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Seven Seas Mariner Hawaii-Tahiti Cruise, Days 9-12

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This is entry #3 of Snookums' journal of our Hawaii-Tahiti cruise, covering days 9-12.
The previous journal entry is here.
The next journal entry is here.
The home page of the cruise journal web site is here.

April 26 (Wednesday, Day 9)

Due to our Mariner Club membership, we were given a free shore excursion while in Honolulu. So, we boarded the tour bus and went to the USS Missouri. On September 2, 1945 the USS Missouri was chosen to be the stage for the signing of Japan’s Formal Instrument of Surrender bringing an end to World War II. The USS Missouri was also used during Desert Storm. We climbed all over it and I was amazed at how big a battleship is. I sure know that I like our current style of cruising much better than what life would have been like on “The Mighty Mo”!

On the Mighty Mo
After we toured the USS Missouri, the bus took us to Waikiki Beach for lunch at Hula Grill. This restaurant is above Duke’s and from our outside 2nd floor tables, we had a great view of the beach and Diamond Head Volcano. After lunch (and 20 minutes for shopping), we all got back on the bus to go back to the ship.

Filbert and I then wandered around the port tourist traps and went up to the free 10th floor observatory of Aloha Tower. From there we had great views (and all to ourselves since NO ONE else was there!) in all four directions.

The Mariner from the Aloha Tower
Neither of us would have paid for this 6 hour shore excursion, but since Honolulu doesn’t really offer snorkeling convenient to where we docked, we did the free trip and had a good time.

We gave our stewardess a very nice tip tonight and she was overjoyed. The ship has a no tipping policy, but tips are always appreciated. She kissed both of us and I’m sure we’ll be getting more flowers and chocolates on our pillows and anything else she can think of!

Our choice for dinner was the BBQ under the stars that the ship was hosting. They transformed the pool deck to a BBQ buffet. It started raining around 8 PM, but for just a few minutes so no one really gave up. At 8:30 PM, the entertainment started. It was the Halau Hula Olana Show which is a hula school for children. The kids were probably 8 – 14 and it was really amazing to see the whole group so in synch. They are world famous and have performed for Prince Charles and Princess Diana. (We were sitting on the deck above the pool deck for the best view and the sound system wasn’t that good so we didn’t hear the full introduction.) Blue Hawaiian drinks in real coconut shells were being passed around and everyone had a good time.

Filbert wanted to see us leave port at midnight for Maui so he sat on the balcony for about 2.5 hours and watched the harbor activities and the planes take off from Honolulu Airport. The Honolulu Harbor is where all the container ships load and unload for all of the islands. They can unload and load a container ship within 36 hours and get it out to sea. He had his short-wave radio, his camera, his pocket telescope and his beverage and he was in hog heaven! I, of course, was reading in bed and fell asleep shortly thereafter since cargo ships and airplanes bore me.

April 27 (Thursday, Day 10)

We dropped anchor in Maui this morning around 7 and we got up and had breakfast and got off the ship by 9. Our goal was to find a snorkeling tour on our own, but when we walked the Lahaina harbor front, we found that all of the snorkeling excursions left around 7. So, we took the $1 shuttle to Black Rock Beach by the Sheraton Maui in Ka’anapali and had a great time snorkeling and frolicking in the ocean. Filbert is still trying to figure out his mask and how to get it not to leak and I think he’s finally got it figured out! We’ll try again in Bora Bora (I think that’s our next stop where we can snorkel). We spent around 3.5 hours on the beach and neither of us got too sunburned.

We bought our obligatory painting for our travel wall at home. We found a good one of the world famous Banyan tree in Maui and since we sat under it three different times, it will be a good remembrance.

We returned to the ship around 3:30 and ran up to the pool grill to order our lunch of hamburgers before it closed at 4. We got back to the cabin, showered and decided to stay in for the night. Filbert got two DVDs. One was for me to watch (“Mean Creek” – a teen drama) while Filbert watched us sail away and the other one (“Adaptation” with Nicolas Cage) was for both of us to watch during dinner (when it’s dark outside and Filbert can’t see anything on the ocean).

April 28 (Friday, Day 11)

Today was basically a day off from having days off! We woke up around 7 AM and read the paper and I read my book, but we managed to get to breakfast right before it shut down at 10 AM. At breakfast, Mark, the maitre d’ of La Veranda (the informal restaurant on the pool deck) “helped” me by taking my can of Diet 7-Up that I brought with me and was getting ready to pour it in a glass of ice with a lime and a straw. He asked me first and I told him that this morning I was going to mix it with orange juice. They really do try to “predict” what people want and I told him that 99% of the time I want my Diet 7-Up with a lime and a straw, but that this morning I was going to mix it with orange juice. Even when they try to help, I manage to screw it up!

After breakfast we officially booked our next cruise (and Mom and Dad’s). The good thing is that not only will our remaining shipboard credit be applied to it, I can still shop around for different travel agents after I get home in order to get the best deals and perks. So, there is really no down side of booking it on the ship and you get an extra 5% off along with the other early booking bonuses.

We got back to the cabin around 12:30 and Filbert decided it was time for his nap! I watched the movie “White” (a comedy/drama with Robin Williams and a bunch of other stars – it was okay, but I’m not sure it ever made it to theatres since I hadn’t heard of it) and he took a two hour nap. We ordered room service for a late lunch at 3 (grilled salmon for Filbert and a chef’s salad for me) and then I worked out around 4 which was too soon after eating, but I survived.

Tonight was the Seven Seas Society reception for all returning guests so we went to that. Of the 550 guests on board, 360 are past cruisers with Regent. And, the average number of nights for the returning passengers is 60!!! Filbert and I will each have 34 after this cruise so we definitely brought the number down. They had 15 people on board with more than 350 nights and the most was a guy with around 430 nights on board the four Regent ships.

At the party we sat next to Bob and Pat, a couple that we had seen a lot before and they would always come up to us and say “It’s the Kissers”. Well, we finally got their names. The kissing thing is a running joke since they saw us kiss one time during a sunset and then they told us that they always kiss before they drink anything. So, now every time we see them (or they see us), both couples kiss. They live in Commerce City, Colorado and she went to Southwest High School in Kansas City—it’s a small world! She is 63 and was a TWA flight attendant for almost 20 years (starting in 1964 when I was born). Her husband is 75 and after he got out of the navy in 1955 or so, with nothing in his wallet, he bought some hogs from his then-father-in-law and managed to become what appears to be a millionaire by growing/owning farm-related businesses. It’s their second marriage for each and they’ve been married seven years.

It was a formal night and Filbert was able to order his escargots for an appetizer. We both ordered the Dover sole for dinner since our maitre d’ had told us that many people put in a special order for that (like we did for our Indian curry dinner). I can’t say I was too impressed since it was just an incredibly mild whitefish. Oh well. It wasn’t bad, but it just didn’t have too much flavor. But, since it was a whole Dover sole it was neat watching the waiter “fillet” it after it had been served to us.

The evening entertainment was supposed to be the ship’s singers/dancers, but due to the rocking and rolling of the ship, it was changed to the comedian. We thought we were going to attend the comedy show, but after dinner we were pooped from our strenuous (!) day and went to bed before 10 PM!!! The singers and dancers are going to be postponed to tomorrow night.

April 29 (Saturday, Day 12)

Today was another day at sea, with the difference being it rained off and on. But, it was still hot and muggy. It cleared around 3 PM so we went to the pool grill for a late lunch and found out that they changed the menu. No more plain hamburgers and hotdogs – now you can get bleu cheese burgers (the cheese is IN the hamburger) and spicy buffalo chicken wings. We tried both new items. The hamburger was great but the chicken wings were just fried chicken wings – no spice or sauce at all! We told the grill guy and he said that it was the chef’s first day making them so he didn’t marinate them very long (or at all!). Anyway, no problem.

Bill, a single guy that we see a lot on board, told us that at 2:30 AM his smoke detector went off due to the humidity in his cabin from sleeping with his balcony door open. He said he already wrote a letter of apology to his next door neighbors. I said that we didn’t hear it (he’s down the hall from us) and he said that meant that he didn’t need to write an apology to us! I thought it was pretty interesting that humidity would set off the smoke detector but he said that the front desk immediately knew what the problem was since it happens a lot.

Bill and the Paul Gauguin
Also about 3 PM, the ship’s motion smoothed out. I kind of like the rocking and it makes doing push-ups and sit-ups kind of fun/weird/different. Some of them are really, really easy and some of them are very hard – it just depends on which way the swell goes!

Filbert was a tad under the weather today so we ended up watching Nicolas Cage’s “The Weatherman” on the ship’s movie channel.

Dinner was the Mariner Club Gala Champagne Reception and Dinner and we sat Jim and Ann-Louise, a couple from Nevada that we’ve gotten to know, and with Dick and Jean from California. Dick and Jean’s grandson wants to go to University of North Dakota since it has the best aeronautical engineering program in the country so Dick pumped Filbert (who hails from South Dakota—close enough!) for all sorts of information. I think Filbert scared them with his winter stories of how Grand Forks gets down to –30 and that’s when the weather is considered “frigid” – I know it scared me! We closed the restaurant down since our table was the last to leave of the 90 or so guests that attended.

Earlier in the day, we gave our December letter regarding the Voyager cruise to Jerry and Lynn, the Mariner Club hosts on board. When they saw us at dinner, they couldn’t believe we had encountered all of those problems and Lynn said that we should have asked to speak to the captain. She said we would have been put right through to him, and he would have made sure that everything was taken care of. And here I thought that talking to the Guest Relations Manager at the front desk was good enough! So, in the future if we experience problems, we’ll go straight to the top based on advice from the expert.