I was happy to sleep in until after 5 am today and found Steve on the Lido deck. We weren’t due to arrive into Hilo until 10 am so we had breakfast at the dining room at the usual time (7:30 am).
Our plans today was taking an independent excursion with 20 other cruise critic members. We had booked two vans with Ricky’s Tours. His itinerary includes:
- Banyan Drive
- Liliuokalani Gardens
- Rainbow Falls
- Mauna Loa Macademia nut factory
- Akatsuka Orchid Gardens
- Black Sand Beach
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- Jaggar Museum
- Steam vents
- Halemaumau Crater
- Keanakakoi Crater
- Thurston Lava Tube
- Kilauea Iki Crater
- The World Famous 1982 Lava Flow
All this for $65 (cash) and it includes bottled water and chips.
We got off the ship as soon as it was cleared and met Ricky at the end of the building on the pier. Once both vans of participants were gathered we were off. Steve and I were in Ricky’s van. There were 11 passengers in each.
Because it was later in the day, he changed the order but we still saw all the sights. First we drove through Liliuokalani Garden and along Banyan Drive.
Many of the Banyan trees were planted by famous people in the 30’s – 60’s including Babe Ruth and Richard Nixon.
Next we drove up to the Volcano National Park. On the way we drove by Kilauea Military Camp where my family had spent a week on vacation in the early 70s. Happy memories!
Our first stop was the Jaggar Museum. I really enjoyed the history portrayed and, as you can tell, the paintings of Madame Pele.
We were amazed by the size of the Kilauea caldera.
We stopped at steam vents at the side of the road.
We walked through the Thurston lava tube which was bigger than I expected.
It was a very beautiful, peaceful walk.
Next stop was the overlook of the Kilauea Iki Crater.
I had walked this trail with my dad during that family vacation I mentioned before.
Our next stop was the 1974 lava flow where we had chips and water for a snack.
The lava rocks were amazingly light; don’t worry no one took one. We then headed out of the park back towards Hilo.
We stopped at the Akatsuka Orchid Garden and saw many beautiful flowers.
Although there were many varieties of beautiful orchids we enjoyed all the flowers and plants.
The next stop was the Mauna Loa Macadamia nut factory. We headed straight to the snack bar as it was 2 pm by now. I had a Hawaiian favorite, chili over rice, and Steve had a turkey sandwich. We topped it off with two scoops of ice cream – coconut and chocolate macadamia nut. The ice cream was fantastic!
Then we shopped in the store and I found a bag of Hershey’s macadamia nut kisses and a package of 100% Kona coffee beans while Steve picked out a four bag package of Macadamia nut clusters. He is giving away three of those bags. While I was paying Steve did the self-guided tour of the factory and said it reminded it of the assembly line scene in I Love Lucy except no one was eating the chocolates on the conveyer belt. He also saw the chocolates get shrink wrapped.
The next stop was the Rainbow falls.
They were beautiful but no jumping or swimming is allowed.
The last two people known to have jumped ended up paralyzed.
We saw a feral cat and rooster at this site. Everyone piled back in the van for the last stop – the black sands beach.
After losing hope of seeing any sea turtles this cruise, there were three of them sunning themselves on the rocks around the corner from the beach at Richardson Ocean Beach Park. It made my day as we were able to be about 8 feet away from these creatures.
The black sand beach was a letdown as it was so much smaller than the one we’d seen on Maui a few years ago. However, if you’ve never been it was worth it.
We got back to the ship about 4:30 and paid Ricky along with a tip. I would highly recommend his tour!
We headed to our balcony for refreshing breeze along with a cold soda from the fridge. We saw a beautiful rainbow. Then it was time to get ready for dinner.
I ordered Thai Chicken for the starter (it was a little drumstick that was very good) and Steve had the mozzarella and pear combo. For dinner I ordered the moussaka casserole and Steve had the pork chop. The casserole was not good as the eggplant and potatoes were not cooked through. I then ordered a flat iron steak which was tasty. I had the drink of the day with dinner which was Cruiser (3 juices and 3 alcohols). Steve said his pork chop was dry but he went ahead and ate it.
My dessert was the chocolate pate and biscuit (I didn’t see any biscuit) and Steve had the variations of Strawberries.
We went to the family friendly comedy show at 7:30 where two different comedians had 15 minute segments. They were funny. The showroom had an opera-trained singer so we skipped the show.
After two busy port days we were tired and turned in early. Clocks moved forward 1 hour tonight.
Click on the image above to see today’s Fun Times program. If you missed the previous posts for this cruise the links are below.
October 18, 2013: Precruise
October 19, 2013: Embarkation
October 20, 2013: Sea Day 1
October 21, 2013: Sea Day 2
October 22, 2013: Sea Day 3
October 23, 2013: Sea Day 4
October 24, 2015: Maui
October 25, 2015: Kona
October 26, 2015: Honolulu
October 27, 2015: Kauai