Part of land based tours before cruise. We had an excellent driver that knew all of the tricks to maximizing your experience. Like sitting up front in the auditorium for the movie, to be first out to the launch to see the Arizona memorial.
We took the Pearl Harbor, Arizona Memorial, and Waikiki Shopping Tour. This also included a drive thru the "Punchbowl Crater" National Cemetery and a short self walking tour through the Honolulu Gov't building area and Palace. Our bus was very comfortable and the tour guide/driver was excellent. The main focus for us was to visit the Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor. Every American should visit that sacred site. We would definitely recommend this tour. This was about 6 hours, but not the extended tour with stops at naval bases which sold out quickly.
This tour included a city tour and Pearl Harbor. The city tour was okay. Honolulu is just another big city. Pearl Harbor was a humbling experience. I highly suggest trying to get an early tour out to Pearl Harbor. We were not able to get off the tender due to turbulence which apparently happens in the afternoon a lot.
The Pearl Harbor and City Tour Gray Line – Polynesian Adventure Tours (Holland America Excursion) was a 4 hour tour driving around the city and then out to the National Memorial. It includes picture stops at the King Kamehameha I statue and the Iolani Palace. There is a drive through the National Cemetery in the Punchbowl crater. The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument (Arizona Memorial) is very informative. The exhibits Before the War and the Day have very good information, artifacts, and reproductions of the time. The grounds have way stations with informative signs about where ships were and how things happened in 1941. The 20 minute film reviewed the day and is narrated by Stockard Channing. The launch to the memorial is right after the film. It takes about 5 minutes to cross the harbor and you have 15 minutes at the memorial before the launch returns. This is time to contemplate what happened and more of an emotional experience than I expected.
Booked this tour with the ship which also included the Arizona Memorial, Punchbowl Memorial and the Mighty Mo. As with any big tour there was a lot of waiting around and not really enough time at the advertised highlights. The Punchbowl Memorial was closed due to a function.
We found the film excellent and upsetting, perhaps because of a Japanese mother was laughing with her young son at it throughout!!! The first language displayed was Japanese.
We were sat next to a veteran whose reaction was to gasp for breath.
It was great to see the veterans working so hard to maintain the ship, always helpful and ready to answer questions.
The visitor centre at Pearl Harbour and the access drive to the Mighty Mo were interesting and the Arizona Memorial as powerful as we had expected it to be.
The guide was good if a little off on the timings, a small group would have been a better experience.
Disabled access all good but quite a walk to the visitor centre from the carpark.
Honolulu - We arrived a few days prior to embarking and stayed at Hale Koa in Waikiki. We enjoyed the Luau party at the hotel Thursday night and the fireworks show Friday night. We definitely recommend Hale Koa if you’re military (retired or active). They have a mini-exchange onsite where you can buy plenty of souvenirs, clothes, alcohol, etc. There’s also a salon in case you need a haircut or style before the cruise. The onsite restaurant is excellent and the views from it are amazing. We purchased the Go Oahu Card online to visit a few sites in Honolulu and visited a few local sites like Iolani Palace, the North Shore and the Dole Plantation. There we enjoyed a few delicious pineapple floats and learned about the production. Did you know it takes almost 3 years for a pineapple to grow? You better appreciate it next time you have one! ï
After the cruise when we returned to Honolulu we did the Pearl Harbor & USS Missouri excursion and afterwards were dropped off at the airport. I highly recommend booking this through the cruise line for two reasons; 1) you will be among the first ones to disembark 2) the convenience of leaving your luggage in the bus while visiting Pearl Harbor. I tried to book this same excursion through Viator but they require that you to take the luggage with you. At the same time Pearl Harbor does not allow you to bring anything larger than the size of your hand so you will need to rent a locker for a fee and store your luggage there or in a storage room. We were dropped off at the airport between 2:00 – 3:00pm so make sure to book a late flight.
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