I've had a few days to gather my htoughts since we've returned so wanted to share our experience with others. There were seven of us, four adults and three teen girls, two separate flights. That was the first mistake! The Alaska Air flight was supposed to arrive within a few minutes of the NWA, but was delayed over two hours. I had reserved a car using VIP car rental since they were more than $600 cheaper ($300 rather than +$900) for a minivan from Alamo than I could get even with my Costco discount! Took shuttle to Alamo, no problems with terms (extra driver, no charge)picked up van and headed for our condo. We stayed at the Imperial, rented thru vrbo #179068 from Karl and Penny. First time we've used vrbo so I was a little hesitant but everything was just as promised and we really enjoyed having the extra room and full kitchen. Our son had their pov condo just down the hall and was equally happy. After the remainer of our group finally arrived we caught the bus to Paradise Cove Luau to celebrate my dh birthday. We'd been there before but first time for the teenagers. The food was standard Luau fare and I thought the entertainment wasn't as good as a couple years ago but everyone else seemed to enjoy it.
Thursday we picked up snorkel gear from Snorkel Bob's, a couple cases of water from Safeway just up the street from there and headed towards the North
Shore. We stopped at The Dole plantaion for a quick walk through the pineapple garden and had the plate lunch. Very reasonably priced and pretty good, especially the pork. Continued on to North Shore where we swam and snorkeled before going to Waimalanalo (?sp)Beach where it was much calmer. The girls enjoyed using boogie boards there. After a stop at the Blowhole, we headed back to Waikiki. Had dinner at Jimmy Buffets (food okay, good drinks)before ending our first full day.
Friday we went to Hanauma Bay so the girls could snorkel again. Left there about 11, spent the rest of the day between the beach and checking out Waikiki. Did a sunset cruise with Outrigger. We all really enjoyed that. Unlimited drinks, both alcholic and non; personable crew and great views! Dinner at Keoni's.
Saturday we went to the swap meet. Seemed like they didn't have as many vendors or the variety as in the past. A couple hours was plenty to spend there! From there we headed to the Bishop Museum, only to find they were closing early for a special funtion, so we decided to go to Chinatown. Had an excellant early dinner at My Lan Vietnamese Resturaunt.
Sunday was a relaxing day, beach, shopping, ect. Went to Bishop Museum in the afternoon. Part of it is closed for renovation or something so there really wasn't much to see--big disappointment and waste of money! I think the Hawaiian Hall is supposed to reopen next month but I wouldn't bother going there without checking first.
Monday morning the rest of the group went to Pearl Harbor. The girls were really impressed and learned a lot. When they returned we went to the Pali Lookout and then continued to the PCC, arriving just in time for the canoe pageant. We visited some of the villages, then went to the Luau. We only did the luau so we would have better seats for the show since I hadn't been impressed with the luau set-up three years ago. It had improved a little, at least you could move your chair this time! The food was standard luau food, okay but not outstanding. I think the buffet actually has better food but it's not always possible to upgrade the seats for the show, especially during busy season. The show was great, as always and everyone agreed PCC was their favorite activity on the trip.
Tuesday was our last full day so that meant more beach time (Ala Moana Park)and shopping. For dinner, the girls chose to go the Cheesecake Factory since we don't have one in our area while we went to the Shorebird where we had a table on the rail. We weren't sure about the idea of cooking our own meat but it turned out to be fun! The meat was obviously prime grade and very tender and flavorful. The buffet was plentiful and varied, could have been a meal by itself.
Wednesday morning, time to do the last minute packing and prepare to return to reality! Did we do everything we wanted to this week? No, but that leaves something for next time!