Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A wonderful cruise.

Location, at Home, CA

We had way too much fun on our cruise to Hawaii!

We were greeted in our cabin by a bottle of champagne on ice, two red roses, a plate of chocolate covered strawberries, and a gift card for a free photo and frame. We also had a gift card from Mark and Candi for a bottle of wine.

It really was fun and relaxing with almost 5 days at sea before stopping for the day at Hilo on the big island. While there we took a tour to the top of Mauna Kea by special 4 x4 vans equipped to make the almost 14,00 foot ascent. We stopped for an hour at 9,000 feet at the visitor center to get acclimated to the altitude before driving to the top.

I’m glad I never tried this in a rental car as several rentals had problems with the climb on this day. A tow costs $1200 according to our tour guide.

It was COLD and WINDY at the top. Fortunately we had taken jackets just for this trip.

There a dozen or so observatories at the top, most hidden in valleys so they are unseen from below. The workers live down at the 9,000 foot level but many of the observations are done from sites around the world linked by the internet to the observatories.

The buildings are kept cool to the nightly expected temperature so no condensation forms when the observing window is opened. We did go into the Keck observatory but didn’t remain long as it was very cold in the building.

Our total time at the top was less than an hour and we were glad to get back into the van and drop back down to the visitor center for a lunch provided by the tour operator.

This tour took most of the day and only 20 people from the ship or 2 van loads made the trip.

Our second stop was at Honolulu where we took a tour to the North end of the island. Even though we had done this route on our own before, we had never done it with a tour. A delicious lunch of shrimp was served as part of the tour. Clyda had coconut shrimp and I had ginger shrimp. I was the only one in the whole bus load that ordered ginger shrimp and it was good.

We made several stops including one at Sunset Beach to see the big waves and green sea turtles. A final stop was to the Dole Pineapple Plantation where we had pineapple and vanilla ice cream swirls.

Our next port was Kauai which Clyda and I had been to in February with friends. We took a local trolley to a shopping center and walked to the Marriott Hotel and lay on the beach in the morning. We returned to the ship for lunch.

Our final stop was Maui where the ship anchored off Lahaina and we tendered in for a few hours of t-shirt buying. Again, we had been here before so nothing was really new to us.

 A single Banyon tree which covers a large area at the water front in Lahaina.

From Maui we sailed for home with again 5 days of relaxation to look forward to.

I have only hit the high spots here as our days were filled with events on the ship while at sea. We attended lectures, saw movies, ate, read, listened to music, ate, played in the casino a little, ate, saw Broadway type shows, laid around the pool ate, you get the picture.

On our first morning at home I lamented to Clyda that we had to make our own bed again. It is easy to get spoiled.