the context of a cruise, this would be tough to do if you're not overnight at hilo. You can do a day time hike but I'd have to imagine it would be really hot and with much less to see (the sunlight would wash out the cool orange light of the lava).

 

I wouldn't let the sunshine deter me from the hike. It is hotter during the day but the lava and ocean entry is just as awesome as after dark, just different, again in my opinion : ) .

 

Kauai-PuuOoLavaFlow2012976_zpscb1103b2.jpg

 

Kauai-PuuOoLavaFlow2012652_zps1b04a8f5.jpg

 

Kauai-PuuOoLavaFlow2012636_zps69d547c5.jpg

Edited by diverearl

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