The Travel Factory Blog
Hawaii.....Here We Come!!!!
Frequently we have folks who come in and want to talk about a trip to Hawaii. My eyes light up because it is one of the best trips we ever take. I've taken groups over there in years past where we just visited Oahu (Honolulu and surrounding area), and it was ok, fun and a lot of things to do, but I wanted to be able to visit the other islands too, but didn't have time. So, here's the best solution.
Several years ago, Norwegian Cruise Lines negotiated a sweet deal with the state of Hawaii and the U. S. government where they had privileged rights, meaning they are the only ones who can cruise the islands in this fashion; leaving Honolulu and returning to Honolulu. They leave Honolulu on Sunday, cruise to Maui and are there all day Monday and overnight until Tuesday afternoon at 6pm, then they cruise over to Hilo (The Big Island) and are there for 10 hours, then head around the east side of the island and if the volcano is still active will be able to see the lava flowing into the Pacific, and port on the west side of the island at Kona where they are docked for another 10 hours. They then cruise over to Kauai and as on Maui, they have an overnight stay on that island. Friday afternoon they will leave around 2PM and cruise around the west side of Kauai where some beautiful scenery awaits. They will dock then back in Honolulu at around 7AM on Saturday morning.
The ship they use for this fascinating trip is the Pride of America. She carries around 2,100 guests every week, was built in 2005 and the most recent refurbishment was in 2016. After sightseeing or beaching all day, you can come back to your ship and enjoy the variety of entertainment choices. The last time we were on her their feature show was the Jersey Boys.....truly outstanding.
In contrast, all the other lines that tout Hawaiian cruises have to leave from a western U. S. port, cruise the islands, and after visiting an international port, return to that U. S. port. Princess, Royal Caribbean, and other lines have service over there, but you would have to spend 5 days at sea to get there, 4 days visiting the islands with about 8 hours in each port, then 5 days cruising back to the western stateside port. Obviously it would also be a more expensive proposition.
We always suggest that if someone wants to take this trip that they consider flying into Honolulu a couple of days before getting on the ship. That helps in two ways: you have a little time to get accustomed to the 5-hour time difference, and you would have time to visit some of the popular sites around Honolulu, such as Pearl Harbor, battleship Arizona, Punchbowl, North Shore, Pineapple fields, Polynesian Cultural Center, and beautiful beaches like Hanauma Bay.
Speaking of Norwegian Cruise Line, they are offering a current promotion on the Pride of America. If you sail on an inside, outside, or balcony room you can choose one of 5 amenities: Free 1-night pre-cruise hotel stay, or three free specialty dining options, or free pre-paid gratuities, $50 credit per room toward a shore excursion on each port, or 3rd and 4th persons sail free. If you stay in a suite category, you can choose all 5.
Plan early; it's a popular destination and in my opinion the best way to visit our 50th state. You can reach an experienced travel advisor at The Travel Factory located at 4150 Southwest Drive here in Abilene, Texas between Rosa's and Chick-Fil-A. Or visit our website at
www.thetravelfactoryabilene.com. We'd love to introduce you to this bucket-list destination....or any other place you'd like to go.