Arriving early in Oahu allowed my wife and I the opportunity to experience Christmas, Hawaiian-style. With all things decorated to bring in the season, the spirit of Christmas joined in with the spirit of Aloha to present not only the warmth of the islands (and Islanders), but also the almost magical change that happens in us all to celebrate the season. Everywhere you looked an infusion of cheer, goodwill, and sincerity of commonality seemed to prevail.
To say we couldn't have picked a better time to arrange this cruise would be an understatement, as those leaving the islands to rush home to their holiday commitments, were not greeted by many making their way (YET) to the islands for the actual holiday(s). Thus, we found ourselves square in the middle of low lines, high spirits, and grand personal attention. DEFINITELY the time to be in Hawaii.
Because we were (to be) traveling with best friend/family members on-board the Pride of America, the first week there allowed us to "get lost" on our own (a most pleasurable experience to be sure). Having rented a car, we took-in most of the Island of Oahu. And once our company arrived, we completed the personal tours -all four involved.
When boarding our ship, about to depart Honolulu, we were somewhat surprised to see all the food serving stations saran-wrapped, with all attendants serving the meals. Apparently, there had been a noted case of virus (considered contagion) aboard recently that warranted this action for at least the first three days from embarkation. Eventually, the wrappings were lifted and we were able to select our own portions, and at whatever entry point of interest/hunger.
With having visited four islands (Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, and Kauai), and five ports (Honolulu, Kahului, Kona, Hilo, Nawiliwili), we concluded our cruise back where we started, at Honolulu, with great experiences, wonderful memories, and genuine Aloha.
Tiny shower/bath facilities. Our location (mid-ship) was fine, as was the ocean view cabin. Cabin was small for our liking.
Technically, because the time in port was actually PRIOR to our official boarding, the time spent there initially was all personally/self-generated... we had a blast!
The sign-in/boarding process was seamless. The crew receptive.
Stepping away from the excursions, the four of us rented a jeep to "cruise" the Hanna Highway. And, although it was steep, winding, and wet, it was also majestic, picturesque, and awe-inspiring.
And, aside from the occasional locals that take "Haole" intrusion personal, the majority of residents were warm and welcoming.
The trip to the warm springs was a nice touch to the colder (winter) waters we had experienced on a few occasions thus far into the trip.
And what would a trip to Kona be if it didn't include a tour and (many) samplings of Kona Coffee? Wonderful (I can still smell that aroma today).
From mountainous excursions, to traipsing the many floral gardens and even preserves with our own personally-hired tour guides, the adventures surely did not disappoint.
The oldest of the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai (The Garden Isle) was very historic and probably had one of the very best of Luaus of all the islands. And, although this island is the oldest of the chain, it has seemingly been untouched by much commercial involvement. A much more natural setting... DEFINITELY a peace-filled experience.