We started our day off with a scenic tour of Oahu's famous North Shore, the legendary surf mecca. We stopped at Haleiwa, the social and artistic hub of the North Shore filled with cool surf shops and boutiques, great restaurants and charming art galleries. We visited famous surf spots, including Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach and Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline). During winter, these spots are known for monstrous waves reaching 20 to 40 feet. We finished the day with a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center.
We traveled from Waikiki toward Pearl Harbor and visited the Punchbowl Crater, home of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Traveling through downtown, we saw the state capitol building, the governor's mansion, Iolani Palace (the only royal palace in the United States) and the imposing King Kamehameha statue. From there, al visit to Pearl Harbor: a boat shuttle to the USS Arizona Memorial, a tour the USS Bowfin, the submarine known as the "Pearl Harbor Avenger," and the 60,000-ton battleship USS Missouri. Our afternoon continues at the Pacific Aviation Museum, within former WWII airplane hangars on Pearl Harbor's Ford Island with exhibits showcasing the stories behind WWII fighter planes and bombers and planes like an authentic Japanese Zero as well as a B-25B bomber
After checking out of our hotel we traveled to the Nu'uanu Pali Lookout. A magnificent stone terrace perched more than 1,000 feet above the Oahu coastline. The Pali Lookout is the site of the Battle of Nu'uanu, where in 1795 King Kamehameha I won the struggle that finally united Oahu under his rule. Next, the Kualoa Ranch. A drive showcasing the mystical and dramatic cliffs along the Ko'olau Mountain Range with cascading waterfalls and gorgeous ocean views, and we saw why this part of Oahu has been the location for numerous TV shows and movies. After our time at Kualoa Ranch we rode a catamaran fashioned after traditional Hawaiian canoes to an ancient Hawaiian fishpond where you will learned how early settlers cultivated and caught fish. And how they presently use oyster ponds where modern day cultivation is done using ancient techniques. We were given the opportunity to interact with demos showing the many uses of the taro plant, ti leaves and coconut palm fronds and the cultural history of hula and lei making and learning an an authentic hula dance. After lunch and Ocean Voyage tour aboard the catamaran we were transferred directly to the Port of Honolulu and the boarding of the Pride of America for our amazing 7-Day Hawai'i cruise.
We rented a car and drove to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We stopped at Jagger Museum for the view of the crater, drove down Chain of Craters Road and finished with a short hike. We came back and enjoyed a good sunset over Hilo Bay.