ALOHA. First let me start by saying I LOVED this Cruise! I have been on almost 20 cruises and this one was one of the best. What made it one of the best for me was of course the destination (HAWAII) and it was even better going during the Christmas holiday and of course the ship was decorated for the holidays. Carnival Splendor had a Christmas show on one of the last nights and three formal dinner nights, although we were told before the cruise there would only be two so this was an added bonus. I have been to Honolulu, Hawaii, by flight, before for a one week stay years ago and loved it but have always wanted to see the other major islands so when I saw this cruise I just had to book it. Also, another one of the sailing points for me was the 4 sea days going and coming from and to LA. I love being on the ocean, I believe it’s the Cancer in me. My first cruise was 4 days just to see if I liked it, and to see if I would get sea sick. Since then I have been increasing the days with this one being 14 days, the longest I have ever been on. I realize that I am lucky because not matter how rough the seas I have never been sea sick. So my advice for those who have never been on a cruise but is curiosity is to take a short 2, 3, or 4 day cruise to see if they like it first, and/or don’t get sea sick.
Now back to this cruise. I have always enjoyed reading reviews of those who have taken a cruise I am interested in or one I have gone on myself. With this cruise there were a number of negatives reviews that I read that I disagreed with but I will only focus on only a few. First, was the color of the décor on the ship. Pink. People actually complained about the color of the ship having a lot of pink in it. I didn’t find this to be a problem at all and thought it was a nice touch which didn’t upset my eyes at all. I even waited until the 3rd day to bring up to my friend if the color bothered her which she said until I mentioned it she never really notice.
Next, was the complain of the 8 total sea days which really caught me by surprise because unless someone kidnapped you and took you on a cruise without telling you how long and how many days it would take you to sail from LA to Hawaii didn’t you know how long and how many sea days there were before you booked it. They complained that there were not enough things to do on the 8 sea days which is crazy because anyone who’s been on a cruise know that there are a lot of things to do on a cruise. I believe that some people feel the needs to have someone else entertain them 24/7 and if they are not then they get bored. Me on the other hand, I can entertain myself. Give me a good book and the view of the ocean and I’m good to go. There are plenty of activities every hour, the pool, a gym, shows, comedy, gambling, shopping, meeting new people, etc, and of course there’s the none stop food.
As luck would have it we arrived in Honolulu on December 7 which is the worst day to try to visit Pearl Harbor and the Arizona to pay our respects to those who died there if you are on a tight schedule, 9 am until 10 pm, in Oahu that day. Plus we found out the inside was close for remodeling. Traffic in Honolulu was awful and from the docks to Pearl Harbor it was really horrible which is too bad because I wanted to show my friend the historic monuments. But we promised to come back one day and spend more time seeing more of Oahu. So we decided to just go in the opposite direction towards downtown, walk around, shop and spend the afternoon on Waikiki beach which was only a few mile away from the docks. On leaving the ship Maui Diver Jewelry was offering a a free ride into the city if we just take a visit to their store and watch a presentation on how they make their jewelry. They are famous for their pearls. We took the ride to the store which was nice but we were not in the market for pearl jewelry that day so we finish the ride to downtown Honolulu and took the short walk to the beach. It was a perfect day to be on the beach, work on our tan, and take some great pictures of the ocean, Diamond Head and shop. For lunch we ate at Duke’s Barefoot Bar and Restaurant on the beach and just had a wonderful day. Once the sun set we took the public bus back to the ship which took awhile because rush hour traffic was still bad leaving downtown in that direction.
In Kona we had to take a tender (small boat) from the ship to the island because the ship was too big to dock there. It was quick and well organized and the great thing about it was as soon as we got off we were at Niumalu Beach, Kailua Bay which had a nice shopping area. So we just walked around sightseeing and shopping. Kona is famous for their coffee, something about the soil, so there were a number of stores offering it and a few giving free readymade samples to taste. I’ve never been a coffee drinker but my friend loved it and brought a few bags. There was a flea market, a number of stores and restaurants that we visited which was about a one mile walk but once again it was a beautiful day to walk. We stopped and had lunch, lobster, shrimp, and crab legs at the Waterfront Row’s Captain Jack’s restaurant which was good right on the ocean. There was a long line at the docks to catch a tender back to the ship but once again it was well organized and went fast.
At Hilo once again there was a few private companies offering excursions as soon as we got off the ship so we took one that offered a tour of the town with a few stops. The first was a black sand beach then the Big Island Candy Company which is famous for their gourmet candies which gave us free samples. Next we went to Mauna Loa Macadamia Company where once again we had free samples and bought a few bags. It was the first day where although it was still warm it was cloudy and rain a little. But still a nice day.