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Why rental car?


Chrissy24

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We are taking our first cruise and our first trip to Hawaii for our honeymoon. I've been skimming the threads and am a bit confused. We were planning on just planning excursions through the cruise line and not renting a car, but reading all these threads, makes it sound like we almost need to rent a car. I'm confused... can anyone help?

 

Chris:eek:

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We are renting because we are not going on the ship sponsered excursions. We wanted the flexability of going where and when we wanted, and stopping along the way if we wanted, to explore. You are on your own instead of with a group. Down side is you are on your own.

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To me it's just a matter of personal taste. i always prefer renting a car/taking local transportation/etc. rather than going to a predetermined locale, whether it's Hawaii or Anguilla. It's not that one is "better" than another. If there are specfic things you truly want to do on some islands (sunrise on Haleakala, as an example) that transcend other options, excursions are a good idea for those - especially at 3 in the morning!

 

You may find out that there are excursions you really want to try in (examples only) Kona and Kauai, but in Lahaina and Hilo there are things spread all over you want to see, and are curious about some cool places you read about in the Revealed books.

 

Here's why I personally would rather rent a car in Hawaii. Each island - and each stop in each island - has its own feel, its own allure. Hilo is different from Kona, for example, in ways that can better be understood while driving around in your own car rather than on a bus going from point A to point B. And the land around the ports, and the way the folks there relate to the land, is different in every locale. If you go on a bus from the ship to the Excursion Place and then back to the ship you have (IMO,of course) seen something cool but also deprived yourself of the chance to get a feel for the place.

 

It's really a matter of personal taste. I've talked with people who have returned from Hawaiian cruises who did nothing but excursions and then return to the ship and had an absolute blast, while others had an equally fun time by going out on their own every single day. There's no right or wrong.

 

Either way, you're in Hawaii.

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To echo the prior posters... It just gives you the ability to do what you want, when you want, at your own pace. You can speed things up at times when you would be stuck doing something for a longer period of time on an excursion, or you can slow things down a bit. Not to mention the typical cost savings of a rental car vs an excursion. We (and the other couple we went with) were completely happy with just a tourist book our GPS (or map, since there are NOT a lot of roads), and the open road!

 

If you are the excursion type however, that likes to do things in organized groups and tours - then the excursion is probably more your style.

 

either way - enjoy!

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My folks and some friends and I got back this past Sunday from our cruise. I rented a mini-van on the first day in Kahului, Maui (we had the Road to Hana scheduled for the next day) and I had no problems getting around. I paid the $4 for the Maui Drive Guide but really didn't need it, the rental car agency had tons of free maps. We went to the Iao Needle, Tropical Plantation and Maui Ocean Center with a few other stops along the way to browse. The locals were also very helpful in giving directions. This was much cheaper than each of us paying for the NCL excursion and we had a great day. The rental car companies (we used Advantage) pick you up at the pier and take you back so it's easy peasy. :-)

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We are taking our first cruise and our first trip to Hawaii for our honeymoon. I've been skimming the threads and am a bit confused. We were planning on just planning excursions through the cruise line and not renting a car, but reading all these threads, makes it sound like we almost need to rent a car. I'm confused... can anyone help?

 

Chris:eek:

 

Everyone else has pretty much covered it.

 

Advantages to renting a car:

 

1) You are in charge of your own schedule. Stay as long as you like at particular places; move along from ones you didn't like that much. With most group excursions (ship-based or independent) you will be at EVERY spot exactly as long as the slowest person on your tour takes. I've done that before, I will do it again when circumstances make that the best choice -- but it drives me bonkers every time. 50 people are on the bus waiting for the two folks still dithering over whether to buy the blue t-shirt or the red one. :(

 

2) Cost -- significant cost savings in almost every case.

 

3) Stop where YOU want to stop, shop where YOU want to shop. Both ship-sponsored and independent excursions usually offer a "restroom break" at some overpriced souvenir place -- frequently taking as much as an hour of your port time. In a rental car you can go visit Wal-Mart, which has the best souvenir prices in many cases anyway, then get out there seeing Hawaii.

 

4) See more in less time -- the reason bus type excursions usually only visit a few places is the travel/transition time involved in large numbers of people. If you remove that, you could see a few more things in each port.

 

5) Because of logistics, sometimes extremely worthwhile excursions aren't offered by the ship -- but you can do them in a rental car.

 

Disadvantages to renting a car:

 

1) You have to drive yourself. Insurance, rental car company hassles, collision-damage waivers, extra drivers, etc.

 

2) Ship-sponsored excursions have at least a bit of protection in the event of running late -- the ship will TRY to wait for those passengers if the schedule/port permits. In a rental car if you have a problem, you could miss the ship.

 

3) Getting lost/frustrated. You can sometimes use a GPS in the car, and in Hawaii the Drive Guide maps you receive free with the car, or can purchase in advance online, are great. But still getting lost and wasting time is a possibility.

 

4) Stress. On some excursions renting a car may add stress to your group (driving styles, who is stuck in the back seat, carsickness, etc.) I add this one because it's the main reason my SO and I took an independent excursion for the Road to Hana instead of renting a car -- his driving style and my nerves on narrow roads made that a... um... "discussion" waiting to happen if we'd rented a car. We BOTH had a great time on the mini-bus tour we took.

 

There are other advantages and disadvantages, but those are some of the main ones. Whether renting a car is right for you and your new husband is up to you and how comfortable you are driving in another state -- congratulations and have a great trip!

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When my daughter and her husband cruise they take the shore excursions...it is just less hassle for them and they really like to have everything taken care of...kind of a "no worries" kind of vacation. Now, personally speaking, I love to cruise. I love my fellow cruisers but once that ship is secure to the pier...I NEED A BREAK! LOL:p Seriously, it is just nice to be off on your own for a while, but really it is your vacation so ENJOY!

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I concur with all of the above, but I just wanted to add that the reason it seems like everyone rents a car is because these boards attract people who want to plan on their own since it is a great resource for asking questions to customize a plan, usually tours are fairly straight forward so there is less room for discussion.

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Now to appear stupid, but what is the process of renting cars in port? Where do you have to go etc? I've never rented a car on a cruise before but it sounds like fun for our Hawaii cruise.

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Now to appear stupid, but what is the process of renting cars in port? Where do you have to go etc? I've never rented a car on a cruise before but it sounds like fun for our Hawaii cruise.

 

Most of the rental car companies have shuttles that will pick you up at the port and take you to the rental center which is generally at the airport. We rented from Budget in Hilo and Kauai. We reserved our cars in advance online and confirmed via phone prior to leaving and the morning of our arrival. In both cases the shuttle was waiting for us when we left the ship and we got our car quickly and easily.

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Now to appear stupid, but what is the process of renting cars in port? Where do you have to go etc? I've never rented a car on a cruise before but it sounds like fun for our Hawaii cruise.

If you decide to book a car in Kona, you want to get Dollar or another one that has a desk at the King Kam hotel - just steps from the tender dock. Do book ahead, as sometimes there are no cars left for walkups.

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Now to appear stupid, but what is the process of renting cars in port? Where do you have to go etc? I've never rented a car on a cruise before but it sounds like fun for our Hawaii cruise.

 

You will need to reserve in advance and not wait until the ship docks to try to find a rental for the day. There are no rental locations right at the piers, so you do have to take a shuttle (except the two King Kam locations in Kona), but sometimes the shuttle drivers have lists of those who have reservations and will not let anyone else on the shuttles. Plus, you'd have no idea which company's shuttle to try in order to find an on-the-spot rental. And on top of that, they do sell out of cars well in advance sometimes; those without reservations are SOL.

 

Just go online to the various rental companies sites and check out the rates. That will give you an idea of what to expect. You'll need a separate reservation for each port where you rent; there are no "multi-island" package deals. You can use the airport designators or the city names when you check rates online. You almost never need to hold the reservation with a credit card, so there's really no down side to it. We always rent well in advance at the best rates and then periodically check for lower rates. Sometimes we reserve, cancel, and rebook as many as 4 or 5 times, but we've also ended up paying 35% of what our original booking was. It pays to keep checking.

 

beachchick

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2) Ship-sponsored excursions have at least a bit of protection in the event of running late -- the ship will TRY to wait for those passengers if the schedule/port permits. In a rental car if you have a problem, you could miss the ship.

 

If you do a ship excursion and the ship leaves without you, the ship is liable for all the airfare and hotel to get you back on the ship at the next port! So you can see why the captain is happy to wait for a bus load of late passengers on a ship excursion, but waves and laughs at the independent travellers who just missed. :)

 

I did a cruise to australia from Hawaii once... some passengers missed departure from maui and the next stop was in Tahiti, several days later! Plus the airfare cost would have been huge... Oh yeah and all their stuff is still on the ship, whoops

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We rented a car in 2 ports, took a reasonably priced ship's tour in another

and in the 4th - where THE thing to do anyway was to shop and visit the town right where we tendered to - we just had a pleasant day exploring by foot. (This is the place that has the park with the HUGE tree that fans out almost an acre!)

 

We rented a car in one of our two Maui ports and went to that islands great aquarium (a 'must-see' and a car is the way to go) among other things. We also rented one on the Big Island and visited the volcanic national park...again among other things. We too like to do our own thing,

 

That being said, we also enjoyed the ships tour! Our driver/guide was wonderful and he told us so much about the history of that island etc and even taught us a few Hawaiian phrases. This was a tour to see that island's equivalent of our Grand Canyon. We enjoyed it very much.

 

I don't mean to be kind of vague about when-and-where but I would have to go find my notes of that vacation and - being a 'getting forgetful' senior citizen, my next thought is, "Now where did I put those notes....." However, if you want me to elaborate or have any questions I will certainly find them.

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One more thing...be sure and do your homework

 

We met a couple on our one ship's tour still fuming over what had happened to them on Maui. We had two port stops on Maui..on opposite sides of the island. At the first, they took a ships tour to a town described in part as "full of shops and a 'park with a huge 'one-acre' tree". Yes, the same place the ship was going to be going to a couple of days later. They booked all their tours by phone with NCL before leaving and blamed them entirely. But had they done a little pre-cruise research, it could also have been avoided.

 

At one point, they also bragged about their 'wonderful' TA so at first I thought perhaps she booked it for them. But, no, they said she doesn't book excursions and told them to call NCL directly. A wonderful TA??!! Granted, a TA doesn't make any commission on excursions and, yes, it does take up her time but when I had a client who asked me to book those for them I did it gladly. I'm getting off track here but I just had to give my opinion about that!! In closing, if you have a TA who is so unwilling to go the extra mile to keep your business, it's time to go in search of another. JMHO

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  • 1 month later...

I noticed when I got off each port there were independent tour guides soliciting excursion packages lower than the ship excurions and offered more stops as well. I went on the rides rather going on the ships excursions instead. If i was in Mexico or any other ports I'd think twice, but in mainland ports such as Hawaii, I felt it was safe. If you decide to get a car rental, it's more convenient to prearrange it prior to trip. Some ppl were out of luck in renting cars because they didn't reserve it in time and ran out of cars. Thrifty Hawaii at 800-367-5238 - code HT14004118. cheaper and great for all cruise travelers

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