S: Our Honeymoon: The Hawaiian Islands - July 2011
BC: The End to another Beautiful Beginning
FC: Our Honeymoon | July 2011 | The Hawaiian Islands
1: The best things in life are the people we love... the places we've been... and the memories we've made along the way. May the memories of our first vacation as husband and wife always be treasured and never be forgotten.
2: On Wednesday, July 6, 2011, we left the Marriott at Newark International Airport to embark on our ten hour flight to Honolulu. Our seats were located over the wing. We were able to read, watch movies, play games, eat, sleep and get out of our seats to stretch and walk around. Looking out at the window, all we could see was white puffy clouds. We arrived in Honolulu earlier than expected. We took a taxi to the Marriott in Ko Olina, which cost us a pretty penny - $85.00. The taxi ride was interesting. The driver was an immigrant from Hong Kong. We were able to talk to the driver a lot because we were stuck in traffic. The driver pointed out the stadium where the Pro Bowl and Aloha bowl are held. | Day 1- Departure & Arrival
3: We arrived at the JW Marriott in Ko Olina, which was picturesque. The great thing about the hotel was that it was not in a super touristy area and it was about 30 minutes away from the city. The resort was beautiful. We checked into our room, which had a balcony overlooking the ocean. The style of the room reminded us of the decor at the Allegria Hotel in Long Beach, NY. Lots of ocean colors -- blues, tans etc. We took lots of pictures because we loved the room and it's beautiful views. After settling in, we ate dinner at the main restaurant and walked around the property. The pool and the lagoon were just perfect for what we wanted to do at the resort -- relax. We stayed up as late as we could to try and overcome our jet lag.
4: The Village of Ko Olina Oahu, Hawaii | July 6th - 9th
5: J.W. Marriott Ihilani Ko Olina Resort & Spa
8: We, of course, ended up waking up early because we were still on a New York time schedule. We went to eat at the breakfast buffet, which was great. They made fresh omlettes and even had a juicer to make your own juice with any kind of fruit you wanted. After breakfast, we went and checked into the spa, where we were able to take advantage of the spa services offered before our therapeutic couples massage. I used the steam room and the jacuzzi, or as the spa calls it, the roman pool. I met to ladies from Connecticut who were vacationing with their husbands, who were golfing at the time. One of the women was a teacher and specialized in Teaching the autistic population. We talked for a while about my brother Michael and I told the. I was o my honeymoon and we were talking about all the wedding details. Soon, it was time for my side by side massage with Matt. We both enjoyed it and we met at the upstairs lounge to chill out for a while. Then we went back to the room and went to hang out at the pool and lagoon. It was so nice and relaxing. We both decided to grab a beverage that was poured into a real pineapple as our glass. It was yummy. | Day 2 - Relaxation On Thursday, July 7, 2011 we woke up early because we were still on a New York time schedule. We went to eat at the breakfast buffet, which was great. They made fresh egg omlettes and even had a juicer to make your own juice with any kind of fruit you wanted. It was all so delicious. The highlight was that you could make waffles with coconut syrup and macadamia nuts on top. This was a definite favorite of ours. The bread pudding was pretty amazing as well. After breakfast, we went and checked into the spa, where we were able to take advantage of the spa services offered before our therapeutic couples massage. We made use of the separate men and women facilities and were able to enjoy the steam room and the jacuzzi, or as the spa calls it, the roman pool. Soon, it was time for our side by side
9: massages. We both enjoyed them and met at the upstairs lounge to chill out for a while. Then we went back to the room and went to hang out at the pool and lagoon. It was so nice and relaxing. We both decided to grab a beverage that was poured into a real pineapple as our glass. It was yummy. Since we had full use of the spa all day, we went back and took advantage of some more of the services. We got showered, dressed, and ready to go out to dinner at a local restaurant called Roy's, which is labeled as Asia fusion. We also visited the concierge desk at the hotel and decided to rent a car for the next day so we can go to Pearl Harbor and explore the island. We rented the car from enterprise because they had pick up and drop off service to the hotel, which was super convenient. After that, we walked around the hotel again and retired to bed, still fighting the jet lag.
12: On Friday, July 8, 2011, we woke up early again and ventured to the buffet. After breakfast, we were picked up by the rental car company to get our car and we headed off to Pearl Harbor. We arrived at Pearl Harbor and spent a while trying to find parking, but once we did, it was all good. We visited the bookstore, where there were Pearl Harbor Survivors autographing books. Matt was able to get a book for both him and his brother, Zack. We also took pictures with the men. | Day 3 - Pearl Harbor
13: Before visiting the memorial, we were able to visit the USS Missouri. We were given headphones with a corresponding remote that enabled us to type in a number once we found certain locations on the ship and listen to what the area of the ship was. After this, we went to the Pear Harbor Theater where they showed a film about the events. After the movie, we boarded a ferry boat that took us to the memorial, which was built over the sunken battleship, the USS Arizona. It was a great historical site to visit, but it was also sad. We both were looking forward to moving on to the rest of the island.
14: U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
16: U.S.S. Bowfin Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
18: After leaving Pearl Harbor, we headed to the north shore of Oahu. On the way there, we stopped at Kailiua Beach Park on the east coast that was named one of the top 5 white sandy beaches in the world. It was breathtaking. We were able to set up the tripod and take some pictures on the beach. Then we went swimming. The ocean was a nice temperature. The water was beautiful, but we were surprised that you could not completely see the bottom. | Day 3 Continued - White Sandy Beaches
19: After the beach, we continued driving along the east coast to the North Shore, where we stopped at Turtle Bay Resort, which was also the beach where they filmed the first season of the television show, Lost. We had dinner at a restaurant on the beach called OLA and took some nice pictures. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and stopped along the way to try and get pictures of the sunset. It was breathtaking!!! As you can imagine, we were exhausted!!! We did some light packing and went to bed.
20: Kailua Beach State Park
22: Turtle Bay Resort Kahuku, Oahu
24: On Saturday, July 9, 2011, we woke up early to return the rental car. Along the way, we stopped for breakfast at a place called ZIPPYS. It was kind of like a Denny's restaurant, but had Hawaiian food. After dropping off the car, the enterprise rep took us back to the hotel where we finished packing and got a taxi to the pier where we waited to board the NCL Pride of America Cruise. Our taxi driver was a very nice lady. We had an interesting time talking to her. She was talking to us about marriage and how her parents did not approve of the man she wanted to marry. Then she was asking us about the wedding because she loved hearing about the details. | Day 4 - Off to Sea
25: We checked our bags into the ship and took pictures with some of the boarding crew. Then we received our room keys/key cards and boarded the ship. We went to our room to put down our carry on bags and went to explore the ship and grab a quick bite to eat at the Waikki Bar and Grille, where there was a buffet. After eating, we went to check on our shore excursions and make some dinner reservations for the week. By the time we got back to our room, our luggage was available. We spent the rest of the night reading through the schedule of things to do, unpacking and settling in. We did get to walk around the ship and take some pictures, but we called it an early night because we knew we had to get up early the next morning for an excursion.
26: Norwegian Cruise Lines Pride of America
32: Days 5 & 6 - Snorkeling & Sun | On Sunday, July 10, 2011, we arrived at our first port today, Maui, Hawaii. We ate a nice breakfast and headed out to snorkel with the Pacific Whale Foundation. A portion of the proceeds from this excursion went towards the education of marine sciences. We snorkeled at Molokini Crater for an hour or so. It was great. The water was crystal clear and we were able to take pictures with our water camera. There was also a slide on the side of the boat which I utilized to exit the boat and splash into the water. We also snorkeled at another site, which was way too rough, so the captain of the ship called everyone back in.
33: We returned to the docks and went into the shops. We also went to this ice shop called Hula Cookies and Ice Cream. They make the most awesome ice cream cookie sandwich. It was macadamia nut ice cream with macadamia nut chocolate and white chips. We both shared one. It was delicious. On Monday, July 11, 2011, we took the free shuttle to the ABC Store and Hilo Hatties, where we purchased many of our souvenirs. Then We headed back to the ship and spent the day at the pool lounging, swimming, and drinking mojitos.
36: Day 7 - Volcanoes & Candy...Oh My!! | On, Tuesday, July 12, 2011, we docked on the Big Island in Hilo. We ate breakfast and disembarked the ship to join our tour guides to visit Big Island Candies and Volcano National Park. Our tour guide, Dennis, was very knowledgeable and familiarized us with the culture of Hawaii, including popular Hawaiian phrases, such as Aloha, which means both hello & goodbye, Mahalo, which means thank you, Shaka Shaka, which means everything is alright, and Cousin, which means family. We also learned that the state bird is the Nene and the state flower is the Hibiscus.
37: We sampled chocolates at Big Island Candies and purchased some souvenirs to take home. One popular treat in Hawaii is chocolate covered octopus. We picked up a small bag to bring home and try for ourselves. While visiting Volcano National Park, we were able to walk through lava tubes and see the steam banks, as well as walk around and check out the black rock formed by past eruptions. Our tour guide informed us that taking a rock home with us as a souvenir is bad luck, so we abstained from doing this. After the tour, we went into a museum in the park that showed the history and how volcanic activity is tracked.
44: Wednesday, July 13, 2011, we arrived in Kona and ate breakfast before disembarking the ship. In order to disembark the ship at this port, we had to take a separate boat to bring us over to the island of Kona because the water is too shallow for the ship to dock there. We got to the island a little earlier than the time of our excursion, so we were able to browse around the shops for a little bit. The ABC Store is great. They have so many different souvenirs and different island wines and alcohol to take home with you. Matt and I did not purchase the alcohol because you are not allowed to bring it on the ship with you. We will purchase when we come back to the Big Island. | Day 8 - Don't Look Down
45: Then, it was time for our excursion with UFO Parasailing. We were both excited and nervous. We went on the boat with a young college student who was by himself and a mom & her daughter. We boarded the boat and went out to the ocean. The young guy went first, then we went. We had the option to buy a picture package, which we purchased of course. So, we buckled up, strapped in and held on for dear life. It was like nothing we have ever done before. We were about 150 ft in the air. It was so peaceful flying over the calm waters that you could hear a pin drop. We were up in the air for about 12 minutes or so. Matt was trying not to look down. After the excursion, the tour guides gave us a memory card with our pictures on it to look at when we get back from the honeymoon.
50: We then ventured off the pier and went to lunch at the Kona Brewing Company. It was some good food and great beer. Matt did a beer tasting and was able to try all the brews. Kristie tried their wheat brew, which was infused with tropical juices -- delicious. After lunch, we walked around the cute shops on the Kona coast. Kristie purchased a nice Hawaiian style dress. We also purchased some souvenirs for our families. Then we headed back to the ship. After we showered, we went to the first improve show from the cast of the Second City. It was very funny. We then headed to bed anticipating our arrival in Kauai. | Day 8 - Continued...
52: On Thursday, July 14th, 2011, we arrived in Kauai. We got up early to take the free shuttle to UPS to ship all of our souvenirs we had purchased thus far so we did not have to worry about extra baggage on the plane. After UPS we caught the shuttle back to the ship and relaxed in our cabin before our zip-lining excursion with Backyard Adventure Tours. The tour commenced in the early afternoon. We met one of our tour guides, BJ, and loaded up in a van and went to their tour center where we got into our zip lining gear and ventured onto a 4-wheel drive open air vehicle with about ten other people. We rode for a short while on paved road and then a dirt road for about 15 minutes to the top of the mountain where the zip line course began. We also met our other tour guide, Pono. | Day 9 - Soaring In the Sky
53: We were about to zip line down seven different courses on the 2nd highest zip lines course in the world (the highest is in Honduras). BJ went before all the group members to test out the line and receive us at the other end. They also had a break system in case they needed to slow us down if we were going to fast. We both ended up going last. It was an amazing feeling. We both agreed that this was something we would do again. Six more courses later, we were finished. We got some great video of the both of us zip lining via our flipcam. We also got a few nice pictures at the end of the course where there is a nice stream. Then we headed back to the tour center, returned our gear, and headed back to the ship.
56: After getting back to the ship, we showered and relaxed for little while and went out again to explore the island. We took a trolly ride to a shopping center across the street from the Marriott Kauai Resort & Beach Club. We walked across because we were eager to see the resort and it's 5 acre long pool. This hotel was simply amazing!! It was right on the beach, it had 5 different restaurants, a botanical garden, and the pool was probably the most amazing pool we have ever seen in my life. We decided to eat dinner at one of the resort outdoor restaurants, Dukes Barefoot Beach Bar and Grille. It was delicious! | Day 9 - Continued...
57: Apparently, Hawaii is inundated with roosters. We had the pleasure of having dinner at the restaurant with a few of them. It was interesting, to say the least. After dinner, we walked down the pier and took some amazing pictures of the shorelines, waves, and the moon rising in the pink and light blue sky. Matt and I went shopping and purchased a really cute sign to put up when we have a home, with flip flops that say that friends are welcome and that family needs an appointment. Then we headed back to the ship and went to see an improv show put on by the cast members of Second City. They were hilarious and we enjoyed watching them. After the show, we retired to our cabins and called it a night.
60: Friday, July 15th, 2011, we woke up early to get a nice breakfast and head to the beach and pool by the Marriott we came across yesterday. We took the free shuttle that dropped us off at the anchor cove shops right next door and we walked the rest of the way. We swam in the pool and also went on the beach. After spending some time in the sun, it was time to head back to the ship where we showered and got ready to go to a murder mystery improv lunch starring the cast of second city. At lunch, we sat with one other couple and a woman who was one of the cast members girlfriends. It was a good time had by all. Lunch was not that great, but the experience was worth it. After lunch, we went back to the cabin, packed, and took a nice long nap. After our nap, we went to have dinner at the Asian Fusion restaurant on the ship. We originally wanted | Day 10 - Chillaxin in Kauai
61: the sushi bar, but there was a long wait. The food was good. We sat next to a couple from Rockville Center, NY and got to chatting with them. It turns out they also stayed at Ihilani Ko Olina Marriott before going on the cruise as well. Small world, eh? The couple was so nice. We told them that we were on our honeymoon and they had the waitress pour us a bottle of pinot grigio wine that they had purchased for themselves, but felt that we should have it instead. We were very appreciative of this. They wished us well and vice versa. They were celebrating almost 40 years of marriage. After dinner, we went to the last Second City improv show of the cruise. We really enjoyed watching them and wanted to end the cruise on a good note. Kristie volunteered to go up on stage to participate in an improv beer drinking contest. She played the part of Kristie from Oklahoma. Of course, she won the contest of the beer drinking air contest. The show overall was great. Afterwards, we returned to the cabin and went to bed.
64: Saturday, July 16, 2011, we disembarked the NCL Pride of America and went to Honolulu International Airport to catch a Hawaiian Airlines flight to Kona International Airport. The flight did not take long at all (approximately a 1/2 hour). After arriving in Kona, we took a taxi to the Marriott at Waikoloa Beach Resort and Spa, which was about 25 minutes north of the airport. Waikoloa is a community of both wealthy residents, tourist hotels and expensive shopping. Upon checking in, we received a discount card that entitled us to various discounts as gold members of | Day 11 - Abandon Ship
65: the Marriott rewards program. It's good to be gold I guess. After settling in, we went for a walk at the Queen Shopping Center and looked for something to eat we were led to the ABC Store, where we grabbed a deli sandwich, some snacks, and bought some souvenirs. We then went back to the hotel, did some laundry and walked the grounds. We went out to dinner at a sushi place that our cab driver recommended. We did not enjoy the sushi there at all. In fact, we both felt sick after eating there. Full of disappointment and the fact that we were tired from the traveling, we retired to bed earlier than usual.
68: On Sunday, July 17, 2011, we went to breakfast at the hotel restaurant, Hawaii Calls. We both enjoyed the breakfast buffet there, as it was our first breakfast not on the cruise ship. The rest of the day we spent at the pool, lounging, swimming, enjoying alcoholic beverages in our exclusive Marriott bamboo glasses, raiding the pool slide that all the kids love to use and just having lots of fun together. We attempted to rent a kayak at the beach, a short walk from the pool, but the winds were getting to rough to go kayaking in the ocean. The guy at the rental place suggested we go to the Hilton and rent one of the kayaks to use in the lagoon. | Day 12 - Laziness & Luau
69: We opted to try this when we visit the Hilton the day after for our dolphin swimming excursion. That evening, we went to the Luau at our hotel, which is rated #1 on the Big Island. It is the only luau that has an open bar. Because of my Marriott reward status, we received $20 off each ticket, which is an employee discount. We had our picture taken by a professional and purchased it later on in the evening. The food was good for a luau and dessert was also good. We loved all the coconut and macadamia nut flavors of these islands. Mmmmmm. The show they put on was wonderful and we got lots of great pictures.
72: On Monday, July 18, 2011, we woke up early and ventured to the Waikoloa Beach Hilton, where we enjoyed their huge breakfast buffet. It was delightful. The Hilton has a great reputation and is known as the best hotel on the island. It is so big that it has its own monorail system. After breakfast, we checked in with Dolphin Quest and had some extra time to kill before our session, so we walked around the property, scoped out the pool, lagoon, gardens and beach. We made our way back to dolphin quest where we stripped down to our bathing suits, put on our life vests, grabbed some goggles and headed down to the dolphin habitat, where we were welcomed by our trainers and 3 dolphins, including an 11-month old baby dolphin who was so cute. | Day 13 - Swimming with the Dolphins
73: We were able to pet them, feed them, watch them swim underneath us, and take pictures with them. We were also educated as to their habitat, behaviors, likes and dislikes. Matt had never encountered a dolphin before. He described it is an awesome experience and said that the dolphins skin felt like vinyl. The company gave us a free 5x7 picture in honor of our honeymoon. We also purchased a few other photographs that we just could not say no to (I get that from my mother). After our dolphin excursion, we went to the lagoon at the Hilton to rent the kyak. We saw some huge sea turtles and paddled by the waterfalls a few times. It was a cool experience. Matt's arms got tired and his legs were uncomfortable from sitting. Kristie's legs were uncomfortable at first, but she adjusted. After kayaking, we walked back to the Marriott , took a nap ate dinner at the hotel restaurant.
76: On Tuesday, July 20, 2011 we woke up early and rented a car. We drove all around the Big Island. Our journey began around 9am and ended around 10pm. A lot of the stops along the way were recommended in our Frommer's Hawaii guide. We headed south to Kona where we ate at a local joint known as the Aloha Cafe. It was great. I had a dish called the Loco Moco, which is a beef patty over fried rice with eggs over easy on top. It was delicious. After that, we stopped at a place called the Donkey Ball Factory, where they sell all kinds of chocolate covered macadamia nuts, oils, spices and rum cakes. We ended up purchasing a lot of our gifts from here and shipping them home....$125++ later. We were | Day 14 - Black Sand and Blue Skies
77: talking to the owner and decided to ask how he got into the business. Turns out that him and his wife are originally from Toms River, New Jersey. They moved to the Big Island after the kids grew older and moved out so they can start their own business. It worked out well we guess. Next, we headed to the Big Island Baking Company where we bought a cup of macadamia nut ice cream. Mmmmmm. They are well known for their banana bread. Along the way, we stopped at scenic points to take pictures. Our next big stop was the black sand beach, where we not only encountered lots of black sand, but also huge sea turtles just chilling on the rocks. We made sure to get lots of pics.
78: After this, we took a journey (got lost a few times) to the Big Island Grill. It was in the same shopping center of Walmart in Hilo. They had this awesome drink with Tahitian lime and coconut milk. Mmmmmm. We both ordered a sweet potato burger, which came with garlic fries cole slaw. It was worth the hassle to get there. We wanted to try and catch the sunset on the most northwestern point of the island. To get there, we had to travel a road known as 250. This road was scary, as it went around and up the mountain. At one point, we were about 5000 feet elevation and I came the closest to a cloud than we had ever been ( with the exception of an airplane of course). It was | Day 14 Continued...
79: amazing. At some points, we were above the clouds. Then it started to get dark and we both started getting nervous as we anticipated the approach of road 270, where we would be on solid ground and where our next stop was located. Well, we finally got there. A restaurant called Bamboo, which served up local fare and some really good drinks. They even sell their own drink mix. Matt and I agreed that this restaurant was probably the best, if not comparable to Duke's, that we have had during our whole trip. I guess we saved the best for last. After dinner, we headed back to Waikoloa Village and stopped at the ABC Store for some last minute souvenirs. Then we went to bed and saved the packing for the next morning.
90: Wednesday, July 21, 2011, we woke up early to finish packing and eat at the breakfast buffet. We had some time to relax on our balcony before leaving for the airport. We called for a shuttle to bring us to Kona International Airport. We hopped on our first flight, which went to Honolulu, and then had a layover. We ended up eating dinner at the airports Kona Brewing Company restaurant. We purchased food to bring on the plane with us in case we got hungry because it was an overnight flight. We both were able to catch up on sleep. Before we knew it, we arrived safely at Newark International Airport and our trip was officially ended. However, the rest of our lives as a married couple was ready to begin. | Day 15 - Home Bound