This was my husband’s first cruise and the first time he was a featured speaker aboard a cruise ship. He is currently the President of the local of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada as well as the National Secretary. He spoke about the stars, of course. He’s a very good speaker, so good that I would accompany him to his lectures, not intending to stay and ended up mesmerized by him and listening to talks I’ve heard a dozen times over and completely enjoying myself. But maybe I’m partial.
We splurged on a mini-suite, which is a larger version of a balcony cabin with the addition of a little livingroom and the big draw, a bathtub!
It turns out one of the charms of traveling aboard the Star Princess is its Captain, Michele Tuvo. He is a delightful man, always mingling with the passengers coming around to your table to say hello and ask about our trip. He has a cute Italian accent and when giving his noontime report he’d end it with a chipper “Bye-bye”. By the end of the cruise everyone was mimicking his trademark and shouting “Bye-bye” to everyone else as we disembarked.
We were set to leave in late afternoon but a group of passengers were delayed due to an airline problem, but they had the foresight to book with Princess’s protection plan which meant they held the sailing to wait for them. Sometimes it means they’ll just pay to have you catch up with the ship at the next port, but since most of the cruise happened before the next port, the Captain opted to hold the ship. So instead of seeing the all too familiar landscapes of home, we got to see Vancouver all lit up.
Getting into the spirit of Aloha
Tip: One of the perks of a mini-suite is free champagne at embarkation. It’s a great way to start the trip.
This gives you an idea of the space in a mini-suite. There was plenty of room in the closet and shelves, along with the safe which we used for our cash and passports.
We found the space very roomy but the sofa and chair in the living room area were uncomfortable.
A secret daytime escape was the nightclub. It had sofas and big easy chairs to curl up in and read. Also nice views.
The Explorer’s Club Lounge. British Egyptian 1920’s themed bar and event location. This is where Charles’ talks were held.
A nice shot of himself on our 25th anniversary dinner.
The Piazza and some of our favourite performers a trio of classical musicians.
Hilo on the island of Hawaii (the Big Island)
Lava fields and black beaches
Honolulu on the island of Oahu
Above are the vintage murals on the walls of the Honolulu dock.
Hawaiian lady taking a break and checking her e-mail.
It was a trifle windy there. I think they just blew off that cliff.
Crazy Hawaiian feral chickens. They’re everywhere. The reason is that originally there were native chickens which the Hawaiians thought to be sacred, but they interbred with regular chickens settlers brought to the islands. So there’s no telling if a chicken is a sacred one or just a regular chicken, so they are all protected. You aren’t allowed to harm them. They are as plentiful as pigeons.
The people who perform at the Polynesian Cultural Centre are actually mostly students in college, which owns the Centre. They are of the nationalities which are featured in the shows. There are the native Hawaiians, Fiji, Rapa Nui, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, and other Polynesian islands. Some were actual ancestor’s of historical figures featured in the performances of Hawaii’s history. There was so much to see, we didn’t get to half of the shows. I’d go again if we get back to Oahu. The shops were great and the food was good. We got into a canoe and paddled around for a while. There is a parade of rafts which glide by while performing native dances and songs. It’s very colourful and exotic. My cousin once said it was like Disneyland Does Hawaii, but he meant it in a good way. It’s a great destination for history lovers, photographers and families.
The famous hand gesture comes from this man who waved happily but who had his middle three fingers chopped off, we people today do the wave in remembrance of his happy spirit.
These camouflage trees are naturally occurring with colourful bark. They have a row of them as you enter the Polynesian Cultural Centre in the beautiful landscaping in front. Throughout the Centre are beautiful flowers and plants growing in profusion.
A banana plant.
Hawaii has these unusual looking evergreens.
Nawiliwili on the island of Kauai
The harbour at Nawiliwili is tricky to get into. The Captain said he always breathes a sigh of relief when they get in and out smoothly.
The helicopter tour was Charles’ idea. He’s an old Air Force jet pilot. Me? I’m afraid of flying in small aircraft. This terrified me but I forced myself to do it and here I am post trip triumphing over my fears. It was the only way to see Kauai, the most beautiful of the islands. We’d do the helicopter tours again on Hilo to see the volcanoes better. I didn’t see any fresh lava, which disappointed me.
While flying they played Louis Armstrong’s “It’s a wonderful world” and some enchanting Hawaiian music.
I’m actually really scared here as we get buckled in. Brave smile though, huh? A tip: If you take a helicopter tour, wear a plain black long sleeved top without jewelery because it helps to hide reflections of you on the windows so your photos of the scenery will be better. They handed out t-shirts to wear for that reason.
Lahaina, on the island of Maui
The harbour isn’t deep in Lahaina, so the ship anchors offshore and you ferry in on boats they call “tenders”. For those who live in coastal towns, it’s like a water taxi big enough for many people.
On board the tender boat.
Maui is a laid back funky island. Lahaina is an historic area of cool old houses, great shops, pretty beaches and my favourite attraction, Dole Pineapple Whip. It’s like a cone of pineapple ice cream and I quickly became addicted to it since pineapple is my favourite fruit. They have delicious pineapple in Hawaii, although they no longer have big pineapple plantations like they used to. Tip: Buy yourself a big container of fresh pineapple all cut up and keep it in the fridge in your cabin. It will last all the way to Vancouver giving you sweet delicious snacks all the way home. So good!
Believe it or not this is one big tree. It’s a banyan tree that grows along then drops down to plant itself in the earth to let the roots nourish it. It was planted in 1873 and was then 8′ high. It’s now 20′ high with twelve trunks in addition to the huge core and shades 2/3 of an acre.
Back aboard ship, after five more nights of being at sea, they are readying the Piazza for the farewell day. A day which made me very sad. So much so I couldn’t sleep the last night and so got up and wandered down the International Cafe and got some pastries and coffee at 3 a.m. and sat alone in the Piazza. There was no one else there so I didn’t think the ship would mind if I wept a few tears. She didn’t mind. I’m sure she was used to it. No one likes the end of a cruise. It was a bittersweet and poignant way to say farewell. Aloha.