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Jetty John

Hawaii excursion recommendations

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Do you feel this type of cruise is good for someone who has never been to Hawaii?  Will it be enough time there, or will it leave one feeling they rushed through and missed the experience?

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7 hours ago, Chardo said:

Do you feel this type of cruise is good for someone who has never been to Hawaii?  Will it be enough time there, or will it leave one feeling they rushed through and missed the experience?

 

If you were taking a land vacation, a week would give you a nice overview of 1 of the 4 islands. On a cruise, you will hit the highlights of all 4, maybe get a feel for each one but you will not see everything. And you should do some planning to maximize the time you will have. On a land vacation you have more time obviously. You just need to realize what the cruise will provide and decide if that’s what you want. 

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I wrote a detailed review of our day in Hilo here:

https://profcruise.com/ports-of-call-lecture-series-what-to-do-in-hilo-hawaii/

 

For Maui we did the snorkeling excursion through the ship.  It was phenomenal!  We saw whales, bottle necked dolphins, in addition to reefs and fish.  Can't recommend strongly enough. 

 

In Honolulu we rented a car and drove to the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve along with a few shorter scenic stops close by.  Then we did some shopping and dining.

 

In Kauai we hopped on the free trolly shuttle which takes you to a small shopping center.  From there we boarded a tour they advertised on the ride over on the trolly.  It was $50 per person and was excellent.  We covered a lot of spots!  Well worth the money.

 

Enjoy!

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17 hours ago, ProfCruise said:

I wrote a detailed review of our day in Hilo here:

https://profcruise.com/ports-of-call-lecture-series-what-to-do-in-hilo-hawaii/

 

For Maui we did the snorkeling excursion through the ship.  It was phenomenal!  We saw whales, bottle necked dolphins, in addition to reefs and fish.  Can't recommend strongly enough. 

 

In Honolulu we rented a car and drove to the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve along with a few shorter scenic stops close by.  Then we did some shopping and dining.

 

In Kauai we hopped on the free trolly shuttle which takes you to a small shopping center.  From there we boarded a tour they advertised on the ride over on the trolly.  It was $50 per person and was excellent.  We covered a lot of spots!  Well worth the money.

 

Enjoy!

 

Thank you ProfCruise.  We are doing the ship snorkeling excursion in Maui as well.  Sharing a private tour Hilo, and renting a car in Kauai.  Honolulu is the only port where we are undecided.  Love your web site!  

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On 1/20/2019 at 8:39 PM, Jetty John said:

My wife and I are taking the Grand Princess to Hawaii on April 21st.  Believe it or not I'm 62 years old and have never been to Hawaii.  Our ports are Maui, Hilo, Honolulu and Kauai.  I definitely want to do some good snorkeling, and our port time in Honolulu goes into the evening and we'd like to do a Luau if possible.  Does anyone have any good recommendations for excursions?

 

I’m 68 and have never been to Hawaii.  It’s never been on my Bucket List.  And I don’t like to fly.   But, I enjoy a good cruise!  So, we’ll be sailing to Hawaii the same day as you!  We can experience it the first time together on the same ship!  👍🏼🏝🍹

Edited by Linsifer

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On 1/22/2019 at 7:04 PM, ar1950 said:

The couple of cruises we did Wings Over Kauai.  Better than the helicopter tour and way less expensive.  If you decide to do it be sure to book early.  They tend to sell out on cruise ship days.

https://www.wingsoverkauai.com/

Just booked this for our cruise early May.  Nervous re being on a Cessna, so small, but going to soldier on as I knew the mr would love it.  

 

FYI, Called them & advised they are recommending that PoA cruisers NOT book the first time slot, 9 am time, as so many have arrived too late to the shuttle pick up point late.  Explanation is the ship has been docking/cleared later last few months. Perhaps, but I’m thinking it’s more likely along the lines that people just aren’t being prompt meet the shuttle.

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On 3/26/2019 at 8:36 AM, keishashadow said:

Just booked this for our cruise early May.  Nervous re being on a Cessna, so small, but going to soldier on as I knew the mr would love it.  

 

FYI, Called them & advised they are recommending that PoA cruisers NOT book the first time slot, 9 am time, as so many have arrived too late to the shuttle pick up point late.  Explanation is the ship has been docking/cleared later last few months. Perhaps, but I’m thinking it’s more likely along the lines that people just aren’t being prompt meet the shuttle.

FWIW, the plane is actually (statistically) safer than taking a helicopter.  Also, 9 AM time slot is not a good idea.  The pickup location is in front of the ABC store east of where the ship docks.  If you walk fast you can get there in about 15 minutes.  Otherwise there are shuttles in front of the ship but you may have to wait a while to get the right one.  Another issue is the lines to disembark from the ship.  Too many potential hangups to be comfortable to make the 9 AM tour.  Go for the 10:30 time slot if it is available.

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What stats show that a small airplane is safer than a helicopter?

 

Having flown both types of aircraft, I am skeptical about such a statement.

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On 3/26/2019 at 10:36 AM, keishashadow said:

Just booked this for our cruise early May.  Nervous re being on a Cessna, so small, but going to soldier on as I knew the mr would love it.  

 

FYI, Called them & advised they are recommending that PoA cruisers NOT book the first time slot, 9 am time, as so many have arrived too late to the shuttle pick up point late.  Explanation is the ship has been docking/cleared later last few months. Perhaps, but I’m thinking it’s more likely along the lines that people just aren’t being prompt meet the shuttle.

I wonder if this applies to day two (Friday) as well.  We plan to book it this weekend though so I guess we will find out.

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5 hours ago, Beachiekeen said:

I wonder if this applies to day two (Friday) as well.  We plan to book it this weekend though so I guess we will find out.

Since it’s an overnight prior, I’d think not an issue.  They did suggest to book as early as possible in the day to try to avoid fog.  Also mentioned, if inclement weather the first day in port, better chance to be squeezed into a fight the 2nd the day.  Contact with them has been enjoyable, great communication.

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2 minutes ago, keishashadow said:

Since it’s an overnight prior, I’d think not an issue.  They did suggest to book as early as possible in the day to try to avoid fog.  Also mentioned, if inclement weather the first day in port, better chance to be squeezed into a fight the 2nd the day.  Contact with them has been enjoyable, great communication.

Oh good to know.  Our cruise isn't until November but there are 6 of us which is the whole plane so we want to make sure we get the time we want.  We plan to do a DIY drive day 1 and then just the airvan tour on Friday, have lunch and go back to the ship.

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29 minutes ago, Beachiekeen said:

Oh good to know.  Our cruise isn't until November but there are 6 of us which is the whole plane so we want to make sure we get the time we want.  We plan to do a DIY drive day 1 and then just the airvan tour on Friday, have lunch and go back to the ship.

Gotcha.  We booked the ‘private’ for just 2 of us.  Still working up my nerve lol

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We’ll be on the Grand Princess in April. Based on above comments re: traffic around Oahu, is renting a car best advice? I realize there are pros and cons. Our plan is to get to Pearl Harbor first, we have tickets for the 1100 boat around the Arizona and then head out around the Island. We did make dinner reservations for 1830 in Waikiki. Wanted to be present for the 1850 sunset or perhaps a later dinner time would make the day less stressful.  We did download the Shaka Guide for Oahu and plan to follow their suggested route, counter-clockwise, around Oahu. Sounds like we may be rushing the entire day. Fortunately the ship is in port until 2300.  Appreciate any suggestions, thanks! 

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I was just about to do a search on the forum about this very issue. We really do not want to do rental cars. We are on an October 2019 HAL cruise. We thought our TA might be able to help plan the logistics, but she just basically said ships tours and taxis. I hate to give up on our choices so easily.

 

We plan to visit Pearl Harbor and then do a ship’s tour in Oahu.

 

We want to zip line and visit the Sea Horse farm on Maui and enjoy the Old Lahaina Lua in the evening. Only the Sea Horse Farm is a ship’s tour.

 

On the Big Island, in Kona we want to do a sightseeing flight and if possible a ship’s tour. We have a reservation with MaryLou in Hilo, but with Ken’s passing, we are not sure if our October tour will still take place.  But I am sure we will find alternative options, if the need arises.

 

Do you think Uber can help us do all the non-ship excursions, and the combo ship & non- ship excursions? We really hate the thought of renting a car. We both want to be able to look around and sightsee. Which can be dangerous, if one of us is driving.

 

Thanks to anyone willing to share his or her thoughts.

 

 

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1 hour ago, cat shepard said:

We want to zip line and visit the Sea Horse farm on Maui and enjoy the Old Lahaina Lua in the evening. Only the Sea Horse Farm is a ship’s tour.

 

Do note that the sea horse farm is in Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii, and not on Maui.

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2 minutes ago, Silver Sweethearts said:

 

Do note that the sea horse farm is in Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii, and not on Maui.

Thank you. I really need to keep referr8ng to my list until everything is booked. Then I should be able to remember what is on each island.

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On 1/23/2019 at 10:08 PM, faerievert said:

My itinerary for our Feb 3rd HAL cruise:

 

Kona -- Big Island Air airplane tour -- taking a taxi or rideshare from cruise port to airport 

Tip: Plane tours, where available, cost less than helicopters and far have more generous weight restrictions. My husband would have had to pay 1 1/2 to 2x the price for an already crazy expensive helicopter tour. I'd rather take the longer plane tour anyway!

Honolulu -- Hawaii Food tours -- picking up across the street from the cruise port 

Note: The Arizona platform is closed for renovations until at least March and who knows how much longer with the shutdown. I couldn't deal with the stress of planning around that so we're skipping the WWII stuff entirely in favor of a food tour (will try to do the military history site-seeing when we return in the future for a SCUBA trip).

Nawiliwili -- Airventures Hawaii Biplane tour -- picking up across the street from the cruise port. Yes, you can do an open cockpit biplane tour with old-timey aviator leather cap & goggles!! This is a birthday treat for my husband.

Lahaina -- EXC/HAL tours because nothing I wanted to do fit with the amount of buffer I like to give tender ports

Hilo -- Kamaaina Custom Tours private van tour -- picking up inside the port

Tip: Full day private tours at Hilo (and probably all the ports, but I didn't look) cost less than the EXC small group options, and there are several great private tour companies available! We picked this one because he was most amenable to my itinerary customization requests. If you talk to folks on your roll call, it's likely some would be willing to share costs on a private small group tour. 

 

Hi faerievert ~ may I ask what you did on your private tour in Hilo?  

 

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10 hours ago, Grover-Lee said:

 

Hi faerievert ~ may I ask what you did on your private tour in Hilo?  

 

Good choice, we missed Kona, Nawiliwili, and Lahaina due to weather.

 

We went to the two major waterfalls (each a very short walk from the parking area), drove into the now lava-covered suburban neighborhood to see the steam from the current active fissure (no lava was visible anywhere in the islands when we were there), visited a few scenic beaches, stopped at the turtle lagoon in town (my husband got to swim with a HUGE sea turtle... water was very cold), stopped at a farm stand for fresh local pineapple for a snack and a bag of coffee for my dad, ate a bunch of local junk food like chocolate covered macadamia nuts and sweet potato chips, went to the farmer's market in town where I got jewelry and crazy cheap flowers (I was allowed to bring these on board the ship), visited an art gallery (the for sale kind, not a museum), and I'm probably forgetting something. We skipped the national park due to lack of flowing red lava and most of the trails being shut down (it's pretty far out of town, so we could see so much more if we skipped it). The guide was fantastic (older hippie dude who's been living off the grid near Hilo for a couple decades) and we absolutely got our money's worth. Almost awesome enough to make up for missing three ports.

 

In regards to those missed ports: We got a refund for the biplane tour no problem, but big island air were not cooperative at all. The stop in kona was canceled because we weren't allowed to leave honolulu. This was after their cancelation deadline, so no refund. I didn't like that, but what really annoyed me was that when we called back first thing in the morning (less than 12 hours later) and offered to grab a commercial flight to kona to still make our tour time they said they had canceled the tour for insufficient numbers. They'd mentioned when we called the night before that one other couple had also been scheduled for the flight. We assumed that they would still get to fly seeing as how they already had our money to justify the flight. They decided not to fly them either, despite having kept our money. Which meant they had received a refund, which meant we now didn't have the numbers required fly.

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On 1/22/2019 at 7:04 PM, ar1950 said:

The couple of cruises we did Wings Over Kauai.  Better than the helicopter tour and way less expensive.  If you decide to do it be sure to book early.  They tend to sell out on cruise ship days.

https://www.wingsoverkauai.com/

 

Thanks for this! I'm thinking the Cessna booked as private may be my biggest splurge for my July 2021 POA cruise (yes, I know, it's early, but...it'll be for my 50th birthday!). They had me at Jurassic Park Waterfall.

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On 4/16/2019 at 5:36 PM, WrittenOnYourHeart said:

 

Thanks for this! I'm thinking the Cessna booked as private may be my biggest splurge for my July 2021 POA cruise (yes, I know, it's early, but...it'll be for my 50th birthday!). They had me at Jurassic Park Waterfall.

We flew with Wings over Kauai during our April visit. It was a bi-plane on a Waco and out of this world wonderful! Can’t wait to go back! 

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On 1/22/2019 at 9:53 PM, nbist said:

Our first Hawaii cruise we rented cars at each port. The second time my husband said "no rental cars"! Yes, it is nice to have the freedom and Independence, BUT we wasted a lot of time waiting for shuttles, waiting in line for the cars (even when filling everything out beforehand and using loyalty programs), etc., etc. With one day in port it didn't seem worth the hassles. Taxi's, Uber, or tours will get you where you need to go without the added hassles, and in my opinion the extra expense was worth it for us. To answer your questions r/t excursions: In Honolulu we enjoyed climbing Diamondhead and the Pearl Harbor sites. Maui - whale watching, snorkeling, or Haleakula. Kauai- Waimea Canyon is beautiful, the 2nd time there we booked a private tour guide who showed us so much more than what we found on our own the first time. Hilo -  lots of small group tours that do the usual Rainbow Falls, Volcano National Park, etc. Happy planning!

 

We made the same decision for our POA cruise in April. The problem with renting a car is my husband ends up with about half the enjoyment I do because he has to spend his day behind the wheel while I take in the sights, take pictures, and enjoy! I am also allergic to big bus tours,  so everything we’ve planned is private or very small group. We realize it’s much more expensive to do it the way we’re doing it, but we think it will be worth it. Our airfare (first class😀) was only $221 because of a whopping United travel voucher and some miles, so we’re spending the money on tours instead of getting there! Here’s what we have planned/booked:

 

Honolulu — Tours by Locals hotel pick-up, Pearl Harbor and other nearby sights, drop off at the ship.

Maui Day 1 — Valley Isle Excursions Road to Hana

Maui Day 2 — Unique Maui Tours West Maui Adventure

Hilo — Mauka Makai Volcano Adventure

Kona — Mauka Makai Historic Kona Coast

Kaua’i Day 1 — Tours by Locals Waimea Canyon, Luau in the evening

Kaua’i Day 2 — Wings Over Kaua’i

Honolulu — Tours by Locals ship pick-up, North side of Oahu, drop off at the airport..

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Cindy said:

 

 

 

We made the same decision for our POA cruise in April. The problem with renting a car is my husband ends up with about half the enjoyment I do because he has to spend his day behind the wheel while I take in the sights, take pictures, and enjoy! I am also allergic to big bus tours,  so everything we’ve planned is private or very small group. We realize it’s much more expensive to do it the way we’re doing it, but we think it will be worth it. Our airfare (first class😀) was only $221 because of a whopping United travel voucher and some miles, so we’re spending the money on tours instead of getting there! Here’s what we have planned/booked:

 

Honolulu — Tours by Locals hotel pick-up, Pearl Harbor and other nearby sights, drop off at the ship.

Maui Day 1 — Valley Isle Excursions Road to Hana

Maui Day 2 — Unique Maui Tours West Maui Adventure

Hilo — Mauka Makai Volcano Adventure

Kona — Mauka Makai Historic Kona Coast

Kaua’i Day 1 — Tours by Locals Waimea Canyon, Luau in the evening

Kaua’i Day 2 — Wings Over Kaua’i

Honolulu — Tours by Locals ship pick-up, North side of Oahu, drop off at the airport..

 

 

 

 

 

So are you not going until April?  We are doing the same tours on Hilo/Kona and also Wings Over Kauai Friday morning.  I'll be sure and report back since I go in November--I was hoping you were going first though, ha!

 

We had planned to do the private tours on the BI with Island Wide Family Tours, but like Mary Lou, they are no longer in business, which was so sad.  We just went with the shared tours with Mauka Makai but I'm still excited for them.

 

I've talked at length with hubby about all the driving but he insists he is fine with it.  At least by driving we can get out and stop where we want.  The two days on the BI will give him a break also.

Edited by Beachiekeen

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3 hours ago, Beachiekeen said:

So are you not going until April?  We are doing the same tours on Hilo/Kona and also Wings Over Kauai Friday morning.  I'll be sure and report back since I go in November--I was hoping you were going first though, ha!

 

We had planned to do the private tours on the BI with Island Wide Family Tours, but like Mary Lou, they are no longer in business, which was so sad.  We just went with the shared tours with Mauka Makai but I'm still excited for them.

 

I've talked at length with hubby about all the driving but he insists he is fine with it.  At least by driving we can get out and stop where we want.  The two days on the BI will give him a break also.

 

No, we’re not going until April. I like planning early...I usually get my pick of who/what I want, and it gives me time to pay for all of it!😂 I’ll be looking forward to hearing about Mauka Makai and Wings over Kaua’i.

 

I had Mary Lou on my list, but when I saw the sad notice on her website I figured she probably wouldn’t be doing tours any longer.😢 I think Mauka Makai was one of her recommendations, and their reviews are great!

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On 4/10/2019 at 8:45 PM, faerievert said:

Good choice, we missed Kona, Nawiliwili, and Lahaina due to weather.

 

We went to the two major waterfalls (each a very short walk from the parking area), drove into the now lava-covered suburban neighborhood to see the steam from the current active fissure (no lava was visible anywhere in the islands when we were there), visited a few scenic beaches, stopped at the turtle lagoon in town (my husband got to swim with a HUGE sea turtle... water was very cold), stopped at a farm stand for fresh local pineapple for a snack and a bag of coffee for my dad, ate a bunch of local junk food like chocolate covered macadamia nuts and sweet potato chips, went to the farmer's market in town where I got jewelry and crazy cheap flowers (I was allowed to bring these on board the ship), visited an art gallery (the for sale kind, not a museum), and I'm probably forgetting something. We skipped the national park due to lack of flowing red lava and most of the trails being shut down (it's pretty far out of town, so we could see so much more if we skipped it). The guide was fantastic (older hippie dude who's been living off the grid near Hilo for a couple decades) and we absolutely got our money's worth. Almost awesome enough to make up for missing three ports.

 

In regards to those missed ports: We got a refund for the biplane tour no problem, but big island air were not cooperative at all. The stop in kona was canceled because we weren't allowed to leave honolulu. This was after their cancelation deadline, so no refund. I didn't like that, but what really annoyed me was that when we called back first thing in the morning (less than 12 hours later) and offered to grab a commercial flight to kona to still make our tour time they said they had canceled the tour for insufficient numbers. They'd mentioned when we called the night before that one other couple had also been scheduled for the flight. We assumed that they would still get to fly seeing as how they already had our money to justify the flight. They decided not to fly them either, despite having kept our money. Which meant they had received a refund, which meant we now didn't have the numbers required fly.

Who did you book the "hippie dude"😂 through. Your itinerary in Hilo sounds great!

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34 minutes ago, lovebears said:

Who did you book the "hippie dude"😂 through. Your itinerary in Hilo sounds great!

I went back and looked on page 1, she lists Kamaaina Custom Tours private van tour.

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