This cruise allows you to see all of the major Hawaiian islands, which was the selling point for us for our honeymoon, and did not dissapoint. The islands are amazing.
We left Philadelphia at 7:30 AM on April 17, 2010 and had a 6 hour flight to Seattle...a layover in Seattle...and then another 6 hour flight to Honolulu. Very long day of traveling was worth it. We started our vacation with 5 full days in Oahu before the start of the cruise. We are so happy that we did this, this was our favorite part of our entire trip. Oahu is amazing! It has so much more to offer than just Honolulu and Waikiki. I feel bad for the people who only flew into Oahu on 4/23 and only had the 2 ship days for Oahu. From 4/17 to 4/21 we stayed in a condo on the windward side of Oahu (the "country" side) that I found on vrbo.com. The condo was newly remodeled, with a wraparound balcony, full kitchen, bedroom, and RIGHT on a beach so secluded that we felt like it was our own! View of the ocean, beach and moutains. By far the most amazing view I have ever had on a vacation. SO different from the hussle and bussle of Waikiki. What we did while on this side--Kualoa Ranch Hummer tour to see Lost and movie filming locations. Amazing! So beautiful and scenic. Worth doing even if you are not a Lost fan (we aren't). Surf lesson on North Shore (hubby lost his ring for 3 hours in the Ocean but he didn't give up and we found it! True Story!), a lot of fun. Dinner at Ola at Turtle Bay resort, where Forgetting Sarah Marshall was filmed. Great food. A lot of just hanging out and relaxing at the condo and the beach that was there. We had a rental car and used one of our windward days to do the Pearl Harbor Home of the Brave tour (they weren't open the days we were staying on Honolulu side). Home of the Brave was a long day, but totally worth it. Got to see a lot of WWII sites, not just Pearl Harbor. On the 21st we checked out of our condo and went to stay in Waikiki for 2 nights at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Had an amazing view of the beach and Diamondhead. We wanted to experience both sides of the island. Waikiki is totally different in every way from windward and north shore. But we enjoyed it. Ate at Duke's and Yardhouse (both great) and went snorkeling in Hanauma Bay (awesome!). We loved our 5 days in Oahu before our cruise!
On the 23rd we left the Hilton and went to the Aloha Tower cruise ship pier. About a 10 minute taxi ride (but avoid taxis in Hawaii if you can! very expensive and some of the cabbies will rip you off by keeping you in the car for a long time on purpose). Embarkation was EASY. Very organized and moved quickly. They even let us on early (got there before 1pm). We were on the ship in 30 minutes at most. Aloha Tower is a very nice pier (some of the other Hawaii piers look more industrialized and aren't as nice). Now I knew going in that we would be some of the only younger people on the ship, but I was even surprised that it seemed about 85% of the cruise were over 60 years old. I don't have a problem with older people—I love them! But by the end of the cruise we were wishing for some younger companions, and more activities geared toward our age group. We are in our mid 20s and it was very hard meeting people our own age. But I'm getting ahead of myself.