Philip M. Haggerty
Since many cruisers will stay an extra day or so in Honolulu, it is appropriate to describe in our ports of call section of this review. A prime attraction is the USS Arizona Pearl Harbor Memorial. It is a U.S. Navy facility and operation, and is free and open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Do not bring any bags, even handbags or camera bags. Photos are permitted, its the bags that are seen as security risks. You line up for tickets and are given (not sold) a ticket for a specific tour in first come-first served order. The trips out to the Memorial across the harbor towards Ford Island are by navy run tenders, and they stop at about 4:00 in the afternoon. Since the number of people allowed on the Memorial is strictly limited by its size, unless you get there early, you may not be able to get a ticket. There is a small museum on land which can be visited freely at any time. We were a little late on Friday morning, and had not brought hats or sunscreen. So we decided not to wait, and to come back later. We went back at about 1:30 or 2:00 to see no line, but to find out that there were no more tickets available either. So our attempts to see them memorial were a failure, although we did enjoy the museum, which I enjoyed since I distinctly recall being the first in my family to hear the radio newscast that we had been attacked and telling my family who were reading the Sunday newspapers. The shopping on Waikiki is amazing. There are more stores, and more high end shopping than any place I have ever been except New York City. Since this was the start of the Christmas season, the stores were all open to 10:00 and jammed with customers, a substantial number of whom were apparently Japanese, and who were freely buying. But there were obviously a goodly number of locals and mainland tourists as well. The beach itself is not bad at all. The surf was not high here either, but the water, as in all the islands, is extremely clean, clear and pleasant for swimming. Traffic in Honolulu is bad, and driving is not much fun, but we got used to it in two days. One way streets are a special problem, and it is not always clear how you get onto the single in town freeway, H1, or where the exits will take you. If you shop at only one place in all the Islands, this place is Baileys Antiques and Aloha Shirts, Inc. This is a crowded, funky, marvelous store with more aloha shirts than you could imagine, including not only decently priced contemporary ones, but shirts from the 1940s running $150.00 and more. It is located at 517 Kapahulu Avenue, which is also the street fronting the Zoo, and is 90° to Kalakaua Avenue, the main street running along Waikiki beach to Diamondhead. I left my credit card at the store on my way out of town, and called them from the airport. They had found it and at my request, mailed it to our time share in Kailua. Like many places in the Islands, we found the tradespeople at Bailey’s to be extremely friendly and pleasant, and rather laid back rather than frantically trying to sell you things. Of course there are a number of Hilo Hattie’s, the trademark Hawaiian wear store chain. They carry a lot of decent quality merchandise without being terribly expensive, and would be our next choice for shopping. We ate at two good restaurants outside the hotel. One was the Sunset Grill in Restaurant Row, about halfway from downtown to Waikiki, and Kincaids, which is actually a chain restaurant, in a shopping center just west of Waikiki. Edith had a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner at the Sunset Grill, but, as in just about everyplace we ate in Hawaii, if they had fresh fish, that is what I chose, and in these two restaurants, with satisfaction. We drove around Diamondhead, but the timing did not work out well for climbing it, which we understand is spectacular if you get to the top at sunrise or sunset.