Aulani, Waikiki & NCL Cruise: A 15 Day, 1st Anniversary Extravaganza!

Discussion in 'DVC Trip Reports' started by MissMet, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. wdrl

    wdrl DIS Veteran

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    You are much braver than me. I've seen the movie "Jaws" and I remember what happened to Richard Dreyfess when he decided to go into a shark cage in the water. The only thing that I'd find scarier than jumping in the ocean surrounded by sharks is signing up for hula lessons. No way.

    Hope Matt's knee is responding well to the ice and rest. Years ago my wife twisted her ankle really badly when we were in Norway, and ever since she has always traveled with an ankle wrap in case it acts up. Now, her knee is acting up and she was just prescribed a knee brace, so we'll probably always travel with it too.

    Thanks, again, for posting your photos!!
     
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  3. MissMet

    MissMet DVC Member, former NY Mets Season Tkt Holder & Blo

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    Today was our first wedding anniversary. A year ago today, I married my partner in crime and we were going to celebrate, in our own weird way. I woke up at 3:30am again, so no improvement on my jet lag today. I got myself dressed right away so that I could start the hunt for crutches. I also worked on the blog and reorganized the room a little bit. Matt got up and he was still hurting, so it wasn't just a bad dream like I hoped. We wished each other a Happy Anniversary and then I was off to get him ice for his knee and then the hunt for crutches began, now that it was Monday and more places were open. We also decided that we definitely needed to see a doctor because we had no idea what was going on with his knee, would he need surgery, would a hot tub make it worse, etc. So Matt got on the phone with his insurance to find out local places that took his insurance, while I cleaned up our room so housekeeping could walk. Normally, I keep my hotel rooms super organized, but this trip has been far from normal.

    We found out that both the place that almost definitely has crutches opens at 8am and one of the Orthopedists also opened at 8am. So we jumped, well Matt hopped, in the car and this wild child drove us over to get my man some crutches while Matt called Doctors. The Doctor that opened at 8am was on vacation, how fitting, so it was on to the next doctor whose office opened at 9am, but was right down the street from where we were going for the crutches. We make it to Ace Medical supply, that Matt called, Ace Hardware for the rest of the day, and they had our crutches waiting for us. There was this big hub-bub about not selling them to us because I didn't have a Rx...I was about to climb across the counter and strangle someone. Another woman came of override the system and finally we had crutches.

    It was about 8:35am so we decided we'd just drive to the doctor down the street that opened at 9am and sit in their parking lot and wait. Stalkers. We didn't want to bother with an ER because really, they wouldn't be able to do much and would just recommend us to go to an Orthopedist. We knew it was a long shot to get any appointment, especially the same day, but we were desperate. Finally, it hits 9am so Matt calls the office. They have one appointment left for the entire next week, it's today at 12:15. Bitter-sweet news! We were so lucky to score an appointment and not too mention, so soon. However, it's our first anniversary, we're at the doctor's office now at 9am and we'll have to be back in 3 hours, we're thirty minutes away from our hotel and we have a couple's massage at 1pm. Awesome. So Matt made the appointment and then we find out that the doctor was not at the office we were at today, but in downtown Honolulu. Wonderful. So we head back to our resort to make our 10:30am breakfast reservation at Ama Ama.

    Once back at the resort I went to the front desk to cancel our spa appointment. They were going to charge me a cancelation fee- even after the entire story. Really?? So we rebooked it for tomorrow and hoped that would't be a problem. Next we headed to the restaurant and tried to get in early, which we did. Breakfast was very good. Matt ordered the Loco Moco, a traditional Hawaiian breakfast of rice, gravy, hamburger patty and two sunny-side-up eggs on top, which he loved. I got the HUGE breakfast burrito, that was very good but the chili they put in it over-powered all the other ingredients so it just tasted like I was eating a bowl of chili. I wouldn't get it again. We also got the Hawaiian bread selection which we loved! It had orange-macademia nut muffins, coconut cream pockets, guava danishes and croissants. My favorite was the coconut cream pockets and Matt's favorite was the guava danish (they call them "fans"). I also order the POG juice (passion, orange & guava juice) and Matt got the tropical iced tea. Breakfast was very good and we had a great view. It was a nice moment in the middle of our crazy day to stop and remember that it was our 1st anniversary.

    After breakfast Matt wanted to try the pool real quick before we had to leave for the doctors, but we didn't know if we were going to have any issues with traffic since it's Monday, a work day, and we were headed into Honolulu. We would be driving at 11am so we didn't think we would have any issues, but we had no idea. So we just decided to head out early and maybe there'd be something to do near by. The drive was uneventful and pretty easy. The GPS worked great. We got there 45 minutes early. It was a sight to see. The doctor's office was right in the out-skirts of Chinatown. There was NOTHING around so we figured we'd just go in and see if they could take us early. Upon walking into the packed waiting room, you could feel the breeze from everyone in the room turning their head to stare at us white folk. I felt like announcing, "Yes, we're not from around here. We know.". We checked in and waited 50 minutes for Matt to get his x-rays and then we were finally in to see the doctor.

    The doctor was quite the character. I don't even know how to describe him. He went to school in New Jersey, so he loved reminiscing with Matt about Jersey (yaaaawn). He asked Matt about his medical history on the knee. It felt like Abbot & Costello's, "Who's on First", because the doctor could not keep the dates of Matt's surgeries straight. I sat the in the corner trying not to laugh. After about a 15 minute exam the doctor couldn't find anything. He came to the conclusion that Matt would need an MRI and that we should wait until we got home. He thinks it could be his meniscus or a cartilage issue, but only a MRI would answer that. Awesome. So he gave us our instructions...he can swim, but shouldn't ever put more than 50% weight on it, stay on the crutches until we get home and the hot tub is okay. He also gave us a prescription for Vicodin that Matt did not want, but I took the prescription just in case. We don't have to fill it but it's good to have. The doctor and nurses were great and felt so bad for us. They were giving us tips on places to go and even helped jimmy-rig Matt's crutches so they'd be more comfortable, since they are already scraping up his hands. They only took cash or check, so THANK GOD, I had not taken out the wad of cash I had been unnecessarily carrying, like I was planning on. We had no idea how much cash we had on us. So I start counting my cash. Matt's insurance is terrible and he has a $2,000/year deductible and then it kicks in. Since we were paying out of pocket they charged us the absolute minimum they could for the visit and the x-rays and then they gave us an additional 20% off. They were awesome. So it came to $209.86. I had $190 in my wallet, Matt had $26. So I paid the bill and then we had just enough left to pay for the parking. We were left with $3. Ha! Talk about cutting it close.

    On our drive home we stopped at Best Buy to pick up a new charger for our camera, since it was a half a mile up the street. Then it was back to the hotel. We had our anniversary dinner tonight at Roy's across the street from our hotel. The drive back was uneventful, we had no traffic at 2pm headed out of Honolulu. Once we got back to the resort Matt was determined to finally get to try the pool and lazy river, which I've also been dying to do, but I had calls to make. I reluctantly sent Matt by himself to the pool, I was so worried someone would steal his crutches or something, while I went up to the room. My first call was to change our massage AGAIN to Wednesday so that way tomorrow would be a totally free day to go swimming. Next, I called and canceled Matt's surf lessons that was scheduled for Wednesday- that I already paid for with a Groupon. Ugh. Now for the biggie, to find a wheelchair rental for the rest of our stay. We both realized pretty quick how miserable it would be for Matt to have to use the crutches the rest of the entire trip. The cruise ship alone is daunting enough. So I found a company that would rent us a wheelchair for the rest of our stay. They're delivering it tomorrow to Aulani and then we just leave it in our cabin at the end of the cruise and they will pick it up. They only charged us $75 when the price on the website was $100. Nice. Then I had a moment to myself, so I sat in my hotel room all alone, laughing. What irony. Four years ago was my first visit to Hawaii. I traveled with my parents on that trip. My mom was about to have a total hip replacement just after our trip so she was completely wheelchair bound. That whole trip I pushed her around all of Hawaii and on the NCL Pride of America. I did enjoyed myself on that trip, but we missed out on a bunch. The whole trip I reassured myself that one day I'd visit again with my hubby and then we would get to do the adventurous stuff that I missed. Who would have thought four years later, I'd be back, married to a perfectly healthy man and still end up pushing a wheelchair in Hawaii. God's got a real sense of humor. After my laugh (if you don't laugh, you'll cry), I headed down to the front desk to see about getting a wheelchair in the meantime, then I headed to the car to get our camera that we had left in the snorkel bag. Matt got back to the room just after I did. We were going to open gifts but we didn't want to be rushed so we just started to get ready for dinner.

    Our reservation was at 6pm. Originally, we were going to take a nice stroll to the restaurant, but I didn't not want to arrive to Roy's all disheveled and sweaty from my first go at pushing a wheelchair in four years. So I went and got the car and picked up Matt at the lobby and we drove across the street. Ha! Dinner was as amazing as all the reviews I had read. I was so happy we stuck with Roy's for our anniversary meal. I had been so all over the place with where to go and this was perfect. Originally we were going to drive to a restaurant in Waikiki. Imagine me driving thru Waikiki trying to make a dinner reservation and then navigating the sidewalks with Matt, in our nice clothes. Thank God I stuck with Roy's. We had a great waiter and the view really is pretty. We sat outside right on the golf course. It was really pretty and it finally started to feel like it was our anniversary. We took it all in and just tried to put the crutches out of our mind and think about our first year together married. We ended up having a great time and boy did we laugh. It was exactly what we needed.

    After dinner we were going to open gifts and head to the hot tub. I ended up asleep immediately and Matt watched a little TV until he fell asleep. That's real life right there. Was it the most romantic day of our lives, in the natural view, no, not at all. But it really was. Our day was exactly what love and marriage is, "...for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.". One day we're going to look back on this crappy situation and boy are we going to laugh.
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  4. MissMet

    MissMet DVC Member, former NY Mets Season Tkt Holder & Blo

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    Yes, we are overlooking the Waikolohe Valley in the smaller Ewa wing. We are the second to last room before the bigger wing, right near the elevators on the 15th floor. We LOVE hearing the sounds from bellow!! We can see the walled off construction area from our balcony in the distance- it looks far from done. And the outdoor area of the spa is still closed. Other than the spa, it has not affected us in any way.

    Oh, my gosh! How terrible. Thanks! :goodvibes

    :goodvibes

    We were not in first class. Our plane was 2-3-2. If you go to seatguru.com you can check out the plane you're on and get a bunch of info on which seats are good & which are bad. They only charge extra for exit row & bulkhead, which I would NOT recommend since your TVs & tray tables are in your arm rests so they're not able to be lifted.

    So far we have not had issues with traffic. I'll keep you posted. :goodvibes

    I didn't notice Aulani on Diamond Head, although I didn't think to look.

    :lmao: I'm with you on the hula lessons. So sorry about your wife's injury in Norway. At least we were in the US so it made it a little easier. :)
     
  5. blondietink

    blondietink DIS Veteran

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    Well, so sorry to hear of Matt's knee problems. We always get trip insurance when we travel, especially when going on a cruise. We have 2 disabled young adult sons, DH is officially a "senior citizen" now so this is a good reminder I need to buy that insurance now! You never know what might happen when you travel.
     
  6. Captain_Oblivious

    Captain_Oblivious DIS Dad #257

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    My goodness, you guys have been through a lot in the last couple of days! Sorry you've had to deal with all this between the weather and Matt's knee. I hope you guys get the chance to slow down and relax, and that you're laughing about all of the headaches soon!
     
  7. MissMet

    MissMet DVC Member, former NY Mets Season Tkt Holder & Blo

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    Today was our first day totally free. We decided despite the injury we were still going to spend the day beach-hopping to check out some snorkeling spots I had read about here, we started the day with opening our anniversary gifts since we didn't get to yesterday. I'm going to the MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field!! My jet lag is getting better- I woke up at 5:30am. We decided to head up to the North Shore and work our way back down to Aulani. We left at just around 9am. We still didn't have our rented wheelchair- it was arriving at the resort some time around noon. We did have Aulani's borrowed wheelchair, but it's a standard wheelchair so I did not want to be lifting that thing into the trunk of our rental car. So we continued with our regular routine, I go get the car and pick Matt up at the lobby.
    We headed out to the North Shore at just after 9am. We didn't hit any type of traffic on the drive, although we did have a small hiccup when trying to get gas for the first time in our rental car. It wasn't a big deal, just couldn't figure out for the life of us where the gas tank door release button was. Turns out, there isn't one. Ha! We are in a Chrysler 200 convertible. We were going to go with the Mustang, but the guy at Enterprise said he would go with the Chrysler since it is much more comfortable and has more luggage space. Thank God we listened, because now we have a wheelchair in addition to our luggage.

    We arrived at our first stop, Shark's Cove (Pupukea Beach Park), at just after 10am because of the gas stop. Parking was pretty full, but we found a space pretty quick. Now What I didn't remember reading about was how difficult this place is to walk to from the parking lot. We found this a lot today. I should have taken pictures of the "walkway". Basically, Matt spent most of the way down on his but, while I carried the backpack, snorkel gear and crutches. When we first got there and I saw the "path" I thought (and still think) there is no way Matt should have tried to get down there, but Matt was determined. So it probably took us about 15 minutes to get down there. We had one nice, older gentleman offer to help, but really there was no way to help Matt- didn't think to ask him to carry one of my heavy bags! This area is really cool, but bring swim shoes as it's rock everywhere!

    Matt got himself situated and we used this time to figure out our new beach routine. I'd walk with Matt to the water's edge carrying his snorkel mask and then once we got to the water, I'd take his crutches and he'd move himself into the water like a beached whale. It's quite the site. I didn't go in because the deep part had a lot of waves and I'm not good with waves, especially when you're surrounded by rock! The other part to the left, the tide pools, were really cool looking but I was way too intimidated to go try and explore it on my own. Not to mention I was a nervous wreck anytime Matt was in the water. I did not think this was a good idea at all. When the doctor told him he could swim, I'm pretty sure this is not the type of "swimming" he was meaning. I was a little more comfortable with the idea since there were so many people in there, that if he struggled they'd be able to help him. So I just took some pictures and a lot of video while waiting for Matt. We don't have any shots from snorkeling since Matt didn't want to have to worry about a camera as well as everything else he had going on.

    After about 30 minutes I was relieved to see Matt headed back to shore. He said it was amazing and he definitely would want to come back again. The climb back up was more difficult for Matt, he shouldn't have been doing it, but what are you gonna do? He basically "monkey-crawled' his way up, this time only a woman offered help, which was an extremely nice thought, but there wasn't much she could do for him. I was really impressed with Matt's climbing moves but I'm just nervous he's way over-doing it. Glad I got that Vicodin RX. One of us is gonna need it by the end of this trip!

    Our next stop was the beach at the Turtle Bay Resort (the resort Forgetting Sarah Marshall was filmed at), Kuilima Cove. This is described as a great place for beginner snorkelers and they are accurate. It was pretty dull compared to Shark's Cove, so we didn't stay long. This beach is at least like a normal sandy beach, so he only had to deal with walking on sand with crutches- a walk in the park after our last adventure.

    We were pretty hungry by this point so we decided we'd go for a shrimp truck lunch again. Matt wanted to go back to Giovanni's while I wanted to try Macky's since it gets just as many good reviews as Giovanni's. So we decided on Macky's. It was about a 10 mile drive from Turtle Bay, heading back towards Aulani. The set up is similar, covered tables, sink to wash your hands and the menu is slightly better at Macky's. The price is also lower and you get more food compared to Giovanni's- additional salad & pineapple at Macky's. Our order of shrimp at Giovanni's was slightly over-cooked, but the garlic was in your face good. Where at Macky's the shrimp is cooked perfectly and they butterfly the shrimp for easier peeling and the taste is more well-rounded- more butter flavor than garlic. So if you're a huge fan of garlic, definitely go to Giovanni's. If you prefer a few more options (coconut shrimp, original shrimp, fruit plate) and garlic is not your main reason for living, go to Macky's.

    After lunch we headed back towards our hotel to visit our final snorkeling spot that is pretty awesome, by reviews, and only less than a mile from Aulani, Kahe Point Beach Park, also known as, Electric Beach. Another beach that was difficult for Gimpy to navigate to, but not near as bad as Shark's Cove. Also, when getting there, the signs are not real clear and all you see are giant cliffs dropping to the water. You have to walk all the way to the right, when facing the water. After a little bit of a walk you'll see the small sandy beach that you can climb down to or if you go more to the right, there's a windy path that's not too bad. This beach is awesome for snorkeling and a lot of people come here to learn how to scuba dive. You need to be a good swimmer though. The best area for snorkeling is probably about, I don't know, 100 feet out and the waves are a pretty good size. I won't get into all the details here, you can read about it on the link above, but the reason this place is so good for snorkeling is because the pipes from the power plant enter the ocean to cool the water inside, so the water temperature is much higher here. Due to the higher water temp, their is tons of fish and you can even find turtles and dolphins. A very cool spot, but like I said, you gotta know your limits. As soon as Matt was in the water I was a nervous wreck. I could barely see him most of the time. Then as I'm sitting there I'm realizing that even if I could see him at all times, if he was struggling, there is nothing I could have done for him. So now I'm trying to talk myself out of panicking and praying like never before. Nice and relaxing day at the beach, right? Ugh.

    Finally, after what felt like forever I can see Matt headed back for the shore. Thank God!! When he gets back, I immediately tell him what a bad idea that was to which his response is oh, so annoying and oh, so male, "I know...Yeah, there's nothing you could have done for me, but say good-bye.". Thanks, Matt. So after I was done panicking, for one day, we decided to head back to the resort for me to finally get a taste of the pools. On our climb back up, the nicest local saw Matt struggling from the parking lot and rushed down and walked along side Matt in case he couldn't make it. It was really sweet. He walked us practically to the car while talking to us about the "much better (safer)" beaches that we could go to, that weren't so difficult to get to. Yeah, where were you this morning when we were rock-climbing at Shark's Cove?

    As we drove back to the resort we had our first sight of the horrendous traffic we had heard about. The westbound lanes (the road you'd take to Aulani from, well, anywhere) was a standstill at about 2:30pm. We were so happy we were headed the opposite way and literally, only less than a mile. (You cannot walk to this beach from Aulani.) It looked bad, but it was right at Aulani and past it, so we don't know how far it went, it possibly may not have affected driving to Aulani.

    Once back at the resort, I headed up to the room with all the stuff and I told Matt I'd meet him at the pool. Once in the room, I dropped the stuff, got Aulani's wheelchair and brought it down to return it and pick up our rented one that arrived this morning. With fire engine red wheelchair in hand I went Gimpy searching. Not as simple as you'd think. I guess the look on my face was a dead give away because one of the people who workers at the pool asked me, "Are you looking for the guy on crutches?". I swear, even the cast members have magical powers. So I explained the whole thing and about how I hadn't even been to the pool yet so I wasn't sure where I was going. So he told me to go get my wrist band and towels and that he would take the wheelchair and find Matt. He was so sweet- Matt says it's because I was in a swim suit. So I got my towels and wrist band (you have to check in and receive a colored wrist band each day to swim in the pool) and then went to the main pool like the guy directed me. There he was with my wheelchair but no Matt. I get to him and he says, "Man, he moves fast for a guy on crutches. I can't find him.". Then just a few moments later, there was Matt. We were expecting him to be in the pool, but he had gotten some seats all the way in the back row.

    Once I found Gimpy, we headed in the pool. My first moment to enjoy this amazing resort. In researching this trip I read on and on about the water temperature of the pool being so chilly. I have no idea what these people are talking about and I am literally the biggest baby when it come to water temperature. It was like bath water. So nice. So I finally am in the pool at Aulani and what happens, someone did something in the pool and not even 10 minutes after I get in there, they close the pool. Seriously?? So we decided to go in the lazy river, which is just as warm as the pool and really nice. Very Typhoon Lagoon-esk if you ask me. After two trips around I announce that I finally want to try that double-decker, infinity hot tub, that I've seen so many pictures of. So we get out of the lazy river and walk in the cold breeze all the way to the other side of the pool area, where the hot tub is. When we get there we see a "pool closed" sign in front of it. I swear. We feel like we're on that episode of the Brady Bunch when they went to Hawaii and stole that idle or something. So I immediately start grilling Matt to see what he stole and how we can resolve it. Ha! It's now 4:15pm so we just decide to head up to the room a little early and try to make happy hour at MonkeyPod.

    We decided to walk to MonkeyPod since we had a wheelchair, forgetting about the monstrous hill, that you would only notice if you had an injury, Aulani is perched upon. I of course did not bring athletic shoes, because I was not planning on pushing a wheelchair, so off I went down this steep hill, in my flip flops, using all of my body weight to keep Matt from going flying. It wasn't as hard as I thought it'd be, but I was just a tad nervous of getting him back up that hill. After the hill it was a nice walk over to MonkeyPod where we had another great meal. Well, I didn't really like mine, but that wasn't their fault, I shouldn't have ordered it. We had a great waitress and they had that same band there again. We sat outside with a view of Aulani across the street, surrounded by tiki torches. Really nice. I took a bunch of video.

    After dinner we headed next door to the ABC Store (like 711) to pick up some Maui Onion Potato Chips for Matt that I have heard so much about. Apparently, they're really good. Then we headed back to the resort. Matt said he'd just crutch himself (did I just make that up?) up the hill, but I wanted to give it a shot. I need to get back into the wheelchair pushing groove and know what I can and can't do, so this was my trial run. I did it. I pushed him up that crazy hill. I could barely stand by the top of the hill but I did it. The positive is, I don't think I'm going to gain very much weight on this trip, so yay me! After we got back we had wanted to spend our last evening in the hot tub, which I have yet to try, but I was just so tired from such a strenuous day and the thought if getting back into a swim suit after I had just showered sounded awful. I know I will forever regret that decision, since I never got to enjoy Aulani at night, but I just couldn't do anymore and I would have been miserable the whole time anyway. Matt decided he was going with or without me, so he hobbled himself down there while I just laid in bed, trying to not be too bummed about the situation. Didn't work out too well.

    I have started to upload all of our pictures to our picture site. We still don't have the pics from one of our water-proof cameras or the videos- those will be when we get home. Enjoy. http://serenitynowtravelpictures.shutterfly.com
     
  8. tink too

    tink too DIS Veteran

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    Just joining in - we're thinking of jumping ship from DCL so that we can cruise Hawaii (but will probably add Aulani too if we can). Sorry you've had some problems along the way, but at least your 1st anniversary will be memorable! :grouphug:
     
  9. wdrl

    wdrl DIS Veteran

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    Hope your last full day at Aulani is sunny and dry. Looking forward to seeing more photos of Aulani (I never tire of looking at photos of Aulani)!
     
  10. MissMet

    MissMet DVC Member, former NY Mets Season Tkt Holder & Blo

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    Today I woke up pretty emotional. I think with everything that's been going on I was just in "fix it" mode and it all hadn't really set in until this morning. I woke up at 4:30am on our departure day. I was getting us ready to check out of my dream resort that I didn't even feel as though I had checked into yet. I missed out on my favorite part of this whole trip and the waterworks were-uh-comin'. I held it together because I didn't want to make Matt feel bad...until I called my mom while I was packing the suitcases. Why do mom's have that power over you?? I couldn't hide it from my mom even over the phone and once she asked, "What's the matter? Are you okay?", enter Typhoon Lisa. I cried... I mean I cried. I'm sure it's a mix of exhaustion and sadness, because it was pretty intense. Oh, and remember holding it in so I wouldn't make Matt feel bad? Um. Yeah. He was sitting in the same room as me when I went into my downward spiral of full on female emotions. There that went. Now I have my mom worried and trying to cheer me up, I'm a mess and I have been unsuccessful at making Matt not realize how sad I was about all that we missed. Great job, Lisa.
    After I hung up with my mom and the waterworks subsided, momentarily, Matt and I tried to figure out our plan of action for our final morning at Aulani. We decided to finish loading up the suit cases and have bell services hold them. Then we were headed down to the pool to swim a little and get lunch before our couple's massage and then after the massage, head to Waikiki to check into our new hotel.

    We headed down to the pool at about 9:15am. We decided I'd look for some breakfast since Matt had just pigged out on a medium bag of the must-try, Maui Onion Potato Chips. Tip of the day, there's no breakfast options by the pool. So I decided I'd just wait until lunch time. Tip of the day part deux, there's minimal lunch options by the pool!!! More on that later. So we decide that we're going to go try the Menehune Adventure Trail (interactive scavenger hunt). So we're off trying to find the DVC Community Center where you pick up your devices (iPads) to start the hunt. After circling around and around pushing a wheelchair up and down the unnecessary hills, we find it. I get inside, wait on the line and then am told it doesn't start until 10am. Ugh.

    So we decide to try at another one of my must dos before leaving, the double decker, infinity hot tub. That was finally a success and boy was it pretty! After spending about 10 minutes in there we decide that we're not going to have time to do both the Rainbow Reef Snorkeling and the scavenger hunt with the massage coming up at 12pm, so after a long back and forth, we decide on Rainbow Reef Snorkel. Great plan. Go to the hot tub and immediately follow it up with the coldest water on property. It's so cold in there! Very much like Typhoon Lagoon's snorkeling reef except it's not a "pass thru", so you can swim in all different directions for as long as you want. We ended up timing it right with a feeding time, which I highly recommend. We only had one of our waterproof cameras, so Matt took the helm at underwater paparazzo.

    Here you can see the double-decker factor. We were int he bottom one.
    After about 30 minutes we decide to go get a light lunch before our spa appointment. Pfft! So the famous, One Paddle, Two Paddle, the main "fast food" option at Aulani, is only open from 5pm-8pm??? The only options left was a hot dog stand that was next to the shave ice stand. There's also the newer food stand down by the beach, but when we made the stop there at breakfast time to check it out there were no hours posted. Getting down there with a wheelchair is quite the task, so there is no way I wanted to do that again, especially if I wasn't even sure it'd be open. So annoying. So I sucked it up and had a hot dog and potato chips for lunch. Matt decided he'd wait for dinner. Smart choice on his part. It was lousy. If we had more time, we would have gone and ordered appetizers at Off the Hook, but we had the massage at 12pm.We could have eaten at the spa, but I didn't know what to expect with that.

    After my hot dog, we headed to the spa. Originally, the plan was to arrive at the spa an hour before our treatment to enjoy an outdoor spa experience with a bunch of different "spa showers" and hot tubs. That area, of course, is closed during our stay due to construction. Do we get any compensation, no. Oh, well. Just tack it on the list. Anyone see the episode of the Brady Bunch, when they go to Hawaii and one of them steels the idle and all kinds of bad things happen to them?? Well, I've started grilling Matt on what he stole since we got here.

    Our spa experience was really good. I've heard a lot of great things about Aulani's spa and they are right on. It did make me realized how spoiled I was on our honeymoon, though. The spa at our Sandals Resort in Antigua was even better! That's not a knock at Disney by any means. It's an unbelievable spa. We got the Couple's Lomi Lomi Massage that included hot stones and these stick things. Really cool...er hot. It was a nice way to finish our "stay" at the doctor's, I mean, Aulani.

    After our massage, Matt wanted to try some workouts that we were suggested in the fitness center since it was such a good one and we didn't know what kind of fitness center awaited us in Waikiki. So I went up to the lobby to finally take a look around and get some pictures before we headed out. I also called my mom again, and she made me cry again. I knew I just needed to get out of Aulani and head to Waikiki. Once I got to Waikiki, I'd be excited and I'd be much better. Matt could not understand that at all since I was sad I didn't get much time at Aulani and I just wanted to hurry up and leave, but it was done. There was no going back and all the stuff I missed out on, I couldn't really enjoy in an hour or so. We didn't know how long it would take us to get to our hotel in Waikiki with traffic. Plus we had to check in, unload the car, unpack, get ready and then get ourselves to our dinner reservation at 6pm. So we said our last good-by to Aulani, but not before I ran in the gift shop to pick up something to remember our visit.

    We were on the road to Waikiki at 2:30pm after the amazing valets helped load up our suitcases and now wheelchair into the car. Thank God for them, because I don't know what I would have done! It took us under an hour to get to our hotel in Waikiki, the Outrigger Regency on BeachWalk. We did hit our first rough patch of traffic, though. It was at about 3:15pm heading into Waikiki. The last 4.5 miles before our Waikiki exit was a stop-and-go parking lot. It only added 7 minutes to our arrival time, but I can see why it can be so bad. I was very nervous getting to our next hotel, since this is more of a condominium hotel and the entrance is right on the street, no pull thru or anything. Parking is very limited so they don't guarantee a space. I knew the parking lot entrance was just past the hotel, so I told Matt we'd go right to it, get inside and then see if anyone could help us with our bags. All I could think was, "What if there's no parking...how am I going to get Matt and all our stuff into the hotel...".

    My worries, like most of them, were in vain. We got there and we found a parking spot, headed in and the front desk called for a bellman to come help. It was going to take the bellman a little while to get to us, so the guy at the front desk came out to help us. All the staff here are really nice and helpful. I'm sure if you talk to negative Matt, he'll tell you it's my swim suit, but I think that's just his way at complementing his wife- it's cheaper than flowers.

    Once we were to our room, top floor, "partial ocean view" I started to feel myself again. I was excited. I just love Waikiki. I know it's not for everyone, but I really like the whole feel- especially at night. Matt & I got ready for dinner and then headed out. Matt wanted to try on his crutches, but he had misunderstood how far it was, so our first stroll along Waikiki was not too enjoyable. We just took our time, but it was definitely really tough on Matt. Not to mention, people are just plain rude and self-centered. I can't tell you how many people cut him off or didn't move to the side to make room for him. It's maddening sometime. I'm just bracing myself for with the wheelchair.

    We finally made it to our restaurant, the famous Duke's. We got there a little early so we told them we'd wait for a good seat "on the rail" so we would have a nice view of Waikiki Beach at sunset. We only waited a little bit and were seated "on the rail" just we were all the way down by the hotel's pool with a giant bush blocking our view. Oh, well. We tried. We had a great waiter. We put in our order and then came the next challenge, navigate the salad bar with Matt. I decided it would be best for me to walk Matt up, get his food, walk him back and then I'd get my food. Worked out well and the salad bar only got busy on my turn up there. I swear, children should not be allowed to help themselves at a salad bar. Seriously.

    Right at the perfect time, our entrees came. They were so good! I got the prime rib and Matt got the filet with sautéed onions. Both were extremely good, as was the salad bar. I love Duke's. I remember it from 4 years ago and it was just as good as I remembered. While enjoying our meal we were dumbfounded with the man at the next table. He was obviously on a date, and he did not shut up, EVER. Literally, from the time Matt & I sat down, until we left the man never stopped talking. I have never seen anything like it and I'm married to the one and only, ChattyMatty. Matt had nothing on this guy. He never let the woman talk. I mean never. It was so funny. Matt & I were just dying. Who needs a gorgeous sunset view with dinner when you have this kind of entertainment? After our entrees, I didn't even need to look at the menu to decide on dessert. Hula Pie. Macadamia nut ice cream, oreo pie crust, chocolate fudge topping and whipped cream. Uhhh-mazing. Matt and I couldn't finish it, it's so big.

    After dinner we waddled our way back to our resort. I was having bad contact issues, since getting salt water in my contacts back at Rainbow Reef. So we made it back to our resort and headed to bed, this time feeling much better than I was last night. Although, before going to bed, we decided to sit on the balcony for a bit. When we came back in from the balcony and headed for bed, we noticed our "do not disturb" sign, that we had hanging on the outside of the door, was now jammed in our door jam right where the door handle is. It looked as though someone was using it to try & pry the door open like you do with a credit card. I'm not sure that's what had happened, though. The other thing I thought may have happened is that this is a "condominium" hotel. No daily housekeeping, so maybe a worker saw it hanging and knew there really was no point in it being there and our door is open to the outside. Maybe they were just trying to "give it back to us" so that the wind wouldn't take it during the night? I don't know. It was a creepy way to go to bed, to say the least. ​
     
  11. MissMet

    MissMet DVC Member, former NY Mets Season Tkt Holder & Blo

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,922
    This morning I woke up at my usual 2:30am, but this time I forced myself back to sleep until 5:45am. I could have probably slept even later, but this was the final get moving as early as possible morning. Today were were headed for Hananuma Bay to snorkel which opens at 6am and gets very busy fast. Once the parking lot is full, they close it and you are left circling until enough people leave for them to reopen it. So as you can imagine, we wanted to get there early so we didn't wast our morning driving in circles. We got ourselves ready pretty quick and we were on our way. The bay is 9.5 miles from our hotel in Waikiki. The good news was we were going against the flow of traffic so we didn't have traffic issues. Most of the drive there is on this same I wanna say 6-8 lane road with traffic lights and a 35 mph speed limit. In the morning, traffic is so bad headed into Waikiki that this road has cones up, forcing all but one lane to be headed westbound, into Waikiki, and only one lane headed eastbound for Hananuma Bay. We didn't hit traffic and got to the bay at around 7:10am. Thankfully, the parking lot was still open. We did not bring the wheelchair since we wouldn't be able to use it on the sand and I knew there was an optional shuttle to take you up and down the massive hill.


    Hananuma Bay is a protected beach/coral reef that has a paid admission. You must watch an instructional video before heading down so that you don't destroy the coral reefs that are everywhere, which people still do anyway. They had this song in the video that was not meant to be funny but Matt and I found it hilarious. It's supposed to be the fish singing and it has lyrics like, "don't step on me....don't feed me, I have plenty...". It was so funny. We were dying. Once the video was over we headed for the shuttle, which didn't charge us for Matt. The shuttle is $2 per person for all day use, which I recommend. That hill is steep and your bags will be heavy, at least ours were. I was carrying three bags today, so I was very grateful for that shuttle. Matt said for me to give him the backpack, but I didn't think that was a good idea.

    Once we arrived at the bottom of the hill, we found a spot to put our stuff. This place is gorgeous and has coral everywhere, even all the way up to the water's edge. It's a little difficult to navigate in areas since the coral is expansive and you're not allowed to step on it, so navigating can be a challenge. Matt went right in, but it was only 7:30am and if I got in the water now, I would have froze for sure. So I sun bathed while calling my mom and then reading my book, Long Shot by Mike Piazza.

    Matt was out there for 90 minutes and then headed back to shore to get me. It was perfect timing because I was hot and ready to get in. This was the first time I was using my new snorkel gear, so it took me a bit of time to get everything just right. We headed out, but I told Matt I only wanted to stay in the bay. I will tell you, if you stay in the bay, in my opinion it is not worth the trip. That area is where all the kids are and they step all over the coral there, so it's grey and the water is real cloudy. You will see some fish though, but the snorkeling conditions were not that great. Now, if you leave the protected bay area, in Matt's words, "you'll see the best snorkeling he's ever seen.". Matt saw all kinds of beautiful coral, fish, turtles, etc. He said it was amazing. My problem was that while he was in there the life guards made an announcement twice about the currents out there and that if you're not a strong swimmer or comfortable with your equipment, don't go out there. Awesome. That got me nervous, and once I'm nervous I'm not near as good at snorkeling. I hyperventilate trying to adjust myself to being used to breathing thru the snorkel. It's jot not good. So that's why I choose to stay in the lesser, protected area.

    I snorkeled for probably 45 minutes. It was fun, but very challenging at times as there are some areas that get real shallow over coral so you have to be careful how you swim to not hit it and cut yourself. I'm glad I did it and it's a nice, go at your own pace, type of snorkeling, which is right up this scaredy cat's alley. If I can do it, anyone can do it. We both had our own underwater cameras. Mine is more for pictures and Matt's is for video. I cannot upload from mine until we get home, so you won't see very many underwater shots from this one until we get home and can upload the pictures and videos. I'm not about to spend my vacation editing videos.

    I decided I had had enough so I left Matt for the shore, while he went back out to the better area. I laid in the sun reading my book, enjoying life. This day was finally turning out like a vacation day I had planned. Everything was going right after 6 days in Hawaii and I was finally relaxing and taking it all in. I laid there for another 2 hours while Matt snorkeled and sunbathed. His knee has not been giving him any pain and we know it's because he's been resting it so much between he crutches and the wheelchair. So I was glad for him that he could do this and not be in any pain.

    We were ready to head out at about 1pm. Our next stop was lunch at Honolulu Burger Company. Originally, I was going to bring sandwiches and enjoy them at the Bay, because I assumed we'd be there most of the day. With Matt's knee, that really wasn't an option because he definitely would have over done it. We were also going to go over and check out Sandy Beach, the beach where From Here To Eternity was filmed and see the blow hole, but we didn't care to much to do so. We've never seen the movie and we have another blow hole to visit when we're on the cruise. I'm sorry, but I can't take myself seriously writing that sentence, especially knowing my brother's going to be reading this and he always brings out my 13 year old (boy!) sense of humor. *snicker* Blowhole *snicker*. Anyway!

    Lunch was great. How can you not love a burger?! The restaurant was only about 1.5 miles away from our hotel, so the drive was pretty quick. We decided we'd park the car at the hotel and then walk to one block over to Waikiki beach. We had no dinner reservations to rush to tonight, so we figured this would be the perfect opportunity to swim the famous Waikiki Beach. Well, I was not about to get myself all sandy and wet again, so I held up a tree while Matt swam. We didn't stay long since this is not Matt's kind of beach. He likes waves. So we headed back to the hotel.

    Once back at the hotel, The Outrigger Regency on BeachWalk, Matt iced his knee while I caught up on typing my blog. It takes me just over an hour for each of the blog posts so I knew I had to get yesterday's at least written so that tomorrow morning I wouldn't have two to write. So since I was talking so long, Matt decided to get in the shower while I finished up the blog.

    I finally finished up the blog and it was about 5pm, so I headed for the shower. I got in the shower and thankfully, just before I started to wash my hair the water just stops. I turn the faucet on and off and I get nothing but the sound of air. Awesome. So I start yelling to Matt that I have no water and he answers with some useless comment like, "Hmmm.". So I get myself out of the shower and check the sink, nothing. Oh. My. God. So I get back dressed in my sandy, saltwater-covered clothing and head for the kitchen to check the sink in there. Nothing. So I ask Mr. Helpful to call the front desk. We had just had the maintenance guy up here about an hour earlier because we had a smoke alarm chirping due to low battery. So we wait the 15 minutes it took the guy the last time we called him. I explain the situation but he didn't get that it was all the faucets, not just the shower. So when I show him the sinks as well, his reaction was priceless. I knew this was going to be a problem. So he headed out to investigate and said he's be right back. An HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER I decide to just get dressed without showering after a full, hot and sweaty beach day and we'll just go have a now late dinner. Awesome. Juts when I start to relax. So as I reapply my make-up and try and make my hair look halfway decent, Matt heads down to talk to the front desk to get an idea of what going on.

    As I'm about to head out the door to meet Matt in the lobby, our phone rings. It's Matt telling me that the front desk offered to let me use a different room's shower. Thanks. That would have been helpful and hour and a half ago. It's now almost 7pm, and our jet-lagged butts have been going to bed at 8:30pm most nights. So that would mean we wouldn't get dinner until at least 8pm. Not to mention, I just reapplied my make up. Ugh.

    So off we went to dinner. This was my first go at pushing Matt in the wheelchair in Waikiki. It wasn't as bad as I thought, but maybe it was a good thing that I never got to shower, since by the time we reached our restaurant I was covered in sweat. It was still pretty hot out and I was working for my dinner. Going up and down all those curbs were not as tough as I feared, in that I never had trouble getting over them and forcing Matt to have to get out of the wheelchair, but it was tiring. People also are super annoying and don't give you any help. They cut you off, they don't move to the side and walk with there whole party lined up, line dancing style, talking up the entire sidewalk. It's just rude. You can tell the people who have never had to push a wheelchair before. They don't think how hard is it so be pushing it up a ramp and have to stop short and then restart again because they can't simply move one step to the side. Ok, I'm done.

    We make it to our dinner spot for the night. Now, let me explain. I had researched restaurants like a maniac before coming. The second most, highly rated restaurant in Waikiki is where we were headed for dinner. It is not the type of food I would choose and actually this was Matt and I's first try at it. I just figured it was so highly rated, it mush be good. It's so popular that there is a long line outside the restaurant just to place your oder. We both were not super hungry so we figured this would be the perfect night to try it since the line wouldn't be near as painful.

    Upon getting to the restaurant it dawned on me on why it's so highly rated- half of Japan vacations here! It's not being rated by Americans or any other nationality, for that matter, but 95% Japanese, just like the restaurant goers represented. Here I thought we were trying something new that we were late to the party on, but we found out quickly that most of America has not made it to the party yet either. We were at Marukame Udon, an Udon noodle place. So we get on the line, and I almost leave it about three times, but I force myself to stay and try it. We can always stop somewhere else for something with a little more substance and flavor if it's bad. Now I know why most of Japan doesn't seem to have a weight issue. It wasn't terrible, but it definitely wasn't good. We both got the "beef" noodle bowl, but the broth tasted like fish- big time. Guess what Matt hates- big time. Fish. He took it like a champ and I will say the longer you eat it the less fishy it tastes. We're still not sure if that taste was in fact fish or really what we were eating, but it was an experience. The food actually filled us up and Matt ate all of his. I apologized to Matt quite often throughout our meal, but he was great about it. Probably because he feared another epic meltdown from your's truly after the whole no water thing, that we still didn't know what was going on with. Last we left it with the front desk was, they had no idea what was wrong, all the rooms that number's ended in 5 had no water, they thought it was from the construction from next door, but the workers had left for the evening. Awesome. They would "leave us a note" when they found the issue. I guess there's not someone at the front desk throughout the night. I don't know.

    After our taste of Japan, we walked around Waikiki and checked out the Duke statue. Then I did a tiny bit of shopping. We wanted to head to Yard House so that I could finally try a new dessert of theirs that I've been dying to try, but the wait was 50 minutes, so we decided to get some snacks and drinks at the nearest ABC store and enjoy them on our balcony.

    Once back at our resort, not knowing if we would have to change rooms- God help them if we did, we found out that the water problem is fixed. So I finally head for the shower to get the Pacific Ocean and all of it's habitants off of me. It was the best shower ever. We never got any explanation of what happened, as they still don't know themselves, so we'll see if it happens again. Murphy's Law Vacation...that's what I'm dubbing this one. We're at least at the point that when the next negative hits us, we just laugh. I mean, you can't make this stuff up. The day I finally feel relaxed and on vacation, up no water. I mean really.
     
  12. blondietink

    blondietink DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,772
    It's a National Lampoon Vacation with Chevy Chase! You are a very funny writer. Or, have you ever seen the Normal Rockwell depiction of the happy family leaving on vacation and what they look like when they return?

    We have had many of those kinds of vacations, and they are the ones we remember the most!

    Oh and by the way, when pushing the wheelchair you need to become thick skinned. Very loudly say, excuse me, pardon me, etc. and just push your way through. My DS uses a wheelchair and we have learned.
     
  13. MissMet

    MissMet DVC Member, former NY Mets Season Tkt Holder & Blo

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,922
    This morning I got up at around 6am, my new normal. I have to be honest, I haven't been trying too hard to stay in bed any later because I enjoy my relaxed, quiet mornings where I can write my blog on the lanai (balcony) and just enjoy. I got up and posted my two blog posts- I had fallen behind one day since we were in a hurry to get to Hananuma Bay the other morning. Matt's been sleeping later than I have, so once he got up we decided on our last free day we would go searching for the perfect beach with the perfect amount of waves. So we got our swim suits on and headed out. Even though we were headed for a beach, we still brought the wheelchair just in case we ended up somewhere else that Matt would definitely need it.

    We were pretty hungry, but we were already getting a late start leaving this morning, it was 9:25am when we left the hotel, so we just decided to try and hold out for an early lunch. We headed east towards Diamond Head and drove up the coast, passing Sandy Beach (From Here to Eternity Beach) and the blowhole on. We did't use the gps, but rather the map, because we wanted to stay as close to the shore as possible. We stopped at a beach that was recommended to us for 5-10 foot waves, but the surf was not good today, so it looked as though we were out of luck. We decided to head further up north towards North Shore. We were still unsure if we wanted to get ourselves all the way up there, especially if it looked as though the surf was not cooperating today.

    It was about 10:30am and we were now REALLY hungry. So Matt starts pointing out places, but I didn't want to eat somewhere I could at home, like Taco Bell, but I also didn't want to just try some place blindly. Before leaving I had compiled a list of restaurants that we couldn't fit in to our schedule that I would have liked to try. I compartmentalized them by part of the island. Without even needing to look at the list I thought of Mike's Huli Huli Chicken. A food truck that I thought should be close to us, since I remembered passing it on our first day. SO I start to put it in my GPS, but I happen to look up while I', waiting for my GPS App to open and what do I see? You guessed it! Mike's Huli Huli Chicken. By the way- that translates to something totally different in Russian. Wow.

    This place is amazing. It was featured on Man Vs. Food and you can see the picture of Adam Richmond on the side of the truck, posed with quite the character, Beanie a Boston native. That Beanie was hysterical! He took our order and then gave us all kinds of suggestions on how to eat the food and then he hung around while we ate talking to us. He brought up the Boston bombing and what he and his "boys" would have done to them if they got their hands on them. Haha. He was crazy! The food was amazing!! If you're going to do food trucks, I highly recommend going to Giovanni's and Mike's- skip Macky's. Matt ordered the chicken and shrimp plate- the shrimp was just as good as Macky's. I got the pork and chicken plate, but rather than salad like Matt got, I chose macaroni salad instead. The food was AMAZING. There were many other options too. They had steak, hoagies, tuna, mixed frozen drinks... Really a must try- cash only. Now this is not near all the other food trucks of the North Shore. This truck is on the eastern coast, if I had to guess, about 20 minutes or so from Diamond Head. I highly recommend this place and hopefully you get to meet Beanie.

    While at Mike's, they gave us suggestions on beaches to try, but Beanie was the one to tell us that he saw the weather report today and that it wouldn't be a good day for the surf. We decided to go a little bit further up north to try the beach they suggested- it was flat as glass. We sat there for a while trying to decide if we wanted to venture back up to the North Shore or just head back and enjoy our time at Waikiki. We decided to head back and on the way stop at the blowhole and Sandy Beach.

    We got to Sandy Beach (the real one, not the movie one) and found a place to park. This beach was packed with locals and not another tourist in sight. Our first parking spot but us right next to a van full of young guys smoking pot and were pretty blatant about it. We were feeling a little uncomfortable especially since from the second we were out of our car, they were silent. They never spoke again the whole time we were messing with our stuff. Matt decides he'd feel better if we move away from them, so back in the car to the other side of the parking lot. We got ourselves a spot on the HOT beach, it was the heat of the day, 2pm. Once there and situated Matt realized that there was a lot of rock at the shoreline so he wanted us to move (quite a ways) down the beach. I was so hot and felt like I had gotten too much sun already, so I told Matt I'd put the stuff in the car and wait there since he said he wouldn't be here long. As Matt crutched his way down the beach I started to load up our stuff and immediately felt uncomfortable. No one said anything, but you could kinda feel that we weren't welcome and the stares were making me nervous. I decided it'd be better if I stayed with Matt, so I trekked across the hot sand to where Matt was. The crowd over there was a little better, so I felt comfortable.

    The beach was pretty there were some surfers to watch as well as these wake boarders that were doing some crazy moves! Every time I tried to get a picture or video the waves wouldn't cooperate, so you'll just have to trust me- they were awesome! They'd ride the think water at the edge heading towards to water and when they hit a wave they'd flip in the air off their boards. It was really impressive. These were all locals and they were younger guys- maybe college aged.

    Once Matt had his fill of the ocean, we headed over to the lookout for the blowhole and Sandy Beach (the one from the movie). The blowhole was not...blowing? The tide was just not cooperating. I overheard a local telling their friend that they had never seen Sandy Beach so calm. It was calm. Matt and I would have loved to go down and swim but the path is not quite crutches friendly. So after a few pictures, we headed out.

    We hit a little bit of traffic heading into Waikiki from the east at around 3pm. Nothing terrible, by any means. I think me being from NY and Matt being from NJ, we're kinda used to much worse. We also have been timing it pretty good too. It didn't take us long at all to get back to our hotel.

    Matt iced his knee and then we headed for an early dinner at Puka Dog-which is actually now Hula Dog, Puka Dog is on Kauai. It's the exact same thing, just the owners split ways so one got a new name. It was exactly as I remembered it 4 years ago. You can see them featured on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. Matt got the bacon taro bread, polish sausage with the hot garlic lemon secret sauce, pineapple relish and the guava mustard and the fresh-squeezed guava lemonade. I ordered the white bread, polish sausage, mild garlic lemon secret sauce and the mango relish and I got a passion fruit lemonade. It was so good! Matt couldn't believe how much he liked it. I won't go into how they make them, google it, but it's a really great idea and Matt want's to open one in NY.

    After our early dinner we walked thru the soon-to-be-no-more International Marketplace and shopped a little. Then we crossed the street and picked up just two more items for loved-ones back home. I really haven't done that much shopping at all and nothing for me. Well, Matt did pick out some of those shortbread cookies for "us". After our shopping we were headed to Yard House for some dessert but we got suckered into a whole Dead Sea minerals demonstration. Normally, we're both very good about totally avoiding them, but this girl was sneaky and got us. Before I knew it I'm sitting in her chair getting lotions splattered all over me and trying to be convinced that she is giving me a secret deal, that is costing her boss to loose over $250 dollars, because "she likes us so much" and her manager is not around. Whatever, lady. She would not take no and Matt was getting angry. It took us quite a few stern "no thank yous" to get me free of her throne of lies. While sitting in that chair, I wanted to yell to all the passer-bys, "Really, I'm not a sucker!! I know better!". Instead I just sulked listening to her endless speech and lies.

    After out of her clutches, we finally headed to Yard House. It was only a 25 minute wait, so we got a bench and smoked weed- second hand style, until we realized what was going on and moved to another bench. I can't believe how openly people smoke pot anymore. It's sad.

    We finally made it into Yard House to feed our now unwarranted munchies with some amazing desserts. Matt ordered the Salted Caramel Butterscotch Pudding that he loves and I finally got to try the S'mores Brownie- it's HUGE!! Both desserts were great, service there is very slow. You've been warned. After our dessert we decided to head back to our room, because our lanai (balcony) had a perfect view of the 9pm fireworks that go off from the Hilton Hawaiian Village every Friday night. We were sound asleep almost immediately and we totally missed the fireworks. When we woke up this morning (Sat- when I'm typing this), Matt was still completely dressed.
     
  14. MissMet

    MissMet DVC Member, former NY Mets Season Tkt Holder & Blo

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,922
    I got up this morning at my usual time of somewhere between 5:30-6am. I decided I would shower and get dressed right away so that my bathroom products would dry out more before I packed them, while I typed up the day before’s blog post. The morning was pretty laid back even though I had a bunch of packing to do and I didn’t know what was ahead of me with lugging all this baggage around all day- the suitcases, not Matt. Speaking of Matt, he got up about an hour after me, made some phone calls and then helped in the best way he can these days- delegating. Awesome. I do joke a lot about Matt’s general uselessness this trip but that’s only because he is normally so far from that. He hates feeling useless and watching me have to do everything. I, however, love to bust his chops and he can’t get me back on the blog, soooo onward with the Matt jabs! Love you, honey.

    Our plan was to leave the hotel at 10am, then we changed it to 9:30am and we did it right on time. I packed up all the luggage and while Matt went with the bell serves guy, he was such a help, I walked one block over to the post office to buy some stamps. I had to walk because they were having a parade so a lot of the streets were closed this morning. As if Waikiki streets aren’t difficult enough to navigate- let’s throw a parade in the mix on the busiest day of the week. I still don’t even know what the parade is all about, I just suddenly could hear and then see a marching band from my balcony. Speaking of sounds at the resort. I forgot to whine about the construction next door to our hotel. Normally, I am a pretty heavy sleeper and sounds don’t affect my sleep but they have been JACKHAMMERING throughout the entire night, every night of our stay. The first & last night it was in the distance and I barely noticed it, the second night, however, oh my God! It sounded as though they were jackhammering right next to our room and I’m not talking the typical “hotel jackhammering” sounds you may hear from the room next door, I’m talking construction jackhammering. It was unbelievable. All that said, we didn’t not get a single cent off our stay. Not even due to an entire evening without water. Can’t wait to write that TripAdvisor review.

    Once I had made my marathon walk for stamps, and received my change in all dimes- yeah, thanks, we were on our way to return our rental car and shuttle over to the cruise ship. The drive to the airport was pretty short, but the traffic lights make it a little slow- still better than being on the traffic of H1. The GPS said it would take about 25 minutes and that’s exactly what it took us. Once there, thankfully, an Enterprise employee helped us get our bags out of the car and even pushed the cart of luggage for me, while I pushed Matt in the wheelchair. While he’s unloading our bags I tell him we need the shuttle to the cruise pier. He then proceeds to tell me that they don’t do that, that their shuttles only go to the airport. That is NOT what all of my research had said. Everywhere I read told me the shuttle goes to the airport or cruise port. I don’t know if this was a new change or what, but snafu number one, complete. They guy was real apologetic and ran in to call us a cab. As he’s inside calling us a cab, I see a minivan cab dropping people off, so I figure I’d wave him down. I’m walking to the cab and he’s not seeing or hearing me. So I start my run, but it’s not a normal run, it’s more of a “I don’t want to fully commit to run after you because I feel like a fool and everyone’s watching me” type of run which turns out to look a lot like a really girly pathetic “run”. The man must have been deaf and blind because how he didn’t see me or hear me is amazing. Luckily, or maybe not as you’ll see, I got his attention just in time and asked him if he could talk us to the pier. The man didn’t seem to speak very much english, because it took every adjective my little mind could think of to describe the pier for him to finally understand where I wanted to be going. Once I felt secure that this guy was not going to drive off, I went back to get Matt and the Enterprise guy pushed our luggage cart and even loaded the taxi for us- yes, he got a nice tip which he was very grateful for. I asked him to check with the cab driver to be sure he knew where he was taking us and then we were all set.

    The taxi was all packed and ready so we headed out. Before leaving I asked what this trip would cost like my dad taught me. He didn’t give us a price, but said, “It’s metered.”. We should have gotten out. Now, you have to understand. We had just made the drive. The cruise ship was exactly at the halfway point between Waikiki and the airport. We past the ship on our way to return the car at the airport, so we knew the drive ahead of us. We knew that the best way was the Nimitz highway and NOT the H1, like our GPS and everyone else on the planet suggests. This scam artist took us on the the parking lot of a highway, H1, then drove thru the packed Chinatown to get us to the cruise ship. By the time we got there the meter was at $27. We were so mad. He barely spoke any English, but that didn’t stop Matt & I from having a conversation for him to hear about the way we should have been going rather than the way we were. I was irritated to say the least. As soon as I saw him turn for the H1 ramp I knew what was going on so I texted Matt, “He’s ripping us off!” as if Matt was unaware of the drive he just made. He gave me an “Oh, I know!” but it wasn’t via text. Ha!

    We made it to the pier at 11:05, the pier opens at 11am. We start unloading our bags and I’m noticing my biggest fear. Everyone who’s arriving are wheeling their own bags into the pier and I don’t see a single porter. So I leave Matt with the taxi and I walk over to a security guard to ask about the porter situation. He told me that they should by out here by now, it’s 11:10am, and then points me in the direction of where they would be hanging out- about a quarter of a mile down the long pier. Awesome. So I start my walk and on the way I pass the NCL employees that direct you for check-in. Perfect. So I go over to the man and say, “My husband is in a wheelchair so I can’t manage our luggage, can you get me a porter?” to which he states to another guy, “This girl needs a wheelchair.”. “No! I have a wheelchair, I need help with my luggage since my husband’s IN the wheelchair.” his response, “Oh. The porters aren’t on duty yet.” and walks away. I was dumbfounded. He just walked away and left me! Not to mention, the pier opens at 11am, it’s 11:15am, shouldn’t you have a porter or two available??? So I turn around and start to head back to the taxi stand a couple of streets over, and I’ll be honest, I was holding back a tear or two. On my walk of shame I passed the security guard and I tell him what I was told, and he was upset, but I kept walking. So I get back there and tell Matt the situation and decided that I’m just going to have to make trips. What else could I do? So I have Matt stand with his crutches and I try to load up the wheelchair with our suitcases- we have 4. As I’m doing that the security guard comes over and tells me that he’s going to help me. So we’re getting the luggage situated and just as we start to make our first trip, the security guard sees an “off-duty” porter and yells to him. The porter, who I saw as my knight, puts on his NCL issued Hula Shirt, that I saw as shining armor, and comes to help. I was so grateful to the porter and the security guard. The NCL employee, however. Never mind.

    The porter directed us on where to go and the line inside for security wasn’t too bad. A security employee came and took Matt into a different area for screening and it all went very smoothly, for us at least. I don’t know what it is about security lines that brings out all the deep-rooted, dumb in people, but my God. Didn’t you all fly here? This shouldn’t be your first go at the rodeo. The guy two people in front of my left his bag on the table. He left his bag. He forgot to slide the thing with him the 3 feet and place it on the belt and worse yet, he didn’t even notice he was missing his bag until we tracked him down. It was hysterical to watch because he turns to his wife and says, “I think I forgot my bag.” Uhhh? You either have it or you don’t big guy. I digress.

    After security we made our way thru to the check-in desk, but not before our pictures with a male and female hula dancers. Alooooooooo-HA! I tried to keep the drool to a minimum for Matt’s sake, but I’m sure he was doing the same for me. I tried not to giggle like a school girl as we “squeezed in close” for our picture. Hubba, hubba. We’ll be buying THAT picture, because that’s my tradition, of course. I always buy the embarkation photo. *wink* Once checked in, we headed to some seats where we waited for boarding to begin. They had musicians and hula dancers, drinks, shaved coconut and other things to keep you preoccupied. We just sat and enjoyed the moment.

    At 12:25 they were finally ready to board. We skipped the line since we had to take the elevator up. Once up there, it was just a few more steps until we were on board, if only it were that simple. We walk up to the gangway and oh my God. That thing was long and steep! As I’m about to say to Matt that he’s gonna have to walk, he says to me, “There’s no way I can walk that.”. Oh, my God. So in my head I’m thinking someone will help me, there got to be someone here for this type of thing, so the employee at the top of the gangway of death sees the panic and moves the line of people to the side and tells them to wait for me to go- the gangway is only one and a half persons wide, so I don’t really know what that was about so I assume he’s the one going to help me. He turns to me and says, “Most people find it easier to go backwards.”. That’s it?! You’re really going to send this 120 pound girl down this ramp, in flip flops, trying to hold back 170 pounds on wheels?! Yup, he was. So I take a deep breath, turn Matt around and start my journey. The first step wasn’t too bad and I got comfortable at the idea. After the fifth step, I realize there is no way I can do this and I’m now stuck on this gangway just struggling to hold Matt in place. My feet were sliding out of my flip flops and all I could envision is Matt running me over and then making a grand entrance into the ship. So I see over my shoulder this NCL employee headed up this ramp. He’s about 6’4” and huge. I’m doing my happy dance because finally someone has realized that this ship is a sinkin’. He gets to us pretty quickly and then squeezes by us just as quickly. I think my jaw literally dropped open. He left us, he didn’t help or anything. Just squeezed by. Didn’t care that we were nearly about to die or that I was backing up the entire line of passengers from getting on board. Didn’t matter to this guy. So I realized that I was going to have to do this. I struggle to take another step and I just didn’t see how this was going to end well and I’m really freaking out in my mind- I was oddly silent through this so after, I find out that Matt didn’t realize the gravity of the situation. He knew I was struggling and was surprised that that man just walked by us, but he didn’t know the level of my panic and how close he was to a sudden drop into the ship. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, which was probably only 5 minutes, I hear a voice behind me saying, ”Please let me help you with that.”. I didn’t even turn to look, I just belted out a “thank you” and moved out of the way, then I look up to realize that it’s the cruise director! How embarrassing. He was really nice and chatted with us once we were at the bottom. All I could think is now at every evening event we go to, this guys gonna call us out or something. I think I would have rather get run over by the wheelchair!

    Once on board we headed to the buffet where the nicest guy took Matt around for his food so that I could get my own. Lunch was great- how can you not enjoy a buffet? After lunch we walked around a bit and then found a spot by the pool where we relaxed until about 2:30pm and then we headed for our room. I’m reminded just how spoiled I am being a faithful Disney Cruiser almost immediately. First off, there’s no way any Disney employee would have not been there to offer help from the moment we stepped out of the taxi, let alone walk past me in my time of need. Second, the size of the cabins. I forgot how small NCL’s cabins are in compared to DCL. It doesn’t help that we now have a wheelchair and crutches. The room is nice enough though. We have a balcony, port side, so we’ll enjoy that and really, we won’t be in our room very long. After being in our room for a bit we headed to the Muster Drill and then up to the pool for the sail-away BBQ and some time in the hot tub. We spent most of the evening there until we headed to “watch a movie”- we were asleep almost immediately.
     
  15. wdrl

    wdrl DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    Messages:
    2,824
    Glad to hear that you made it to the Pride of America. Hopefully, now that you are on the ship you can relax and take it easy.

    One thing I remember about the Pride of America is that it has really small elevators. I imagine that your wheelchair pretty much fills up the elevator, but I imagine that three or four couples will still try to cram into the elevator with you.
     
  16. blondietink

    blondietink DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,772
    My adult aged DS uses a wheelchair and we have cruised Carnival. The cabins are huge and there are always Carnival employees to help us get up ramps, on/off tenders, navigating the ship, opening doors, etc. Remind me to cross NCL off my list.
     
  17. MissMet

    MissMet DVC Member, former NY Mets Season Tkt Holder & Blo

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,922
    Woke up this morning somewhere around 5:30-6am, my usual that I really don’t mind. I went and sat on the balcony and typed up my blog as I watched us pull into our first port of the cruise, Maui. We are here for two days. We have rented a car for the two days. The forecast on NCL’s Dailies (daily newspaper with ship activities and info) said Cloudy- if only. It was pretty cloudy coming in and misting a little. Nothing too serious. I finished up the blog and headed inside to get ready and get Matt moving. We were trying to get off the ship right at 8am when we got the all clear. The closer to 8am it got the less in a hurry I was in, because I remembered we have the car for two days so we don’t have to be back by any specific time.

    It was about 8:30am when we were ready to leave, so I decided against my favorite cruise past time, breakfast buffet, and we headed for the car rental. One last peak out the window was really discouraging. It was raining, but it didn’t look too heavy and we figured we’d just drive out of it- it’s a passing storm. So off we went, but not before I grabbed our rain jackets.

    We got down to the gangway and it’s pouring. So we quickly put our rain coats on and we head out. We walk a ways to an industrial building where they have security set up for boarding the ship, but it’s only so big and we have to continue outside for quite a ways to get to the rental car shuttle spot. I step out the door and it’s pouring. I can’t tell where I’m supposed to go, but I see an NCL employee standing there talking to two woman so I go to ask her. “Excuse me.” Nothing. “Excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt.” Still nothing. “Excuse me. Where do I go for car rentals?” This woman looks up at me with a glare that could kill and says, “excuse me” to the woman she had been talking with- who started looking at me on my first excuse me, so it was pretty clear this lady was ignoring me. Here I am standing in the pouring rain with a wheelchair, you can’t acknowledge me? So with an attitude she answers my question and really at this point I just want to cry.

    On we go, walking all the way down to the very last stall before the parking lot to wait for our car rental shuttle. The rain is coming down hard and sideways with the wind. There is absolutely no cover whatsoever so we just have to stand in the rain and wait. We saw every car rental shuttle but ours twice while we stood in the pouring rain. We were drenched. The backpack was soaked thru, my shorts were now completely see thru and because of the wind you had to hold your hood the whole time, so the rain was just running down my raincoat sleeve making the raincoat almost useless. The buses of course came in the direction of the rain/wind so I faced Matt with his back to it and I faced it head on to watch for our bus. We waited like this for 35 minutes. Finally, the Alamo shuttle arrived. Once on board the shuttle, we talked to this really nice couple who knew all about knee injuries and offered to meet up later and give us some anti-inflammatory medicine, which they were shocked the doctor didn’t give us. The bus ride was about 10 minutes including the stop to show us a secondary parking lot if the first was full.

    Once we arrived at Alamo we find out that there is flash flooding and mudslides in some of the areas of the island. We were headed for Haleakala Crater, an old volcano with incredible views. The way up is a very windy road so I was a little nervous and the key to going up there is visibility. At this point we are realizing that this storm is not just here but over most of the island. So I ask the woman checking us in if we should still try for it and she tells me that it’s way too dangerous and we won’t see anything. Three million thoughts are running thru my head and I was really trying to figure out if we should even rent the car or just get back on the ship. I knew we needed the car for tomorrow, so I figured we’d just rent it and then find a mall or something. While checking in she was really pushing me for an upgrade from our economy car, but I stood strong, my brother ( former enterprise employee) would be proud. So she sends us on our way- back into the monsoon.

    Out in the parking lot, it’s the kind of setup where you pick your own car and the keys are in it. We were looking for a Spark- a TINY car that the woman made sure to show us a picture of, I’m sure to try and scare us into upgrading. There was an attendant out there and she asked us what kind of car and when we told her economy she smiled and told us to take any mid-size we want. She was really sweet. So we got our grey Avenger and we were off- not before loading up the wheelchair in the rain. Thank God I got the folding one that I did- it’s half the weight of the traditional one. I would have really struggled to get that thing loaded. We get into the car and right away we’re googling our little hearts out. Matt’s checking weather reports throughout the island and I’m searching, “What to do in Maui in the rain.”. We find the Maui Ocean Center, so we put it in the GPS and head out.

    The drive to the aquarium wasn’t too bad and we seemed to hit a pocket inside the storm- maybe the eye of the storm? We had blue skies directly above us but everywhere you look around us and as far as you could see was grey and black skies. By the time we got to the aquarium we were further into this pocket but we could see the storm moving our way and the wind was still pretty intense. So we rushed into the aquarium and made the best of it. I was expecting a lot more from the “Maui Ocean Center”. With a name like that you expect a lot. Nonetheless, we were dry- actually we were drying off and we had some cool and really weird fish to look at for the morning. We ended up spending probably only 90 minutes there. There were a lot of screaming children. Ha!

    When we got out of the aquarium the storm was definitely about to hit. Felt like a hurricane was coming. The wind was intense! So we rushed to the car which was, what felt like a mile away! The parking lot was confusing so we ended up parking pretty far from the entrance and we were paying for it now. The wind was blowing at us so I was pushing the wheelchair against the wind. I couldn’t believe what a difference that made. At this point we were laughing because it really felt as though we were tempting fate. We were one of those crazy reporters standing out in a hurricane. It was kinda fun- now that I’m dry and sitting in my cabin looking back on it.

    Next we decided to head to the touristy town Lahaina. I knew there were a bunch of shops and restaurants and my earlier research even told me that there was a small movie theater there. It was about 10 miles from the aquarium, so we headed out. We were already really hungry so before leaving, in the gift shop, we bought ourselves some macadamia nuts to enjoy on the ride. Again, we stayed just ahead of the storm and we were starting to see small slivers of blue skies again. When we got to Lahaina, we had very cloudy skies but lots of blue too. We decided we’d get something to eat and shop until the weather caught up with us and then maybe go to a movie. So we go to one of the many parking lots where you have to pay to park. $10 for 2 hours, $15 for six hours... We decide on the 6 hour option since we’re probably seeing a movie when this storm catches up with us. They don’t have anyone manning the parking lot, rather a machine to pay at that only takes exact amounts and does not offer change or even a refund. There is also a change machine next to it to break a $20 into four fives. As you’d expect from this vacation, the machine ate my first $10 but didn’t count it, so parking cost me $25. And of course, only fitting, we call the number to get our refund and no ones there to give refunds on Sundays, we’d have to come back tomorrow. Yeah, thanks. There went $10. Unbelievable.

    Lahaina is a cute town with lots of shops, although most sell the same stuff. There were a lot of restaurants which made it hard to decide, but we ended up going with The Seafood Co- something like that. It was nothing special but we had a great table over the water. The food was good, but the menu wasn’t too exciting. After our lunch we walked along the shops and then got to have ice cream at the famous, Lappert’s. Matt and I aren’t too excited by the shave ice that is offered EVERYWHERE, so it was nice to enjoy a really good ice cream. The weather was still holding up but there was no breeze now and it was really muggy. Pushing the wheelchair along those “sidewalks” proved to be very challenging so we just decided to head back to the ship.

    Into the storm we drove, heading back to our home. The storm had lightened quite a bit back at the ship so we had to walk back in only drizzle. We found free parking in the first lot which we were very grateful for- we didn’t think to ask the doctor back in Honolulu for a handicap sticker. We were going to go to the hot tub since we were already wet and the hot tubs were covered from the rain, but once we got back to the room, we made the mistake of “laying down just for a minute”. Needless to say, we never made it to the hot tub. We got showered and dressed and decided we’d try the Asian restaurant tonight. The ship wasn’t near as empty as I thought it would be. I think because of the rain a lot of people just stayed on board rather than venture out or head to the luau. We didn’t have any trouble getting a table at 6pm without a reservation. The menu seemed really good, but you know how Chinese goes...it’s never near as good as your usual spot back home. I will say their version of Egg Drop Soup was awesome. It was real thick and they add corn. I really liked that. I had ordered the dumplings for an appetizer and they asked if I wanted steamed or pan-fried- always a tough decision for me. I went with pan-fried, but when they arrived, they were deep fried. That was disappointing. I passed on dessert, but Matt ordered two for himself. We had this assistant waiter that was very nice and freakishly obsessed with “Titanic”. It was weird. He worked on a cruise ship and he knew every fact you could know about the Titanic, including her sister ships and he got REALLY excited when he talked about it. He also had a strange obsession with ginger- in all forms. If he wasn’t talking to us about the Titanic, he was informing us of all the “delicious” ways you can enjoy ginger- think Forest Gump but with ginger rather than shrimp and this kid was super A.D.D.

    After our history lesson, we headed to see a musician named Willie K. He was a Hawaiian who plays the ukelele and guitar and sings, but not just Hawaiian songs- everything. He even sang some opera. The best was when he closed the show with the 1984 version of “We are the world” where he impersonated every one of the artists on the recording. He was amazing. Our favorite was when he did Bob Dylan and Michael Jackson spot on. Cher was funny too. Actually, everyone was good and it was amazing how quickly he could could from one voice to another just like the original song.

    Next we were going to head to Karaoke, a favorite cruise past time of my families, but it wasn’t for another thirty minutes, at 9:30, and we were really struggling to stay awake. I offered we go in the hot tub so I would stay awake, but Matt agreed to just go to bed. We didn’t know if any crowd would even show up to Karaoke so it wasn’t worth it. Maybe tomorrow night.

    As you can probably tell, I’m a day behind in my posts. We’ve been so busy it’s been harder to keep up and I haven’t tried at pictures since I’m on the ships internet and it’s very slow. I will be updating with pictures sometime soon, so hang in there.
     
  18. Captain_Oblivious

    Captain_Oblivious DIS Dad #257

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    8,394
    My goodness, this has been quite the adventure! Someday you will look back at all the trials and travails and laugh...right?
     
  19. funantiques

    funantiques Mouseketeer DVC Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    93
    It sounds like a great time (except the injury)
     
  20. 2xcited2sleep

    2xcited2sleep DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    Messages:
    7,348
    Marking my spot. Will head over to your blog too- am especially interested in how you researched the trip.

    So glad you went back to the front desk and asked for another room. I don't blame you at all for being upset & tired!! Just goes to show you that it always pays to ask!

    Can't wait to catch up on the rest!
     
  21. MissMet

    MissMet DVC Member, former NY Mets Season Tkt Holder & Blo

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,922
    Hey guys. We're back home safe and sound. As you can see, I couldn't keep up with the posting on this trip, but don't fret as I've been typing them up, so I will complete this trip report and add pictures right here so that you don't have to go over to the blog. I'll start working on that tomorrow- I've got a DVR full, a wonderful hubby & a lazy Sunday fighting jet lag to get back to. :cloud9:
     

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