2022 Vancouver to Hawai’i cruise

Hawai’i Cruise aboard ms Koningsdam – 16 days – Oct 8-24, 2022

2022 Hawaii cruise route map. Note: Kahului was substituted for Lahaina on Maui.
2022 Hawaii cruise route map. Note: Kahului was substituted for Lahaina on Maui.

This cruise departed from Vancouver and returned to the same port 16 days later. Both the first leg from Vancouver to Hawaii and the last leg returning to Vancouver involved six days at sea. It was great to revisit the Hawaiian Islands again – there is always so much to see and experience, and the weather both on sea and land was perfect. We had five days in Hawaiian ports, with an overnight in Honolulu. Kahului was substituted for Lahaina on Maui.

If you just want to see photo albums, the 2022 Hawai’i Cruise collection of photos covers everything I experienced during this voyage both onboard and ashore.

My full itinerary is listed below. Feel free to click on what interests you, however if you click on the top-most item, there are links at the bottom of each page (just above the Comments section) to take you to the next destination – from beginning to end. This is the best way to explore the whole trip as it happened.

Travelogue

  • Victoria to Vancouver – flight & overnight in Vancouver in a downtown hotel
  • Vancouver departure aboard Koningsdam – sailing out of the harbour at sunset, passing Victoria
  • Vancouver to MauiDay 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5 –  the six day cruise across the Pacific Ocean to Hawai’i
  • Kahului – a busy port city on Maui and my snorkelling adventures
  • Hilo – the lush, tropical side of the Big Island and a visit with friends in Volcano
  • Honolulu – an overnight stay giving us two days
  • Kaua’i – Nawiliwili harbour and slow “Island time”
  • Kaua’i to Vancouver – Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5 – the six day return cruise back to Vancouver
  • Arrival in Vancouver – disembarking the ship in Vancouver and flying home to Victoria

How it started

My 70th birthday was looming, and I was determined to run away from home to celebrate, as I had done for my 65th birthday – 2017 Hawaii cruise. I had fond memories of that time aboard Eurodam five years ago, so I decided to repeat the same cruise. I live a couple of hour’s travel time from Vancouver, so this makes connecting with the ship very easy.

I booked a 16-day cruise on the Koningsdam, my first time on a Pinnacle Class Holland America ship. This would be a trial for me to decide if their largest capacity ships (about 2,600 passengers) was something I would consider for future cruises. As with my 2017 cruise, sea days were taken up with eating and drinking my way to and from Hawai’i, along with some enrichment presentations and live performances. I wasn’t too worried about accomplishing much else on this get-away cruise, since I have visited Hawai’i many times, and enjoy the relaxation that sea days offer.

How it evolved

Glassy sea on a beautiful afternoon at sea from my verandah
Glassy sea on a beautiful afternoon at sea from my shipboard verandah

Unlike most of my other past cruises with Holland America, I booked a verandah stateroom right from the start, not waiting for upgrade offers. I’ve discovered I enjoy having a verandah stateroom, which offers easy access to the outside fresh air and a wonderful view.

I booked three shore excursions through Holland America but was waitlisted for the Kaua’i excursion (which eventually worked out). I also booked a special dinner for my birthday in the Tamarind Asian Fusion restaurant for my birthday – my favourite premium restaurant from past voyages.

Costs

Being a solo traveller, the Single Supplement is almost 100% of the fare two people would pay, so it’s an expensive proposition cruising by yourself. My per day cost for everything (airfares, cruise fare, hotel, extras) worked out to CA$550/day (US$400/day). This particular cruise was very popular (especially with my fellow Canadians), so Holland America did not send any upgrade offers other than the HIA.

Holland America sent an attractive offer for their Have It All package (HIA), which I took advantage of for this cruise. HIA includes Internet access, shore excursion credits, premium dining, and drinks (both alcoholic and specialty coffees). So most of the cost of my excursions, as well as the premium dining was covered by my HIA package, offering a modest cost saving.

This was my first cruise as a 4-star Mariner, which includes significant discounts for on-board merchandise and services, priority embarkation and disembarkation, free laundry, complimentary wine tasting, and some other nice perks. No doubt this status saved me a modest amount overall.

I had originally planned to take the very convenient BC Ferry Connector bus to the cruise terminal the same day as departure, however it was not offered for my sailing. Since I would be travelling on the very busy Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I decided to fly a local airline to Vancouver the previous day, and stay overnight in a hotel before boarding the ship. This added about CA$300 to my travel costs.

Joe snorkelling among the fish and coral reef - Olowalu Bay, Maui
Joe snorkelling among the fish and coral reef – Olowalu Bay, Maui

Added bonuses

  • I snorkelled while in Maui – getting in the water among the fish always makes travel to tropical areas worthwhile for me!
  • As in 2017, I arranged to meet a friend in Hilo who lives on the Big Island, and spent the day with her.

What about the risk of contracting COVID-19?

I masked whenever I was in crowds. I usually request a shared table when in the Main Dining Room, mainly since I travel solo, so having conversations with my fellow travellers is an important part of my travel experience. I also struck up (unmasked) conversations in the entertainment venues and lounges, but put my mask back on when I was walking the inside passageways or while waiting in lineups, and especially when using the elevators or in a full house event in Main Stage. I wore a mask on bus excursions as people boarded, but took it off once everyone settled and we were underway. During disembarkation, the COVID-19 quarantined passengers were treated as a group, and I would say there were about 20-30 out of over 2,000 passengers.

So was it worth it?

This was another wonderful cruise on Holland America. The cruise line continues to provide the personal touches for its passengers, despite the serious challenges of acquiring and training new staff after the shutdown of cruising during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was spoiled by the wonderful crew while aboard the Koningsdam. The highlights of the trip have to be the wonderful meals and drinks aboard the ship, the good company of my fellow passengers, and experiencing sublime Hawai’i once again. Also, sailing in and out of Vancouver Harbour is always such a spectacular start to any cruise – never gets old!