For most of the passengers (approx. 1700) on the Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas this was Day one of a 13-day cruise of the Hawaiian Islands and on to Seattle and Vancouver. For 155 other folks it was an extension of the 17-day cruise to Hawai’i from Sydney, Australia as they were staying on board for back-to-back sailings ending in Vancouver on May 13, 2011. For us, however it was a continuation of an adventure begun on January 4 when we set sail on a 45-day cruise to Sydney, Australia. We then spent 52 days touring the eastern half of the country before boarding the Rhapsody on April 14. We too were doing back-to-back sailings, the 17-days plus the 13-days to get us home again.
Honolulu is a familiar port for us. We have stopped here a few times and have been to Pearl Harbor, the military bases, Diamond Head, and other places of interest. On this turn-over day when one cruise ends and another begins we walked over to the Aloha Tower and climbed to the top to see the view.
The next day at 8:30 am we did a tour to the north shore of Oahu. We had never previously been outside the city so we were happy to have the chance to see more of the island. We drove across the island to the east coast on the H3 Interstate which is a 15 mile stretch of elevated freeway (built that way so as to not disturb the landscape) that links two military bases. There are no exits and no crossroads on this section of road.
The scenery on the drive was very reminiscent of the island of Kaua’i; tall, sharp mountainsides and thick vegetation.
We also went to Sunset Beach and saw two monk seals basking on the warm sand. Our guide was very excited. He said he had lived on the island for 40 years and had never seen a monk seal on the shore. I am not sure if that was true or not but the seals do prefer the northern islands, although we have seen them on the Big Island which is the most southern of the archipeligo. Beautiful day, beautiful beach. At Turtle Bay we, appropriately, saw Hawaian Green Sea Turtles. The Dole Pineapple Plantation in the middle of the island has the world’s largest maze. We didn’t think we would have enough time to solve it so we didn’t even start. The bus will only wait for a few minutes before leaving you behind. We were back onboard by 2:30 and worked on photos and read our books until dinner. After dinner was the mandatory muster for safety instructions and then we sailed out of Honolulu Harbour on our way to Kaua’i.