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Hawaii Sightseeing

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SilverStar092

Guest
#1
Hawaii was great and we were very happy to have done advance planning. We rented a car or van at each port (Kona was skipped due to high waves) and it worked out great. Taking a AAA Hawaii map and becoming familiar with the sights in advance was key as the towns' names sound so similar in many cases. We drove 125-165 miles on each of the four days and REALLY saw Hawaii. You can do so much more by renting than taking tours. A few highlights for those planning to go soon: Honolulu: Avis was a $20 + cab ride from the dock as we found nobody closer than the airport. That said, we spent far less for 3 of us with a van paying inflated Christmastime rates than we would have for a tour for three, essentially 3 for the price of 1). We did a big loop of Oahu. Favorite sights: The Punchbowl military cemetary overlooking Honolulu, the beautiful eastern (rocky) and northern (huge waves/surfers) coasts, Dole Pineapple Plantation in the center of the island, and Germaine's Luau on the south tip of Oahu in the evening. Germaine's was a real highlight of the isalnds and I don't think anyone else from our cruise found it as tours went elsewhere. At Kauai the Avis courtesy van was waiting for us and we especially enjoyed deep Waimea Canyon, the Blowhole along the south coast, and the nearby coffee planatation plus a couple of nice waterfalls just north of Lahuie. In Maui we were picked up by Avis and taken to their location north of Lahaina. The best sight there is clearly Haleakala National Park where you look down into the cinder cones of a volcano after a twisting drive from sea level to 10,023 feet. The drive is not for the faint of heart but is well woth it. Other great sights there were Io Needle, a tall rock formation in a remote tropical settings, and the Lahaina, Kaanapali, and Pacific Railroad excursion train. On the "Big Island" (Hawaii) we used Budget rental car as they offered courtesy pickup and dropoff from their nearby airport location. Hawaii Volcanoes Nat'l Park is a must there with lots of close up views into volcanic craters...we saw the lava from the volcano great at night from the ship! About 20 miles south of there you will find a wonderfully scenic black sand beach (check the map). The macademia nut factory is a nice stop on the way back toward Hilo and there is a great waterfall just west of town (not far from the Hawaii-Hilo campus) which was used in the opening scenes of Fantasy Island. I hope this helps someone.
 
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Einstein

Guest
#2
Thanx for the info and it would be Gr8 if U could put it on the Hawaii Board as well under Ports of Call. :thumb

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Lady Jag

Guest
#3
How did you find out which car rental agencies had pier pick-up? Did you have to call them?

We're also going to be renting cars at most islands, with the exception of Kauai where we're taking a 90 min. helicopter ride. Was Haleakala worth seeing during the daytime? Is the drive really winding? Our 2 sons might get carsick if it is. Do you think it's something teens would enjoy seeing? I've been to Hawaii a bizillion times, but never to that crater.

Thanks so much! :thumb
 
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SilverStar092

Guest
#4
LadyJag, I called the various car rental companies ' toll-free reservations centers for rates and asked whether they would pick us up. I couldn't find anyone who picked up at Honolulu so we had to absorb the $17-$20 cab ride each way. That still beat the cost of tours for 3 of us and gave us much flexibility. Avis was very nice and we rented a van. (Be sure to consider Germaine's Luau as it is great). In Kauai most car rental companies had free pickup from their airprort location near Lihue. We used Avis again and they were even waiting for us at the cruise terminal. In Lahaina we had to wait on pickup but again Avis picked up free as did many other rental companies. I did have to call them as we tendered in. In Hilo we used Budget and they came fairly quickly. Again, many rental companies had free pickup and dropoff at the cruise terminal. Haleakala was wonderful and very much worthwhile. But go straight there as it takes quite awhile. The road does wind much of the way but it was less nervewracking to me as a driver than Going to the Sun Highway in Glacier Park. If the kids can handle it, by all means go. Your family will never forget the feeling of being on top of the world. (If you take video of part of the drive and the crater at the top, let me know as we messed up and somehow copied over that). The rest of our trip recorded fine but my son is sad about this! If you can do a helicopter trip, you can make this drive. As mentioned, we didn't get to Kona but I found out that Hertz and Thrifty pick up there but Budget and Avis do not.
 
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Lady Jag

Guest
#5
We've been to Germaine's before, but it was so long ago, that I wasn't sure if their luau was still good. Good to hear you enjoyed it.

Germaine's offers free transportation and that's why I wanted to use them. I would've liked to go to the Old Lahaina Luau on Maui, but we'd have to drive back to the ship late at night and keep the rental car at the ship's pier overnight.

Got it on Haleakala, thanks. We won't be videotaping, sorry. All we take is a digital camera.

I've seen a lot of Hertz agencies near the ports, but it's good to know that Avis and Budget are close by too. Thanks for that! I guess I'll have to call them to make sure they pick up at the pier. Why pay a taxi fare when you don't have to?

We have such a short time in Kauai that I don't think we'll rent a car there. The helicopter tour will take quite awhile.

Thanks again - I appreciate it! :thumb
 
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SilverStar092

Guest
#6
Glad the info helped. Yes, Germaine's is wonderful and I highly recommend it. What did you mean about leaving the car at the dock in Maui overnight? What time do you sail? We departed there at 6:00pm. but maybe you leave later. We just had to return it by 4:30 which was fine since we had to allow time to tender back to the ship.
 
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Lady Jag

Guest
#7
We won't be on a Princess ship. We'll be on an NCL ship and it stays overnight in the port. :)

Thanks again for the info.! :thumb
 
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SilverStar092

Guest
#8
Ah ha....that explains it. Is it an inter-island only cruise? Note that at Maui there is no cruise terminal at Lahaina...they use tenders. Thus parking may be a bit away from the harbor as the immediate area is congested without lots of parking spaces near the pier.
 
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Lady Jag

Guest
#9
Yes, it's an inter-island cruise on the new Pride of Hawaii coming out this June. We're going into Kahalui, not Lahaina in Oahu. It's farther away from the Lahaina things to do, but at least it's close to a ton of car rental companies. :)
 
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SilverStar092

Guest
#11
Pattie54, Yes we awere on the Dec 22 Island Princess cruise. Great trip. Please elaborate about "the gang". We saw a couple groups of kids that were annoying at times...is that what you are referring to? Please share your experiences as I'd like to share this with our tablemates who noticed something, too. I am very curious. How did you enjoy the cruise overall? What stateroom did you have?
 
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pattie54

Guest
#12
We were in C517. I'm surprised you didn't hear about this group of kids and their parents. It was an extended family or families traveling together (I was told about 52 in this group) that caused a lot of problems and many passengers complained to Passenger Services and even complained to the Captain at the lunch with the big time Princess cruisers.
 
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pattie54

Guest
#13
I'm not sure if this was the same family that caused problems on the 12/20/04 cruise -- a Latin American family, apparently with a lot of dough. The parents would park themselves in the casino and their kids ran wild. Lots of noise in the hallways in the early AM, a ping pong table was tossed overboard, etc. The parents would consistently place special orders in the DR, causing everyone else to wait for their meals. A group of passengers that post to another cruising board got together and hired a lawyer. One of them told me last week that the case was settled and as part of the settlement they're not supposed to talk about the results.

On our cruise, these kids were running wild. One boy, with the encouragement of his siblings and cousins, pushed my daughter in the pool. We told him off, my husband tried to in Spanish as this kid said to me, "No speak English." Many times we saw this gang sitting around on a staircase. My daughter said she never saw any of them in the fun zone.

Someone at our dining table said that these kids were running around and ran into some older folks. More than one person said that they threw basketballs and chess pieces (those big ones on the top deck) overboard.

Someone who has gone on 24 cruises with Princess has cancelled the three she had scheduled for 2006. She said these kids were knocking on her door at all hours and on NYE, ran into her as she was walking down the hall with a drink, ruining her dress. She managed to get a meet with the Chief Purser who said all he can do is give her a reimbursement form for her dress.

She was the one who told me that some cruisers with 45 and 100 princess cruises talked to the captain while dining with him about these kids and he told them he couldn't do anything about the matter.

Another person on her first Princess cruise (and she says: her last) was hassled by one of the mothers (who had wanted to switch cabins with her). She also mentioned that members of this family also cut in line at the tenders. One member of the family would be in line and many others would join at the last minute. She also had trouble with kids being noisy in the middle of the night.

Still another cruiser told me that the waiters who had this family told her that they were rude and demanding to them.
 
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pattie54

Guest
#14
And here's the kicker. One of the mothers was taking her kids off the ship at Ensenada when the mother propped her kid on the railing while she was putting things in her purse. The girl went overboard. We weren't there...we were changing to go swimming. But several people did witness this. It was the talk at dinner that night and with some of my new online friends afterwards. Someone reported it to cruise junkie.com but one person who was on the pier at the time says the report isn't 100 per cent true (it said a crew member jumped in but she says one of the boys did).

I talked to one of the yellow shirted youth security people (who were hired as a result of last year's IP cruise) and he says this gang were disrespectful and rude to the yellow shirts. He even went to speak to one of the fathers about the lack of supervision. The man said, "I'm on vacation." The yellow shirt replied, "You're not on vacation from parenting."

It seems this people were dropping a lot of money in the casino and many of the passengers I talked to were wondering if Princess was taking a hands off policy on this family. There's a lot of resentment that a small group is allowed to act like this. And it's occasions like these that make it harder on those of us who want to cruise with our children without having mean stares thrown our way. Everytime someone says, "that's why I try to avoid cruises with a lot of kids," I have to say that this was the first time I've seen kids misbehaving on a cruise. And it was just this group.

So, where was your cabin, what activities did you do, etc. (by the way, if you saw a balding guy playing guitar on the Promenade Deck by the window, that was my husband).
 
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Lady Jag

Guest
#15
This is similar to what we experienced on the Coral Princess during Spring Break in '04, but ours was to a lesser degree. We were very happy to speak to some of the crew members who were hired after that time period. They're the new "Youth Security" crew members and they made a considerable difference on our Christmas Grand Princess cruise.

I think I would've gladly thrown those obnoxious passengers on your sailing overboard myself! =eek :lol
 
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pattie54

Guest
#16
Unfortunately, the yellow shirts were not given much authority. All they could do is talk to the kids about behaving or leaving an area. But they couldn't escort them to passenger services or anything like that if they were misbehaving. Crew members apparently saw the kids throw ship's property overboard, the family's account was charged and the head of the family demanded that the charges be taken off the account because there wasn't anything caught on video.
 
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SilverStar092

Guest
#18
Pttie54, thanks for the details. I am amazed that we didn't encounter that gang in any major way. One time late in the cruise when my son and I were playing shuffleboard three or four young Latin kids came up and played with those large chess pieces by throwing them around. I told them to stop it but they didn't seem to know English. We did see another group of teens who had no respect for property but they weren't Latinos. These kids smashed ping pong balls real hard and ruined quite a few of them and hit tennis balls so hard they would either go in the water or onto the deck below. I told the nice yellow shirt security guy from Canada about them. But we never heard them at night and they never seemed to cross our path. I'm sorry you and other folks experienced that. I am blessed to have a 16 year old who enjoyed doing most things with us or with the nice boy whose family sat at our table for dinner.
 
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SilverStar092

Guest
#19
Pattie54...We were in Baja 602 so I guess the noisy kids were on the floor below us. Thank goodness. I never heard them on the balcony either. In fact, seldom did I see othe rpeople on their balconies. One day I did observe a middle aged man on his balcony on either Caribe or Dolphin Deck singing and kind of talking to himself. That was funnty but , thankfully, no noise like you described. You asked about activities we did...we had early dinner seating then usually went to the shows...we really enjoyed Duncan Tuck and also most of the stage shows. We caught a couple of the big screen movies, Polar Express and Christmas With the Kranks (and maybe one more). We swam some evenings with our tablemates in the Lotus Pool as it usually was like a private pool deck at that time. During the days we walked the promenade deck...I don't recall your husband...my wife and I both carried a CD "walkman" with us in case you saw us. Our son and I often played ping pong, shuffleboard, and putt-putt golf. And of course many nights we grazed at the buffet late for a light snack. It seems like we kept real busy and had a wonderful cruise. What activities did you do while at sea? How about in port? Maybe our tablemates will join in about the group of kids as they commented about them after the trip.
 
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pattie54

Guest
#20
We had late traditional seating. Only managed to make it to Duncan Tuck (had heard many recs for his show) and Curtain Up. The rest of the time, the shows were way too early or else our little one felt too tired and wanted to go back to the cabin for the night (she's 8 and has been enjoying the big production shows since her first cruise at 23 months).

Didn't get to too many activities(I was doing the trivia rounds one day while hubby and another guitarist were jamming together). Hubby got activitied-out by his third or so cruise. Much of the time we were by the pools -- he and the girl did some swimming and I read. My cruise critic group had a few get-togethers, one thrown by Princess. We checked out the various NYE parties and ended up at the Wheelhouse Bar, and then to the atrium for the actual countdown. Didn't watch any of the football games but was rooting for Texas (I'm a UCLA alum and we root for UCLA and whatever team is playing SC). And just in case my mother-in-law asked, we did go to the first night menorah lighting for about ten minutes.

Our excursions (we booked thru Princess) were the Sea Life Park in Honolulu, Maui Snorkeling, and the Waterfalls and Windward Hawaii in Hilo. In Kauai, we went to the nice beach that's beside the Marriott, then later on went to Hilo Hatties, then McD's so girl can get some McNuggets. Kona was going to be another free day too (sniff, sniff).