This cruise turned out to be two cruises in one. The first part of the cruise was 5 relaxing days at sea. The second part of the cruise was 7 hectic days in the Hawaiian ports. Unfortunately, the embarkation process (busses transferred everyone from San Diego down to Ensenada) started all of us off in a sour mood. The ship left San Diego late, which caused the busses to leave late. Instead of leaving at 3pm, we didn't leave until around 6:45. On the way down, we were escorted by Mexican Policia. But, right before we got into Ensenada, our bus quickly pulled off of the road into an abandoned lot, where an empty bus was waiting. We were pointed in the direction of the new bus -- neither bus driver spoke english. All we were told was that our bus was "broke" -- even though the bus made 95% of the trip without a problem. We literally could see the Spirit from where we were pulled over. Then, after loading onto the new bus, we went on to rejoin the convoy, and proceeded to make a wrong turn onto the pier. Once we made the correction and got into the queue, we pulled forward, right in front of a package that military personnel thought was suspicious. They called specialized military men to investigate...but left us on the bus not 20 feet from the package. We finally boarded the Spirit at around 9:45. We were all frustrated and tired from all day of traveling. The Spirit finally set sail around 11:00, leaving us without a day of meals, activities, and fun.
The first 5 days from Ensenada to Hawaii can be summed up by 2 words -- Cold and Wavy. The temps averaged 68 degrees, and the Spirit was constantly bobbing up and down in the big waves. Being at sea for 5 full days gave us the opportunity to find our way around the ship, and meet a lot of other cruisers. There were many activities planned, and the Entertainment staff went out of their way to make us feel comfortable. One of the most helpful on the Entertainment staff was Joey. He quickly learned all of our names, and even played card games after hours with the children.
The main shows were awesome, especially the second show, The Big Easy. It's amazing they have all of those sets and costumes on board.
Very small cabin for 4 people. Seemed like we bumped into each other every time we turned.
Great tour bus driver for Volcanoes Nat'l Park. "Cousin" Hank told us many stories about the park, and the city of Hilo.
Went snorkeling with Captain Zodiac. After zipping along in a small boat for 13 miles, we jumped in and saw some amazing fish.
After snorkeling, there was a street fair in Kona. We walked around for 2-3 hours, and still didn't have time to see all of the street vendors. Great stuff.
The Garden Isle was awesome. We got soaked by the rain, but it is one of the wettest spots in the world. Another great tour bus driver. He took us to the Wailua River and to Fern Grotto. Amazing sites.
After the trip we walked around and had a couple of drinks in a beach-side bar. It couldn't have gotten any better than that!
2 days in Maui started out going to Iao Valley, a couple of waterfalls, Maui Tropical Plantation, and the Maui Ocean Center.
Day 2 took us to Ka'anapali Beach, where we swam with a gigantic sea turtle, and watched a mother and baby whale playing in the water. Great sites.
Way too congested. First day we had the Paradise Cove Luau. The 25 minute bus ride was actually almost 2 hours because of a huge traffic jam. Terrible food -- reminded me of school cafeteria food. Fried chicken, pasta salad, lettuce salad, and pulled pork. However, once the show started it made up for the food. The show was worth the price of admission.
Day 2 was Pearl Harbor, then back home. Everyone should visit Pearl Harbor at least once in their lifetime.