Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Hawaii, Epilogue

Some final thoughts on our big Hawaii cruise-and-stay adventure with Norwegian Cruise Line, Virgin Holidays and Disney's Aulani Resort...

This 12-day trip was an unmitigated success with us, a pure joy to experience and a great advertisement for Hawaii, Norwegian, Virgin Holidays and all the resorts we stayed at (three in four nights).

From arrival at Honolulu to our departure at the same point, everything went off like clockwork and the whole spirit and welcoming vibe of the islands was crystal clear everywhere.

With Norwegian's excellent 7-day itinerary providing 2 days on each of Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, it provided an in-depth view of each destination - and the great diversity of each one. And finishing with 3 nights on Oahu was a great choice to ensure we had a fully rounded experience here, too.
So here are a few final thoughts from the whole journey...

It's stating the obvious but Hawaii is one of THE great cruise destinations, like Alaska.

Norwegian's shore excursion experience here (with Roberts Hawaii) is priceless and well worth taking advantage of.

Some of the great little 'extras' include masses of fresh tropical fruit (notably locally grown pineapple, guava, papaya and passionfruit), fabulous coffee (notably on Kauai as well as the Big Island), superb seafood, with several fish we hadn't sampled before, and the blissful climate, which rarely varies from 80-85F and without the enervating humidity we get in Florida for much of the year (and the Caribbean and Mexico).
The climate alone is enough to make the trip worthwhile, and the scenery is rarely short of spectacular, but it is the people who ultimately make Hawaii come alive as a destination. We had so many wonderful encounters with the locals wherever we went, we were always made to feel like 'ohana, or family, not mere visitors. The sights, sounds, tastes and aromas were all distinctive, and they combine to form one overwhelming, long-lasting impression.

Outrageous sunsets are also part of the deal here and the sheer variety of landscape is also breathtaking. We would rate things like Haleakala Crater (Maui), Volcanoes National Park (the Big Island), Waimea Canyon (Kauai), and Diamond Head, Pearl Harbor, Kualoa Ranch and the North Shore (all on Oahu) absolute must-sees.
It is rare that a seven-day cruise can pack in so many essential destination experiences and, with a pre or post-cruise stay on Oahu, this is very nearly the perfect destination (the fact it is such a long haul for most people is something of a drawback, but then it wouldn't be so enticing if it was nearby!).

It is not a cheap place to visit certainly (many prices for things like car fuel, hotels and even meals are above what you'd pay on the mainland or in the Caribbean) but this is definitely unlike anywhere else, hence it is most assuredly worth it.

We have already resolved to return in future, whether by ship or shore, and that, ultimately is the test of any destination, if it leaves you wanting more. 

So, Aloha Hawaii and a hui hou, or, until we meet again...! 
PS: Don't forget to "read all about it" in our full eight-page Hawaii special in the new Winter edition of World of Cruising magazine (left) - out now! See full subscription details on this link.