While in port, climb aboard one of the world's largest passenger submarines to see Hawaiian fish, coral and turtles.
The tour took us in a submarine to see the coral and fishes. I had expected to see a lot of colour but their was very little colour to see! The seats were not comfortable and we were jammed into the submarine.
This was an interesting, fun, experience. Just taking the tender out to the sub, waiting atop the sub, climbing down the ladder, and peering out the windows was in itself fun. We were a mixed group--66 year old grandma, mid-30's parents, and boys ages 11, 9, and 5. The narration was great (earphones were provided, but you don't need them unless you don't understand English), and it was fun to look at the sunken wrecks. We saw lots of fish, and it was fun. A few sharks, moray eels, kraken, whales, etc. would have bumped it up into the "excellent" category, but it was not to be (sigh...).
The excursion was excellent. The only thing that went not according to plans I got lost trying to get back to the Hotel after the excursion, as we had no escort back. All ended well, however as the escort found me. A great personal sightseeing walk.
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.
Booked directly from their kiosk at our hotel in combination with the dinner cruise - bit of a savings if you do it that way. We did the premium dive - it has bigger port holes and I assumed bigger seats. My husband and I aren't tiny so we wanted room to breath.
It was an amazing experience! We dove to just bellow 100 feet and had fun looking at the man-made reefs, fish, and even saw a turtle resting on a sunken ship. If you want to see the bright colors this is not the way to do it. As you dive down you loose color and it's mostly shades of gray and dull blue. Photos were also hard to take due to the thick glass, I found turning off the flash worked best.
In all it was a great experience. Next time we'll probably opt for a glass bottom boat to see the color, but it was defiantly an experience we loved and are very glad we did!
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