This being our first port we were so excited to begin our first tour of Hawaii. As we walked out of the docking area there were several people waiting for us offering tours. We talked to a nice Hawaian man named Frank and decided to take an all day tour with him in his taxi. He drove us all over Hilo to many places.... too many to list. Frank was happy to tell us about the Big Island and was also happy to take pictures of us. He sang and played his Ukulele, and even gave us a longer tour than promised. We paid $70 each for 6 to 6.5 hours of tour. We were very happy with our choice even though the rain prevented us from seeing everything we wanted. He wanted 6 people in his taxi, so we shared the mini-van with 4 other people.
In Honolulu we arrived to heavy rain. We had planned to take the city bus, $2.50, to hike Diamond Head, but we would not have been able to see anything if we had taken the hike. We DO NOT recommend taking the city bus to the North side of the island. It is very cheap, $10 round trip, but long (2.5 hours), crowded, and you can't really see out of the windows. The security people at the port were friendly and were able to give directions to the bus. We took a stop at the Dole Plantation. We had some delicous pineapple ice cream and walked around a little bit. The next bus did not come for 45 minutes. We got off the bus at Sunset Beach. The beaches were all closed due to the bad weather and rough surf. We didn't get to witness any huge waves, but the surf was certainly rolling. We walked up the road and ate lunch at Ted's Bakery. We ate the garlic/butter shrimp plate. Pretty yummy and came with 2 scoops of rice, a scoop of macaroni salad and a piece of pie. We walked back in the rain to the beach dipped our feet in the water and then waited 30 minutes for the bus to take us back to Honolulu. The city is a typical big city in that there are some people on the streets that seem to be on drugs of some sort. Many of the shops downtown closed about 6:00 PM. It would have been nice to talk to a local person to find out what to do after dark. The ship left at 11:00 PM.
Cruising into Kauai was so pretty. The island is very green and mountainous. The rain let up a little bit and was on and off all day. We rented a convertible Mustang to explore this island. We traveled up the east side of the island. There are some lovely drives here. We were wanting to hike around the rain forest a bit. The first trail we spotted was on a beach. The beach hike was nice and led us to some very pretty view points. We traveled back to the town of Kapaa because it looked like there were several trails in this area. Apparently there were some roads washed out due to the heavy rain and storm so the traffic heading South was very heavy. I don't know if traffic is always heavy here, but you may want to find this out before you venture off. We stopped off at a place that had a bunch of different tent type places selling Aloha wear etc... We got directions to a hike called Sleeping Giant. While we were stopped we decided to have lunch at the Ono Ono Cafe. They have a very good Western Bacon Cheeseburger. We continued down the road to the Brick Oven Pizza and turned right following the directions given to us. The trail head was easy to find. Sleeping Giant is a steep 1.75 hike. We really enjoyed this hike and the views of the island even though we had to walk on the cruise ship bare-footed. Our shoes were too muddy to wear. If we ever go back to Hawaii, it will be to Kauai. This is a lovely island with very friendly people. Friends who were also on the cruise with us highly recommended Waimea Canyon.
This port didn't have much of a chance. The weather was horrible. The seas were rough and it rained much of the day. We booked a "resort" dive with a dive shop called Lahaina Dive Shop. They don't recommend cruise ship passengers book with them because they can't guarantee you will get off their boat at the time they say the tour is over. They say that there are a lot of variables they cannot control, such as the boat breaking down. We didn't know this until we got out on the boat. We were told this dive would not be cancelled because of the weather and waited around town to take off. We arrived at the dive shop and got fitted for the gear, then was told to meet at the docks in 45 minutes. We walked down to the docks at the given time and went through the training on the way to the dive site. It turns out the weather would once again control the day. The seas were too rough, and visability was poor. The dive got cancelled after boating around for about an hour looking for a good spot. While on the boat, we let our dive guide know we were cruise ship passengers and that we needed to get back by 5:00 to catch the last tender back to the ship. This is when we found out about them not wanting cruise ship passengers on their dives. Be safe and book with the cruise ship so you will not be stranded in Maui.