We are thinking of booking the 15-night Circle Hawaii Cruise on the Zaandam. It is for Oct of 2009. Has anyone done this Cruise or one from another Cruise line.
We have a pre paid deposit, plus about $400. in ship board credit we need to use.
We have done it -- in November 2006, if I remember correctly! We always go HAL when we do an extended or special trip like this....or Alaska with land tours. They just seem a step above others we have been on. Never disappointed in food, service, shipboard activities, etc. This trip was great, as my husband (former military) will not fly over 4 hours....so the longer cruise was the answer. We flew from the midwest to Cal, and got on in San Diego. Great weather.....booked excursions thru the ship....loved the Road to Hana and Pearl Harbor best. Very relaxing with the extra days before and after the island hopping.
Thanks SDCRUISER, jdgoldsberry. We love sea days so we will love that part. We were on the Zaandam last June to Alaska, loved the ship but had a few problems aboard. I think these were just flutes and we want to give HAL another chance.
Is there a better side of the ship to be on?
We did a similar cruise on Diamond Princess last December. The sea days are great for us; we found the 5 port days in a row a bit tiring but I think the 14-day itinerary only hits 4 ports so that may be better.
In Honolulu we used public transportation quite well. We went to Pearly Harbor in the morning and to Waikiki Beach in the afternoon with a short lunch and clothes change back at the ship in between. Worked very well but next time we'd like to take the circle island bus ride; it's the public bus and only $2, ($1 with a Medicare card). I think it runs every hour and takes most of the day. You can get off and visit the Polynesian Cultural Center or other points of interest.
We enjoyed the Botanical Garden tour near Hilo, a Kayaking adventure on Kauai and a whale watch out of Lahaina (which we could have gotten much cheaper right there on the dock).
Had a great time, but then again, we've never had a bad cruise!
Had some rough weather going west and lot of people were surprised about how cool it was the first 2 days out and the last 2 days on the way back, but that was December. It was markedly cooler than southern California because the water temperature is cooler. Those who only had tanktops and shorts stayed inside.
You may want to check out some of the info under the Princess category around that time, Dec 2007. There were several threads about it.
We are taking a 15 day cruise, so there are 5 ports in a row. I do not think that will bothers us. I did notice most of the ports were from 8am to 5pm, maybe one was until 11:59pm. that seems a little tight in some of those ports.
We are getting our TA later today or tomorrow to finish booking.
I am surprised that being this far out (18 months) that the cabin selection is limited. Seems strange to me. My wife thinks maybe more or cruising instead of flying. We looked into that options and it was pretty pricey.
Gary, we haven't done the cruise, but have had friends that did. There are a lot of sea days, which is great, but you are rushed on some of the islands to take everything in. Unless, you do a helicopter tour. I went to Oahu for a week and did out island trips while there. One of the best excursions I did was the helicopter tour. You cannot see a fraction of what we viewed from the ground, it was totally amazing. They flew up to water falls, into craters, just breath-taking views. Also, you can cover a lot of territory in a short time. I'm so glad I went when I did because now it would cost an arm and a leg. I would think touring the islands by ship would be fantastic, especially if the volcano is active and you could see that from off shore. You'll have a great time and can get a taste of which island you'd like to visit again. Princess does offer some great packages, but if you have credits on HAL, no need not to spend them
We have been to and done most of the tourist stuff in Hawaii. A friend of mine used to have a rustic (keyword for shack) cabin on the Big Island, Hawaii. We used to use it for a home base. Have not been there is 12 years. Really looking forward to it.
BTW HAL is really stepping up with credit and stuff from their letter they gave us. Part of the letter says it is only good for upgrades on Cruises less than 10 days. They are Honoring everything for us.
Glad to hear HAL is taking good care of you. We were so impressed by HAL on our Baltic cruise last year we decided then and there to try them on our next Hawaii cruise; and that was even before we knew Princess was cutting down to 14 days.
We went in April and it was cool the first two days out and the last two back. We thought the Lotus (covered) pool on Island Princess was just fine, but not many were there--which was also fine. This is definitely the cruise for those of us that like sea days.
It is also the cruise for those of us that live in the West and are sick of being treated like baggage on airlines. On our recent four and a half-hour flight to Ft. Lauderdale the ONLY food available was a snack box for $5. So it is no wonder any cruise round trip from the West Coast fills up early.
And to your question about which side: it dosen't really matter because most of the Island hopping is done at night. If you cruise from Hilo to Kona it might be nice to be on the starboard side to see the volcano; or on the port side if you go from Kona to Hilo. But the wind was so strong we couldn't use our balcony anyway. We got a better view from the Horizon Court.