Thursday, February 29, 2024


Our next stop was Kona on the big island of Hawaii. We walked a bit over a mile to the Old Kona Airport Beach, a beach visited mainly by locals. I was hoping to find at least some snorkeling, but it turned out not to be a very good place for that. Still, it turned out to be a fairly uncrowded beach with scenic views. Although it's not too far from the tender boat docks, the heat and humidity made it a bit of a slog.

The above picture is a panorama best viewed in Google Photos. To do that, click on the picture which will take you to the album with the picture. Then click on the picture within the album and click on it again to enter viewing mode.

Next we headed to the Kona Brewing Company, not too far from the ship tender boat dock. Because the cruise ship was in port that day, they were very busy. We were lucky to get one of the first come, first served tables in the bar area. A restaurant table would have been a 45 minute wait. The food was pretty good, but the beer was even better. I tried a couple of their standard beers and a couple of the limited edition beers, all very good.

There were a couple of small beaches next to the pier where our tender boat docked. The larger of the two, suitable for sunbathing and offering beach chairs and umbrellas for rent, was very crowded. But on the other side of the pier was a very small spit of sand with a roped off swimming area. That turned out to be a nice place to snorkel. Since there weren't very many other swimmers it was also a nice place to get photos of a variety of fish.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the Kona photo album.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024


I always try to get up early enough to see us pull into Oahu harbor to get a shot of Diamondhead and the sunrise. Although I like the photo below, it wasn't quite as impressive as the last time we visited Oahu.

We'd booked a snorkeling trip that day. Elizabeth, who books most of our tours, is always great about booking snorkeling and beer tasting tours for us, even though she doesn't swim or drink alcohol. This tour took us to Turtle Canyon, just off the shore from Waikiki.

This was a nice tour, the captain and crew were great, but the area was pretty crowded with our group as well as other groups. It was a challenge to get pictures without random body parts from other snorkelers.

The snorkeling trip left from a dock about a mile from where our ship docked, so we walked there from the ship. Our ship wasn't leaving until later that evening so we had plenty of time to visit a nearby brewpub and brewery.

Our first stop was at Off the Wall, a brewpub with a nice selection of local beers. At this brewpub it's easy to sample as many beers as you want. You get a card which you then put in a slot above one of the beer taps and your account is charged by the ounce as you pour beer. It was a great place to sample a lot of different beers 4 to 5 ounces at a time from a variety of local breweries. I tried a few of the Belgian and IPAs as well as a pilsner.

At Off the Wall brewpub I'd avoided any of the Aloha Beer Company beers since I knew we'd be heading there next. It's tough to beat a flight of super fresh IPAs right from the source, and probably fresh from the brewing vat. You also get to taste some of the limited editions as well and the Froot Lupes was one of my favorite tastes of the day. They were all very good and, of course, super fresh.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the Oahu photo album

Tuesday, February 27, 2024


After four days at sea we arrived in Nawiliwili Kauai. As you can see in the photo below, the view going into the harbor was beautiful!

We hadn't booked any tours that day. Last time we'd done the helicopter tour, expensive but worth it. This time we chose to walk to the nearby Kalapaki Beach and just enjoy the view. There's a Duke's Kauai there as well, so we sat and I enjoyed a couple of Kona draft beers.

Heading out of the bay was also scenic. And after what seemed like too short of a stay, we were on our way to Oahu.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the Kauai photo album.

Friday, February 23, 2024

At Sea

Second day of cruise and first of four at sea days before we reach Hawaii. There are a lot of at sea days on this cruise, but once you get used to them you actually enjoy them. Especially if you're retired and not worrying about work. The weather is pretty rough but it helps to see a rainbow, especially the rare double rainbow shown below.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the At Sea photo album.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Hawaii Cruise - Leaving San Francisco

Our first day aboard the Crown Princess cruise ship for a 16 day cruise to Hawaii, with a stop in Ensenada Mexico. In case you didn't know, most cruise ships have to have a stop in at least one foreign port if they leave and return to an American port. That's why Hawaii cruises have a single stop in Mexico and most Alaska cruises have a single stop in Canada. When cruises to Alaska resumed in 2021 after the COVID shutdown, Canadian ports were not yet open and so congress passed a temporary law allowing cruise ships to go to and from Alaska without stopping in Canada.

Here we are looking out over San Francisco from our cabin balcony. You can see Coit Tower in the upper left of the picture. We were lucky to have a larger than usual balcony, though it didn't make a lot of difference. To tell you the truth, we rarely were on the balcony anyway. That's why we often stick with an ocean view cabin and use the money we save to book an extra cruise. Still, it was nice to have a ceiling to floor wall to wall window view of the outside world.

Princess cruise lines no longer specifies a boarding time and boarding group for passengers. Instead you can board anytime between 11am and 2pm, though that time may vary depending on when your ship arrives and departs. Nobody really paid attention to that boarding time anyway. In any case, it is usually a zoo when you arrive, especially in San Francisco. First you wait in a long line to drop off your luggage. Then you wait in another long line to go through security, get your medallion and board the ship. If you pay an extra $10 for shipping, Princess will mail you the medallion ahead of time, saving you some time. But to save even more time, arrive at around 1pm after the rush and you'll practically walk on without much of a wait. The only downside is that you have to settle for a late lunch or eat before boarding the ship.

Soon we were on our way, with scenic views of San Francisco, Alcatraz and of course, the Golden Gate Bridge.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the Leaving San Francisco photo album.

Friday, February 2, 2024

Back in San Francisco

Back home in San Francisco! I woke up early enough to get a picture just after we'd passed under the Golden Gate Bridge. The picture from last year was better though.

Back home in Port of San Francisco after an enjoyable 10 day cruise in Mexico!

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the Back in San Francisco photo album.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

At Sea

Our last days on the cruise and we were going through a part of the Pacific Ocean that, in my experience, often seems to be unsettled. In this case the ship was rocking enough to cause some very big waves in the pool, even though it was partially empty. They were actually in the process of emptying all of the water out of it for safety reasons.

The ship also had a "cooking" show, which was more of a comedy show, the last day at sea. That was followed by a parade of the wait staff and cooks coming on stage. This is all part of encouraging people to give the staff a good rating on the surveys that are sent out on the day you arrive home.

The Princess Theater stage show was followed by a parade around the Piazza, on a low mid-ship deck, where the staff waved flags indicating their home country. There were quite a variety of countries represented.

One of the main points of this show was to get people to provide high ratings for the cruise in general and also indicate one or more people who you think provided exceptional service. We generally keep track of the names of the people who we think provided great service. This in general includes our room steward, the wait staff, and often the hostesses. I know our cruise was off to a rocky start with blaring music in the hallways at 6:30am on the first morning of the cruise, and chaos in the dining room waiting area the first two nights. But they more than compensated for that during the remainder of the cruise and by the end of the cruise we had an assigned table and the hostess for the dining room remembered our names, which I find impressive given how many people are aboard and how frequently they get an entire new shipload of passengers. The crew really do work hard and the pay is not the best. Good recommendations can provide them with some perks, one being they're more likely to be rehired on future cruises.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the At Sea photo album.