Honolulu, (c) Michael W. Harris 2006 Posted by Picasa

Yeah, I live here, but I never viewed the financial district, harbor, and Chinatown from the deck of a ship before, so it gets included in the report.

Sunday morning, we went to Easter services at church. I made a breakfast casserole for the potluck afterward. Wouldn’t you know that another couple (retired) had recently cruised this route and the gentleman and my FIL spent the noshing time discussing the merits of buffets and dinner shows?

Then we came home and had to pack. Yep, Mike and I hadn’t packed a thing yet and we were due to board that afternoon. Well, technically, you had to be onboard by 7:30PM at the latest, but since you could start boarding at 1:00, my FIL naturally wanted to be there ASAP.

Indeed, my packing got interrupted when we decided to just haul them and their gear to the dock (5 miles away) and meet them later. This must be how I managed to not pack enough underwear for the journey, and how I somehow shorted myself by one whole outfit. *sigh*

Anyway, Mike and I managed to finish packing and get the cats straightened away with their Uncle Mark before arriving at the dock around 3. Boarding a cruise ship is somewhat like boarding a plane these days. There are metal detectors, security, and bag scanning. And of course there are overpriced photos to be taken, which tends to slow the line. Mike and I saw the photo stand we were being herded toward about the time we were given leis. We asked it we could skip the photo. They seemed shocked, but said sure, so we managed to cut our wait time by about twenty minutes.

We found our cabin, found his parents (sitting in their room next door to ours), and decided to wait for the mandatory emergency drill before setting off to explore. At 5, we were herded up to Deck 6 with our life preservers, sorted into groups, and told about the life boats and the alarms (a demonstration of the emergency alarm commenced at this point). They let us go about 15 minutes later. We dropped the life vests in the room and went up to Deck 11 to begin the Bacchanalia.

Okay, so the drink prices nearly floored me, but what the hell. How often do you go on a cruise? (I think we averaged $35 a day on booze, which is 4 to 6 drinks. Not lushes, but not teetotalers either. Though teetotalling would be cheaper.)

At 8:00, two Hula dancers swayed waaaaaay down below on the dock while the ship backed out of port. It was dark by then, so once the lights of Honolulu started to disappear, there wasn’t much to see. Mike’s parents went back to their room and we hit the Blue Hawaii Lounge where a hilarious session of karaoke was taking place. I don’t remember how long we stayed, but I’m pretty sure we were in bed by 11.

I had a little trouble with the motion. Not to the point of being sick, but I was sensitive to it. I don’t like taking drugs, so didn’t take anything until the second day (which only made me feel worse, actually). By the third day, my sea legs were steady and I started to enjoy the roll of the ship.

Things learned the first day: the staff works long hard hours, longer and harder than I’d ever want to work. They are also predominately NOT from Hawaii. On a ship with 900 crew, I’d guess about 5% were from this state. The Pride of Aloha is Hawaii-themed, but it’s a tourist’s Hawaii that has little to nothing to do with the real Hawaii. I was disappointed with that part. I expected steamed rice, poke, chopsticks, lau lau, chicken katsu, kalua pork, and a variety of Asian foods at the buffets because that’s local style. Nope. They add pineapples (canned, no doubt) to stuff and call it Hawaiian. The food was good, but not local.

Tomorrow — Day Two: Kauai