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Favorite things to do in Honolulu, pre cruise?


T25
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We will be in Honolulu 3 nights, prior to our Pride of America cruise. We have a tour booked for Pearl Harbor, looking for other suggestions. Would like a sunset catamaran cruise as well. 
 

Thanks!

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4 hours ago, T25 said:

We will be in Honolulu 3 nights, prior to our Pride of America cruise. We have a tour booked for Pearl Harbor, looking for other suggestions. Would like a sunset catamaran cruise as well.

 

A lot depends on what interests you.

 

I am a big fan of taking an outrigger canoe ride out front of the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Hotel with Aloha Beach Services.

 

If you are healthy, I usually hike Diamond Head early one morning (like 6:30AM early) and Moana Falls too. The view from the top of Diamond Head is great.

 

Sunset cocktails at the House Without A Key at Halekulani, followed by dinner at Orchids, is better than a sunset catamaran sail. Take a catamaran sail off the beach earlier in the day.

 

If you are willing to rent a car one day, I'd drive over the Pali Highway, stopping at the Pali Overlook and go on down into Kaneohe and Kailua, maybe stop at Lanikai Beach.

 

Fascinating sights include Iolani Palace, the Doris Duke Estate (Shangri La), Chinatown and we love the Kapiolani Community College Farmers Market on Saturdays.

 

https://hfbf.org/farmers-markets/kcc/

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There is a yellow catamaran between the Outrigger and Moana Surfrider and I suggest them for a sunset cruise.

 

The Iolani Palace tour is always great.  Make reservations.  The only royal palace in the U.S.A.

 

The Doris Duke Estate (Shangri LA) is a wonderful view into Honolulu in a time that has long gone by.  Reservations can be made through the Honolulu Museum of Art.  You meet there and they transport you to and from the estate.  

 

If you have never surfed but would like to...Waikiki is a good spot.  If not the outriggers are fun.

 

And, if you're a surfer and have a rental car, a trip to the North Shore to spend time at Pipeline and Sunset if fun.  Ted's bakery is a must for sandwiches and dessert to enjoy on the beach.  Also the Turtle Bay Resort has a great bar to enjoy a beverage, enjoy something to eat and watch the surf.  

 

One restaurant that we enjoyed in December was the The Deck on the rooftop of the Queen Kapiolani Hotel.  Good views.  The Tiki Grill was also good.  And, a favorite is Lulu's.  Unfortunately Lulu's was closed due to unknown reasons while we were there.  Make reservations at any of the restaurants you might want to go to.  It is easy to cancel a reservation but not easy to make one.

 

Walking along Waikiki Beach with a beverage and enjoying the evening music is always fun.  Have fun.  Cherie

 

 

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4 hours ago, scottca075 said:

If you are healthy, I usually hike Diamond Head early one morning (like 6:30AM early) and Moana Falls too. The view from the top of Diamond Head is great.

 

Sorry, typo, Manoa Falls.

 

 

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We love the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie on the North Shore.  You can buy a package that includes time in the park to visit the various "villages," a luau buffet dinner, their fire show, "Ha," and round-trip transportation from your hotel if you don't want to rent a car.

https://www.polynesia.com/packages/all/islands-and-ha-show-package

 

This "Monarch's Tour" includes the one-of-a-kind Iolani Palace & the fascinating Bishop Museum (of Hawaiian history).

https://www.fun-hawaii.com/island-oahu/tours/the-Monarchs-tours/the-monarchs-tour.htm#Inquire

 

Of course, Pearl Harbor & the "Punchbowl" National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific are amazing places to visit, and there are many tours that you can find online.  On the other end of the spectrum, there's always the Dole Plantation if you like kitschy pineapple wonderfulness.

 

Edited by NikiPinkston
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On 1/14/2022 at 12:08 PM, scottca075 said:

If you are willing to rent a car one day, I'd drive over the Pali Highway, stopping at the Pali Overlook and go on down into Kaneohe and Kailua, maybe stop at Lanikai Beach.

As of right now, there's road construction in Lanikai. Lanikai has one road in/out of the neighborhood. On-street parking is prohibited from 8am-4pm (I think) in Lanikai. Stop at Kailua Beach instead.

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As someone else mentioned....House without a Key at the Halekulani for sunset and Hawaiian music as well as beautiful views.

 

If you have a car, you can drive around the island which can be done in as little as 4 hours but with stops 6-8 

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  • 1 month later...
On 1/22/2022 at 4:23 PM, lovecruzin said:

As someone else mentioned....House without a Key at the Halekulani for sunset and Hawaiian music as well as beautiful views.

 

If you have a car, you can drive around the island which can be done in as little as 4 hours but with stops 6-8 

We just paid for our May 4th Hawaii cruise and I'd never heard of House without a Key so decided it sounds amazing. But when I try to book for 6:30pm for the 1st through the 3rd, It's not available. And only bar seating, instead of standard is available at 7pm. Is bar seating good enough? (Who knew the place would be booked up this far in advance?)

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22 minutes ago, 2Long2NxtCrz said:

Is bar seating good enough? (Who knew the place would be booked up this far in advance?)

Everything in Hawaii is filled to the gills with people right now and the nicer places, no matter where you are, book months in advance. A lot of places are operating under reduced capacity either because they choose to or they can't find enough people to staff them so it exacerbates the issue with so many people coming to the islands right now. 

 

My best advice is make as many reservations for things you want to do now-- you are already a bit behind for a lot of things but still might have some success or be able to get backup reservations while you wait for something else to open up. Sometimes you can get lucky last minute with cancellations happening the day before or same day-- we've been able to get into a few things that way on Maui. 

 

The live entertainment at House Without a Key is outside towards the water and is surrounded by quite a lot of tables. The bar area is in an open air enclosure and will be a bit further back from the stage but if it was between going and sitting in the bar area or not going at all, I'd still take the bar. 

 

A fun alternative/second stop there is Lewer's Lounge-- very different vibe with a dark lounge and live jazz. It's not a bad spot to land after HwaK-- it opens at 8pm just as the entertainment at House ends. 

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3 minutes ago, princeton123211 said:

Everything in Hawaii is filled to the gills with people right now and the nicer places, no matter where you are, book months in advance. A lot of places are operating under reduced capacity either because they choose to or they can't find enough people to staff them so it exacerbates the issue with so many people coming to the islands right now. 

 

My best advice is make as many reservations for things you want to do now-- you are already a bit behind for a lot of things but still might have some success or be able to get backup reservations while you wait for something else to open up. Sometimes you can get lucky last minute with cancellations happening the day before or same day-- we've been able to get into a few things that way on Maui. 

 

The live entertainment at House Without a Key is outside towards the water and is surrounded by quite a lot of tables. The bar area is in an open air enclosure and will be a bit further back from the stage but if it was between going and sitting in the bar area or not going at all, I'd still take the bar. 

 

A fun alternative/second stop there is Lewer's Lounge-- very different vibe with a dark lounge and live jazz. It's not a bad spot to land after HwaK-- it opens at 8pm just as the entertainment at House ends. 

Thanks for the advice! I think I'll book the bar and then see what happens when we're closer in.

 

I know I'm a bit "behind" on booking things, but didn't want to do a ton of work and then have this not pan out (I did that too many times over the last couple of years).

 

For the rest, it seems like I can just rent a car and go where we want. That sounds like the ideal option for us anyway.

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4 hours ago, 2Long2NxtCrz said:

We just paid for our May 4th Hawaii cruise and I'd never heard of House without a Key so decided it sounds amazing. But when I try to book for 6:30pm for the 1st through the 3rd, It's not available. And only bar seating, instead of standard is available at 7pm. Is bar seating good enough? (Who knew the place would be booked up this far in advance?)

I just made a reservation for after our cruise, thanks for the reminder!

Bar seating is what you want, Open Table says that is the outdoor patio.

 

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The pandemic has turned things upside down. Pre-pandemic there were no reservations for the "bar"*, it was first come, first serve and only the restaurant portion took reservations.

 

*here is a picture of the "bar"

House-without-a-key.thumb.png.d7f329fba2328d451225678ef5a6e1ae.png

 

Sadly the beautiful Kiawe tree fell about 3 years ago.

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2 hours ago, scottca075 said:

The pandemic has turned things upside down. Pre-pandemic there were no reservations for the "bar"*, it was first come, first serve and only the restaurant portion took reservations.

 

*here is a picture of the "bar"

House-without-a-key.thumb.png.d7f329fba2328d451225678ef5a6e1ae.png

 

Sadly the beautiful Kiawe tree fell about 3 years ago.

Oh! Sad about the tree, but that's perfect then!

 

Thank you so much! I don't know what I'd do without CC and all the information y'all provide.

 

Quick question now that I'm making plans... LOL... We're only in Hilo 8am to 5pm. Is that still enough time to rent a car and drive up to Volcano National Park? I've seen some great tours on TripAdvisor, but they last 11 hours and visit so many other places.

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6 hours ago, 2Long2NxtCrz said:

We're only in Hilo 8am to 5pm. Is that still enough time to rent a car and drive up to Volcano National Park? I've seen some great tours on TripAdvisor, but they last 11 hours and visit so many other places.

 

It is, but all things considered, the cruise excursion is probably a lot easier.

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On 2/24/2022 at 8:50 AM, 2Long2NxtCrz said:

Quick question now that I'm making plans... LOL... We're only in Hilo 8am to 5pm. Is that still enough time to rent a car and drive up to Volcano National Park? I've seen some great tours on TripAdvisor, but they last 11 hours and visit so many other places.

Definitely! It's about a 40 minute drive from Hilo to the entrance area of the Park. Even if you only have a short time there you can still view some great things there like the Nāhuku (Thurston) Lava Tube, the steam vents at the sulfur banks, and the overlooks at the main crater (Halema'uma'u) and Kīlauea Iki. Just keep an eye on time so you get back to the ship okay.

 

There's so much to see in the park, though, so it's best if you look at the park's web site to prioritize what you want to see. Although I enjoy going to see the Petroglyphs near the bottom of Chain of Craters road, a person on a tight time schedule will probably do better skipping that. Also, those on a tight time schedule might want to take a pass on driving Hilina Pali Road out to the Hilina Pali Overlook.

 

On the other hand, when you go to the Sulfur vents, it's worth it to walk up the trail toward the crater. There will be far fewer people -- most just stop in the parking lot and look at the vents right there -- and you'll see fern-edged vents in the woods along the crater's edge as you walk.

 

There are some great pull-offs with picnic tables along the magnificent mountainside of Chain of Craters Road, and not really any food facilities in that part of the park, so bring a picnic lunch to enjoy.

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On 2/26/2022 at 12:36 PM, Leela said:

Definitely! It's about a 40 minute drive from Hilo to the entrance area of the Park. Even if you only have a short time there you can still view some great things there like the Nāhuku (Thurston) Lava Tube, the steam vents at the sulfur banks, and the overlooks at the main crater (Halema'uma'u) and Kīlauea Iki. Just keep an eye on time so you get back to the ship okay.

 

There's so much to see in the park, though, so it's best if you look at the park's web site to prioritize what you want to see. Although I enjoy going to see the Petroglyphs near the bottom of Chain of Craters road, a person on a tight time schedule will probably do better skipping that. Also, those on a tight time schedule might want to take a pass on driving Hilina Pali Road out to the Hilina Pali Overlook.

 

On the other hand, when you go to the Sulfur vents, it's worth it to walk up the trail toward the crater. There will be far fewer people -- most just stop in the parking lot and look at the vents right there -- and you'll see fern-edged vents in the woods along the crater's edge as you walk.

 

There are some great pull-offs with picnic tables along the magnificent mountainside of Chain of Craters Road, and not really any food facilities in that part of the park, so bring a picnic lunch to enjoy.

Thank you for such great advice! I really appreciate it.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 2/24/2022 at 7:53 PM, scottca075 said:

 

It is, but all things considered, the cruise excursion is probably a lot easier.

Rent a car...it is easy....shuttle takes you to the airport for pick-up.  I am old  (past 60) and I can't imagine doing Hawaii without a rental car.

 

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20 minutes ago, elsie3939 said:

Rent a car...it is easy....shuttle takes you to the airport for pick-up.  I am old  (past 60) and I can't imagine doing Hawaii without a rental car.

 

2Long2NxtCrz has a limited time horizon (8-5 in port) and getting a car in Hilo isn't as fast or easy as it used to be.

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On 1/19/2022 at 10:10 AM, joanne2375 said:

As of right now, there's road construction in Lanikai. Lanikai has one road in/out of the neighborhood. On-street parking is prohibited from 8am-4pm (I think) in Lanikai. Stop at Kailua Beach instead.

Hi Joanne2375..I see you wrote this in Jan..Is the construction competed that you know of?

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On 4/1/2022 at 10:16 AM, scottca075 said:

 

2Long2NxtCrz has a limited time horizon (8-5 in port) and getting a car in Hilo isn't as fast or easy as it used to be.

I am disappointed to see this. We were planning on renting a car in Hilo, as we have done in the past.  Used to be pretty simple, what changed? Thanks for any information.

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51 minutes ago, cunnorl said:

I am disappointed to see this. We were planning on renting a car in Hilo, as we have done in the past.  Used to be pretty simple, what changed? Thanks for any information.

 

Covid changed things. Some companies have not returned to sending shuttles to the cruise port. Ones that do send shuttles do it at set times or limited times because they don't have the personnel to man the shuttles.Will they get back to normal? I am sure at some point, but not right now. It could all be different next week.

 

I have a friend on the Grand arriving in Hilo on Friday. I will ask her what see saw when they arrived.

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