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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cruises embrace the "aloha spirt" and a Tahiti treat

    Out to Sea column published on Oct. 15-16, 2011

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

Palm trees stretching into the sky can be seen on the Big Island on circle Hawaii cruises. (Jim Fox photo)
   Catch the “aloha spirit” and a Tahiti treat on Princess and Holland America cruise line sailings while Disney is adding a second Hawaiian cruise next year.
   The round-trip sailings from California circling Hawaii are 14-and 15-night voyages while adding Tahiti and the South Pacific doubles that.

   In the spirit with Princess
A Princess ship off the coast of Maui, one of the four Hawaiian islands the line visits.
   With more than 50 sailings through 2013, the “islands of Aloha” have a special appeal for Princess Cruises.
   “These culture-filled cruises depart from both Los Angeles and San Francisco, offering time to relax on the open ocean combined with visits to each of the major four islands in Hawaii,” said publicist Karen Candy.
   A new “Aloha Spirit” program while at sea has passengers experiencing Hawaii-themed activities, parties, menu items and learning opportunities, she added.

   Anticipation builds at an aloha sail-away party, learning about wildlife and volcanoes and enjoying poolside Hawaiian melodies or an island-themed outdoor movie.
   Among the all-things Hawaii options are learning the language, lei making, playing the ukulele, hula dance lessons, island culinary demonstrations and Kona coffee tastings.
   In-port artisans demonstrate traditional Hawaiian arts, including Niʻihau shell lei-making, providing a special look at the culture of the “forbidden island.”
   While in Honolulu, passengers can enjoy a hula show performed by children while an onboard naturalist helps cruisers identify whales and dolphins with top-deck animal-spotting sessions.
   Passengers dine on dishes inspired by Hawaii including pineapples and mangos, fish and seafood, luau staples such as roast pig and coconut and macadamia nuts.
   There are appetizers of Hawaiian-style red snapper ceviche and caramelized Maui onion soup along with main dishes of grilled tiger shrimp kebabs with mango lime relish and luau pork with apricot drippings.
   Desserts feature coconut Haupia pudding or flourless macadamia nut chocolate cake and cocktails of Blue Hawaiian punch and the Ultimate Mai Tai.
   Princess recently began a new season of round-trip cruises from Los Angeles through April 25.
   Golden Princess and Sapphire Princess offer 14-day cruises, departing on Wednesdays and Saturdays, respectively, through April 25.
Sunsets while at sea add a colourful dimension to round-trip cruises to the Hawaiian Islands. (Jim Fox photo)
   Voyages include the volcanic wonder of the Big Island (Hilo), the capital city of Honolulu on Oahu, the beaches of Maui (Lahaina) and the lush Garden Isle of Kauai (Nawiliwili).
   Star Princess and Grand Princess offer 15-day round-trip voyages from San Francisco with 10 departures between next March 19 and April 25, 2013, with fares from about $1,569.
   There’s also a new 28-day itinerary including Hawaii as well as the South Pacific islands of Pago Pago, Apia, Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahiti (from about $3,148).
   The LA round-trips aboard Sapphire Princess depart on October 20 next year and on Star Princess on March 26, 2013. www.princess.com; 1-800-PRINCESS

   Disney double down
Mickey Mouse is shown with the backdrop of Hawaii as Disney Cruise Line has added a second voyage to the islands.
   “Overwhelming response” to its first Hawaiian itinerary has prompted Disney Cruise Line to add a second voyage next year.
   This will complement itineraries departing from the West Coast to the Mexican Riviera, Pacific Coast and Alaska.
   For the first time Disney will offer two special voyages to Hawaii from Los Angeles, calling on Kahului, Nawiliwili, Honolulu and Hilo plus Ensenada, Mexico.
   The 15-night itinerary, which includes nine days at sea, departs next April 29 while the newly added 14-night sailing with eight sea days leaves Oct. 14, 2012.
Disney Cruise Line has added a second voyage to Hawaii next year on the Disney Wonder.
   Disney Wonder circles the Hawaiian Islands where guests can experience the beaches of Waikiki, see the view from the summit of Haleakala Crater on Maui, take in the lush tropical gardens and waterfalls of Kauai and explore the natural wonders of the volcano on the Big Island.
   Rates start at $1,800. www.disneycruise.com; 1-888-DCL-2500

   South Pacific calls
Cruisers can experience the scenic and lush beaches of Hawaii. (Jim Fox photo)
   Holland America’s ms Rotterdam will sail two 30-day “Circle Hawaii, Tahiti and Marquesas Islands” explorations making calls throughout the picturesque islands of French Polynesia and the Aloha state.
   The ship sails round-trip from San Diego on Jan. 4 and March 4 in addition to the line’s 14-day circle Hawaii round-trips.
   Port calls are Hilo, Lahaina, Honolulu, Hawaii; Fanning Island, Kiribati; Rarotonga in the Cook Islands and Raiatea, Bora Bora, Papeete, Moorea, Rangiroa and Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia.
   Highlights include crossing the equator and the international date line while extended stays at Lahaina, Hilo and Honolulu and an overnight at Papeete, Tahiti add a more in-depth experience.
   Cruise fares start at $3,999. www.hollandamerica.com; 1-800-522-3399


Jim and Barb Fox can be reached at outtosea50@hotmail.com

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