Latest Event Updates
Most of the high-end cruise lines hire a number of designated male escorts, many of whom are retired from other careers, to host tables at dinner and make sure the single women on their ships have a dance partner to get them kicking up their heels.
Crystal Cruises is known as an ultra-luxury cruise line that caters to their passengers, especially single passengers. Crystal offers some of the industry’s lowest single supplement fares. They host singles get-together, and a “Table for Eight” program that joins single cruisers together for dinner in specialty restaurants like Nobu Matsuhisa’s Silk Road and the Sushi Bar.
For years, Crystal Cruises have offered male dance hosts to entertain their single female passengers, now they are introducing female Ambassador Hostesses on select cruises to dance with male passengers. These women will help expand its Crystal Cruises popular onboard dancing program.
Hosts and hostesses dance with guests traveling with spouses or companions who don’t dance. They socialize with all guests, join singles dining tables, and accompany group excursions ashore.
These Ambassador Hostesses will debut on three Ballroom at Sea experiences in 2014 and 2015. Crystal Cruises has also doubled their usual number of four male dance hosts to eight hosts for these voyages.
Bret Bullock, Vice President of Entertainment at Crystal Cruises said, “A Crystal cruise is so inherently comfortable and luxurious for a single traveler.” Bullock added, “No matter how independent one is, one cannot ballroom dance without a partner.”
There is a Trans-Atlantic sailing on Dec. 11, 2015 that feature two Ambassador Hostesses to cha-cha, swing, and waltz with solo gentlemen during evening dance sets, live orchestra performances and dance classes in the ships’ posh lounges.
“Thanks to the suggestion of one of our popular dance instructors, we tested Ambassador Hostesses on a recent cruise and the response was fantastic,” said Bullock.
Crystal Cruises’ award-winning entertainment offerings include a range of venues and performances, from cabaret nightclub to piano basaloon; acclaimed productions to headline entertainers; and sophisticated enrichment activities to in-room Blu-ray-viewing, for all world travelers.
To learn more about these cruises, contact your travel agent or cruise specialist. Also you can go to: www.crystalcruises.com
A cruise from New Orleans is a great way to experience the vibrant city during Mardi Gras. Carnival season begins the first week in January and runs through Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Most visitors this year will plan to arrive before Saturday, March 1 in order to enjoy an extended weekend of festivities on March 4, 2014.
Most cruises from New Orleans range from four to seven days and sail to the western Caribbean. Guests flying into New Orleans might enjoy one or two nights at a hotel in the city near one of the parade routes.
We found the Hilton Riverside convenient to the cruise terminal and near great music, parades, the Harrah’s Casino, and restaurants.
Be sure to pack the Mardi Gras colors to wear while in New Orleans. The color purple represents justice. Green means faith, and gold symbolizes power. Here are some enticing cruises sailing along the Mississippi river to exotic destinations.
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival also has another ship that visits New Orleans often, the Carnival Sunshine. She sails to various ports in Western and Eastern Caribbean. Some of the itineraries include a visit to Montego Bay, Belize, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. Others Sunshine cruises start in New Orleans and sail to Key West, Bahamas-Freeport, Nassau, and back to New Orleans.
American Cruise Line
The Queen of the Mississippi sets sail from New Orleans for eight days to Oak Alley Plantation, Natchez, Vicksburg, Saint Francisville, Baton Rouge, Houmas House Plantation, and back to New Orleans with ten departure dates starting on February 15 through December 27. It’s an ideal Southern cruise to book as a Mardi Gras kickoff.
The Serenade of the Seas sails for seven days from New Orleans to Falmouth, Jamaica, George Town, Grand Caymans, and Cozumel, Mexico before coming back to New Orleans. There are three sailings during Carnival and before Mardi Gras.
Experience a small ship adventure on the Blount for a 15-day cruise from New Orleans to Chicago with stops in Mobile, Demopolis, Columbus, Pickwick Landing National Park, Kuttawa, Alton, Havana, Peoria, Joliet, and Chicago. This unique sailing is offered on May 15, 2014.
Norwegian Cruise Lines
From March to November the Norwegian Cruise Line sails from New Orleans to various destinations. On the Norwegian Jewel the ship sails down the Mississippi River to Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan, Costa Maya and back of to New Orleans on a seven day cruise.
On April 13, 2014 the Norwegian Jewel is sailing on a 22-day cruise from New Orleans to San Francisco through the Panama Canal and Mexican Riviera. Or stay onboard for the 34-day cruise and continue up to Vancouver, four ports in Alaska and finish in Seattle.
If you reserve a cruise after Mardi Gras, visit Mardi Gras World next to the Cruise Terminal. While watching a short movie about the history of Mardi Gras, and see many of the actual floats, it was entice you to book another cruise next year during Carnival season.
To find a cruise vacation, visit your travel agent of cruise specialist.
I can’t think of anything more romantic on Valentine’s Day than a cruise, especially if there is a bottle of champagne waiting for you in your cabin. For those living in Southern California, all you need to do is book one of the following cruises, drive to the Los Angeles or Long Beach port and celebrate with a glorious sailing along the Pacific Ocean. Here are some great itineraries for Valentine’s Day:
8 Days Mexico-Pacific Coast
Azamara Club Cruises is offering an 8-day cruise onboard the Azamara Quest. Visit Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Francisco, Ensenada and come back to Los Angeles. The departure day is February 10, 2014. The ship is mid-sized with a deck plan well suited to the needs of modern voyagers. Comfortable social spaces include bars, restaurants, lounges, a casino and cabaret shows. Attentive staff members offer complimentary bottled water, soft drink or fresh towel around the pool. Staterooms feature modern amenities, furnishings, and European linens. This ship has a large number of staterooms with verandas.
Four-day Carnival Cruise
Come home from your cruise on Valentine’s Day on the four-days Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Inspiration. Start on February 10, 2014 in Long Beach and sail to enjoy the shopping and sight-seeing of Santa Catalina island, then enjoy the Mexican flavors of Ensenada before coming back to Long Beach.
Sail on February 8, 2014 on the Sapphire Princess for 7 days from Los Angeles to enjoy the beauty of Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, and Ensenada before coming back to Los Angeles. On www.cruise.com I noticed inside cabins were priced under $500 per person.
7 Days Mexico-Round Trip
Carnival Cruise Lines has a 7 day Mexico cruise on the Carnival Miracle from Long Beach to Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and back to Long Beach, sailing the day after Valentine’s Day on February 15, 2014. Inside cabins are under $100 a day per person for double occupancy.
For the ultimate Valentine’s Day cruise, Holland American is offering a 30 Days Tahiti Cruise onboard the ms Statendam. On February 14, 2014 start in San Diego and sail to Honolulu, Lahaina, Hilo, and Kailua/Hawaii. Next cross the International Dateline before sailing to Fanning Island. The ship will cross the Equator and International Dateline again before reaching Bora Bora, Raiatea, Papeete/Polynesia, Moorea, Rangiroa/Polynesia, and Nuku Hiva. One more crossing the Equator before sailing back to San Diego. On www.cruise.com inside cabins are $115 per day, per person for double occupancy. Give a gift to your loved on Valentine’s Day that you will enjoy too.
Contact your favorite cruise specialist to book your cruise today.
The ultra-luxe Crystal Cruises is offering special deals with an airfare allowance of up to $800 on select Asia cruises, enabling guests to fly for less, whether air is purchased through Crystal or independently.
This special is available in conjunction with “Book Now” savings, the special offer expires January 3, 2014. The air credit is available with eight different 12- to 15-day Spring and Fall cruises that depart from Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney, Bali and Bangkok. Many of these cruises are new Crystal itineraries.
Additional value promotions are set for many of the diverse Asia cruises. Depending on the sailing, these special offers include a reduced single supplement fee of only a 10% surcharge. This is the lowest in the industry for guests traveling solo.
Another deal is kids sail for free if under the age of 17, when sharing a third berth accommodation with two adults.
Book your fare before January 3, 2014 to receive a savings of up to $2,500 off the cruise fare. Crystal Cruises is offering a complimentary hotel program for cruises with a three-day inclusive land program in Beijing and Angkor Wat in Thailand.
Here are some other deals that can be found on fourteen different 12-22-day cruises aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity with itineraries starting in China, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei in early and late 2014. Visit countries in Asia steeped in history, beauty and culture. Cruise fares begin at just $3,165.
For more information on the various Asia promotions and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit www.crystalcruises.com.
This article was published in the December 2013 issue of Not Born Yesterday.
Over the summer, Celebrity Cruise hit the road and visited various sites in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura, Riverside and even Palm Springs.
The “Taste of Modern Luxury Culinary & Spa Tour,” is Celebrity’s first-ever gourmet restaurant on wheels. Skilled chefs prepare dishes found on it’s fleet of 11 ships. The food truck menu offers crab cakes with roasted pepper capanota that tastes just like the dish served in the ships Tuscan Grille. Barbecued baby-back pork spring rolls with a chipotle Cole slaw are similar to the dish onboard at QSine and a grilled chicken with basil pesto panini is the same recipe served at the Porch. Each dish is $8 with a beverage.
Celebrity donates 50% of the food truck proceeds to a charity. Other menu items served are from the Celebrity Cruises’ signature restaurants Bistro on Five and Grand Epernay.
While waiting for your order to be prepared, Celebrity has an AquaSpa staff member offering free shoulder massages.
There are tables near the truck with stacks of brochures of upcoming Celebrity Cruise vacations. It’s a brilliant marketing campaign. I learned that the Celebrity Reflection ship is having a California Wine Festival at Sea this month while cruising the Eastern Caribbean. I also picked up brochures on 7 to 13 nights all-inclusive Galapagos cruise starting in January 2014.
While looking over the various cruises a Celebrity representative encouraged me to enter my name in a drawing to win a free Celebrity Cruise vacation.
If I win, I would take a Pacific Coastal sailing. Instead of flying, I could drive to the Los Angeles Port and board Celebrity Century to cruise to Santa Barbara, Monterey, Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico before returning to Los Angeles. To learn more about Celebrity Cruises contact your travel agent or go to www.celebritycruises.com.
The famous Irish writer Bernard Shaw once said, “Those who wish to see heaven on earth should come to Dubrovnik.” That statement enticed us as we booked a cruise with Adriatic Tours to cruise on the Princess Aloha.
Boarding the 125 ft. luxury ship in Dubrovnik’s passenger harbor, we immediately noticed how new and clean it looked. The four-story ship has 18 staterooms with twin or double beds on the first two floors. Above the staterooms is a dining room, bar and outdoor dining area. The top floor is an upper sun deck offering great views of the area.
Our week-long cruise had only 29 passengers and six staff members. Since there were seven of us traveling together, we were directed to our cabins 8, 10, and 11. Cabin eight is one of the few triple cabins. The appointments were nice with fluffy duvets, carpeting and beautiful wood paneling. Bathrooms are a decent size with a large shower. Rooms offer a safe, intercom telephone, mini bar, and satellite LCD television.
Our daily routine during the next eight days started with a buffet breakfast and eggs served to order. The fresh daily bread, fruit, cereals, yogurt, meat and cheese were fresh and plentiful. Next, we sailed to an island or secluded cove for a swim before a five-course sit down lunch either inside the dining area or outside in the covered salon.
Sailing to a new port after lunch, we walked on a tour through the city led by our cruise director, Martin, or a local guide. With a designated time to be back on board, we had a few minutes of free time before sailing to another medieval town.
Each night, we docked at a port and stayed overnight. After another walking tour, we were on our own to find a local Konoba, tavern or café for dinner. The engines fired up around 7 a.m. the next morning to sail away by breakfast the next day. It was quite an exciting and adventurous itinerary.
After touring the old town of Dubrovnik, we started our cruise with a sail to a cove for a swim before visiting Mljet Island and exploring its National Park with a saltwater lake and famous monastery.
The following morning we sailed away from Mljet to Brac Island and visited the charming town of Pucisca. We found a wonderful pizzeria right next to the boats in a harbor. Arriving back to the boat we were welcomed by an a’capella group.
The next morning we sailed away from Pucisca to the town of Omis. We swam and went for a walking tour. After lunch we sailed to Split to tour a Roman Palace, Cathedral and Jupiter Temple. We dined on our own at a café in the terrace of a Venetian style palace.
Day five we sailed from Split to the town of Bol on Brac Island. After another swim, we walked into Bol for a tour before sailing to the “St. Tropez” of Croatia, Hvar. In Hvar, we walked to the Franciscan monastery and had another swim. We found a charming Konuba in the old medieval town and walked along the plaza to watch all of the young revelers drinking, dancing and having a fun time.
On day six we sailed from Hvar to Korcula. In between we stopped twice for a swim off the back of the boat. We toured part of Marco Polo’s home and visited the historic St. Mark Cathedral before ordering three pizzas next to the waterfront.
On our last full day of sailing we entered the small town of Trstenik on the Pelljesac peninsula to tour Grgich winery with a wine tasting of their famous white and red wines. Wine maker Mike Grgich earned international respect when he gained international recognition at the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 when his Chardonnay produced at Chateau Montelena won first prize among white wines.
Next, we sailed to another swim stop before cruising back to Dubrovnik. WIth still one more night onboard before our departure the following morning, we had enough time to walk along the top of the old city wall and enjoy the historical sights.
Cruising on a small ship is a more intimate way to see a multitude of Dalmatian Islands. Sailing near the coastline, one appreciates the vineyards planted from the sea to the top of a mountain, ancient cities and secluded coves with turquoise blue water.
This article was published in the September 2013 issue of NOT BORN YESTERDAY.
Hong Kong China is a seamless fusion of East and West, rural and urban, traditional and modern. It’s an ideal port to begin or end a cruise. The Ocean Terminal is a major cruise terminal in Hong Kong accommodating many luxurious and elegant cruise vessels like the “Queen Elizabeth 2”.
Hong Kong is made up of three districts. Kowloon is one of the most densely populated places on the planet offering an array of places to shop, eat and sleep. The tourist-friendly Tsim Sha Tsui area is at the tip of the peninsula.
Hong Kong Island, across Victoria Harbor, is the city’s political and financial district offering stunning skyscrapers set against the towering slopes of Victoria Peak.
Before of after your cruise you may want to reserve a few nights stay at the Mandarin Oriental. Built in 1963, the majestic hotel is celebrating its 50th birthday. This 26 stories tall property offers stunning views of one of the world’s most exotic harbors.
General Manager, Jonas Schuermann and Director of Communications of the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong said, “In 2005, the hotel spent $150 million to renovate its guestrooms, 10 restaurants, and numerous public spaces, as well as to construct the Mandarin Spa. Now there are 71 individually-designed suites and 430 guest rooms with either exciting city or lovely harbor views.”
“There are two Michelin starred restaurants from legendary French chef Pierre Gagnaire at Pierre and Mandarin Grill +Bar serving classic grill dishes and seafood,” said Schuermann.
At the Man Wah restaurant, they serve Cantonese dishes. Krug champagne is served with tasting menus at The Krug Room.”
During 2013 to celebrate the hotel’s anniversary, Executive Chef Uwe Opocensky will offer exciting adaptations of 1960s’ dishes with a 21st century twist in the exclusive Krug Room. He has created the “Fruit Loops 2013,” Julia Childs-inspired “Beef Bourguignon”, “Baked Alaska” and “Ich bin ein Berliner”.
The Mandarin Oriental’s Spa and Wellness facility is a multi-level retreat with 8 treatment rooms. There are two couples suites with private steam showers and a jucuzzi. Treatments at the Spa range from around the world to traditional Chinese Medicine.
For those who enjoy a gym, there is a 24-hour fitness center with Hong Kong’s first Kinesis studio. Guests who enjoy swimming laps, can in the indoor pool. There is a salon for hair styling, manicures and pedicures. Men may go to the Mandarin barber for traditional male grooming.
“Hong Kong is 80% green,” added Schuermann. “There are wonderful hiking, biking and walking trails throughout the International Cosmopolitan City.”
Guests staying at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong during the 50th Anniversary from Sept. 1 to Dec. 29, 2013 should book the Fantastic and 50 accommodation package that includes many of the 1963 highlights, offering guests the ultimate 50thcelebratory stay. Included in the package are:
– Two nights in the Oriental Suite
– Airport transfers
– “Meet & Greet” service
– A welcome bottle of chilled champagne
– One Champagne Breakfast for two, served in the privacy of your own suite
– Special 1963 dinner menu, with a 21st century twist for two at the Mandarin Grill + Bar
– Golden Sparkling body spa treatment for two
– 1963 Port Flight for two in The Chinnery
– Two keepsake silver tankards engraved with your initials
– Breakfast for two at Clipper Lounge the following day
This special two nights’ package starts from HKD19,888 for the first night and HKD9,888 for the second night, for a minimum of two nights. This offer is subject to availability.
For further information visit the website: http://www.mandarinoriental.com/hongkong
This article was published in the August 2013 issue of Not Born Yesterday.
|The Port of San Diego welcomes over 190 cruise ships throughout the year. Most of the ships depart from San Diego’s B Street Cruise Ship Terminal.Seasonally, Holland America Line and Celebrity Cruises call San Diego theirhomeport. Other lines that will visit San Diego during the upcoming year include Princess, Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Line, and The World of ResidenSea.The B Street Cruise Ship Terminal is conveniently located in the very heart of vibrant downtown San Diego and a short distance from countless attractions.Recently, San Diego has been found on cruise ship itineraries that include the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, and even distant locales such as Tahiti.
Celebrity Cruises has the Celebrity Millennium sailing for 15 nights through the Panama Canal on Sept. 22, 2013. Celebrity also offers a 15 night Hawaiian cruise on Oct. 7, 2013.
Holland America is offering a 30-night Circle Hawaii, Tahiti and Marquesas on Oct. 4, 2013. Stay on longer for the 61-night to the Inca Emprires.
Before of after a cruise, stay overnight in one of the many resorts nearby. Two of my favorites, due to their convenient locations and Mission Bay views are Paradise Pointe and The Bahia Resort.
The Paradise Point is located on a 44-acre island, offering five swimming pools, beach bonfire pits, a marina with sail and motorboats to rent by the hour, half-day or full-day. Guests enjoy miniature golf and surrey bike rentals to explore the island. The award-winning Baleen restaurant offers California Bistro fare with views of sailboats along Mission Bay.
Bungalow-style hotel rooms offer a patio with garden or Mission Bay views.
Guests wanting to explore the nearby SeaWorld amusement park can skip long lines when they receive their park tickets at the resort and sail over to a VIP back entrance on the SeaWorld water taxi. From Memorial Day to Labor Day buy water taxi tickets at the Paradise Point Islands Market and head to the dock to hop onto the Paradise Point Water Taxi. The 15-minute Mission Bay cruises to SeaWorld’s exclusive back gate. Tickets are $10 for adults & $6 for children. All SeaWorld tickets purchased through Paradise Point are good for an entire week. To book a SeaWorld San Diego hotel package, call (800) 344-2626. 1404 Vacation Rd., San Diego, CA 92109. Go to http://www.paradisepoint.com
Bahia Resort Hotel
This older San Diego resort offers clean rooms with dynamite Mission Bay views. The Bahia Belle, a Mississippi-style sternwheeler boat cruises in Mission Bay from the Bahia’s sister resort, The Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa in a half-hour cruise. It stops at both the Bahia and Catamaran resorts. From 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. is the Family Hour cruise. Starting at 9:30 p.m. is the cocktail cruise until 12:30 a.m. on Sundays and 1 p.m. on Fri. and Sat.
Passengers can enjoy a cocktail at the Tangier Bar’s in the Bahia resort before boarding the Belle and can disembark at the Catamaran to enjoy entertainment at Moray’s Lounge and then re-board for more fun on the bay. Guests staying at either The Bahia or The Catamaran may enjoy complimentary cruises around Mission Bay, aboard the Bahia Belle. Non-hotel guests may buy tickets at the Catamaran Resort’s dock as they board for $10.00 for adults and $3.00 for children 12 years old and under. The Bahia Belle cruises Thursday through Sunday evenings in June. July and August it cruises 7 days a week. 998 West Mission Bay Drive, San Diego CA 92109 (858) 488-0551.
This article was published in the July 2013 issue of Not Born Yesterday.
To reserve your cruise vacation call a cruise line or a travel specialist to learn about special deals and hotel packages for cruises
The Riviera, which debuted in May 2012, is known as one of the most beautiful, elegant and sophisticated ships to debut in the past 50 years. Accommodations in every category are spacious and the bathrooms are lavish in comparison to many cruise ships.
Designer touches by American furniture designer Dakota Jackson of New York and S.B. Long Interiors of Greenwich, CT are everywhere, from the magnificent Lalique Grand Staircase and stunning Owner’s Suites furnished in Ralph Lauren. Three palatial suites exceed 2,000 square feet. Most of the staterooms offer balconies and all include the “Prestige Tranquility Bed,” with a pillow-top mattress wrapped in 1,000-thread-count Egyptian cotton linens and topped with a plush down comforter.
The Riviera is a comfortably mid-sized ship with a country club casual ambiance. Guest capacity is 1,250 passengers, double occupancy. With European Officers and an International staff, the guest to staff ratio is 1.57 to 1.
The Riviera is designed for lovers of fine dining and travel experiences. Riviera offer guests 10 restaurants options from French to Asian cuisine. Six are open-seating gourmet restaurants with no surcharge.
Facilities include a full-service Canyon Ranch SpaClub with indulgent body and spa treatments, fitness classes, consultations with fitness professionals and innovative health and wellness presentations to learn about healthy living. Enjoy Canyon Ranch dining selections on Oceania Cruises menus.
The Bon Appetit Culinary Center offers a hands-on cooking school at sea. La Reserve by Wine Spectator wine bar provides passengers exquisite wine and food pairings. The ship’s artists-in-residence in Artists Loft, is a new enrichment center. There is no children’s center or programming for kids. The Riviera is an adult-friendly cruise ship.
A popular Southern California cruise specialist agency, Worldview Travel, has teamed up with Executive Chef Bruno Serato, owner of Anaheim White House restaurant and founder of Caterina’s Club. His non-profit organization helps feed underprivileged kids and their families in Southern California. Worldview Travel and Chef Serato are offering a special deal on a 7-night Oceania Riviera “Ionian Passage Cruise.”
The cruise travels on October 18, 2013 from ancient Rome, Italy to romantic Venice. Passengers can wander through the narrow cobblestone streets of Amalfi, Positano, Sorrento and Capri. Visit the Teatro Greco in Taormina perched on the Sicilian cliffs, before reaching Greece and exploring charming Corfu and laid-back Zakynthos. Next, the ship cruises to Dubrovnik’s with its rich maritime history before reaching Venice on Oct. 25, 2013.
For passengers that committed to a cabin by April 30, Worldview Travel donated $500 to Caterina’s Club. Call to see if they are still offering 2 for 1 cruise fares, plus free airfare from major U.S. cities and a bonus savings of $700 per stateroom. Interested cruise passengers can contact Patti Carter at Worldview Travel at (714) 540-8726 or toll-free at (800) 627-8726. Worldview Travel has offices throughout Southern California.
Stepping away from your cruise ship in Oahu, you smell the fragrant plumeria and feel a warm tropical breeze as you get into your rental car or bus to Waikiki. Be sure to find a sandy beach for swimming in warm water, surfing and water activities.
Here’s a guide for fun excursions and activities to ensure a memorable vacation. Pick up a free “This Week in Oahu” magazine to receive discount coupons into many of these attractions.
- Book a whale and dolphin watching cruise on the Star of Honolulu. You will love the hula dancers and Hawaiian music. While cruising to Diamond Head, Waikiki beach is in the background for terrific photo opportunities. Children are free with a paid adult. www.starofhonolulu.com
- Visit the architecturally beautiful Bishop Museum. Built in the late 1800s, the Hawaiian Hall features three floors of the world’s largest collection of Polynesian culture and scientific artifacts. Inside the Mamiya Science Adventure Center has an erupting volcano. Families enjoy the melting lava demonstration and controlling submersibles in a deep-water tank. www.bishopmuseum.org
- Visit the Hilton Hawaiian Village to see colorful parrots, penguins, flamingos, turtles and large Koi fish. Take a walk from the Hilton, along a paved walkway into the heart of Waikiki.
- Grab a Mai Tai at the Outrigger Reef’s Shore Bird or Ocean House restaurant right next to the sand. Another favorite is the Outrigger Waikiki at Duke’s restaurant. Listen to live music nightly while watching people stroll board catamaran cruises, swim and surf along the famous Waikiki Beach.http://www.outrigger.com/hotels-resorts/hawaiian-islands/oahu-waikiki/
- Walk along the beach on Kalakaua Ave. to “the wall.” It’s next to Lifeguard tower 2F. Stroll out on the cement jetty to see Tilapia, Trumpet Fish and the Hawaiian Trigger fish. Nearby is the Waikiki Aquarium, located next to a living coral reef and home to the chambered nautilus and rare Hawaiian monk seals. It’s quaint and home to over 350 species of aquatic animals and plants. www.waquarium.org
- Across the street from “the wall” is the 40-acre Honolulu Zoo. Get up close to cheetahs, zebras, rhinos and giraffes in the African Savanna area. Nearby, the Keiki zoo allows little ones to crawl through the discovery center and pet domestic animals. The reptiles, birds and primate area are all worth a visit. www.honoluluzoo.org
- Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center to experience the food, entertainment and cultural demonstrations from six Polynesian islands: Fiji, Hawaii, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, and Tahiti. The canoe pageant in a beautiful tropical setting and hands-on activities in each village, appeals to every family member. www.polynesia.com.
- If you rent a car for a day, drive ten miles to the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve to snorkel in a horseshoe-shaped marine sanctuary filled with thousands of fish and marine life. Get to the park before 10am to avoid the crowds. There is an admission fee, but children under 13 are free. www.hanauma-bay-hawaii.com
For additional information, visit the Oahu Visitors Bureau, www.visit-oahu.com
Here are some cruise lines that will be cruising to Hawaii in 2013 –
Princess offers 14-day roundtrip sailings from San Pedro with a stop in Mexico. Guests have four full days at sea before arriving in Hilo. Next day is a full day to explore Honolulu before visiting Kauai and then Lahaina, Maui. Another four days at sea before waking up in Ensenada for a day of shopping and sightseeing and then back to San Pedro. Set sail on the Golden Princess April 11th or the 25th. It then repeats the cruise on September 29th, October 13th and 27th. http://www.princess.com
Holland America offers a similar cruise on April 6th for a 15-day cruise to the Hawaiian islands from the port of San Diego. This one stops in Hilo, Nawiliwili, Honolulu, Lahaina, and Kailua/Hawaii before sailing four days at sea and arriving in Ensenada, Mexico. From May to August they sail to other destination, however on September 22nd, the Holland America Rotterdam leaves San Diego for a 31 day cruise to the South Pacific. After visiting the Hawaiian Islands, the ship will cross the International dateline and dock at Fanning Island. Then after a day at sea and crossing the equator and international date line again, the Rotterdam will visit Rarotonga/Cook Islands, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Papeeta/Tahiti, Moorea, Rangiroa, and Nuku Hiva. On October 24th the Zaandam will cruise from San Diego to the Hawaiian Islands on a 14 day roundtrip sailing. www.hollandamerica.com
Crystal Cruises is offering a 14 day roundtrip cruise from Los Angeles on December 22nd to the Hawaiian Islands and a roundtrip, 24 day Mexican and Hawaiian Island cruise on Dec. 12th from the port Los Angeles. www.crystalcruises.com
If you want to fly to Honolulu, Norwegian Cruise Lines offers a 7-Day Hawaii cruise around the islands. Start from Honolulu in the evening and sail past the North coast of Molokai. The next day visit Maui, then two ports on the Big Island, Hilo and Kona. The last full day is on the island of Kauai, before returning back to Honolulu. www.ncl.com