Volcano National Park & Hilo Waterfall Tour Rating:
We booked Ricky as a result of a previous Cruise Critic review. We found him very informative and knowledgeable about the area as well as humourous. Our small group of 12 received great value for money for our 6 hour tour.
We decided to do a self-walking tour of Honolulu and visited Chinatown and the Iolani Palace. We walked towards Waikiki Beach but got waylaid by a shopping Centre! In hindsight, we should have done what another couple did and simply take a regular bus tour of the Honolulu area. The Iolani Palace was a pleasant surprise and we were part of a group of 14 who were escorted around by a very knowledgeable docent. Afterwards, we sat out on the grounds of the Palace to listen to a concert given by the Royal Hawaiian Orchestra complete with singers and dancers. We also learned through the MC a little of Hawaii's royal history.
We booked this tour through the ship and while it was somewhat crowded, the short trip up the riven on a large flat-bottomed boat was pleasant as we were serenaded by a Hawaiin music group which included a lovely young dancer. We also visited the Fern Grotto which was a little underwhelming.
We walked around Lahaina for some hours and took in the shopping and restaurants; we also had a coffee at the free WiFi Starbucks and caught up with our e-mail! We plan on visiting Maui on a land vacation in the near future, so just wanted to get a feel for the area on this occasion.
We understand that the only reason the ship stopped here, was to satisfy some U.S. maritime law that required it to do so. In any event, we went ashore to stretch our legs and found the main shipping area inundated with beggars and places selling cheap souvenirs. Having traveled to Mexico before, we were not surprised to find these things in Ensenada. As the ship was in port for only three hours, it left insufficient time to take any tours, although on reflection, we should have stayed on the shuttle bus from the ship to downtown, and taken them up on a $10 tour of the area. This was not a great way to end our cruise and Princess should really come up with something else, as it did leave a bad taste in our mouths.