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Travel Thoughts By Kim

By Kim Pritt, Contributor Posted 22 February 2020 at 3:00 pm

Let’s go on an adventure together….to Hawaii!

Black sand beach in Wai’ananpa Park, Maui, formed by the rough surf pounding on fresh, bubbling lava flow from Haleakela Crater over a millennia or more

One of countless stunning waterfalls – this one in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii.

If you’re anything like me, you spend quite a bit of your time during these long WNY winter months dreaming about places where the sun is shining on a warm sandy beach or tropical setting. Well, that is exactly why I decided to take action this year and booked a cruise to Hawaii in January. It was nothing short of amazing and I wish I was still there.

On this particular trip, I toured the islands using Norwegian Cruise Lines. They have a ship called the Pride of America that sails just about every week year round out of Honolulu and after seven days of stops at the four main islands, they return to Honolulu to end the cruise. I do believe it is the perfect and easiest way to see as much of Hawaii as possible in a week. Granted, this is only my never to be humble opinion. I am just a regular person who enjoys traveling – I’m not a Norwegian spokesperson or a travel agent. I am just sharing what I believe is a perfect option for people who like to cruise and want to see Hawaii efficiently. Of course, you can vacation there on your own or at various resorts or other cruise lines – any travel agent or Google search can help you find what works for you…

…But, hear me out on this option:

This is a unique cruise that takes the hassle out of Hawaiian Island hopping. I flew into Honolulu the day before my cruise and spent the night at a hotel convenient to the port. We set sail on Saturday and arrived at our first port – Maui – on Sunday about sunrise. We spent two full days in Maui. About dinner time on the second day, we left Maui to cruise over night to the Big Island of Hawaii where we spent one day docked in Hilo and then cruised overnight to spend the next day docked on the other side of the island in Kona. Another overnight cruise took us to Kauai where we spent another two full days before cruising overnight back to Honolulu, Oahu and the end of the cruise. At each port, we had a long list of shore excursions covering a wide variety of interests and activities or we could venture out on our own. I usually choose to do the cruise line’s shore excursions. My point is that this vacation option takes all the hassle out of island hopping – I get to spend time on each island maximizing the day light hours, I am transported between the islands overnight while I enjoy the ship’s entertainment and get a good night’s sleep, and my floating “hotel”, restaurants, and all my luggage follow me effortlessly throughout! Can’t beat that!

Now, let’s talk about Hawaii! I’m sure I’m not the first to say this and, for all I know, it may even be an official motto somewhere, but I am declaring Hawaii the “Land of Waterfalls and Rainbows”! In the seven days I spent in paradise, I saw more rainbows and waterfalls than I’ve ever seen in my life and it was heavenly! While each island is distinctly different, this was a common theme on all of them. When I think of Hawaii, I think surfing and beaches and big waves. Yes, there is definitely a lot of all of that. But, there are also beautiful drives through the country side with every shade of green imaginable, stunning canyons and cliffs, and a year round rotating growing season that ensures some kind of fruits and florals will be plentifully in season whenever you are there.

Near the top of Waimea Canyon, we were treated with this amazing double rainbow. It was so vivid and seemed so close we could almost touch it. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Waimea Canyon on Kauai took my breath away, including this waterfall.

On Maui, I spent one day on the Hana Highway traveling up the eastern coastal route taking in true natural perfection with waterfalls and black sand beaches and tropical plants and one day in the little coastal shopping town of Lahaina. On The Big Island, I saw a macadamia nut plantation, lush foliage, and tried some 100% Kona coffee (which surprised this tea drinker, who does not like coffee at all…this coffee, however, I LOVED)! Then, Kauai had the most gorgeous canyon I’ve ever seen – Waimea Canyon – that took my breath away! On Oahu, I visited the Dole Pineapple Plantation and saw more amazing beaches and natural beauty. I don’t like to pick favorites, but I do believe Kauai wins this one! I loved all the islands I visited and would love to return someday. But, the Waimea Canyon on Kauai stole my heart and brought tears to my eyes! I can honestly say that I have now seen the most beautiful place on earth!

I must confess, though – this was not the first time I visited Hawaii. The first time was in 2009 and I spent four days on Oahu – it was awesome, but I vowed to return and see the other islands. I’m so glad that I did just that on this trip. Like most of my tour guides said, it is easy to forget that Hawaii is part of the United States – it is so far from the mainland and it is so different than any other state in every way imaginable. It’s like going to another country without needing a passport or visa!

If you’re thinking of visiting Hawaii, I hope you found this helpful when looking at all the options for ways to enjoy the islands. Whatever you do, please consider finding a way to see Waimea Canyon on Kauai and be sure to find a shop to try some 100% Kona coffee fresh from the source – I got my fill of free samples at the Royal Kona Coffee Center in Kona on the Big Island, but there are lots of places to fall in love with it….but, be careful – it can be addicting and it isn’t cheap coffee!

If you want to read more about my 2020 Hawaiian adventure, visit my Blog at www.thoughtsbykim.com to view a series of five posts – each one focusing on a specific part of the trip – with tons more photos of the amazing range of different views Hawaii has to offer.