Philip M. Haggerty
Our next port was Lahaina and we used our cell phone to call the rental agency, which told us the van was on the way to pick us up and take us to the airport. Cell phones work well here. We drove up Mount Haleakala, over 10,000 feet of twisting but good roads. A favorite tour is to ride a bike down after being driven to the top, but we saw several people biking all the way up, and a few who we saw made it to the top. The diversity of Hawaii is surprising. As you go through different elevations the scenery changes. At about 3000 feet it looked like New England with deciduous trees, rolling hills and lots of cows. Hawaii is great for livestock. The views into the crater on Haleakala are good, and we could see the top of both Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island 80 miles to the south. This is a highly recommended trip, especially in your own vehicle. We looked all over Halakeala for the state bird, the endangered nene, which looks like a small goose, but found none. Towns along the north coast were well developed and looked like southern California. Real estate prices are sky high, especially on Maui. The ship stayed overnight in Lahaina, and the next day was my snorkel trip described above. [the only shore trip we bought was a snorkeling trip for me, purchased directly from the Pacific Whale Foundation for the internet price of a little over $68.00. Their trip was a double snorkel trip, the first part being to the island of Molokini, basically a small semicircle of a volcano top, off Maui; followed by lunch in the afternoon and a second dive on the ocean side of Lanai. This was a 7½ hour excursion, and quite a bargain as well as providing us with a truly wonderful diving experience at Molokini. The fish were plentiful at both sites, and the coral at Molokini was amazing in its color and variety. The internet provided a wide range of diving tours at almost every port.] Edith wandered around Lahaina which she reported to be hot and totally tourist oriented, nowhere nearly as interesting as the real Hawaiian towns we had seen the prior day. A lot of people went to a typical staged luau, which includes a show. The reviews were mixed, but most thought is was pretty expensive for what you got, especially since the ship put on the same type of Polynesian show as its regular offering, and there is of course no charge for that. There is a trip called “The road to Hana” which involves a long drive around Haleakela through a semi-tropical area with true “South Pacific“ hidden valleys and waterfalls. If you have your own transportation, you can probably enjoy it on the first day, since there is no worry about getting back to the ship on any time schedule. Infinity is very good about allowing early diners eat at the late seating on these nights. We plan on this trip on our next visit.