Number of Cruises: 2nd
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Legend of the Seas
Sailing Date: April 27th, 2004
Itinerary: Ensenada to Hawaii
We arrived in San Diego about 11am. We quickly collected our belongings and got in a very long line in order to catch one of the RCCL buses to Ensenada. The line moved relatively quickly (less than an hour) considering the number of people who were waiting to board the buses. We were told the ride could take anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours depending on traffic. We were very lucky and did not encounter any traffic whatsoever. It took us just under 2 hours to arrive at the hotel they use to register passengers. Once at the hotel we were moved through quickly. Much quicker than the cruise I went on last year. Than we got back on the buses and were taken straight to the boat within just a matter of minutes. We got off the bus and right on the boat without any lines at all.
We once again got a room with a balcony and once again I cannot complain that the rooms are small. We had enough room to put all our clothes for an 11 day cruise with room left over if we needed it. There was a queen size bed, a sofa bed, TV, small ice box and a desk with a make-up mirror. However I was disappointed with the steward, although the room was always neat and clean and service was good, they lacked the personal touch we received last year. Last year our steward would open the door for us when he saw us coming and greet us by name, this year we received none of the extra attention. I guess the stewards from the Grandeur spoiled us.
Four Days at Sea: I was looking forward to the four days at sea just to lay around and rest. I had read a review that said how cold it was in April on the ship and I had a hard time believing it. Believe me, the first two days are very chilly. You would be wise to bring pants, jackets and warm shoes for the first two days. After that it was heaven for the rest of the trip.
Hilo: We rented a car from Budget before hand and although I had read in another review that Budget did not go to the port to pick you up, it did for us. We were late getting off the boat and a volunteer at the port called Budget for us and they did send a van back to get us. I did have problems with Budget later in the trip but more about that later. We drove out to the Volcanos National Park and it was very interesting, we saw several craters and many steam vents. People who took the shore excursion talked about an under ground tunnel that they went through but we never did see it, we must have went a different way.
Kona: The boat does not pull into a port in Kona it tethers out in the water and we were shuttled back and forth to the pier. We didn't go on any excursions in Kona or rent a car, but it's a nice area to walk around with many shops on the street, there are buses that take you back and forth to Hilo Hatties for free. On the ship that night they had a volcano party, as we slowly passed by an active volcano, you could see some streaks of lava flowing.
Kauai: We again rented a car from Budget with no problems. We drove out to the Waimea Canyon which was absolutely beautiful. It's hailed as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific although smaller. I have longed to go to the Grand Canyon but never made it there, the people in our group all agreed it was more beautiful than the Grand Canyon because of the greenery.
Maui: Wow each port just gets better and better. The boat again tethers out at sea and you have to be shuttled to land. As you get off the boat there is a large park type area across the street to your right. At first glance it looks like a park with many trees, but it's the second largest Banyan tree in the world. Maui is a shoppers paradise. Many shops line the streets, I really love the Hawaii clothing they have such vibrant colors and unique styles. I was happy I waited until here to buy gifts for the kids at home. OK, here is where we had our problem with Budget rental. We saw shuttle buses from every car rental place imaginable as we got off the water shuttle, except that is, Budget. I called the office and they informed us they had just left and would not return for an hour. I was furious, when I made reservations I made certain that the shuttle buses ran to all ports and there would be no problems, I should have been advised in advance that they only run there every hour. They told us we could take a taxi but they would not reimburse us for the fee. We chose to wait. We intended to drive the road to Hana but by the time we got to the rental car place it was just to late. We did start the journey and if your planning on traveling the road to Hana, maybe a shore excursion is best, the road is very beautiful but very dangerous, we turned around about an hour into the trip. At one point the road is so narrow that two cars cannot pass, so if a car is going one way and your going the other, one must pull off the road as best they can to allow the other to pass, the only problem with that is one side of the road is a mountain and the other side is a cliff.
We went to the Old Lahaina Luau in the evening, the people who handled my reservations were extremely nice and helpful and the experience was enjoyable. I'm happy I did not leave Hawaii without going to a Luau but I believe I would be able to skip it the next time.
Honolulu: Disembarking took a bit of time as someone was repeated page by immigrations and refused to answer the page, stopping everyone else from being allowed to leave the ship. Once this was taken care of it went smoothly. We booked a shore excursion to Pearl Harbor before going to the airport to catch our flight home. I loved Pearl Harbor and would highly recommend it everyone to at least visit once if possible. There was a rather long wait at the park to be allowed back to the memorial but the wait is well worth the experience. Once at the memorial it was amazing how solemn the experience was, people were not talking loudly or laughing and cutting everyone seemed to feel the tragedy of so many years ago while visiting the memorial, I was surprised to be able to still see small bubbles of oil still coming up from the Arizona after all these years.