Round The World In 28 Days

Discussion in 'UK Trip Reports Board' started by dolphingirl47, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    No, this is a different design and it is shorter. I have the same gown in blue.

    I really like this photo.

    Corinna
     
  2. tiggrbaby

    tiggrbaby <font color=deeppink><marquee>We must work harder

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    Glad that the desserts got better as time went on!

    Love the black gown!
     
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  4. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    Sounds like a relaxing day of food and fun. I am so so so looking forward to doing that soon!
     
  5. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    The funny thing was that the desserts at lunch time were often pretty nice, but at dinner they continued to be mediocre.

    I hear you. Unfortunately we only have two sea days on the next cruise and there is so much to do on this ship. I can't wait to play with the bumper cars again.

    Corinna
     
  6. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Day 20

    We got woken up by the anchor chain that morning. We had arrived in Kona in plenty of time. We got up and ready, took everything we would need for the day and then we headed down to the Star Lounge, which was our assigned meeting place for the immigration formalities. Even though we got there earlier than the meeting time on the information leaflet, the Star Lounge was already pretty full. We managed to get seats near the front of the Star Lounge and ended up chatting with the Australian couple that were sitting next to us. I still had internet that morning so I made good use of this. The crew kept us updated with the progress and it did not take too long until they called people who had independent excursions booked. This kind of surprised me as Royal Caribbean always advertises their excursion by saying that you are first off the ship if you book your excursions through them. I thought this was nice of them to take care of people with independent excursions. I had expected that once they had made the final call for the independent excursions, they would then call excursions in the order of meeting times. However, they then announced that everybody else who was still in the Star Lounge should proceed to immigration. Graham and I just looked at each other. This suddenly had the potential of being a worse nightmare than what he had experienced in Boston.

    Because we were right at the front, we were one of the last people out of the Star Lounge and getting out of there was painful. The line did not seem to move at all. There were people behind us who had a meeting time for an excursion about 45 minutes away and they were quite worried. The line moved very slowly until we were through the forward elevator lobby and then it suddenly started to flow. They had set up a one-way system with people waiting for immigration on the right and people heading to get tender tickets or going to meeting points on the right. So we did not have the issue with people trying to get through. There were plenty of crew members around giving people updates. Just before we got to the dining room, there were members of crew that checked excursion tickets, passports and SeaPass cards. We were crossed off the manifest and then directed to the dining room. Just inside, another crew member checked the green forms. They had tables set up in that area and anybody who did not have the green form or who had filled it out wrong was sent to that table to fill it out. It did not take long at all from this point until we were seen by an immigration official. Once we had our stamps in the passport, we had to stop at another table that was manned by Royal Caribbean crew where we got a coloured sticker on our SeaPass card. This was it. We were both impressed with the process. We heard afterwards that the process was not quite as smooth for the US citizens, but we could not fault it.

    We were just debating what we should do for breakfast as we still had a fair amount of time until we had to meet in the theatre for our excursion. The cruise director made an announcement that everybody who had an excursion meeting time prior to 11:00 and had been processed by US immigration should make their way to the theatre as there were tenders waiting. We checked in and were initially told to find a seat, but while we were heading to where we had been pointed, we were called and headed down to the tender lobby. A tender was ready and waiting for us and after a short wait to allow everybody to get on board, we were on our way. In the end it had taken an hour from the time we were told to leave the Star Lounge until we went ashore in Kona. That was not bad at all.

    When we got on land, this is where it all came apart a little. When we got off the tender, the photographers were there. That was a nice surprise. In Boston last year, they could not have photographers in port as they had not cleared immigration when most people got off the ship. We stopped for photos and then went to a little square just outside the tender dock. There we found a very flustered member of crew with a clipboard. The poor woman was all by herself with upwards of 300 guests that were all milling around waiting for their excursions. It was all a bit chaotic. A few groups were called and left. At some stage our tour number was called, but I could not see were the crew member had disappeared to. Eventually I saw her again and went up to her and she said that somebody from the tour operator had collected people and she would contact them to come and get us. Nothing happened after this. We could see the catamaran off to the left so we used our initiative and walked over there. Nobody stopped us. They were still busy with checking people in so all was good. Soon it was our turn and we got checked in. We then managed to find a couple of seats under cover.

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  7. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    We ended up sitting with a couple from Australia who had just got off Radiance of the Seas a couple of days earlier and were now spending some time island hopping before returning home. They had some pretty rough weather. As soon as we were under way, breakfast was served. Be both had juice and coffee. I was delighted that they had some of the vanilla creamer that I like so much. Graham had croissant and pineapple and I had a slice of chocolate cake with melon, orange and pineapple. Then we just relaxed and enjoyed the scenery.

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    This had been marketed as a dolphin watch and snorkelling excursion, but unfortunately there were no dolphins in sight. We were soon approaching the snorkelling site and they were giving out snorkelling gear. We had brought our own. We were then provided with some guidelines on where we could go. Soon afterwards, the ship was anchored and we were free to go and enjoy ourselves. We have done a number of different snorkelling excursions over the year and this was the one with the easiest access to the water. There were three different options. There were a high dive board and a waterslide from the top deck. There was still quite a drop from the bottom of the waterslide so I gave this a miss. The third option was stairs leading from the lower deck to two platforms and they were very close to the water. That was very welcome indeed.

    Graham was in the water as soon as we were given the all clear and I was not far behind. We had been told that this would be like snorkelling in an aquarium. That was not quite my experience. We did see plenty of fish though and the water was nice and clear. At some stage, I went a bit too far out and was called back. I did not think that I had been that far out. That was a real shame as the reef was a little shallower there and there were some more colourful fish. I stayed in the same kind of area where I had been earlier for a while and then I decided to go around to the other side of the catamaran, but there was nothing interesting there. I started to feel a little chilly and decided to head back on the boat.

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    They had set up lunch. They had burgers with all kinds of toppings as well as salad, fruit and taro chips. I initially had planned to wait for Graham, who was still in the water. I decided to try a taro chip and to my surprise, I absolutely loved them. I saw Graham head back towards the catamaran at some stage, but he did not fancy leaving the water just yet. Instead, he made himself comfortable on a floating mat that they had put out. I was hungry so I decided to get a cheeseburger with taro chips. I later went back for seconds as this was really good. When Graham finally got back on the catamaran, they had started to tidy away they food and there were only veggie burgers left. He was not too impressed with this.

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    Shortly afterwards, they announced that if people wanted to have another go on the high dive board or the waterslide to do this now as we would be leaving in about 10 minutes. I found out then that our table was not the best place to be as every time somebody jumped, a wave was heading in our direction. The first one made me jump. Once we were on our way back, I went to the bathroom to get dried off and changed. I used the free Wi-Fi for a bit and then I joined Graham on the open part of the deck to enjoy the scenery on our way back into port. Unfortunately our luck had not improved where dolphins were concerned.

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    When we were docked, we said goodbye to our crew and then we went exploring for a bit. Kona is quite a charming little town. One of Graham’s favourite beers is brewed right in Kona. Before we left for this holiday, I had found out that they are doing brewery tours. I had not booked anything in advance as I was not sure how they day would pan out, but we were back in time for the last tour so we decided to head in this general direction. I had some rough directions, but for some reason the brewery did not show up on the tourist map that I had picked up. This seems a little strange as this is easily the biggest attraction in the area. I did go inside a restaurant that we passed and asked for directions and we were not that far away. As soon as we got to the brewery, we spotted the kiosk for the brewery tours. There were a few people in line. Unfortunately they had no available tours until the second half of the week. Just across from the kiosk was the podium for the beer garden. So we decided as we were there, it would be a shame not to have some beer. I am not a huge beer drinker. If I have a beer every couple of years, that is a lot for me. Still, I was quite tempted by their beer flight. We had a short wait to be seated. Graham ordered some nachos share and we both had a beer flight. I went with the Big Wave Golden Ale, which Graham likes so much; Koko Brown Ale; Pipeline Porter, which is brewed with Kona coffee and Hanalei Island IPA, which is brewed with orange, passion fruit and guava. Graham also had the Pipeline Porter and Big Wave Golden Ale, but also had Lavaman Red Ale and Black Sand Porter. I had expected that I would like the Koko Brown Ale the most as this is the style of beer that I usually gravitate to when I have a beer. I really liked the Hanalei Island IPA, which was very fruity and refreshing, but by favourite was the Pipeline Porter. Somehow the coffee mellowed it. I tried to use their complimentary internet to post an update for work, but I did not have any joy. Still, it was nice to just sit and enjoy the atmosphere. There was quite a lot of interesting wildlife around as well.

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    When we had finished our beer, we slowly made our way back to the ship. We saw all manner of beautiful flowers and birds. This was when I started to feel that I was actually in Hawaii. I wanted to have a look around the local ABC store. I bought a hair clip, which got worn quite a bit around the ship and Graham got a couple of Aloha shirts. I then stopped at the local Maui Divers store to pick a pearl. The pearl I got is quite pretty, but nothing special. I was looking at the pendant settings, but the ones I Iiked were all very expensive so I passed and just took the pearl. We then headed back to the tender dock. There were people standing and looking at the water near the entrance to the tender dock, so we had a look, too. There was a turtle there. This is the second time that we did a snorkelling excursion and saw nothing special only to see turtles right by the dock. The same had happened in Oman in 2015. We watched the turtle for a bit and then headed for the tender.

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  8. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    When we got back to the ship, we headed back to the cabin and rinsed out our swim stuff and snorkelling gear and had a quick shower. We then headed down to the Schooner Bar for afternoon trivia. The topic for this was literature, which was right up my street. I have a BA in English and European Literature and this is something I always felt passionate about. So I figured I would do well. We were invited to join one of my team mates from progressive trivia and her friends. We did do well and got a perfect score. The prize was a Royal Caribbean pen for everybody. I really wanted one of those and actually ended up with quite a few as most of the team gave me their pens.

    After the trivia, we went outside for a while as we were hoping for a decent sunset. Unfortunately the Big Island did not deliver for us. I think this was the first time I have been to Hawaii and have not had a stunning sunset. We then briefly headed back to the cabin before going to dinner. We had another tropical night. We stopped on the way for some photos. I really liked the backdrops that evening. Then we went to dinner.

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    I was not overly impressed with the appetizers that day so I ordered a half portion of the Fettuccine Alfredo. Graham had cream of cauliflower soup. For his main course, he went with the Steak Caesar Salad and I had the Beef Bourguignon with rice and broccoli. Graham passed on dessert, but I had some butter pecan ice cream. At some stage during dinner, Pirates invaded the dining room. I had to smile. Graham deprived our pirate of his hat and I have to admit it suited him.

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    After dinner we headed to the R Bar for a glass of White Zinfandel and then we went back to the cabin to read for a bit. It did not take long until our eyes started to fall shut and we got ready for bed.
     
  9. rndmr2

    rndmr2 DIS Veteran

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    Nice day in Kona! I liked Kona when I was in Hawaii years ago, it was cool, we were there during the Iron Man and we saw different parts during the day, we saw some of the swimming and then saw them setting up and getting ready to do the bike portion later.

    Too bad you didn't get to see any Dolphins on your tour but glad you had good snorkeling.

    YAY for winning the Afternoon Trivia this day!!

    Dinner looked good, I love that there seems to be a nice variety of soup on the ship, I really love soup. I look forward to having it most nights on cruises, that Cauliflower soup looked good.

    I like your dress this night, Love the shade of pink in those flowers.
     
  10. tiggrbaby

    tiggrbaby <font color=deeppink><marquee>We must work harder

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    What a lovely day! Your tropical attire is very pretty!
     
  11. Pinkocto

    Pinkocto DIS Veteran

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    The immigration bit would have probably stressed me. Glad it wasn’t too bad.

    How sad about the dolphins. Lovely just to get in the water though, and the food sounded good. The float Graham was on looked comfy!

    The beer garden sounded just the ticket after all that water fun.

    Well done on trivia!
     
  12. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    Nice that Immigration wasn't a nightmare like it was in Boston last time.

    The water you snorkeled in looks kind of murky, Graham sure looked comfortable on that float mat!

    I love your tropical outfits! The pictures came out great!
     
  13. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    I liked it, too. Previously, we have only been to Hilo on the Big Island.

    That sounds really cool.

    Oh well, this is just one of these things. We have seen plenty of wild dolphins over the years.

    I am a big soup fan myself. They always have two or three soups on the menu every night.

    Unfortunately I do not like cauliflower in any form.

    Thanks.

    It definitely was.

    Thanks.

    It was not bad at all by US standards. It was no worse than what I have experienced many times in Orlando or Los Angeles.

    He liked it. I was not brave enough to try.

    We enjoyed it very much.

    Thanks.

    We felt considerable relief at this.

    It was pretty clear. This was just how the light was reflecting.

    Thanks.

    Corinna
     
  14. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Day 21

    We were not in a huge rush that morning as we did not have to meet for our excursion until late morning. We were woken up by the anchor chain way before our alarm was set to go off. I noticed that the message light on the phone was blinking so I decided to check out what this was all about. It was somebody from the shore excursion desk to let us know that our morning whale watching excursion had changed to an afternoon excursion and to come and pick up our new tickets from the Shore Excursion Desk. I was not happy about this at all as this would not fit in with the rest of our plans. I settled back down and went back to sleep. About an hour later we were woken up again by somebody pushing something underneath our door. At that stage we decided it was time to get up. What had woken us up was the delivery of our new shore excursion tickets. I told Graham about the change of itinerary and we decided that we did not feel strong enough about this excursion to give up our beach and snorkelling time for this. The main motivation for booking this had been that it was short and cheap, but would give us tender priority. Tendering had never been an issue on this cruise and the tender priority went out of the window anyway with the afternoon departure. So we got up and ready and then headed down to the Shore Excursion Desk to cancel our excursion.

    There was a short line at the Shore Excursion Desk, but we were seen fairly quickly. We explained that the new time for our excursion did not work with the other plans we had for the day and the member of crew assisting us took both sets of tickets and said they would let the tour operator know that we would not be joining the tour. She also said that they would refund us as the new itinerary did not fit our plans. This was done a lightning speed as the refund was already showing when we got back to our cabin in the afternoon.

    With this out of the way, we headed up to the Windjammer for some breakfast. Graham had his usual porridge and poached eggs on toast washed down with some coffee. I had some marinated beef strips with poached eggs and hash browns and some milk. When I wanted to take some photos of breakfast, I had a bit of a panic. My wristlet with my mobile phone was nowhere to be found. Graham did not remember that I had it, but I clearly remembered picking it up before I left the cabin. We finished our breakfast and then we retraced our steps. I thought I may have put it down at the shore excursion desk, but it was not there. We then went back to the cabin and it was sitting on the desk. I remembered that I had left the room with only one envelope of shore excursion tickets and had to go back. I must have put my wristlet down when I picked up the second envelope. I was just glad that it was there. We got ourselves organized and then we headed downstairs to the tender lobby.

    As we made our way downstairs, there were announcements encouraging people who were ready to go ashore to make their way to the tender lobbies as there were tenders ready. Sure enough, when we got there, a tender was waiting. We waited about 10 minutes until the tender was full and then we were on our way. When we got off the tender, photographers were there and we stopped for photos. Then we went exploring. There were a number of kiosks in this area offering excursions. One caught our eyes, which was a ferry trip to one of the smaller islands, Lana’i. In the end, this was more than I really fancied spending so we decided against it. So we decided to just go with the flow and see where the day would lead us.

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    We headed towards the centre of the town. We did not have to walk very far until we came across something amazing. Near the port, they have a huge Banyan tree, which forms a natural pavilion. They have set up benches there and we spent a while just sitting there admiring our surroundings. After a while, bugs started to take an interest in us so we decided to move on.

    We then ended up on the main street through Lahaina and had a look around. Some jewellery in a window caught my eyes and I decided to go in the shop to have a closer look. I ended up with a beautiful rose gold plated plumeria pendant and matching earrings. I wear the pendant quite a lot. There was not much in this direction so we turned around and headed in the other direction. One of the things I was hoping to accomplish that day was getting my nails done. It did not take long until we saw a nail salon advertised. We went to check it out. Unfortunately the nail salon was closed. We did however come across a beautiful courtyard in the same complex with a beautiful koi pond. We stayed around for a while watching the fish before carrying on our wander.

    Lahaina is quite a nice mix of shops, restaurants, bars and galleries. Soon we stumbled upon markers pointing out historical landmarks and their history. We had not really expected this and enjoyed learning all about the history of the place. While we were walking along, we spotted a promising looking beach in the distance. So we decided to head in that direction. On the way, I finally found some Plumeria trees. I was happy. I just love the smell of Plumeria flowers. Soon we were parallel to the beach, but we had a walk a little further to find an access point. The beach was deep in a residential area. However, we know from past visits that all beaches in Hawaii are public land. So we knew that sooner or later, we would come across an access point. Suddenly we saw signs that there was no beach parking down a certain road. The fact that the sign was there meant that people may think there was and this most likely meant access to the beach. We walked a short distance down this road and found foot path down to the beach. The beach was very pretty and when we got there, nobody else was there. I rather liked our private beach. I sent Graham in to check the temperature of the water and then I followed him. We had brought the snorkelling gear and there were some interesting fish around. Unfortunately they tended to stay in the shadows so none of my photos came out. We must have been in the sea a good hour when the current got stronger and we decided to make our way back to the beach. We stayed in the shallows a little longer before getting out of the water and getting dried off. By then, more people had discovered the beach including some people from the ship. We were talking to one couple from the ship for a while and then we headed back towards the town.

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    We stopped at some more of the historical markers that we had missed on the way up. By then, we were ready for some lunch. On the way up, I had spotted a restaurant that had caught my eye. It was called Cheeseburger in Paradise and I thought that this was part of the chain of the same name. I had heard many good things about this and we decided to give this a try. I found out afterwards that this restaurant actually precedes the chain and that there was a law suit between the owner of this restaurant and the chain, which was settled. This meant that they could keep the name for this restaurant and one in Oahu, but were not able to use the name for any future restaurants that they may open. Well, the burgers in this locations most certainly not disappoint. Graham had a local IPA from the Maui Brewing company and I figured it was 5 o’clock somewhere and I was on holiday and had a Mai Tai, which was potent and delicious. Graham had the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger with fries and I had the Mac & Cheeseburger, which consisted of their classic cheeseburger topped with macaroni, homemade jalapeño cheese sauce, chopped bacon, and BBQ sauce. This also came with fries. I had held out some hopes for dessert, but we were both stuffed.

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  15. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    I wanted to do a little shopping. I was in the market for another couple of tropical dresses especially as my Aloha dress that I had bought in Honolulu in 2014 was getting a bit long in the tooth. I was also still looking for somewhere to get my nails done. Graham found a little beach near the restaurant and sent me off to do my shopping while he had another swim. I had a look around some shops, but I did not see anything I liked. I also had a look around a couple of the galleries and then I paid the local Lush store a visit. I was hoping that they may have some products I cannot get at home, but I was out of luck. I did however ask the member of staff there if she knew about any nail salons. She initially pointed me towards the one we had already found in the morning, but when I told her that this was closed, she wrote me down directions for another one. I went to the end of the block as there was a store there selling shave ice. I figured I would have room for a shave ice. This is not quite how it turned out. They also had Dole whip and this is what I went with in the end. I then headed back to where I had left Graham as this was on the way to the nail salon anyway. When I got there, Graham was sitting on a wall. He had had enough watery fun for one day.

    We headed off towards the nail salon only to find it close and boarded up. I was not doing too well on my quest to get my nails done. On our way there, I had spotted a Hilo Hattie store so I decided to check this out and I did find two dresses that I really liked. I paid for those and then I caught up with Graham, who had decided to wait for me outside. Just across the way was a Starbucks. We were both ready for something to drink and this also meant that I would have free Wi-Fi. Graham had a strawberry Frappuccino and I had a strawberry acai refresher. I also updated my blog for work using the free Wi-Fi. When we left, I spotted a nail salon opposite. Graham headed back to the ship and I went to get my nails done. I had a short wait, but I did not mind this at all. I got some discount as I came from the ship and only ended up paying $15 for a Shellac manicure and they did a great job, too.

    Once my nails were done, I started to make my way back to the ship. I had a look at another couple of shops, but did not find anything that took my fancy. I also stopped at the Banyan tree and took some photos. There was a bit of a line at the tender dock, but I was on the second tender back. I did not make it for the beginning of afternoon trivia. Graham and I had arranged to meet there. They were on the third question when I got there, but there was no sign of Graham. The topic for the trivia was Hawaii. The questions seemed pretty hard so I did not stick around. Instead I went in search of Graham. I found him on the helipad. I decided to join him. At some stage the ship turned and it got a little windy so we went down to the promenade deck. We were still living in hope for a nice sunset, but it was very cloudy and we soon gave up. We stopped by the Schooner Bar for a glass of wine. I finally got around to trying a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand that people kept raving about. It was very nice, but I still preferred the Caliterra.

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    When we had finished our wine, we went back to our cabin to get freshened up and changed and then we went for dinner. There were no photo opportunities that evening as we were due in port until midnight. So we went straight for dinner. I had a lentil and rosemary soup followed by cheddar sticks. Graham had some of the cheddar sticks, too. For his main course, he chose the roast chicken with vegetables and I had Pad Thai, which was very lovely. I saw grilled peaches with vanilla sauce on the menu and this sounded really nice. What I got were tinned peaches that quickly had a blowtorch passed over them. Even by cruise ship standards this was very disappointing. Graham did better with his trifle.

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    After dinner, we went back to our cabin. We had another towel animal. We read for a bit and then went to sleep. We thought we may get woken up when the ship left port, but we managed to sleep through until the morning.

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  16. Pinkocto

    Pinkocto DIS Veteran

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    How sad about the whale tour. Glad they quickly fixed this but still annoying to have to deal with it. Also glad your wristlet was safe in the room.

    Despite the change in plans your day sounded wonderful. The beach looked gorgeous. How fantastic to have it to yourself for a bit. The plumeria jewelry sounds like something I would have gotten as well, I love them too.

    Great price on the nails.

    Those twisted trees are absolutely fantastic, they look like they’re from another world.

    Shame on them and the canned peaches like that for dessert.
     
  17. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    Sounds like a very full day with lots 9f shopping and water fun. The burgers sounded really good and I glad you finally got your nails done. I'm assuming when you say shellac that is the sa me thing as gel. I paid twice that yesterday for my nails, but then again I go to a somewhat pricey salon.

    Too bad about the peaches dessert. I would hope that they would at least make desserts with fresh ingredients, but I guess that isn't the case.
     
  18. jedijill

    jedijill Chiefs fan living in Bronco country

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    What a lovely couple of days in Hawaii! The first day in Kona seemed a little chaotic but glad you were able to get to your excursion anyway. Hawaii is on my list of places to go back to for sure!

    Jill in CO
     
  19. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    We were not too upset. As I said, we never really had our heart set on this anyway.

    That was a considerable relief/

    We had a really nice chilled out day.

    This was the cheapest price I ever paid for getting my nails done.

    This is actually all one tree. I was absolutely captivated by this.

    I have fairly low expectations when it comes to cruise line dessert, but this was an absolute low point.

    Yes, Shellac is just a different brand of gel polish, which is cured under UV or LED lights. At home they use a brand called Gellish.

    I will pay twice this tomorrow, but with a Pound sign in front of the figure instead of a Dollar sign.

    I would have hoped so. Maybe they were running low on provisions and both Kona and Lahaina are tender ports.

    We thoroughly enjoyed them.

    We are planing to head back to Aulani next fall.

    Corinna
     
  20. Pinkocto

    Pinkocto DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Messages:
    9,304
    That's amazing!

    This sounds lovely :)
     
  21. Pinkocto

    Pinkocto DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Messages:
    9,304
    :bday:

    Hope you have a fabulous day!!!
     

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