This is close to everything ---snorkeling by the Marriot court yard, down town, restaurants... read more
It doesn't seem the other responders know much about Kona, but I'd be happy to help you. I'm not sure what a POA is, but if its a cruise line, when you you disembark, you will disembark at the pier. As you get off, you... More
It doesn't seem the other responders know much about Kona, but I'd be happy to help you. I'm not sure what a POA is, but if its a cruise line, when you you disembark, you will disembark at the pier. As you get off, you will see the King Kameahmeah Hotel in front of you with a very, very nice calm beach, with the ability to rent all sorts of play things and activities like standup paddle boards, outriggers, snuba, parachute boat rides, etc. Standard hotel stuff. Walk across the pier to the bathrooms and you see a beach that is perfect if you have little ones since the only smoother water on the island will be in your hotel bathtub. King Kamaeahmeah retired there and that was his canoe landing. If you, instead of walking across the pier towards the bathrooms, follow the crowd downtown, about 50 feet on your right will be a small sandy area where all the locals get in the water each morning to go swimming and snorkelling. A very popular place and we locals just say we're going to the pier, and everybody knows where that is. It's just a sandy area that makes it easy to get in the water. However, there is a reason we swim there all the time--if the water is clear, there's lots to see, We have swum with all the following: spinner dolphins, manta rays, tons of tropical fish (stop in at the ABC store and buy a tropical fish identity card before you go) sharks, octopi, seals, you name it, and if it is tropical, you have a chance to see it. There are also measured buoys, so if you want to swim, say, a mile, you can swim to the "mile bouy" which of course is about half a mile out. If you're into diving, the beach in front of the hotel is easy access and once you're out of the harbor out in front of Paul Allen's house, there is an underwater descent that goes down quite a ways and so there will be all sorts of reef life at the various depths. It's also a nice snorkel along the coast there. Kahalu'u is different. First don't worry about missing the boat, They won't leave without you, but if you do, you'll be the first people I have ever heard of that have. They want to make sure you get back on in time, and besides by early afternoon when the clouds come in, most people are finished with their day at Kahalu'u. Kahalu'u is a protected lagoon with a reef that was built by menehunes in ancient times. Menehunes are often called Hawaiian Leprechauns and were probably Marquesans. You are guaranteed the friendliest fish in the state and the best, and I mean best, snorkelling spot in the entire state. Talk to the lifeguard about the easiest way to enter the water, because there is no beach, if your definition of beach is sand into water. The odds of swimming with turtles are about 90%. As for reliability of the Trolley. This is Hawai'i. They can't even send out the correct ICBM incoming alert. They trained us last month to kiss our okoles goodbye when there was a wavering sound alarm, then when the time comes for Hawaii to (erroneously) send out a real alert, they sent everybody a text message but no sound alarm. So unless you were on your smart phone, you didn't know that you should panic. We rely on nothing that the Hawaiians do. If it were me, and I was concerned about timing, I'd take the $15 Snorkel Beach bus which will make sure you get back downtown, but as I said, you're not going to want to hang around Kahalu'u in the afternoon anyway, and you'll probably want to poke around the village, have lunch, a mai tai, etc. Have a wonderful time.