We had such a good time on our first cruise we up and decided to do another almost spur of the moment!
Last time we went on a 15 day cruise through the Panama Canal. This time it was a 28 day cruise to Hawaii (4 ports of call) then on to 5 stops in the So. Pacific, after only 45 days at home!
I’m tempted to do a whole post on the downside of cruising (we experienced a bunch of it this trip!) but the truth is, even the hassles and the rude people couldn’t take the shine off the fun. So instead of whining and sniveling about misbehaving table mates, customer service people whose job one was to make you disappear, slow internet that tried to drive me insane, and food that wasn’t working for me, I’m going to concentrate on the wonderfulness of the trip. (Just wanted you to know, as fun it was, it was NOT idyllic!) Ready?
First, let me remind you that I already knew “on the ocean” is my happy place. Now I suspect I may be a mermaid in a human body. AND, if that is true, I was supposed to be born a mermaid off the coast of Bora Bora.
I LOVE sea days. And this trip had lots of them. 18 of the 28 days, in fact. There were times when I resented sailing into a port. Truth be told, if we had sailed 28 days to get to Bora Bora and stayed there for two weeks before sailing home another 28 days, I would have been good with that!
But, if I showed you tons and tons of pictures of the many variations in the open ocean (and I DO have them!) you’d be asleep in 2 minutes, so I’ll spare you! I’m not even sure at the moment how I’m going to pare down 1500 photos to give you a flavor of the trip!
So how about one or two photos for each of the nine ports for starters?
After 5 days at sea, our first stop was at Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. We’d been there once before, so decided on an adventure instead of just a tour of the island. We opted to go zip-lining. I’d been on a zip line before, but Mr. Tattered hadn’t. The place we went had dual lines, so we could go side-by-side. What a blast!
Next up was Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Not one of our favorite islands, so we used our time there to have lunch at Jimmy Buffet’s, and track down some free wifi, a couple of bottles of Maui Blanc wine and (for me) some blank note cards and watercolor paper (you NEED plenty of art supplies with this many sea days, and I was running out already! Poor planning on my part!) Ha! Kinda of a crazy way to spend a day in Hawaii!
We’d never been to Kauai before, so this was new territory and called for a bus tour to see as much in the short time we had as was possible. The Waimea Canyon (also called the Grand Canyon of Hawaii) was beautiful. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and pleasant, but the tour didn’t knock our socks off. Lots of people find this to be the most relaxing of the Hawaiian Islands. Though we saw lots of beauty, it did not replace Maui as my favorite island.
Opaekaa Falls were also quite beautiful.
Our final stop in the Hawaiian Islands was Maui. And it remains my favorite. But, since we go there nearly every year, a tour was not necessary. We anchored off Lahaina, and I have to say, in all the years we’ve been going to Maui, this was the most perfect weather ever. EVER. Not too hot, little humidity, nice breeze, calm water. Had I been dialing it in myself, I couldn’t have done a better job.
We camped out at the Hard Rock Cafe and nursed a great Mai Tai while we surfed the internet and filled out post cards. Our waiter assured us it was 5:00 somewhere, as we voiced concern about drinking before noon.
We followed up with lunch at Longi’s (one of my favorite restaurants on the island, where I thoroughly enjoyed my Belgian Endive Salad with gorgonzola cheese, macadamia nuts and tangy dressing. HEAVENLY!)
and topped that off with coconut and coffee gelato at Ono Gelato. A little shopping on Front Street, and bwalah! A pretty perfect day. I could have spent 4 weeks there! (That’s a joke. We do -almost every year!) Took one final shot as we boarded the ship.
Then we spent another few days at sea, crossing both the Equator and International Dateline (both firsts for us!) before arriving at Independent Samoa. Amusing side note: By crossing the International Dateline and back again, we, in effect, had no Monday, and 2 Tuesdays, and since our anniversary fell on Tuesday, we got TWO of them this year! That was fun!
We took an island tour on Samoa. It was hot as blue blazes with super high humidity. Duh. The price you pay for lush, tropical vegetation is tropical climate! Heeheehee! Note to self: Dripping sweat and cropped pants don’t mix. There is a reason why the locals (even the men) wear skirts.
The water was beautiful, as were the rugged hills covered with green. Lots of the Polynesians live in family “communes” – a piece of land with a small house for each family to sleep in surrounding a common living area in the middle for socializing. Deceased family members were buried in family plots in the front yard. Very interesting. It’s a poor country, but with values we could relate to.
Enjoyed a very refreshing drink from a coconut. We’d had it before and didn’t care for it, but this was either sweeter, or it was just so hot the refreshing quality over-powered the taste!
Next was American Samoa. It was very similar, but with a higher standard of living. It is the only American port in the whole southern hemisphere, if I understood correctly. We ended up on a tour that had more shopping than I would have liked, but we also went to a real “shell” beach. That’s MY kind of shopping! Saw some really incredible views from one of the highest points on the island.
Then there was Tahiti. Our first disappointment of the trip. I know I had high expectations, but who doesn’t going to Tahiti for the first time? All the travel photos you see everywhere? But for us, the beauty was over-shadowed by the filthiness and graffiti of Papeete. I was not prepared for that. The tour we took was called “Highlights of Tahiti.” My question was, if those were the highlights, how bad are the lowlights? You can’t “un-see” things, but I’m going to try to only remember the pretty sights.
Moorea was much more like what I THOUGHT Tahiti would be. Our favorite island in French Polynesia so far. The water was so beautiful. JUST like we pictured!
And then there was Bora Bora. What a fabulous place to make our final stop of the trip before heading home! There aren’t words.
The little huts on the water were so inviting! I’d LOVE to be able to go and stay in one, just once!
The water almost didn’t look real. And it was constantly changing. Every few minutes it looked different, depending on how the sun was playing on it. We went on a boat tour around the island inside the reef and got to snorkel in several locations. The variety and quantity of fish we saw was amazing. We even got to play with a small octopus and follow a huge mantaray. It was everything I’d hoped it would be, and more. Leaving was hard. I really did want to stay.
The remaining eight days were spent at sea, and I loved every one of them. Seeing Bora Bora, then spending that much time on the water was the perfect way to end the trip.
Yeah, there were things to complain about – frustrations with people and process. But man, the positives outweigh the negatives by a long shot. I’m ready to go again. Soon!