Guest Sharon Johnson and her husband cruised again with HAL, this time on Zaandam’s 21-Day Collectors’ Voyage to Mexico and Hawaii. Sharon chronicled their cruising experience for us on the blog. Enjoy!
February 24, 2013:
Today the Zaandam arrived early to Aloha Tower Cruise Terminal in Honolulu, Oahu. The ship was even cleared before 8 a.m. Al and I hadn’t planned a shore excursion here as we have been to Honolulu and Waikiki many times. We decided to take the “The Bus” to Kapi’olani Park in Waikiki to go to the Aquarium which opened at 10 a.m.
We got to see all of the tropical fish that live in the waters of Hawaii. It was fun seeing many of our favorites including the moorish idols, angel fishes, sargent majors, surgeon fish and the trigger fish which is the state fish of Hawaii (Humuhumunukunukuapua’a). Swimming in the outdoor pool was the Monk Seal which is the only seal endemic to the Hawaiian Islands.
We then walked along the beach in Waikiki to the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel where we had lunch and Mai Tai’s in the Ocean Bar overlooking their infinity pool with a view of Diamond Head in the distance. Al’s lunch was late so he had fish tacos for free. All too soon it was time to catch “The Bus” back to the Aloha Tower near the Honolulu Financial District. The Pink Palace of the Pacific (Royal Hawaiian Hotel) was built in 1927 by the Matson Cruise Line for its luxury cruise passengers.
We arrived back at the ship in time to see ” Drums of Polynesia” cultural program hosted by our “Hawaiian On Location” team member Paki in the Mondriaan Lounge. The show featured dances from all the Polynesian islands — Hawaii, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand and Tahiti — for a packed audience. Al was asked to come on stage with several other men from the audience to do the Tahitian Hula. After photos with the performers, we collected our orchid leis and hurried to the aft pool for the sail-away.
During sail-away from Honolulu there was going to be a “Hui Hou Lei” Ceremony given by our Location Guide, Kainoa, as we said goodbye to the beautiful islands of Hawaii. He gave a short talk about the lei and explained that the Hawaiians believe that the leis absorb our mana (spirit). Therefore, we shouldn’t throw them in the trash when the flowers have died. It is only a Hollywood myth that, if the lei you have thrown overboard floats ashore, that you will return to Hawaii. He recommended taking our leis home and burying them, returning them to the earth.
We stayed on the aft deck to take photos of our departure from the Honolulu Cruise Terminal and Aloha Tower. With the sun setting we had incredible views of Honolulu, Waikiki and Diamond Head. Kainoa pointed out all the sights we were seeing as we sailed past Waikiki and Diamond Head. We wished that our stay would have been longer. – Sharon and Al