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Home > Member Reviews > Cruisin' Chick's Port Reviews of Hilo, Maui, Kauai, Honolulu

Cruisin' Chick's Port Reviews of Hilo, Maui, Kauai, Honolulu
Golden Princess cruise in December 2012
Member Name: Cruisin' Chick
Cruise Date: December 2012
Embarkation: Los Angeles
Destination: Hawaii
Member Review: Cruisin' Chick's Golden Princess Review
Hilo
Port Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
This was our third time on the Big Island and as we had toured the eastern part and the major waterfalls on a Princess excursions previously, we decided to take it easy in this port this time. Take a taxi to the Walmart and restock on our soda supply, etc.

When we got off the ship, the skies opened up with rain. A lot of rain. Not a problem as we had already decided we weren't going to be touring. I noticed there was a line up for the store shuttles so I suggested we go under the canopy and wait for the Walmart one. It took a long time, though (we probably could have gotten on the Hilo Hatties one much quicker as they had more than one bus going). Finally the Walmart bus showed up and we were on our way. The Walmart does have a lot of souvenirs, so we purchased some as well as some more soda, and a couple of Aloha shirts for myself (for once, I had actually under packed clothing -- which shocked me immensely). We were thinking about going across the street to Hilo Hatties at the Prince Kuhio Plaza, but when we left the store, it seemed to be raining even harder. We decided to call it a day and return to the ship.

I wish Princess would bring back Kona as a stop on The Big Island. This was the only port I never did make it to on our eleven cruises. The best case would be if Princess would add Kona in addition to the other ports, but I'm guessing that means more fuel will be consumed. If that's the problem, why not alternate Hilo with Kona on the sailings?

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Maui
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Because we were going to be here on Christmas Day, I did some research to see what would be open. Turned out Whalers Village in Ka'anapali would be open. We had never been there on previous cruises, so we all agreed on this plan. After getting off the tender in Lahaina, we grabbed a taxi (there is a bus you can take for $2 per person, but on our previous cruise, we found it to be very crowded, so hubby said let's go by cab).

Most of the stores seemed to be open as was the food court and one of the two major restaurants. It's an open-air type of mall, with outdoor kiosks. The museum, which houses exhibits about the whaling days of the island, was unfortunately closed for the holiday. We took some time to walk down the path to the beach area, past the resorts. I can easily see staying in this area for a land trip.

We enjoyed the few hours we spent at the shopping center. Then we called the cab company to get a return trip back to Lahaina. There, we checked out a store or two, walked around the famous Banyan Tree, walked around the Wharf Cinema Center for a little more time, and then returned to the pier to get into the line for the tender.

Lahaina is a fitting stop on this cruise as it has the appeal of a quiet port as well as various different types of activities within a short drive.

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Kauai
Hollywood - Hawaii Rating: 5+ out of 5+
We booked the Hollywood in Hawaii -- Movies and Waterfalls excursions through Princess. My hubby and I did watch some of the movies listed in the tour's description in the few weeks before our cruise to get us in the mood Our tour guide played a video on the screen at the front of the bus that showed a quick summary of many of the movies that were shot on Kauai. During the day, we stopped at Wailua Falls ("The plane..."), Hanama'ulu Bay, Wailua (where the ruins of the Coco Palms hotel -- featured in "Blue Hawaii" -- sadly sit, a casualty of Hurricane Iniki), ?Opaeka?a Falls, Aliomanu (from where you can see a famous formation nicknamed King Kong Mountain). On the way to the next stop, we watched the open of the "Gilligan's Island" pilot that was never aired. After discussing the ways the show was changed before the sitcom finally was put on the air, we arrived at Moloa'a Bay, where the beginning shot with the coconut trees was filmed.

We zipped by the grassy plain that was populated with dinosaurs in "Jurassic Park." Fortunately, the little buggers weren't around this day. Then we stopped for lunch at the diner featured in the movie "The Descendants."

After our repast, we boarded our bus and headed to the Hanalei Pier and beach, where scenes from movies such as "South Pacific" were shot. On the way to our ship, we watched part of a Weather Channel special about Hurricane Iniki. The segment we saw described the Jurassic Park cast and crew's experiences at that time.

All in all, a very enjoyable and informative tour of much of this beautiful island.


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Honolulu
Atlantis Submarine Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
We booked the Atlantis submarine excursion for Honolulu. Outside the terminal, our group boarded a trolley and went through downtown Honolulu, which was still decorated for the holidays. At the Hawaiian Hilton Village, we were escorted to a pier, where each person was given a log book that illustrated the various sea creatures we might see. Then we boarded a ferry boat that would take us to the dive site. From the ferry, we could look back and see the scenic view of Waikiki and Diamond Head. Finally we arrived at the site and carefully made our way onto the top of the sub and down the tiny ladder to descend into the vehicle.

Once inside, we were to keep in the same order and take a seat on the bench, each seat with a port hole to the front. We were told one side was the port side and one was the starboard side.

Every once in a while the sub would turn around so that those on the two sides would get a different view. The company running the excursion had purchased various objects (a part of a plane, a part of a ship, etc.) that were sunk and allow the fish and turtles to swim in and out of, and to give us a reference point. The narrator would point out that on the port side we could now see a species, and those on the starboard side could see the same one. But I was never able to see any of the sea turtles that were pointed out.

Then the sub surfaced and it was time to climb out and make our way back to the ferry. This time we sat up on top. One worker went around with the photo packages costing $40 to offer to each party, of course matching everyone up with their own photos taken back on the pier.

Everyone had the option of returning to the terminal via the trolley or going off on their own. We were planning to eat lunch at the Ala Moana mall, so that's where we headed on foot. On our plans after that was to tour the 'Iolani Palace, but hubby suggested we return back to Waikiki beach. So we jumped in a taxi and went back south. After walking along the beach, we got another taxi to the Aloha Tower Marketplace, which seems to be in a downhill spiral unfortunately. One store owner (I think we had bought some aloha wear from her kiosk while on our honeymoon there in 1995) told us that the mall and the port terminal are going to be torn down and a college will be using the land. I'm sure that many veteran cruisers who have passed through that building with its beautiful murals and its convenient location are not going to be happy about this.


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