Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mele Kalikimaka

Aloha. We are back at the Sunnyvale Elks after a week and a half in Hawaiʻi. Tomorrow, we will pick the rest of the gang up at the kennel, and see if they even remember us.

Before we left, we moved Odyssey from the Elk's "camping" area to an area designated for storage. (The requested camping donation is $15 per night, whereas storage is $2.) In our absence, the heavens opened and the storage area is now a giant mud puddle. Mindful of past experience with Odyssey sinking into the mud, we are stuck living in the storage yard until things dry out a bit. There's been no rain today, so I am hopeful that tomorrow things will be dry enough for us to move. We've been invited to a New Year's Eve party up the peninsula, and we'd like to arrive there bed in hand, so to speak, so that we won't have to drive afterwards.

We had a great time in Hawaiʻi -- the weather was perfect, and we had no problems with flights, hotels, or travel arrangements. Our expectations for the cruise experience on Pride of America were low, having been forewarned about NCL America's customer service issues, and we were thus pleasantly surprised with the overall experience: The food was adequate and sometimes even superb, the ship was clean, modern, and well-appointed, and the all-American service staff, while not up to internationally-flagged standards, delivered mostly acceptable service. It's definitely not Crystal, and it's not even Princess or Holland America, so we are unlikely to sail with NCL again. But it was a great value, and really the only choice for an all-Hawaiʻi itinerary.

I can say without equivocating that this was the youngest (average) passenger complement we've ever seen on a ship, with nearly as many couples younger than us as older. The 400+ children aboard (vacation week, of course) skewed that even further (and made the pool area mostly intolerable for us). One pleasant consequence of this younger demographic was that there were quite a few shore excursions aimed at a more active audience. Among our favorite experiences on the cruise were bicycling downhill from Haleakala on Maui, spelunking in a lava tube on the big island, inner-tubing through the old irrigation ditches and tunnels of a defunct sugar cane plantation on Kauai, and zip-lining above the trees on the same plantation.

Now that we are back, we are catching up on email and taking care of all those last-minute 2006 financial transactions before the year runs out on us. Once we get that out of the way, we will try to catch up with some of our bay area friends while we are here, with the goal of being back on the road again the second week in January. As of this writing, we are still looking at being in Quartzsite, Arizona around the middle of the month.

I will try to post here once or twice more while we are in the bay area, and will resume my more regular posting habits once we are under way.


  1. Just came across your site...Odyssey looks awesome. Congrads...I am very impressed.


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