carpet stained, handicapped accessible shower with floor drains excellent, metal fittings rusted, mildew staining and evidence of many, many repairs to grouting, some better than others. small, pie-shaped verandah with two chairs and small table. the most 'aft' verandah cabin on port side. quiet. a looooooooong walk to fwd elevators but directly below buffet/pool, etc. two nice hanging closets, shelving, several drawers. electricity unreliable for computer charging during the night, always trying to charge my 'stuff'. internet expensive and unreliable (so what else is new?). phone buttons didn't connect me with anyone--i thought they didn't love me and that's why they didn't answer the 'at your service' button. 911 worked, tho, especially when the toilet overflowed at 0300 hrs. no list of television channels, when i requested one, someone prepared one for me especially and gave me a list of available options, half of which were on 'channel 2' and the other half 'channel 4', or maybe 41, they typed one thing and people told me another. i never found good television reception and i was looking for NEWS, but kept up with my laptop, at aforementioned expensive rates. we use this cruise line solely because they start and stop in socal and my 90-yr old husb doesn't have to fly (usually) except when we leave the ship early.
Port and Shore Excursions
very long hike to taxi stands. very busy commercial port. very strict local security of the 'do not pass go' variety. little old downtown, which survived the tsunami, is charming. little noodle shops, japanese fabric store (Dragon Mama) and quilt shop. Sig Zane store three blocks up from shuttle drop. Sig Zane is a local boy who imports 100% cotton fabric, prints it in Hawaii with his own fabulous designs, designs clothing using that fabric and has it made in Hawaii. i buy a dress for myself and a shirt for my husband every time we go to Hilo. local people stop my husband on the street to chat and call him 'uncle' when we are there because of his beloved 'old' Sig shirts, especially in Hilo and around the Wailuku Kahalui area on Maui where Sig used to have a shop, as well. i don't think i've ever met Sig, by the way, but i am a very big and old fan.
the Tsunami Museum is about three blocks up from shuttle drop (next to the Sig store) and is definitely worth the visit. please make a donation. it is housed in what looks like an old bank and the planters in front are beautiful.
Cafe Pesto is about two blocks up from the shuttle stop and has excellent bistro-style sandwiches, pasta, pizza, wonderful ice water and great reviving glasses of wine. husb ordered Bananas Foster and i had a small pizza, which is what we ordered the last time we were there, i think....
we don't take a tour because we've been there many times before and have stayed in condos or houses in Hilo and on the Kona side but i'd love to see the lava flow and have never been able to get down there. maybe next time. there are lots of great places to visit, either on an organized tour or independently. be aware that if you stop at some of the funky little fruit stands that you might be offered one of Hawaii's biggest cash crops, and as a retired cop, i'm not interested but also, not offended, hey, whatevah, bruddah...
i'm not a shopper but i do love Ala Moana shopping center. Alan Wong's restaurant, only open for dinner (i think) and if the President is in town don't even try. Queen Emma's Palace. Great quilt collection. Bishop Museum is too big and too hot (the last time I was there). I love the Art Museum, especially the Contemporary Museum on a ridge fairly close to Punch Bowl.
PUNCH BOWL. my husb is a WWII vet and some of his crew members are still there, we always visit so we can pay respect.
Drive around the island. my son was stationed at Kaneohe and my sister lived on the island and worked at Queen's and/or Castle for several years. there's lots of the old Hawaii left there as well as the busy, fun, touristic parts. i love the Royal Hawaiian, i don't care what anyone says and i love to sit at a table on the sand and look at Diamond Head.
enjoy! donate to one of the non-profits while you're there and spend a little $ locally.
we anchored in the channel off old Lahaina town and it used to be a lot funkier and more fun but it is still a great place to stop. tendered in to the dock by Pioneer Inn or whatever that's called by the banyan tree and the old courthouse. we are there to visit resident relatives and i really don't like to shop at Hilo Hatties or any of the other touristic type 'joints', so we are immune. if you need souvenirs, take a look around and then head to (1) ABC Store, or (2) Walmart/Kmart (i hate them but they serve a purpose), or (3) Costco (hope you have an extra suitcase), or one of the local supermarkets. there are lots of unique asian items available to the fabulously varied ethnic communities and it is really an unusually fun experience to check out the grocery stores--i know it sounds stupid but trust me on this. my kids think i'm nuts but i sent my Apple software engineer son a box of Hawaiian delicacies from the supermarket one year which included about five cans of Spam, each with a unique flavor, i.e., teriyaki Spam. Mike has an engineer coworker who is from Paia originally who almost cried when he saw the Spam and took it all home. anyway, you get the picture.
Maui is beautiful. i like the drive around west Maui as much as the drive to Hana, actually, more than the drive to Hana, because the drive from Hana to wherever you have to return is living hell, but easier if you go completely around east Maui, despite the warnings from the rental car agency (i don't know if they still tell you not to, but if it's not raining we never had a problem). i won't ever do it again, however, because i've done it several times with and for different friends/relatives and i've seen Lindbergh's grave, and that's all i wanted to do, anyway. the locals used to tear the road marker down which was the landmark for the church cemetery where he is buried so you had to do some calculating to find the little road to turn off, but it was worth it, even if he was an old fascist.
i like poking around in the pawn shops and antiques stores in Wailuku. Bailey House Museum and Maui Historical Society are well worth the visit, PLEASE DONATE. lots of fun little bistro style cafes. our favorite French bakery closed after the owner went down in his plane last month, sadly. maybe his family will be able to reopen, hope all is well with them.
County park in Iao Valley is well worth the visit, tribute to immigrant groups and people who have made Hawaii great. my step-son is a demon hiker and goes into the crater several times a year to camp. that hike isn't really possible for a day tripper but you can drive up there and it is wonderful. i don't recommend the dawn/bicycle trip and it's probably not possible for most cruise ship passengers.
there is an old Congregational church which is now affiliated with one of the Churches of Christ south of Kihei. we attend there when we stay in Kihei and they sing hymns in Hawaiian, which i love. MAKE A DONATION. we also attended a wonderful little church in Paia close to the fire station the last time we rented a house there. they had a wonderful Christmas Eve service and at the close, we all stood on the perimeter of the little sanctuary holding lit candles and singing carols. each attendee was given a little bag of fruit upon departing.
not something most cruisers can do but think about it for a future visit.