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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 01-04-2007, 05:24 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
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Hey Cruisefun,

Can we come along with you in your suitcase? I'm sure you will have a wonderful time.

Information on the bus to Lahaina can be found at http://www.mauicounty.gov/bus/busschedule.pdf You need to take the pink line (Lahaina Islander) which takes less than an hour to get to the Wharf Cinema Center - Downtown Lahaina. From there you can walk, take a taxi or another bus (Ka'anapali Islander) to the Cannery Mall if you're intending to go to the luau.

You get the bus from the Queen Ka'ahumanu Center which is about 30 minutes slow walk from the port. When we were there in September it was very hot and we had a friend who had a bad leg so we had to take it slower than we would normally go. There is a shuttle-bus that will take you there, but we figured it would be quicker to walk as the shuttle goes round several malls and we weren't sure if our mall was the first or last stop. It was also very expensive consdering the distance you actually travelled. I think it is $7.50 each way and when you consider that you can get to the other side of the island for $1 you will see what I mean by expensive!

The ride itself to Lahaina is nothing special. It's the town at the end of the journey that is the gem. Finding the bus stop was a bit of a challenge and it is probably best to get to the mall and ask. We stumbled upon it almost by accident and as the mall has more than one entrance, it would be impossible to give you exact directions. We were in such a hurry, I never noticed any stores to mention as landmarks. Have a look at this map http://maps.citysearch.com/map/view/3196813 It "felt" like the bus stop was on the eastern side of the mall.

Hope this is helpful. Drop me another line if you need any more tips and I will do my best to help. Have a great holiday!
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 01-06-2007, 12:18 PM
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Dear Captain Merky,
Hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Thanks so very much for your prompt reply. It's just so sweet of you to answer all my questions in such detail and even give me great links to so much info. The map and bus schedule are just what we need!!! It will be so much fun if you can cruise with us and be our guide!

We have decided to at least use the public transit for the first day to Lahaina/Kaanapali etc. Just wish the bus stop is not such a long walk from port!! And they do charge too much for the shuttle. Do you know/hear anything about snorkel at Molokini(one of us is indifferent)? Some people say it's not as good anymore. And the sea maybe choppy in winter(one is prone to seasick). But the experience seems to be so unique in Maui.

We would like to do an easy day at the beach in Kona too. Remember the name of the beach you went?
Will take a taxi since you say it's kind of far to walk.

Do you remember the drive to Weimea Canyon? Is it OK to do it yourself. How long does it take to drive from the port? We're thinking of renting a car in kauai since there is absolutely no public transportation.

Looking forward to hearing from you,
Cruisefun
  #13 (permalink)  
Old 01-06-2007, 07:04 PM
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Hello again Cruisefun!

Delighted that you found my tips helpful! I'm sure you'll love Lahaina - it is definitely worth the trek.

We are not snorkelers so I can't give you any first hand experience of that, but I got into conversation with some other passengers about Molokini and a gentleman sitting nearby said that it was not all that good. His recommedation was somewhere off the Kona coast near Captain Cook. I've had a look in my guide book and it could be Napo'opo'o but, of course, I couldn't swear to that. I was very taken by the idea of being in the crater of a submerged extinct volcano but we never got round to it. Maybe next time.

The beach we were heading for in Kona was Honokohau, but we never made it. It is just too far to walk! I would definitely recommend taking a taxi and booking them to come back for you. By the time we realised how far it was, we were too far from the jetty so we just got on to the nearest bit of sand we could find. This beach was nice and secluded but the sea was rocky so swimming was not all that safe.

The drive to Waimea Canyon was not very long and very possible to do on one's own. I guess it was about an hour from the port but we were on a guided bus tour and we did stop en route.

Have a look at NCL's organised snorkeling excursions in Kona. I'm sure one of them will be just what you're after. If you're doing the same itinerary as we did (leaving on Saturday night), it may not be possible to snorkel and have time on the beach at Honokohau as you're only there for one day. The ship anchors off the coast and you're taken ashore by tender (life boats). Gosh, this is sure taking me back!

Write again if you have any more questions and do let me know how you enjoyed it.
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 01-08-2007, 11:37 AM
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Dear Captain Merky,
Great to hear from you so soon. We'll try to review NCL's tours and maybe will find something we like. Thanks for the info on Molokini and Waimea Canyon. Definitely it will be great to be able to do the Kona coast snorkelling(will look into that suggestion). I'll try to look up the beach at Kona and decide on whether we should rent a car if too far. You're right, the time at ports are too short to do too much!
Will let you know how the cruise is when we're back. It's so wonderful of you to offer me so much insights and tips.
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 01-15-2007, 07:56 PM
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Captain- will there be a traditional lei greeting at the Honolulu Airport or at the ship? I noticed that some lei's can be purchased ahead of time if someone wanted that greeting.
  #16 (permalink)  
Old 01-16-2007, 04:40 AM
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Hello,

A traditional lei greeting at the airport is something you have to pay for I believe. As we arrived independently (our flights were not booked with NCL) I couldn't say if they throw that in at the airport.

However, once you have completed the check-in formalitiest at the port, you do get leis in preparation for a photo opportunity just before boarding. The ladies get orchid ones and the gents get ones made of shells which I think are even nicer as they are a great memento of the Hawaiian visit. I still wear mine when we have friends over for dinner!
  #17 (permalink)  
Old 01-25-2007, 11:57 AM
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For a more up to date review of the Pride of America (13Jan07) check out - http://cruise-chat.com/eve/forums?a=tpc&s=712603081&f=7...861072682#7861072682
You may well want to consider a different ship for any future cruises after reading my posts.
No axe to grind, just the truth. Read and decide on your own.
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 01-25-2007, 12:18 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
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Thanks Travel Agent for your review. Interestingly, I am also a Travel Agent and well used to the kind of complaints that the industry tends to attract. I stand by my review, however, as that was my experience. You can't please all of the people all of the time and the Internet is a wondeful medium for venting this type of criticism. Just today, I read in the news that there was an outbreak of a vomiting virus on the QE2. Does that mean that it is always dangerous to travel on that ship? I think not.

It's my inlaws 50th Wedding Anniversary next month and we are seriously considering (on the verge of booking really) a cruise with them in the summer. We are looking at a western Mediterranean sailing and NCL is certainly at the top of our list. We shall see.
  #19 (permalink)  
Old 02-14-2007, 08:48 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
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Quote:
Originally posted by cruisefun:
Dear Captain Merky,
Great to hear from you so soon. We'll try to review NCL's tours and maybe will find something we like. Thanks for the info on Molokini and Waimea Canyon. Definitely it will be great to be able to do the Kona coast snorkelling(will look into that suggestion). I'll try to look up the beach at Kona and decide on whether we should rent a car if too far. You're right, the time at ports are too short to do too much!
Will let you know how the cruise is when we're back. It's so wonderful of you to offer me so much insights and tips.
Hi Captain Merky,
You'll never guess what an incredible 7-day Hawaiian cruise we have had!!! With your suggestions and more research we finally mapped out tours and sights we would like among all those wonderful choices offered by the cruiseline/independently.

Pre-cruise Honolulu was a fun city where we visited the SS Arizona Memorial, watched and froliced at Waikiki Beach and toured the Pacific Cultural Center. I was all prepared for some great snorkeling opportunities so had rented gears for a week at Snorkel Bob(they allow return at any island!).

Our first port of call was Hilo where we had a day of fun and sun. The volcano national park tour was interesting. We even took a city tour on the county bus for $1. How we looked forward to more amazing ports and great weather.

For Maui, we had decided to rent a car to visit Haleakala crater and then drive to the west coast(Lahaina and Kaanapali). And we booked a whalewatch excursion from Pacific Whale foundation for the next day. To our dismay we woke up to such windy condition that we found the ship circling the island unable to dock!!! The captain announced that the wind had approached close to hurricane strength(but sunny sky!!!) and would not be able to dock until late that nite if wind calmed down. We scrambled to cancel car rental/tours etc. The weather had changed and we were facing a bad wind storm for a few days!!! Luckily we were able to dock that evening. But it was too late to do anything ashore. The next day we took the $1 county bus to Lahaina(great!). Just as you said we walked about 20min to Ka'ahumanu Center(there is shuttle to the center but we had an early start and didn't wait for the shuttle) to catch the bus. And the Kaanapali beach was just too rough to snorkel.

Very strong wind persisted for another 2 days and we skipped Kona. Once again we had to cancel the tour to Hounaunau Bay for snorkel. I was supposed to return snorkel gear that day. Finally we were able to land at Nawiliwili on the sixth day but torrential rain greeted us! We decided not to drive up Waimea Canyon but drove around the coast to visit Poipu Beach and Princeville instead. When I found the Snorkel Bob's office at Poipu they were very understanding and would not charge me for the unused gear. What a wonderful operation. Of course the last day at shore turned out to be beautiful and at least we could swim/splash at a beach! It was a very disappointing cruise.

Thanks again for all your help.
 
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