We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We had sailed HAL once previously for a Sea of Cortez cruise which we thoroughly enjoyed.
The entire cruise was a repositioning cruise from Vancouver, BC to Auckland, NZ however, because we are not yet retired and the entire itinerary would have stretched our time off too much, we decided to pick it up for the Honolulu to Sydney segment. So when we got onboard, there were already many passengers who had been on the ship either from Vancouver or San Diego. Other than feeling we had missed out on some of the entertainment which came before we boarded, it was a good decision.
We arrived at the port in Honolulu about 1:30 p.m. The ship was overnight here. About 800 passengers embarked along with us, but we were one of only about three other couples boarding when we did - so easy and quick! We got unpacked and went off to get reacquainted with Honolulu.
We had booked an inside guarantee and were unhappy to receive a main deck assignment, but we are rarely in our cabin anyway, and as it turned out, the cabin was Huge - the largest we have ever had on any of our 16 cruises. On the first night at about 1:30 a.m., we were awakened by a terrible noise which sounded as if it were coming right through the wall of our cabin. We jumped out of bed and once we realized we were not at sea, calmed down quickly and tried to go back to sleep. We had an uneventful night two, but on night 3, the BIG noise returned, once again scaring us out of a deep sleep. Nothing on night 4, but then again same thing on night 5, so we finally decided it was not going to stop and decided to report it the Purser. To our delight, (they had no idea what it was and had a team of engineers looking into it before we even cleared our cabin) they moved us, not just to another inside cabin but to a very nice verandah on deck 4. No obstructed view - smaller than our inside, but lovely. We later learned that 2 other cabins had been relocated. So while the being awakened by a terrifying noise three nights out of 5 was not fun, HAL more than made up for our inconvenience and was very responsive. A special thanks to Michelle at the pursers desk and to our cabin stewards, Sigit and Budi who all gave us outstanding service.
In Honolulu, we rented a car and circled the island stopping at Haleiwa, the north shore, Laie, Kaneohe, etc. We also took the bus and got a great little tour from our well informed bus driver. Did some shopping and had a great time.
We are walkers and walked all over Lahaina. It is a very walkable city. Spent time on the beach.
Spent the time with old friends from Montana. Visited Richardson Ocean Park and then the Mauna Loa Mac nut farm. Had lunch at Ken's House of Pancakes. Yum!
Took city bus out to $2 beach. Tried to snorkel but the tide was going out. Still saw some wonderful fish and a huge moray eel.
Visited a local village, participated in welcoming and Kava ceremony,, waterfall, shopping and site seeing. FUN!
Beautiful island. We brought our snorkel gear and snorkeled and spent the day on the beach.
Hired a taxi who took us out to Hideaway beach. Saw the underwater post office, and good snorkeling. Shopped
Read about a snorkeling reserve - found our own way there. For $15 AUD, spent the whole day in this amazing reserve. Agreed it was among the top snorkeling places we/ve been to. Also hiked up to the church and saw a coconut crab...wierd for sure!
Loved Sydney. Stayed at Adina Apartments, Harbourside, Darling harbor and took the ferry all over the harbor, went all the way up the river to Parramatta, visited Manly and Shelley beach. Ferry system very convenient and with the Opal pass, you spend no more than $15 AUD/day or $60/week. Walked the neighborhoods in Manly. Walked the Barangaroo Reserve, The Rocks, China Town and the Friendship garden, Paddy's market and went with friends to the Blue Mountains at Katoomba.