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.
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 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 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 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.