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The Long-awaited Hawaiian Honeymoon


Photos by Milton Fullman

 

You know how when you're a kid and the whole world lies before you, you imagine the future -- where you'll one day live, whom you'll marry, what job you'll have, where you'll honeymoon. When I was a kid, I vowed that I would honeymoon in Hawaii.

Days would be bathed in sunshine.
Nights would be breezy.
Palm trees would be tall.
Waters could be warm.
Locals would smile to see the joy written on my face.

I would loll in soft beds, bask by clear pools, romp on sandy beaches -- and be in love forever, with this place, the man I'd just married and life itself. Not all childhood dreams come true. At least not in the order we might imagine. As the late Beatle John Lennon once said, "Life is what's happening while you're planning it."

Biking along a dormant volcano. Copyright Milton Fullman. While I was plotting a tropical honeymoon, a war was raging and time was as scarce as money. The plan never materialized. But, almost 30 years after the first, abbreviated honeymoon, the same man and I did make it to Hawaii. Seasoned with the wisdom of years, I knew this time that I would not be content to lie on a single beach, sleep in one room and dine in only one place. Determined to see as much of the cluster of Hawaiian Islands as possible in a single visit, we opted for a cruise aboard American Hawaii Cruises. Doing that, we managed in just seven days to discover the scenic diversity of five ports on four major Hawaiian Islands. We spied sleepy, blue lagoons, sparkling waterfalls and dramatic volcanic peaks.

We biked down a volcano, ate wonderful food and saw a whole lot of a place that once had been only in my imagination.

GETTING AROUND

The beautiful Royal Hawaiian hotel. Copyright Milton FullmanOur beginning set the tone for the entire visit. After two nights in the luxury of the Royal Hawaiian on Waikiki Beach, we boarded the S.S. Independence. As it does every Saturday night, the ship departed Honolulu with a traditional send off for weeklong round-trip cruises. A band played, streamers were tossed, the ship's horn blared and passengers sipped colorful drinks. For a moment, it was as though we were journeying into Utopia. Each of us knew we were about to be coddled and entertained, fed and amused. Lying ahead were days when we could explore on new soil, spy volcanoes, watch sunsets and smell ocean breezes. On the weeklong venture, Sundays are spent at sea, often with a dolphin or two cavorting in the ship's wake. The route may vary seasonally, but the scenery is reliably grand -- Maui's rainforest-covered mountainsides, Lanai's steep gorges and ancient, red lava landscapes and the rugged cliffs and green valleys of Kauai's Coast.

THE ONLY ONE

American Hawaii Cruises is the only ocean line that sails exclusively, year-round, in Hawaii.

 

Copyright Milton Fullman

Its classic U.S. flag ocean liner, the S.S. Independence, is popular with passengers wanting to see as much as possible in a mere week. Passengers have ample time to explore Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii, with accommodations, meals and entertainment provided aboard the floating
hotel. Cruises can be combined with a hotel stay on the islands for an extended land-and-sea vacation. Our added two nights at the historic and captivating Royal Hawaiian gave us time to visit several attractions in Honolulu and to search for finds in the
nearby International Market. Best of all, it gave us time to unwind and forget deadlines and chores before we set sail.

SHORE EXCURSIONS

American Hawaii Cruises' award-winning shore excursions program has been named "Best of the Best" by Travel Holiday magazine. Passengers have 50 ways to sightsee, including submarine, catamaran, Zodiac raft, kayak, helicopter, parasail, car, horseback, bicycle, motor coach or on foot. Special tours feature the "hidden" Hawaii, emphasizing the history, culture and ecosystems of the islands. The personalized tours accommodate 6 to 15 people and are led by experienced naturalists, historians and local guides. Avid golfers enjoy tee times arranged on board for their choice of 18 of the world's most beautiful and challenging courses. (In addition, American Hawaii Cruises also offers wedding, honeymoon and special occasion packages that enable couples to marry on board or just enjoy a romantic trip in paradise.) Selected year-round cruises feature on board themes such as "Whales in the Wild," "Big Band," "Aloha Festivals and Hawaiian Heritage" and "Pearl Harbor Remembrance."

For passengers wanting to explore before or after the cruise, the ship can help arrange tours to places such as Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial, the Polynesian Cultural Center, Paradise Cove and the Waikiki Trolley. (We opted for the Arizona
Memorial, a riveting visit that is a story in itself.)

A leisurely, sunny afternoon. Copyright Milton Fullman

CULTURE

We had not journeyed to Hawaii intending to explore the 50th state's culture, but we found it a bonus when the ship, on the week we were sailing, offered one of its "Hawaiiana" programs. (We later learned that the program had won the 1997 Onboard Services magazine Diamond Award.) The program focuses on the islands' heritage by showcasing music, dance, arts, crafts and cultural presentations. An onboard kumu (which means Hawaiian teacher) is an integral part of the ship's program, providing education through "talk story" of Hawaiian history, legends, royalty, gods and goddesses. We had the chance to study ancient and modern hula, chants and language and to visit an interactive onboard cultural exhibit, featuring reproductions of Hawaiian artifacts and displays about the islands and their people.

ITINERARIES AND COSTS

On its seven-night itinerary, the S.S. Independence departs each Saturday night from Honolulu and spends Sunday at sea. The ship docks in Nawiliwili, Kauai, from Sunday evening until Monday evening, then docks in Kahului, Maui Tuesday and Wednesday. Passengers then sail for the Big Island, spending Thursday in Hilo and Friday in Kona. The ship returns to Honolulu Saturday morning.

 

Our chef, posing with a magnificent ice sculpture and luscious tropical fruit. Copyright Milton Fullman

Cruise fares begin at $1,230 for seven nights (per person, double occupancy), including port charges/costs, all shipboard meals, entertainment and activities. Hawaii state tax of 4.166 percent is additional. American Hawaii also offers packages that combine the cruise with a stay at any of 14 hotels on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island. Choices include such properties as the Outrigger Reef on the Beach in Waikiki, the Outrigger Kauai Beach, the Outrigger Maui Eldorado Resort or the Royal Waikoloan on Hawaii.

Costs for a seven-day cruise begin at $1,335 per person, double occupancy for a budget cabin and range up to $3,435 for a superior suite. Round-trip air can be provided from more than 100 U.S. mainland cities. (Example fares are $810 from
Atlanta, $770 from Chicago and $475 from Los Angeles.) Those who book a cruise at least months in advance can take advantage of an Early Bird Discount, paying $395 for round-trip air from more than 100 mainland gateway cities. Or, passengers may opt to arrange their own air and to take $300 off the cruise price. (Some restrictions apply.)

NOT COMPLETELY CONTENT

Paradise. Copyright Milton FullmanAlthough I waited almost three decades to take my "honeymoon," I was not disappointed. If anything, I am more determined than ever to go again, because catching glimpses of the islands, the volcanoes and the beaches merely reconfirmed my childhood vision. Hawaii is a place of dreams. And, now I know that there is a way to see a huge slice of it in a single visit. Only problem is, now I want to go again.

INFORMATION

For a free American Hawaii Cruises brochure, call 1-800-765-7000, ask a travel agent or visit www.cruisehawaii.com.

THE ONLY ONE

American Hawaii Cruises is the only ocean line that sails exclusively, year-round, in Hawaii.

Copyright Milton Fullman

Its classic U.S. flag ocean liner, the S.S. Independence, is popular with passengers wanting to see as much as possible in a mere week. Passengers have ample time to explore Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii, with accommodations, meals and entertainment provided aboard the floating
hotel. Cruises can be combined with a hotel stay on the islands for an extended land-and-sea vacation. Our added two nights at the historic and captivating Royal Hawaiian gave us time to visit several attractions in Honolulu and to search for finds in the
nearby International Market. Best of all, it gave us time to unwind and forget deadlines and chores before we set sail.

SHORE EXCURSIONS

American Hawaii Cruises' award-winning shore excursions program has been named "Best of the Best" by Travel Holiday magazine. Passengers have 50 ways to sightsee, including submarine, catamaran, Zodiac raft, kayak, helicopter, parasail, car, horseback, bicycle, motor coach or on foot. Special tours feature the "hidden" Hawaii, emphasizing the history, culture and ecosystems of the islands. The personalized tours accommodate 6 to 15 people and are led by experienced naturalists, historians and local guides. Avid golfers enjoy tee times arranged on board for their choice of 18 of the world's most beautiful and challenging courses. (In addition, American Hawaii Cruises also offers wedding, honeymoon and special occasion packages that enable couples to marry on board or just enjoy a romantic trip in paradise.) Selected year-round cruises feature on board themes such as "Whales in the Wild," "Big Band," "Aloha Festivals and Hawaiian Heritage" and "Pearl Harbor Remembrance."

For passengers wanting to explore before or after the cruise, the ship can help arrange tours to places such as Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial, the Polynesian Cultural Center, Paradise Cove and the Waikiki Trolley. (We opted for the Arizona
Memorial, a riveting visit that is a story in itself.)

A leisurely, sunny afternoon. Copyright Milton Fullman

CULTURE

We had not journeyed to Hawaii intending to explore the 50th state's culture, but we found it a bonus when the ship, on the week we were sailing, offered one of its "Hawaiiana" programs. (We later learned that the program had won the 1997 Onboard Services magazine Diamond Award.) The program focuses on the islands' heritage by showcasing music, dance, arts, crafts and cultural presentations. An onboard kumu (which means Hawaiian teacher) is an integral part of the ship's program, providing education through "talk story" of Hawaiian history, legends, royalty, gods and goddesses. We had the chance to study ancient and modern hula, chants and language and to visit an interactive onboard cultural exhibit, featuring reproductions of Hawaiian artifacts and displays about the islands and their people.

ITINERARIES AND COSTS

On its seven-night itinerary, the S.S. Independence departs each Saturday night from Honolulu and spends Sunday at sea. The ship docks in Nawiliwili, Kauai, from Sunday evening until Monday evening, then docks in Kahului, Maui Tuesday and Wednesday. Passengers then sail for the Big Island, spending Thursday in Hilo and Friday in Kona. The ship returns to Honolulu Saturday morning.

Our chef, posing with a magnificent ice sculpture and luscious tropical fruit. Copyright Milton Fullman

Cruise fares begin at $1,230 for seven nights (per person, double occupancy), including port charges/costs, all shipboard meals, entertainment and activities. Hawaii state tax of 4.166 percent is additional. American Hawaii also offers packages that combine the cruise with a stay at any of 14 hotels on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island. Choices include such properties as the Outrigger Reef on the Beach in Waikiki, the Outrigger Kauai Beach, the Outrigger Maui Eldorado Resort or the Royal Waikoloan on Hawaii.

Costs for a seven-day cruise begin at $1,335 per person, double occupancy for a budget cabin and range up to $3,435 for a superior suite. Round-trip air can be provided from more than 100 U.S. mainland cities. (Example fares are $810 from
Atlanta, $770 from Chicago and $475 from Los Angeles.) Those who book a cruise at least months in advance can take advantage of an Early Bird Discount, paying $395 for round-trip air from more than 100 mainland gateway cities. Or, passengers may opt to arrange their own air and to take $300 off the cruise price. (Some restrictions apply.)

NOT COMPLETELY CONTENT

Paradise. Copyright Milton FullmanAlthough I waited almost three decades to take my "honeymoon," I was not disappointed. If anything, I am more determined than ever to go again, because catching glimpses of the islands, the volcanoes and the beaches merely reconfirmed my childhood vision. Hawaii is a place of dreams. And, now I know that there is a way to see a huge slice of it in a single visit. Only problem is, now I want to go again.

INFORMATION

For a free American Hawaii Cruises brochure, call 1-800-765-7000, ask a travel agent or visit www.cruisehawaii.com.