Honolulu - We arrived a few days prior to embarking and stayed at Hale Koa in Waikiki. We enjoyed the Luau party at the hotel Thursday night and the fireworks show Friday night. We definitely recommend Hale Koa if you’re military (retired or active). They have a mini-exchange onsite where you can buy plenty of souvenirs, clothes, alcohol, etc. There’s also a salon in case you need a haircut or style before the cruise. The onsite restaurant is excellent and the views from it are amazing. We purchased the Go Oahu Card online to visit a few sites in Honolulu and visited a few local sites like Iolani Palace, the North Shore and the Dole Plantation. There we enjoyed a few delicious pineapple floats and learned about the production. Did you know it takes almost 3 years for a pineapple to grow? You better appreciate it next time you have one! ï
After the cruise when we returned to Honolulu we did the Pearl Harbor & USS Missouri excursion and afterwards were dropped off at the airport. I highly recommend booking this through the cruise line for two reasons; 1) you will be among the first ones to disembark 2) the convenience of leaving your luggage in the bus while visiting Pearl Harbor. I tried to book this same excursion through Viator but they require that you to take the luggage with you. At the same time Pearl Harbor does not allow you to bring anything larger than the size of your hand so you will need to rent a locker for a fee and store your luggage there or in a storage room. We were dropped off at the airport between 2:00 – 3:00pm so make sure to book a late flight.
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