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Home > Member Reviews > vaugirard12's Port Reviews of Hilo, Maui, Honolulu

vaugirard12's Port Reviews of Hilo, Maui, Honolulu
Zaandam cruise in December 2012
Member Name: vaugirard12
Cruise Date: December 2012
Embarkation: San Diego
Destination: Hawaii
Member Review: vaugirard12's Zaandam Review
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Rating: 5+ out of 5+
We booked through Roberts Hawaii to see Volcanoes National Park. The Roberts website was really easy to use-- it brought up all of their excursions after I listed the name and departure date of our ship. We also booked a trip to Waimea Canyon on Kauai but that port was canceled due to weather. Roberts greeted us warmly as we disembarked in Hilo then introduced us to our guide, Dean, who has an amazing knowledge of the flora and fauna of the islands. He was one of the best guides we've ever had-- friendly and informative without being silly. And, as it turns out, we were the only two people on the tour so we got to take a long as we wanted at each of the stops-- and he threw in a stop to an orchid farm for us, as well. Roberts is charged a flat fee for every vehicle they take into the park and it was only $5 less than what we paid for our tour. It says a lot that Roberts didn't cancel on us but instead gave us the opportunity to learn about this beautiful island.

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Luau Rating: 5+ out of 5+
We also visited the Old Lahaina Luau in Maui. We took the bus out there (a bit tricky and not much savings: $2.50 each for the bus but only $8 plus tip for a taxi; we shared one back to port). The Luau was lots of fun. They have about 400-500 people but everything was so well-organized, you don't feel like you are part of a crowd. The site is beautiful, the food good and the dancing spectacular. The service was fine, albeit a little overly friendly. (No, I really don't want to hug a half-naked young man goodbye... but maybe others do.)

Snorkeling Rating: 5+ out of 5+
Our second tour was booked through HAL for Maui: the West Maui Snorkeling tour run through Trilogy. There were 17 HAL passengers on board the catamaran, along with a crew of three. We were served a light breakfast (variety of homemade breads) and lunch (chips & salsa, variety of wrap sandwiches) but by one week into the cruise, no one was very hungry so the crew went home with lots of leftovers! We sailed over to a spot near the Old Lahaina Luau site for snorkeling. Wet suit tops, boogie boards, snorkeling gear (including prescription lenses), life vests, etc. were all included (on many of the other snorkeling cruises, you have to pay extra for any of these). There were lots of first-time snorkelers on board. The crew was very helpful in providing instruction. After about 75 minutes snorkeling (the timing was based on when the last person decided to come back), they let out the sails and we took off on the catamaran across the bay. What fun! Our goal was to find a whale which we did (eventually) about 100 yards out. I will definitely choose Trilogy again for my Hawaii excursions!

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Port Rating: Not Rated
In Honolulu, we pre-reserved a time for Pearl Harbor using the NPS site. We took a taxi out there and it wasn't cheap ($32). Afterwards, we took a bus to Waikiki (in other direction from ship) which took over an hour but only cost $2.50. This was my third trip to Honolulu but my first to Pearl Harbor. It's a beautiful memorial and a must-see. In Waikiki, we rented beach chairs in front of Duke's (Outrigger hotel) and enjoyed the sunshine (and a little "pineapple juice" from time to time). The water was rough, though, and pretty chilly, so we didn't swim. With warmer weather, though, this would be an easy excursion. Plus, if you take the free shuttle to Hilo Hattie's first, you can pick up some souvenirs and sarongs, then take the free shuttle down to Waikiki. Your trip back to ship from Waikiki can be on the HH shuttle or a taxi (about $20).

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