DAY 83 – March 28th

Written by Safarigal
March 31, 2017

Honolulu, Hawaii

I had hoped that we would be docked at the Aloha Tower. I have been to Honolulu twice by ship previously, and that’s where we were. Not this time, it was Pier 2 for us.

We were instructed to go to the Queens Room between 7:15 and 8:15 to clear immigration. When I was on QM2 in 2015 for the 175th Anniversary Transatlantic Crossing from Liverpool, our first stop in the US was Boston. Going through immigration on the ship there was an extremely slow process, with the queue stretching several times around the ship. I feared that we were about to have a similar experience, but I was wrong. We arrived at 7:00 and the queue was already several people thick, stretching as far as the Chart Room. However, when they opened the doors at 7:10 the queue began to move, and by 7:18 we were done, and were free to go ashore. We were not expecting that at all, so went up to the Lido to have a celebratory breakfast.

The cruise terminal at Pier 2 is extremely basic. You get off the ship and walk into a large shed with exposed beams, that looks somewhat like an abandoned warehouse. This is adjacent to the cruise terminal proper, which again looks like it needs work. There are 2 potted plants there that look like they are on their last legs. I wanted to empty my water bottle over them, but I don’t think this would have saved them.

There really isn’t much in the terminal building. No shops, wifi, or ATMs. No marching bands or ukulele players welcoming us, and no leis being given out. This is probably good – the last time I had a lei it made me sneeze. Still it’s the thought that counts. Although the staff were really very lovely and welcoming, However, I felt it was almost like they were not expecting us, and things were just not ready yet.

There was a large sign in the cruise terminal stating that absolutely no fluids at all would be allowed on board. This included water bottles, sodas, and sports drinks. Wanting to stock up on Cokes I was bewildered, wondering what that was all about. Then I saw that the sign had an NCL logo. So it must be for NCL passengers. Bummer for them. Clearly NCL would not be happy with a case of VC and a couple of bottles of Laphraoig coming on board. Not even a 12 pack of Coca Cola. Note to self – stick with Cunard.

Hilo Hattie’s and the Ala Moana Mall provided a shuttle bus service to and from the mall. However, this had not started when we were ready to go exploring, so we took a taxi for the 10-minute drive to the Mall as it was raining and we had decided not to walk. The taxi cost nearly $20. For an 8-minute ride. Welcome to Honolulu!

The Ala Moana Mall is a fabulous place. It is an indoor/outdoor mall with an amazing mix of high end and discount stores. There was something for everyone. We were able to do some serious shopping, and then took the Hilo Hattie’s shuttle bus back to the ship to deposit our purchases in the cabin.

We then took another over priced cab to Duke’s on Waikiki Beach to meet up with Deidre and Kim for lunch. We arrived there early, so took advantage of our extra time to walk along the beach, and watch the surfers and feel the sand between our toes.

We had a great table right near the beach for lunch. Carlo, the piano man from the Commodore Club, stopped by on his way to the Mai Tai Bar in the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, so we joined him there for a drink after lunch, and suddenly it was time to return to the ship. I know that Waikiki is over crowded and over rated, but we really had a great relaxing day there, and I wished we could have been sailing later so we could have had more time there.

We sailed just as it was getting dark, and we could see Diamond Head go by from our cabin. A very beautiful sight.


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I love to share my adventures with others, and hopefully give them some insight into what to expect on their own exciting travels. I hope reading my blog will be a useful resource, and inspire others to follow their travel dreams. As a travel advisor, I get great pleasure out of being able to help folks fulfill their aspirations by translating my experience in safari adventures and ocean voyages into memorable travel experiences for them.