Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hawaii, Day 1

Right after Christmas, my parents took us all to Hawaii for their 50th Wedding Anniversary (all three kids and their spouses, and the minor children -- Courtney, Chris, and Maggie). The first week, we took a cruise around to the major islands. The second week, we stayed at my parents' timeshare at Ko Olina, which is right outside of Honolulu on Oahu. Two things kept me from posting for this long. The first is that I really just needed time to process it. It was a wonderful trip. The second was that my card reader broke, and it is getting harder and harder to find a reader that takes sD cards. I guess that is a clue that it might be time to get a new camera sometime in the future....

This started with an early morning rush to get to the airport. The instant we got off the plane in Honolulu and walked through the doors, heat and humidity hit us. In three days we'd undergone major climate change. We left Indiana which was in the 20's when we left and then landed in Las Vegas (where I grew up) where it was in the high 50's. Despite what my mother thinks, it felt WONDERFUL, and we walked around the neighborhood in short sleeves. I can't begin to tell you how much I missed mountains -- and these were MY mountains. Mount Charleston, the Spring Mountains, Red Rock Canyon, Sunrise Mountain. Jeff commented how much Honolulu, especially at the airport, felt like the Philippines.

We flew Hawaiian Air, which was very nice, and we quickly learned the words we'd be hearing continually all over the islands Ma Halo -- "thank you" was the one we heard the most, even more than Aloha. Once we landed, we made our way to the Wiki Wiki bus (which brings back memories of the ferret on the Budweiser commercials "wiki wiki") which took us to our luggage, then my dad herded us out to catch a Roberts Bus that would take us to the docks.

If you every DO take a trip to Hawaii and want to do tours, Roberts Hawaii is the way to go. The cruise ship had this huge list of tours, and the prices were OUTRAGEOUS. When we got on the Roberts Bus that would take us to the dock, they handed us a sheet of comparable tours that they offered for often 1/3 the price. And the tour guides were wonderful.

So then we got to the ship and went through all of that rigamarole to get on the boat. We met a really nice non-denominational pastor's family while we were waiting. They were from the Big Island of Hawaii, and locals often get special deals on the Hawaiian cruises for rooms that aren't taken. They'd found out they could come THAT day. He actually had to leave the ship twice and take an airplane back to his congregation to lead services twice during their trip.

Here is where you are going to find out how truly lame I am. I had to get a picture of the cruise ship from off the internet. I am usually all about taking pictures of scenery. In fact, I usually don't have many pictures of my family and friends because I don't want them to get in the way of the scenery. This trip was different. Most of the pictures you really can't tell where we are...isn't that sad? But I do have lots of pictures of the family.

But anyway, here is the ship, the Pride of America. NCL's Hawaiian ships are the only cruise ships registered to the United States. From what the staff told us, most cruise ship companies said that it could not be done and still make money because you could not work out paying the staff the same way most cruise ships do in other countries. To register the ships in the U.S. means that they had to follow U.S. guidelines on how they paid their staff. I'm willing to bet that this is a picture of her docked in Kona on the Big Island, because that was the only port where we couldn't come up to shore and instead had to take the little boats in (little is relative, each could hold about 100 people, easy).

The evening was wonderful. They had incredible food on the ship, and it wasn't at all like "Love Boat" portrayed. The ship had several restaurants, most of them were included in the cost of the ticket (some were extra special, and there were extra charges to eat there). You could eat what wanted and wear what we wanted.

After dinner, we found a quiet deck and my husband read the renewal of vows for my parents. They've truly had a challenging 50 years. Not all of those years were good in any of our memories, but I am really thankful that they stuck it out. I know they have been a blessing to me, and now in their retirement, I know they are a blessing to each other. They've taught me a lot. I was also glad that my children were there to see it.

1 comment:

Marie N. said...

What a wonderful trip! Thanks for posting about it.