January 2016 - Ruby Princess to Hawaii
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our 15 night cruise from Los Angeles on January 9, 2016. It was the first time we cruised with Princess Cruise Lines. We had a mini-suite [ D231]. The stateroom was very spacious and comfortable. Our cabin steward, Christian was wonderful. Volcano National Park in Hilo was magnificent. Our tour guide was great. The tour we chose consisted of visiting an orchid farm, the national park, and lunch in the park. Well, it was fantastic. The weather was perfect. We enjoyed lunch in an historic lodge prior to visiting the park museum and crater. From Hilo we traveled to Oahu... Pearl Harbor was quite humbling and beautiful. In addition to visiting Pearl Harbor, our tour here included Punchbowl Cemetery, and a bus ride through the city. On our own, we took a cab ride to downtown Oahu. We had dinner at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel [ known as the pink palace and a National Historic Site ]. We sat on the beach at their casual restaurant while the palm trees swayed, music played, and we were right in front of Waikiki Beach! With Diamond Head in the distance, it was wonderful. Before we left, we had to walk onto the famous beach. Downtown Ohau is very crowded with multiple high end hotels and stores for shopping. Kauai was beautiful as well. We visited an old sugar plantation ...took a 45 minute train ride through the grounds to see various animals as well as multiple fruits growing on trees. We finished the tour with some time to browse the shops on premises. Our final destination was Maui.... Absolutely beautiful. We've been to Maui several years ago, so it was familiar to us. You have to take a tender [ small boat ] into port, Lahaina. The weather was in the low 80's! There were several vendors under the famous Banyan tree. We decided we wanted to have some fun in the water here , so we took a cab ride to a well known shopping area, Whaler's Village. There are hotels, shops, and restaurants in this area. Kannapali Beach is right there. We enjoyed the beach and water first. Then we changed into a public restroom. We enjoyed a delicious lunch on the beach at Hula Grill. It was a perfect afternoon. Enjoying pulled pork sandwiches on poi [ purple sweet potato bread and frothy concoctions of drinks ] while the sand is under our feet [ the outside restaurant has beach sand for the floor! ] , and taking in the gorgeous view of beach, blue water and sky, palm trees. It was wonderful. We took the tender back to the ship . The ship stopped in Ensenada Mexico the day before we arrived in Los Angeles. We did not get off the ship. The Ruby Princes is a beautiful ship. The class of service is high. We found the staff to be quite friendly and willing to help in any way. The food was very good and varied. There were many older passengers on board that necessitated scooters, wheelchairs, and walkers. I was quite impressed by the compassion and genuine concern of the staff assisting these passengers. While this was our first cruise on Princess, it will not be our last. It was a trip of a lifetime!