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Home > Member Reviews > Cornpone Girl's Port Reviews of Honolulu, Maui, Kauai, Hilo, Ensenada

Cornpone Girl's Port Reviews of Honolulu, Maui, Kauai, Hilo, Ensenada
Sapphire Princess cruise in February 2013
Member Name: Cornpone Girl
Cruise Date: February 2013
Embarkation: Los Angeles
Destination: Hawaii
Member Review: Cornpone Girl's Sapphire Princess Review
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
I had never been to Hawaii and my husband had been there over a weekend many years ago. We are experienced travelers, having lived and worked throughout the world and spent much time sight-seeing on our own. Consequently, after doing some research and based on comments I read on the Cruise Critic message boards and reviews, we decided to rent a car and tour Oahu on our own. We are very glad that we did. We saw more and did more than we believe we would have on an excursion, and it was less expensive. Renting the car was very easy. We reserved cars for Oahu and the Big Island on line a couple of weeks before the cruise, and it couldn't have been easier. We decided on the rental car service company, Discount Hawaii Car Rental ( based on recommendations I saw on Cruise Critic message boards. When we made our reservations, we were told that we had to pick up the car at the Honolulu airport, which is a few minutes ride away from the port, and that there would be an Alamo shuttle that would pick us up at the port and drop us off when we returned the car.

Leaving the ship and finding the shuttle was a bit chaotic and took longer than expected. It was not clear to us when we walked out of the terminal where we were supposed to pick up the shuttle. We finally asked a security person, who directed us to where the shuttle would be. We waited about 30 min, before the shuttle came.

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Snorkeling Rating: 5+ out of 5+
We booked the Maui Snorkel Cruise (the best) and a whale watching excursion for the afternoon (we were told that the time we would be in Maui is the height of whale watching) thinking we had time to do both, on Maui. It turned out that we didn't have time for both, and missed the whale watching excursion. However, we didn't miss anything! The crew of the Maui Snorkel Cruise; Maui (Lahaina), Hawaii, was the best we have ever had!! The snorkeling was great, and the captain and crew were the best we have ever had! We snorkeled at the Molokini Crater and at a submerged pier that was a protected area where there are turtles, octopi, beautiful coral, harmless sharks, and other sea life. Moving between the two snorkeling sites, we did some 'whale watching', and saw so much everyone on the boat, including the captain and crew, were excited. We saw a lot of whales, many up close, including at least two competition pods (look it up) where there was a lot of activity from the whales, breaching, chin slaps, and tail slaps, to calves and their mothers. We saw spinner dolphins that played in the water and 'showed off' for us, quite close to the boat, melon head whales, and we even had a couple off 'false killer' whales that swam right under the bow of the boat, one on each side. The captain said that we were lucky, but we all believed that they just know where to take us.

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Wailua River Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
We booked the Wailua River Cruise, Luau & Romantic Ceremony on Kauai. The river cruises and the plantation where the Luau took place are owned and operated by the Smith family, who has been in Hawaii for 5 or more generations. They are very nice, as was the luau. There was a large group on this excursion, and a lot of couples, like us, celebrating anniversaries. The food was good and it was interesting to see how Kailua pig is prepared and to learn about poi. The grounds were beautiful, the 'show' was good and the 'Romantic Ceremony" was nice. We received a certificate, recited vows, and received special necklaces made from local seeds. The excursion was during the day, but I think if it could have been at night, it would have been more interesting and entertaining.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We rented a car in Hilo, which, in our opinion was the right decision. Like in Honolulu, leaving the ship and picking up the shuttle to get the car was chaotic and confusing and more confusing than in Honolulu. The shuttle driver would only allow the driver to get on the shuttle to go to the airport to pick up the car. However, my husband out smarted them, and got on the next shuttle and arrived at the airport just after I did, which saved us time and kept me from having to drive back to the pier to pick him up.

Our reservation was with Alamo on Hilo, and they were quite helpful in recommendations on where to go first. We spent our entire day in Volcanoes National Park, and still did not have enough time to do all that we wanted, since our time in port was not as long as it was in Honolulu. After going to the tourist center and seeing the active vent, we drove down the mountain to the beach where the lava took out part of the road and where you can hike across the cooled lave to see where the fresh lave is still flowing into the ocean. The views were spectacular and breath taking, some of which was from the very strong winds. There is so much to do and see at Volcanoes National Park (and the Big Island in general), but spending all of our time at Volcanoes National Park was well worth the time we spent. Another reason to take another cruise to see and do what we did not have time to see and do...

The only reason we did not give this a 5+ is because we were not in port long enough, not nearly as long as the time in Honolulu, and there is far more to see and do in Hilo and on the Big Island.

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Port Rating: 1.0 out of 5+
If we could we would give this port a negative number. We have been in Mexico and in Mexican ports many times, so we were not interested in leaving the ship. Ensenada is not representative of Mexico, and we do not recommend this port, particularly to those visiting Mexico for the first time.

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