Kaua'i, Oahu & Hawaii

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Sep 29, 2010 – Wednesday – Volendam arrives in Kauai – I get up around 8:30am and go for breakfast in the Lido. I have an omelette made to order, and have my breakfast on the outside deck; the first al fresco dining for me on this trip, since it is now 24ฐC in the morning.

Rotterdam moored in Nawiliwili HarbourWe dock in Nawiliwili this afternoon at 5:20pm, and don't leave port until the following afternoon. The Rotterdam is also docked as we arrive. She departs about an hour later – a lovely sight. As our gangway is put in place, complete with red carpet, a rain shower starts up – "welcome to Kauai". We all stay aboard the ship this evening.

We dine in the Canaletto, an Italian menu restaurant on the Lido Deck. We are dining a couple of tables away from the Captain. Afterward, we go to the Frans Hals Lounge, where Lance Ringnald is doing an acrobatic performance. He is a past Olympic winner for the USA, and is now 40 years old, but is still in great shape and puts on a very entertaining show. He uses hanging silks like Cirque de Soleil does, along with some jokes and banter to the audience (he is wearing a microphone). I shoot some video, since he says he has no problem with flash photos or video. Normally both are forbidden during performances in the show lounge.

Wandering a beach north of Kiauea Point, KauaiSep 30, 2010 – Thursday – Kauai – I set my alarm last night and get up 7:30am, since I want to beat the crowds disembarking today. I am out the door and up to the Lido for breakfast: scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon and toast. We then catch the Hertz shuttle to the airport, where I have reserved a very nice Nissan Altima. We decide to drive up the eastern and northern coasts of Kauai to a bit past the Hanalei Valley.  We stop for a swim near Anini Beach and to see the Kilauea Lighthouse, and are back into town by 3pm and back onboard the ship by 3:30pm…well ahead of the 4:30pm All Aboard deadline. My friends and I have visited Kauai before, so this visit brings back good memories for all of us, and was a most enjoyable day.

Kauai headlands at sunset, aboard VolendamThe Grand Nawiliwili Sail Away party is hosted by Holland America as Volendam sailed out of Nawiliwili Harbour. In order to compensate for this missed stop in Maui, there are free drinks and snacks, so I have a couple of gin and tonics. The headlands of Kauai are beautiful as we sail away while the sun sets. I sure didn't need any wine with dinner when we dined later at the Italian restaurant Canaletto.

 Oct 1, 2010 – Friday – Oahu – I set my alarm to 7:30am again last night, and wake up a few minutes ahead of the alarm. Volendam is already docked in Honolulu harbour at Pier 11, right beside the Aloha Tower. We thought we could catch a free shuttle to Waikiki, but instead have to take a taxi to pick up our rental car for the day. This is a hassle and delays us a bit, but eventually we are off on our tour around Oahu.

We head out to Diamond Head, but after paying to get inside the crater, find out it is an hour and a half hike to the top and return. Consequently we don't stay long, driving a bit further to Hanauma Bay, which is a very pretty bay where there is lots of coral growing. It is very popular for swimming and snorkelling and costs $14.50 to go down to the park and use the beach, but only a $1 to park and look around. We do the latter and then move on to Koko Heads – another spectacular sight – a blowhole and beautiful shoreline along the south coast of Oahu.

As we turn the corner to the eastern shore of Oahu, it starts to rain. The vegetation is more tropical of course…the south shore is like a desert in comparison. The coastline around the Kaneohe area is very pretty, and the mountains are deeply grooved similar to the Napali Coast on Kauai. I guess the same processes are at work since they are both north coasts – wind and water erosion. We have lunch at the Crouching Lion Bar & Grill in Kaaawa, and then head back to Waikiki to return the rental car and get back to the ship.

Volendam departs Honolulu at about 11pm, bound for Kailua-Kona and the Big Island of Hawaii on a slow overnight cruise. We have a lovely dinner in the Rotterdam Dining Room this evening.

Oct 2, 2010 – Saturday – Kailua-Kona, Big Island of Hawaii – We were scheduled to go ashore today, and had planned to drive a rental car down to Pu'uhonua o Honaunau – Place of Refuge. Unfortunately the tendering process took far too long this morning, so we cancel our plans and stay onboard the ship. I go for a swim in the Sea View Pool in the stern, which was very nice – a salt water pool with very few people around.

We have lunch in the Lido, which is the only restaurant open when the ship is in port. I have Indonesian chicken on rice, which was spiced just right. I listened to an e-book while reclining on the Promenade Deck, and took a few photos of the tenders and Kailua-Kona shoreline. We depart on time and sail around the Big Island to see the volcanic flow off the coast by Kilauea, however no lava was visible this evening. I'm glad I had such good success seeing the lava flow last October when I visited the Big Island and the Kilauea Volcano.

Linguini Fruitti di Marein the  Canaletto restaurant, aboard VolendamWe dine at the Canaletto Italian restaurant again this evening. The pasta is simply superb.  I have the Linguini Fruitti di Mare (seafood linguini) which was mostly seafood and excellent. For dessert, I have my favorite: Three flavour Tiramisu (espresso, lemon & Amaretto. We are going to be so spoiled when we return home - not having to prepare our own meals or clean up after ourselves is wonderful! Here is the menu for those who are interested. The menu is the same in the Canaletto restaurants aboard all Holland America ships.

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