Single adventurers set out for Hawaiian Paradise and were enthralled, like the many explorers and travelers before them, by the magic and the beauty of these Pacific islands.
Our adventure started right on the sands of Waikiki Beach. Those of us lucky enough to have come for a one or two night pre-stay enjoyed our hotel “Outrigger Reef on the Beach”. It was a fantastic location with the beach at our feet, the new Beach Walk, filled with shops and restaurants, right out of the front door and Diamond Head visible right from our breakfast tables. What a beautiful way to start our adventure in Paradise!
The first days our STI adventurers went snorkeling, sightseeing around the island and lazing on the beach.
The first evening we enjoyed the Mai Tais at Shore Bird Beach Bar and then walked down Kalakaua Avenue for dinner at Duke’s on the Beach. Everyone enjoyed the yummy food, the island atmosphere and the company of our new friends. We were even serenaded by the Hawaiian musicians right at our table. My favorite bite of the night was the Coconut Shrimp with Passion Fruit dipping sauce.
Our way back to the Outrigger took us on a moonlight walk on the sandy beach of Waikiki. It was a full moon with the outline of Diamond Head visible over the glittering water.
The second day started very early for some of us, as we took a hike up Diamond Head. The early rising and the uphill climb were rewarded with amazing views of Waikiki and Honolulu and a sensational sunrise.
After returning from our morning’s adventure, we joined the others for the amazing breakfast buffet at the Outrigger with fresh island fruit and tropical touches.
That evening we enjoyed another round of Mai Tais at the Shore Bird Beach Bar. This was followed by a Welcome Reception in the Kani Ka Pila Grille. Thanks to STI, we enjoyed typical Hawaiian appetizers, including chicken skewers with a macadamia nut dipping sauce. STI also treated us to cocktails and a crowd favorite was the Mango Margarita. We ended this magic evening by enjoying dinner while the Hawaiian band played the sounds of the islands.
Saturday was a very interesting and moving morning with a visit to Pearl Harbor, bringing alive an important moment in American history.
Saturday afternoon we embarked NCL’s “Pride of America”, docked in Honolulu Harbor. We mingled with each other at the STI Welcome Party on deck as we sailed out of Honolulu.
Our first full day onboard brought us to the Valley Island of Maui, where a highlight for STI was the “Road to Hana” shore excursion. That night we partied at the 50’s/60’s Sock Hop Rock n Roll Party. Two of our very own STI members were chosen for their amazing dancing and were asked to participate in the dance contest. By an overwhelming vote of the crowd, they won with their rendition of the Twist.
Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, brought another day in Maui. Some ventured out on a helicopter trip, while others enjoyed a trip to Kaanapali Beach.
We enjoyed lunch together on the ship at Key West Grill, which serves up cooked-to-order burgers. The evening brought a Theme Night Happy Hour at Pink’s Champagne Bar with everyone dressed in their St. Patrick’s green. Before dinner, we had a chance to meet the Captain and take a photo with him.
Our interesting next port of call was Hilo on the Big Island. As this is the site of the longest continuously erupting volcano on earth, many STI adventurers opted for the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park shore trip. We got together that evening to share our adventures in Napa Wine Bar, showing off the Alohawear we had bought on the islands, as the night’s theme was “Tropical Night”.
To end the evening, we enjoyed FABBA Night, a tribute to the 70’s in Club Mardi Gras. We had fun dancing to the music of the disco era.
Thursday brought us to the Port of Kona on the sunny side of the Big Island. There were opportunities for whale watching, riding a zodiac, snorkeling and just relaxing on the beach or at the pool on the ship.
The highlight of the evening was the White Hot Party in Club Mardi Gras. We started the evening by enjoying Happy Hour in the Aloha Lana’i Bar, dressed in our white attire. After dinner, the festivities continued on the dance floor. The cruise staff greeted us all in white, complete with angel wings. The Club was decorated in white with white mist rising around us as we danced to crowd favorite dance hits. It was a grand night and STI adventurers were the last to leave.
Our final port was on the island of Kona. Some went on a shore trip up the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto, while others enjoyed the beach that was right next to the ship’s dock.
That night brought a highlight with the Luau ashore. An extra special highlight was the engagement of two of our very own STI members right on the stage of the Luau. Jake and Jessie had
met on an STI trip in 2012 and Jake decided it would only be right to ask Jessie to be his wife on another STI trip! It was a beautiful moment and brought tears to the eyes of many, including the Luau hostess. Jessie was very surprised. Of course, she said “yes” and received a gorgeous heirloom ring from Jake.
After returning to the ship, we ended the night in Club Mardi Gras watching two of our very own who had been chosen for “Dancing with the Stars”. Our two gentlemen were matched up with two of the ship’s dancers and competed against other couples for several rounds. Their dancing was enjoyed by the crowd and the end result was “tie for second place”.
Our last day brought another day in Kauai and last minute beach or pool time. That afternoon a great treat was the sail-by of the Na Pali coast, one of the most rugged and inaccessible coasts on the earth and also one of the most magical and mystical ones. It was a grand finale to our week in Paradise.
If you have never been to Hawaii, be ready to fall in love with the magic of its sunny skies, balmy weather, palm trees swaying in the tropical breeze and its people exuding the spirit of Aloha.
Contributed by Heidi L, Professional Concierge and World Traveler!