I’ve been looking at Hawaiian cruises for years. In 2003 we travelled to Oahu with our children for spring break and I’ve wanted to return ever since but I wanted to visit more islands than just Oahu. Hawaii is expensive and island hopping takes the price up quickly. I was looking at Hawaiian cruises in 2014 when I found a trip to a safari lodge in South Africa for less money so we went to South Africa instead. When a South African safari costs less than a Hawaiian cruise, you know it’s expensive. Read about it in my first blog posts in February 2014.
So, when my friend Lori and I happened to see a 7 night Norwegian cruise of the Hawaiian Islands on the internet for a mere $1299 per guest, we jumped on it. By the time fees and port charges were added, the total was $1445 each but that’s still way cheaper than I’ve ever seen. And get this!!! The price included 2 additional nights at the Marriot Waikiki before the cruise and transportation to the cruise port. Incredible!
Norwegian is the only cruise line that stays overnight in ports in Hawaii. They spend a week just cruising the islands rather than sailing from the mainland to Hawaii like other cruise lines. Then the other cruise lines spend just part of each day in a port of call and sail to the next port overnight. NCL’s itinerary especially appealed to us so we could explore each island a bit more than the typical cruise allows.
This was our itinerary:
Always one to arrive well ahead of schedule to allow for unforseen delays, I wanted to arrive a day early for our stay in Honolulu. The rates at the Marriot were over $300 per night so I checked the Outrigger Wakiki where we stayed in 2005. As luck would have it, I found a rate for a partial ocean view for $212 so I booked it. We would have to change hotels after the first night but that wasn’t a deal breaker for us. The Marriot is just down the street so we’d walk our luggage over in the morning.
Finallly, we booked airfare at $777, not bad considering the distance from Iowa to Hawaii. Our flight arrived at 6:30 pm and after a taxi ride to the Outrigger Waikiki and a quick and efficient check-in, we settled into our room with this view.
This hotel was as welcoming and luxurious as I remembered. The rooms are beautifully decorated and they even provide a welcome insulated gift bag filled with goodies.
We were soon off in search of food. My pre-trip restaurant research revealed that some of the best food in Waikiki was actually to be found at Duke’s, the restaurant on-site at our hotel. That was easy.
Drinks and food were both expensive, but that’s expected in Hawaii. After a day of travel with no meals served on our flights, our meal hit the spot.
I was thrilled to be back in Oahu. I’ll never forget our first visit and I loved it as much or more the second time around. Check back next week for more coverage of Waikiki, Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, and so much more.
Based on events from November 2015.