Honolulu is a big city. I was not impressed. We had purchased tickets for the Waikiki Trolley in advance but the company was not prepared to handle the number of people getting off the ship. We visited the capitol building and the Iolani Palace and marveled at the amazing banyan trees. Afterwards we walked to the Honolulu Fine Arts Museum where we had reserved a tour to the Doris Duke Shangri-La property near Diamond Head. We spent some time touring the exhibits in the museum which were marvelous. Among the highlights were an exhibit of Asian art influenced by Buddhism and a collection of Japanese woodblock prints donated by James Michener and his wife. Shangri-La was Doris Duke's home in Hawaii and she spent many years decorating it with Islamic art. There are entire walls taken from Eastern temples, ceilings made for her by artisans that are copies of originals in places such as India, Morocco and Persia. The building is perched on a precipice overlooking the ocean and we spent some time in the garden watching the surfers below. Not a real touristy thing to do but much more rewarding.
This is the famous "Road To Hana" We had a small bus with about 12 people. Excellent and very knowledgeable driver. The tour was very long, but we were comfortable. We got to take a lot of photos. The lunch stop had great food and terrible table service, but it is the only place to go. We got to see most of the Island on the tour. It was well worth the time and expense.
WE were a small group in a little bus and took a drive to the headquarters of the tour company while the guide gave us information about the area. When we got to the HQ we transferred into huge off-road military-type vehicle and went a few miles up the road onto a private ranch where we drove to the top of a mountain and got out. We were given walking sticks, rain gear, water, bug spray and a wonderful hike in the rain forest to see several waterfalls, one of which had a pool at the bottom where members of the tour could swim. The swim was followed by a box lunch then we returned. The guide was very informed and it was a great tour.
We rented a car with another couple and drove to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The car rental agency was one of those recommended on the cruise Critic ports of cal board and we were very satisfied. We drove around the park and took in many of the sights as well as the informative headquarters building exhibits. We were drenched by an unexpected shower and were hoping to dry off and visit the museum, but after eating the sandwiches we'd purchased before entering the park,at a lovely picnic area, we decided to call it a day. We stopped at Hilo Hatties on the way back and I fund a really cute dress for $11 on sale.