Vancouver to Hawaii - 11 Nts
Since we live in the greater Vancouver area, we did not require pre-cruise accommodation. With 3 ships embarking at the same time, 2 of which were RCI, getting on board was extremely slow and we were left sitting for over 2 hrs before our row of seats was finally called to enter the standing line to check-in. The ship finally left an hour late.
The Rhapsody of the Seas is one of the older and smaller ships in the RCI fleet, in the 2nd to bottom group of Vision ships. Though the ship was refitted a few months ago with a huge facelift, little things still reminded you of its age and size.
We ate Brkfst and lunch almost exclusively at the Windjammer Buffett. The food selection was good, not great. We had lunch one day at Izumi's, which was a nice change - the extra $ was worth it. I also had 1 Brkfst in the MDR which I enjoyed. Usually had a late afternoon wrap or salad at the Park Cafe to tie me over until our late dinner seating at 8:30 pm.
I enjoyed my spa More
treatment of a foot massage & pedicure, and the price wasn't too bad.
We did find the 5 days at sea got a bit long and other than swimming and/or drinking, there wasn't a whole lot to do. We partook in the daily trivia, bingo, poker tournament etc. Though it would have been nice to have non-tournament poker games going on. The $100 buy in tournament, only secured you a spot in the final tournament, so no winnings until the last day.
Once we landed in Lahaina on day 7, the days flew by.
Our large inside cabin, had a lot of storage space. We had to have the lock fixed on the washroom door, and we could hear things being moved around above us in the R-bar frequently. Less
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Cabin review: Rhapsody of the Seas Large Interior Stateroom Deck 2 3069
Our large inside cabin #3069 was comfortable, with a surprisingly large amount of closet and storage space. The washroom was small & the shower was the tiniest I've seen. We did hear frequent noises of rattles and squeaks and what sounded like furniture being moved around above us. Since we were under the R-Bar, I'm guessing it was coming from above us, though sometimes noises seemed to be coming from behind our cabin too. Maybe there was a linen room or something.
Port and Shore Excursions
Kilauea Walking Tour
This day was very unusually hot at the crater, which made the hike extremely strenuous. We were given one small bottle of water to do us for the 7 hrs, so we were very glad we brought our own bottles as well. There has not been any red lava viewed here for over 2 yrs, so be aware that you are pretty much just going to see steam vents and lava rock formations.
The lunch of wraps, chips and cookies were adequate. There were 3 guides from the tour company Arnott's that drove us there in small buses and were we're then combined into one group for the hike. Alan was obviously the most senior and most knowledgable, then Mike who was a bit grumpy and not too happy with the high temperature of the day (though he always managed to find himself a little shaded spot, while the rest of us were left out in the sun to hear his occasional tidbits), then there was James from Kentucky - enough said. This was my least favorite excursion of all the ports.
We walked off the ship and grabbed a cab to our hotel on Waikiki for about $20. We stayed at the Aston Waikiki Circle Hotel for 3 nts. The hotel is a basic, clean 3 star, really more like a seaside motel, but being right across the street from the beach, with ocean front rooms for $150 p/n we found it to be perfect for our needs. The rooms are small, about 265 sf ( not a lot bigger than a cruise ship cabin), but for the view, location and price, it was a winner with us.
We booked a plane tour directly with Wings Over Kauai where we circled the entire island in 65 minutes and saw all the amazing scenery, much of which you can only see from the air. The Napali coast, lush mountains and mystical waterfalls were breathtaking.
So glad we did this tour. We were picked up and dropped back off 2 blocks from the dock at the Anchor Cove Mall. There is also a shuttle bus at the pier that runs back and forth to the mall, if you don't want to walk the short ways.
We did the Snorkel and Dolphin excursion with Body Glove through the cruise ship. This was my favorite. We boarded their 165 ft catamaran for a nice breakfast of fresh fruit, baked goods and Kona coffee as we sailed out to the Red Hill marine sanctuary. We passed several groups of dolphins along the way. Once we anchored we were given snorkeling instructions and fitted with all the gear. I took a flotation vest since I'm a bit nervous in deep water, though a lot of people just took noodles.
The snorkeling was awesome. After about an hour of snorkeling we came back aboard for a delicious and filling lunch. Afterwards we had the option to do more snorkeling, go down the slide or just play in the water with the various floaty toys available.
The boat had great facilities, 3 washrooms, tables & seats on the main deck and bench style seating on the top deck. On the way back there were bar drinks available at very reasonable prices. A very enjoyable day was had.
We really liked Lahaina and were glad we were there for 2 nts, which was a selling point for us of this itinerary. Unfortunately getting off the ship and being tendered there was chaotic both days. We constantly had one crew member tell us to go down, only to be stopped by another and told to go back up or in a different line etc. the first day we stood in line for almost an hour at the gangway in the roasting hot narrow corridor.
I booked my own excursion with Shoreline Snuba for noon, so was able to grab a taxi when we finally got to shore and drive up to the Whalers Village at Ka'anapali Beach. It was a $15 fare and about a 15 min. Drive. We could also have taken the #25 bus for $2.00 from the Wharf Cinema sop a block from the pier, which we took to the Old Lahaina Luau, which I also booked on my own and enjoyed very much.
The 2nd day we booked surf lessons on our own with the Royal Hawaiian Surf Academy, which was 2 short blocks from the pier. We didn't have to be there until 12:30 which was good, since again, the tender took for ever, this time because of high waves.