Saturday, November 27, 2010
We had a reservation for a guided tour of Iolani Palace this morning at 8:45 am but we were already getting exhausted with the early mornings and we’d have to wake up even earlier to pack, check out of the hotel, and eat breakfast to be at Iolani Palace by 8:45 am so I called and canceled our reservation yesterday. We winded up waking up around 9:30 am and had breakfast at Duke’s again. By the time we finished packing and checked out of the hotel, we were on the road again around 11 am. We made a quick, illegal parked stop at the Duke Kahanamoku Statue and got our photo with it.
Duke Kahanamoku Statue
We decided to drop off our luggage at the pier before sightseeing in Historic Honolulu. Our rental car was a Dodge Caliber, which has a tailgate-style trunk so people can see what is in your trunk if you do not pull the trunk cover over your stuff. Unfortunately, we could not pull the cover over our 4 suitcases so we didn’t want to park the car while sightseeing with our luggage visible in the back. This is something to keep in mind when you pick up your rental car if you plan to drive around with a lot of luggage in your car. We reserved Compact cars at Thrifty at every port and always got a Dodge Caliber, except in Hilo, where we were given a Ford Focus.
I set my Garmin to Aloha Tower, even though I knew that Pride of America was docked at Pier 2. We missed the street for Pier 2 the first time and went back around. It’s not the easiest to find. So for everyone’s reference, Pier 2 is on Channel Street off Ala Moana St. There is a very small parking lot of the cruise terminal. If you plan to drive yourself there to drop off your luggage, bring quarters for the meters. The cruise terminal wasn’t busy yet and we easily flagged down a porter to help us with our bags. We were just planning to drop off our bags but the porter advised us to go ahead and check into the cruise because it would get A LOT busier when we came back after sightseeing so we took his advice. To enter the terminal, you need to show your ID and cruise docs to port security. We had to show them again to enter the X-ray screening. The terminal was really big and there wasn’t many people there yet. They were setting up for a little hula show and already taking embarkation photos. The line had maybe 5 people in it so there wasn’t much of a wait at all and we had no problems getting our cruise cards.
By the way, Aloha Tower did not seem as close to Pier 2 as some people made it sound. It’s actually over a 1/2 mile away, which is questionable walking distance to me, especially in the heat, and probably not really walking distance to people with limited mobility.
We got back in the car and drove to Iolani Palace in Historic Honolulu, arriving there at noon. The guided tours were done for the day so we did the self-guided audio tour. We asked the cashier for change to get quarters for the meter and he told us that if we parked inside the gates, the meters were free since it was Saturday! We didn’t enough realize we could drive inside the gate. The audio tour is a timed ticket and we had some time before our tour so Chris went back outside and moved the car inside so we didn’t have to worry about it. We still had some more time before our tour so we walked around the basement of the Palace, which you don’t need the timed ticket to see. The Palace’s kitchen and servant areas were there, as well as some artifacts from Hawaii’s Royalty.
When we gathered for our audio tour, they ask you to wear shoe covers so that your shoes don’t scuff or dirty the floors they spent so much time and money restoring. I’d recommend that you don’t wear high heels or bulky shoes because you might have hard time with the shoe covers. I wish I had photos from inside Iolani Palace but we were not allowed to take photos. The tour was fascinating and extremely educational. We learned about the lives of King Kalakaua, who built the palace in 1882, his wife, and his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani. Queen Liliuokalani was the last royal of Hawaii and we also learned about her overthrow. The story of Queen Liliuokalani losing her throne is sad but at the same time, I’m glad Hawaii is part of the United States so it’s bittersweet. We saw the quilt the Queen made when she was imprisoned in a room within the palace for 5 years. Seeing the Palace was really cool too. We love seeing old houses, furniture, and how people used to live.
Aliiolani Hale (Hawaii Supreme Court) and King Kamehameha Statue
Hawaii Capitol Building
We left Iolani Palace around 2 pm and headed over to Chinatown for lunch. We parked in the public parking garage on Maunakea Street between Hotel & King Streets. Next door was Cindy’s Lei Shoppe. Originally, my plan was to buy a lei in Chinatown to wear for our embarkation photo but we received orchid leis at the Polynesian Cultural Center the day before and I stored them in the refrigerator in our room overnight. They held up pretty well so I decided just to wear those leis again. We peeked into Cindy’s Lei Shoppe anyway to take a look at the gorgeous leis. They have a wide variety of leis. The cheapest lei was $3 and the most expensive that they had ready made was about $25. Some of them were so elaborate and beautiful! This is definitely a good place to stop by if you are looking for an inexpensive or unique lei!
We decided to have lunch at the Food Court inside Maunakea Marketplace. They have stands for Filipino, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese food! Chris had roast duck wonton soup and I decided to try my hand at Filipino food, which I’ve never had before. I didn’t really know what anything about Filipino food so I just picked 2 dishes, a veggie dish and a beef tripe dish, that looked good to me, along with some roast pork, which I LOVE! The roast pork and beef tripe were delicious but the veggie dish had a very bitter vegetable that I wasn’t crazy about. I picked around it though. I have to admit the food court is not the cleanest place in the world but the food was very authentic and good!
Maunakea Marketplace in Chinatown
Maunakea Marketplace Food Court
Roasted duck wonton soup
We left Chinatown a little bit after 3 pm and headed to Costco to get gas for the rental car before returning it. The line at Costco was really long but we weren’t in a major hurry since we had already checked in for the cruise. While in line for gas, we saw vehicle identity crisis in the form of a Toyota Sienna mini-van with a license plate that said “JEEP”! LOL!
We returned the rental car to Thrifty and we didn’t have to wait 5 minutes for their shuttle to take us back to the pier. There was a separate entrance for passengers who have already checked in so we didn’t have to wait in line, except to go through the X-ray machine again. We were onboard the ship around 4:15 pm and we went to our room, where our luggage was already waiting. The Muster Drill was at 4:30 pm so we didn’t have much time to do anything before it. We were required to bring our life jackets and stand outside at our stations.
After the drill was over, we headed up to Deck 12 to take some photos of Honolulu before the sunset. There were some awesome views of Diamond Head and One Waterfront Towers!
View of One Waterfront Towers and Diamond Head from Pride of America
View of One Waterfront Towers and Diamond Head from Pride of America
After taking some photos, we headed back to the room to unpack. We had dinner in the Skyline Dining Room a little bit before 7:30 pm and watched from the window as we sailed away from Honolulu.
Aloha Tower while sailing away from Honolulu
Coming up next, my review of Pride of America!!