Port 4: Lihue, Kauai

The final port on our October cruise to Hawaii was in Lihue, Kauai. It was our first trip to Kauai and while we would have loved to explore the island, a mid-afternoon departure gave us a limited time frame. Research suggested the best way to see the whole island was by air so we booked an early morning flight with Wings Over Kauai. I had not been in a small plane before and was quite nervous but soon calmed, thanks to a great pilot, perfect weather, and views that were absolutely spectacular.

With spent our final few hours enjoying the sun, sand, surf and flowers at Kalapaki Beach, a short walk from the cruise terminal.

And then it was time to leave for home.


Port 3: Lahaina, Maui

Yes, I’m WAY behind on sharing about our Hawaiian cruise so here’s the next installment:

Both Jeff and I had never been to Maui and were excited to explore the island. We rented a car for the day and zipped up country- photos are not plentiful but we had an excellent day and particularly enjoyed Ioa Valley State Park, Makai Glass, and Ulupalakua Vineyard.  Aside for the choice to drive around the north side from Kahului back to Lahaina on a road that was mostly one lane hugging the side of a cliff (very poor research on our part), we loved what we saw and plan to return.

Early morning approach to Lahaina

View of the Eurodam from Lahaina waterfront


Amazing Ioa Valley State Park

Lunch from the Thai Mee Up food truck in Kahului

Dolphins at Lahaina waterfront that followed the tender boat back to the ship

Skipping dinner in the dining room to stay on deck for sail away = GREAT idea.








Port 2: Honolulu Day 2

Having already toured Pearl Harbour and several other sites on a previous trip to Honolulu, we followed the advice of fellow cruise passengers for our second day in Honolulu and went to the north side of the Island.

City bus passes (for a bargain $5 a pop) took us the scenic route and stops peppered all along the King Kamehameha Highway loop provided lots of opportunities to hop off to explore food trucks, beaches, quaint shopping areas and other landmarks.

We stopped at the Dole Plantation for their famous Pineapple Whip- a touristy move on our part but ever since learning that it was dairy free (the main reason we didn’t try it when we were there in 2014), I’ve wanted to get back. It was very well worth the effort, particularly after a long day in the sun.

another convert to the magical Dole Whip

On our ride back downtown Honolulu and walk back to the ship, we passed numerous murals, many of which were strikingly beautiful.

Jeff’s favourite. It became his tag line for the rest of our time in Hawaii!!

We caught the final seconds of sunset as we slowly moved out from the dock that evening.


We were likely some of the few (only?!) passengers on the ship not to visit Waikiki during our two days in Honolulu. Perhaps next time…. although we’d be hard pressed not to hop the bus or rent a car and head back up to the North Shore to explore more. That shrimp…. well, there are no words for how good it was.

Port 2: Honolulu Day 1

Before starting last month’s tour of advent and Christmas music, I shared about our trip to Hawaii in October but only got as far as our first stop on the big Island. As I look out the window from my home office today at dull, grey skies and more rain, it seems like a good time to remember the other stops on our Hawaiian getaway.

After a first day in Hilo, we sailed overnight to Honolulu, arriving just after sunrise on Sunday, October 8. The ship docked next to the Aloha Tower, close to the historic and business districts downtown.

I had done a fair bit of research about what was happening in the city that day and we started with a choral service at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral. We received the warmest of welcomes and enjoyed the very fine choir and pipe organ (things that truthfully appeal to us more than cocktails at Waikiki).

Incredible wall of stained glass at the Cathedral’s entrance

Our research also came across very high ratings for the Bishop Museum, the designated Hawai’i State Museum of Natural and Cultural history.

replica Polynesian Moai statue on the front lawn of the Bishop Museum

We hopped the city bus downtown and spent a full afternoon taking in the museum,science center and planetarium.

I was always vaguely aware of Polynesian migration patterns but several exhibits in the museum made this incredible history come alive. The planetarium presentation on the Polynesian’s nagvigation by the stars was fascinating- I left the afternoon truly awed by how far and how accurately these brave travelers crossed the Pacific with the most simple of tools and transportation.

Exhibits in the main museum give a great picture of life at different points of Hawaiian history.

Great Hall

I found exhibits on Hawaiian Ali’i (the royal family) particularly interesting. The feathered plumes below, called kahili, were standards used as an honour guard for different Hawaiian kings and queens in the nineteenth century. The primary motivation behind the Bishop Museum’s formation in 1889 was a desire to preserve the Hawaiian royal legacy following the death of Bernice Pauahi Bishop, one of the last members of the House of Kamehameha which ruled from 1794 until 1874 (it was succeeded by the House of Kalākaua which ruled until the kingdom was overthrown and annexed by the United States in 1893).

Kings from the House of Kamehameha wore cloaks made from small feathers as a sign of their power and authority. These cloaks, which each had a distinct pattern specific to its wearer, were astounding seen closeup.

The science center is wonderfully interactive for children- it was very quiet during our walk through and I had great fun with the hot wax lava flow exhibit.

The grounds around the Bishop Museum are full of local flora and fauna that we greatly enjoyed, despite having to duck inside during several afternoon rain showers.


Getting to the Bishop Museum from downtown was fairly simple via city bus and we left with a much greater awareness and appreciation for Hawaiian history. We highly recommend it!

Port 1: Hilo, Hawaii

After five days at sea, it was nice not only to see land but land that was somewhat familiar to us. As we approached Hilo on the east side of the big island of Hawaii, we had a great view of Mauna Kea that soon clouded over and remained so for the rest of the day.

Having already seen the volcanoes, waterfalls and beaches in the Hilo area during our 2013 visit, we elected to spend the day exploring downtown. First stop was the farmer’s market and it did not disappoint. We bought one of the floral arrangements and enjoyed it in our room all the way home.

Downtown Hilo is quaint andvery pedestrian friendly – walking from the Farmer’s Market to the Pacific Tsunami museum, we caught part of a band concert at an outdoor pavilion. The museum was great and we came away with a much better understanding of how tsunamis are a significant part of Hawaii’s history as well as how the Pacific Tsunami Warning System developed as a result. As Pacific island dwellers ourselves, it was particularly interesting and relevant.

From the museum, we made our way back to the ship with a few garden detours along the walk.


Jeff and I celebrate our 10th anniversary in December and decided to mark the milestone with a trip. After spending two lovely Christmases away with family, we knew we wanted to be home for the holidays this year. After looking at endless travel options on different continents, we decided that ease, rest, relaxation, limited complicated logistics and as little time in airports/on planes as possible were our top priorities. When a 17-day cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii and back aboard our favourite line (and on the same ship we took to Spain last year) went on super sale in August, the choice was an easy one to make.

On Sunday, October 1, we caught the ferry to the mainland and a bus to downtown Vancouver- three block walks on either end of the journey took us from our front door to Canada Place. The happy day was made greater with the surprise appearance of close friends on the ferry and lunch with a longtime (41 years and counting) friend in Vancouver before embarkation.

It was our first time sailing out of Vancouver harbour and while Jeff fell asleep and missed it, I stood out on the top deck (without a camera) for over an hour enjoying the scenery. There were rainbows and the most spectacular sunset.

#valhalla #rainbowbridge #stanleypark #lionsgatebridge #thor

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Our views en route to Hawaii also covered a full spectrum of sun, rain, clouds and more great sunsets.


Here are a few snaps of our time in Ottawa over Christmas.

Life On Van Island

Life On Van Island

Louise Bourgeois’ famous spider sculpture, Maman beside the National Gallery (below)

Life On Van Island

Life On Van Island Life On Van Island

Corridors (above) and ceiling (below) in Parliament

Life On Van Island

Life On Van Island

Library of Parliament

Life On Van Island

Rideau Canal locks between Parliament Hill and the Chateau Laurier

Life On Van Island

Jeff researched control theory for flexible link manipulators on the CanadArm while in grad school and was interested to finally see the whole thing in person at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. He thanks us all for not mentioning the fact that one of his early projects is now in a museum.