Posts Tagged ‘Hawaii’


Day Four – Hawaii – San Fran – LA – 19 Days, 3 kids, 1 MIL


Day Four sees us in Hilo on the Big Island, home to volcanoes, lava and voluptuous plant life. The beach is on our cruise ship doorstep, so that’s an easy and early call for the kids. A swim in the morning, followed by a shopping trawl through the township. Delightful milkshakes done the old-fashioned full-of-ice cream way is part of the lunch time treat and then the local farmers market draws us in with plenty of fresh fruit for lunch.

Cruising offers you plenty of opportunities to take tours here and there. The only factor is cost. A day trip for a group of six at $100 or so per person can make you choke on your fresh papaya for breakfast – unless you take the local way out. Which is… simply walk off the boat and ask a taxi to do a whistle stop around the local highlights. Of which there are plenty. Hilo is home to Banyon Drive and the most glorious public botanical gardens. They’re small, but perfectly formed with tropical flowers everywhere. Very different to back home!

Banyon Drive is essentially a long road planted with Banyons by various famous people, including Amelia Earhart and her tree today is a sprawling, towering tribute to the explorer spirit.

Back on board, Nanna has discovered the nightclub. With drinks that ‘don’t taste in the slightest alcoholic’. Until you stand up of course. Nanna sleeps late the next day. Which is just as well because there’s plenty to see in our next stop – Kona. Happily it’s also the home of strong coffee.


Day Three – Hawaii – San Fran – LA – 19 Days, 3 kids, 1 MIL


Can we do it: 19 days, three children, one stressed wife and a mother-in-law who’s only question is “How much? Good lord, in my day…”

Well, Day 3 and we’re definitely on Hawaiian time. Cruising works well for a family with disparate diets, waking up times (teenagers!) and social needs (teenagers!). This is our second day on Maui and we’re heading to the beaches. Hawaii = beaches and, well, we’re beach people, so this isn’t a hard decision. The beaches are long and golden and the water warm. The surf either crashes directly on to the beach or the bigger waves can be caught out the back. The dumping surf is a trap for the beginner and unless you’re ocean-competent, watch out!

That afternoon we hire a taxi and head for the town of Lahaina on glamor side of the island – home to the luxury hotels (see Cheap Rooms for good hotel deals). It’s get-out-of-town pretty with great shops, cute boutiques, the ubiquitous ABC shops and lots of restaurants with that laid back Hawaii feel. The beaches are up to the usual standard. Taxi fare is about $120 for a two way trip and it’s a better option than the cheap bus service which can take up to two hours as it wends its winding way across the center of the island.

Hawaii works spectacularly well cruise-wise because you’re in Port X for the entire day and sail overnight to the next destination, waking to a new set of palm trees, crashing surf and the gently wafting breezes full of frangipani. Tonight we’re off to the Big Island of Hawaii.


Day Two – Hawaii – San Fran – LA 19 days, 3 kids, 1 MIL


We awaken to the glories of a Hawaiian dawn. Warm air filters into the cabin, and is that the faint rustling of palm trees? Oh, no, just the room attendants unfolding sheets in the corridor. We’ve over nighted from Honolulu to the island of Maui and the ship is abuzz with people’s plans for the day. The port town of Lahaina holds not a lot but a short taxi ride away is the beachside town of Paia. Bohemian in feel and with two of those beautiful Hawaiian beaches across the road from the hippie boutiques, coffee shops, cafes and some of the island’s best restaurants. Johnny B’s Burgers and Shakes is an old school treat, while the adults fall for the tropical delights on offer from Mama’s Fish House. Just in case all that food on the ship has left us wanting more… Big tip here: if you want to save money on shore excursions, there are plenty of taxi’s waiting with drivers who will invariably replicate whatever tours are on offer on board… for a LOT less.
Maui’s north shore is a beachy, surfer paradise. (See for hotels on Maui.) The people are all calm, cool and relaxed and the vibe is one of why worry. Half of Hollywood has apparently bought up large on Maui but the beaches are surprisingly empty and the surf warm and big. Mister 16 loved the crashing waves, Miss 19 loved the boutiques and Master 10 the golden sand and the smaller inshore waves. We loved the fact that not a piece of technology jumped into their hands for eight whole hours.