This cruise was my 20th cruise with Carnival. It was truly a dream come true...We are Mike and Linda from Ohio. We just came back from Hawaii on the Miracle on Monday. We booked this cruise again for next April. We had such an awesome time.
Some observations from our cruise.
We stayed on the Queen Mary:
If you stay on the Queen Mary, you are a short walk from the QM to the ship. Also if you are not VIP, a nice perk was that QM registered you on their ship at 9:30 a.m. the same morning and all you had to do was walk your luggage over to the porters. You had your cards in hand and was ready to go.
This was a nice perk as the waiting line for non-VIPS was close to two hours long.
We are VIP so we were on board from the QM about 20 minutes later.
Another tip about the QM.... we tried booking the QM as soon as we booked our cruise.....and the website itself wanted you to book two consecutive days. We booked last minute and used ORBITZ and was able to book one night, a transfer. It cost us a total of 172.00 a night and 40 for the transfers. However we received an email that we were given Orbitz bucks of $83 because someone else had booked at a lower rate. So it was a real deal. Dinner was $40 on the QM on the upper deck. When we arrived they had a problem with a block of rooms and we were given twin beds. For this inconvenience we received a complimentary breakfast upstairs worth $30.00.
After 14 hours of travel....... I would have slept on the floor.
It was chilly on the first 3 days.... The sea was rough...
I have cruised a lot and this was probably the most movement I have felt over a period of three days....
I was glad I brought a jacket and long pants...after that it was warm and sunny.
Hawaii was all that I dreamed it would be.
We only had one day of rain and that was when we went to Waimea Canyon. By the time we made it up to the Canyon..it was raining and foggy..but what little we saw.....it was gorgeous in colors.
We booked the longest excursions we could find so that we were on the islands as long as possible.
Pearl Harbor; Worth going if you have never been there before. It was touching and thought provoking.
Road to Hanna: Was absolutely gorgeous....we saw waterfalls after waterfalls.
It was 9 hours long but we enjoyed every moment of it!!! You can rent a car and do the road yourself as many did. All you need to do is stop where you see a bunch of cars pulled over and you are sure to see an interesting site. The only downfall it would be very hard on the driver as it is almost all one lanes...... the locals drive fast on this road and are very adept at driving. For the tourist it is not for the faint hearted! The driver has to be constantly on guard for oncoming traffic, chickens and cows. Yes, I said Chicken and cows...... Chickens are wild all over the islands....... and the cows..... grazed right off the narrow road.
An important thing to keep in mind when in the hunt for waterfalls..... The windward side of the islands receive more rain and the seas are rough with high waves.
The leeward side of the islands the sea is calm and not as much rain.
This makes a difference in what you hope to see. It really pays off to do some research to get the most out of the islands.
We went snorkeling in Kona and used the zodiac tour from carnival...... it was a raft boat that offered and adventurous ride to a very calm snorkeling cove. The cove is where you can Cook's monument where he was killed, the face of the god Pele in the rock of the mountains, and water caves. The captain of the boat was awesome! He spent alot of time with me making sure that I was comfortable snorkeling and providing one on one instruction.
We had two elegant nights and a wear your best Hawaiian outfit to dinner night. .
The cruise director Chris is awesome!!! There were many activities onboard everyday. We lost TV for most of the trip but I was never bored.
They have an Hawaiian naturalist on board named Michelle pronounced MEE-Shell....... who put on daily information talks on the way to and on our way back from Hawaii . She is a marine biologist, funny, and has a wealth of information. Plenty of time for Q&A.
On this cruise they had an Hawaiian singer named Guy.... who made this trip so special. Every night people would begin pouring into the atrium to hear him sing. He was so very special and truly a nice person.
Food was hot and good
Cruise director and staff: one of the best I've experienced!!
The only thing that has surprised me is the heightened security checks at the ports. My guess is due to The recent bombings.
Prices in Hawaii: souvenirs, clothes, food was a lot cheaper than I expected.
Cheaper than the Carribean ports we've been in.
Gas prices ranged 4.29-4.62.
The excursions have been awesome. I would recommend doing an luau on your own as they had 1300 people at the luaus excursion. I have been taking notes of luas that people said they had an awesome time. Due to our excursions we were not able to do either one of the luaus. We are definitely going to remedy that this next cruise!!
We have seen whales in the distance. Others have reported seeing a whale close to the ship. Some have reported that 30 or some dolphins were seen swimming in front of the ship. I personally saw a whale spouting through its blow hole from a distance.
Whale Watching. If you are hoping to see whales you MIGHT see one if you get lucky...... the ones that are left this time of year are usually mommas with a little one, who is waiting for her baby to gain enough fat and weight to make the trip to Alaska.
The best time to see whales are Jan-Feb-March. Humpbacks usually, and you might see killer whales but they are more rare.
Hawaiian Wear: On our cruise, people wore leis, flowers in their hair....... and the over all tone was peaceful and everyone seemed to just slow down and enjoy life.
We were delayed getting into port at Vancouver due to high winds. We had two tug boats to pull us in sideways so we didn't ram the peir.
I saw the Miracle went out a day late to Alaska.......my guess is due to the high winds.
ALSO a note on doing BACK TO BACK..... Hawaii....... and then Alaska... all American citizens are not allowed to go B2B due to the Jones Act. There was alot of disapointed people on our cruise as many wanted to go to Alaska..and the price was right $509.00 at one point for inside cabin.
If you were from Canada then you could do the B2B...........but I didn't meet anyone who said they were doing the B2B.
Also.... I was able to get a fresh flower lei in Honululu at the port. It cost me $12.00 and the flowers were beautiful and smelled heavenly.
If you have any questions I will try to answer as to what we experienced.... and what we noticed
Linda and Mike from Ohio