I just got back from my first trip to Hawaii and I absolutely loved it! Although I have been reading this forum for a long time, I still never imagined it would be as wonderful as it was. The people are nice, the city (honolulu) is clean and we always felt safe. It is definitely paradise.
We rented a car as part of our package through Expedia. My boyfriend just slyly mentioned something about giving us a Jeep if they wanted to...and we got one! That was through Hertz. It was so nice to have a car to tour the island at our own pace, which we did twice.
We stayed at Ohana Maile Sky court and it met my expectations. We didn't stay in the room much so the fact that it was small was of no concern. We upgraded to a "kitchenette" which was basically a sink, microwave, and fridge. We used the fridge twice so that wasn't as worth it as we thought it would be. I thought there would be a toaster/stove. The rooms were clean and the staff was friendly.
We couldn't seem to make it to Hanauma Bay early enough to snorkel there but we had a great time at Sharks Cove where we swam with a turtle.
The Manoa Falls hike is beautiful! It can be a little slippery though. The Pali Hwy lookout is breathtaking and shouldn't be missed. We didn't hike Diamond Head but didn't feel like we missed out on much thanks to this wonderful view.
We went on a whale watching cruise on the Star of Honolulu which was neat (used a coupon from ent. book). We got to see a mom and calf that were w/ us for most of the tour.
Germaines Luau was pretty fun, especially the ride there and back. The drinks were way too sweet but definitely didn't lack in alcohol. Just gave them a good tip and got extra floaters of rum.
The Atlantis submarine ride wasn't worth the hefty price in our opinion. We even used a coupon and it didn't meet our expectations. Of course, we had snorkeled the day before and were able to be up close and personal w/ the same things we saw in the sub. It was cramped and there were people getting sick from the shuttle boat and the sub being kind of rocky. We didn't hate it but just thought that was the only part of our trip that could have been excluded.
We loved our tours of the Arizona Memorial, USS Missourri and the Bowfin sub. These are a must do when visiting Oahu. A funny story about our trip to these. We drove ourselves and after reading the posts on this site and others, I was well aware of the thefts. I tried to talk my boyfriend into leaving the doors unlocked but he didn't want to do that. So we locked up our jeep with our half-empty water bottles, sun tan lotion, a sweater, and my entertainment book in the glove box. When we returned to the jeep we found EVERYTHING gone. We couldn't believe that people would break into our car for those petty items! There was security patrolling the parking lot too! We sat there in the jeep for a few minutes steaming over how bad it is that our used water bottles were taken when I went to start the Jeep....key didn't work. I glanced over to my left and there was a jeep that looked just like ours a few cars over...Yep, wrong jeep! We felt pretty silly that we got into the wrong car and were pretty glad that WE didn't get accused of breaking into a car :-) They left their doors unlocked and I didn't notice that my key wasn't how the door opened...oops!
Another place that was neat was the State Art Museum on Hotel St. over by the palace. There is some interesting art there that was moving and the admission is free.
The Kualoa ranch was beautiful and worth a visit. Their plate lunch was pretty good too!
The food was good everywhere we went. Breakfast on the beach at both Dukes and Hula's was excellent.
On friday, we went on a Sunset/Dinner Cruise through Dream Cruises that was o.k. It was a small boat that was nice and quaint but it was a little rocky at times, especially after a few mai tais. The food wasn't that great but we did it on friday so we could see the fireworks and that was awesome! Probably would suggest a bigger boat for people with a weak stomach.
We booked everything when we got there and had no problems doing and seeing everything we wanted to. I wish we would have left time in our schedule to Kayak...next time.
The traffic wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I live in Sacramento and it gets just as bad here or worse here so nothing unusual for me. I had most places mapped out ahead of time and that made it a lot easier! An AAA map and my Oahu revealed book were life savers! The signs arent marked that good and the signs are very well lit at night.
If I think of anything else I will post it later. I can't wait to go back!