December 2012 - Golden Princess to Hawaii
Found the December trip is early and weather cooler. Also, surf is not up for surfers and beaches quiet. Most of the ports have little to see and many times passengers just wanted to stop at Costco or Walmart at the tour's end since basic items are not for sale in the ship shop. The macadamia nut plantation tour was interesting but nuts still very expensive or candy coated but were cheaper in Costco and got more. Go figure. So was no bargian for the nuts at least. The trip is half at sea going and coming and the final Mexico stop to get so called "bargains" are better in the town itself, which is mainly a blokc wide, but verycharming to my my surprise. But is about a mile to two mile walk each way pending how far you go. There is a reasonal shuttle. Keep your pasos. The local BUS is really cheap, maybe 50 cts US. The buffet was just OK and did not have the great desert range I had expected. Dining room also just so-so too, nothing special and helpings were small. Staff could barely speak general English greetings. It turns out, many are from eastern block countries or other areas, so a language issue other than "Hello" and "Enjoy the meal," is spoken which I found most interesting. The buffet staff also seemed more interested in their own "fun and games" than ask if a passenger wanted coffee, tea and I would guess, if the right look, "me" shall we say. That seems to be a major issue. Most ship lines exploite the cheaper foreign labor of Asia. This is for cabin service as well. Being an off shore registered corporation billions are made paying no US tax. That's the US of A way for many of course (90%?) companies. This can also be a serious legal issue if one is injured and worse for any recovery. Not a good situation which is never discussed and seldom addressed. I suggest the trip later in the spring for better weather is my guess. Having not been to Honolulu in 25 years or more was rather shocked to see how it has turned from the single "Rainbow Tower" hotel into a Manhatten when you dock. The hotel "Rainbow" is lost amoung the high rise hotels and condos. Lost is that vintage Hawaii flavor that was the peaceful magic of years past drawing the public to this island fantasy. Now is just another high rise city under much of the control too of Japan. They may have lost WW2 but they have won it back now with their almost exclusive tourist trade even firing locals as hotel staff. Credit card, away!