The Travel Factory Blog
World War II Places To Visit
Two of the most treasured World War II sites to visit are Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and the Normandy beaches in France. In my opinion, the best way to see those sites are on cruise vacations. Why are those sites so important in our history?
On December 7, 1941, three waves of Japanese aircraft left their base of sea carriers stationed north of Hawaii. The Japanese Imperial General Headquarters ordered the attack to coincide with a declaration of war delivered to the United States Department of War in Washington, DC. The surprise attack sank four U. S. Navy battleships and damaged four others. There were 2,402 people killed on the ground with another 1,282 wounded,. The attack resulted in the United States immediately declaring war on Japan. Thousands of Americans rushed to Army and Navy recruitment centers to join the armed forces in response to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's proclamation of “December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy”.
Norwegian Cruise Line is the only cruise line with a weekly presence in Hawaii. They leave Honolulu every Saturday and cruise to all 4 of the islands. My suggestion has always been to fly to Honolulu two nights before the cruise begins, and that gives you ample time to visit Pearl Harbor, USS Missouri, the memorial site of US Arizona, and Punchbowl (which is the final resting place of those killed in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam). Of course, other cruise lines have visits to the Hawaiian Islands, but they have to leave from a U. S. port, cruise for 5 nights to the islands, about 6-hour visits at all four islands, and then 5 nights back to a west coast Mexican port.
On the other hand, with NCL, after those two nights in Honolulu, then you board the
Pride of America and visit Maui for two full days and one overnight, then over to Hilo on the east side of the Big Island for a night and Kona on the west side of the Big Island for another night. On to Kauai for two days and one night, then head on back to Honolulu where you fly home. You get in to Honolulu early Saturday morning on the return, so you would have time to go back to Pearl, or take a circle island tour of Oahu before getting on the plane later that afternoon to fly back to DFW.
A couple of years ago, they did a major rehab job of Pearl Harbor, and it is really interesting, and humbling, to see the displays and watch the videos of the soldiers who lived through that devastating time in our history.
Another WWII site is Normandy. I've tried to go there on a cruise ship before, but either the wind was such that we had to abandon that port, or one time the dock workers were joining with some French union in a strike, so the ship couldn't dock on that appointed day. Next year, I hope to get to that port, so I'm inviting others to join the Travel Factory Gang on a Viking River cruise on the Seine, Oct. 31-Nov. 7. We fly into Paris for a couple of days, then visit Giverny and Rouen where we learn a little about Joan of Arc., then pay a visit to the beaches of Omaha, Gold, and Juno, as well as the Normandy American cemetery. There are still a very few cabins available for this fantastic sampling of a vibrant city and humbling visit while on a relaxing, comfortable, and interesting river boat, so quickly call if you're interested.
Contact the travel advisers at The Travel Factory and let us help you with one or both of these opportunities to not only learn a little more about our history, but also enjoy some great excursions, wonderful food, and special attention. We can be reached at 4150 Southwest Drive where we have brochures and lots of educated advice. You can also call us at 698-1421. We'd love to help you plan for these vivid memories, or any other vacation you so desire!!