Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cruising Hilo Bay

As most of you know, I live over looking Hilo Bay and one of the things I love about living here is watching ships come and go. Most every morning I am up well before sunrise and in my office over looking the bay. Many times early arriving ships have all of their lights on and are quite a sight to see coming in with a sunrise for a backdrop. I like knowing who these ships are that are visiting us, and so after a little digging, I found some information for the ships that will be visiting us this week. On average we get 2-3 ships a week. This week we get three. On rare occasions (like last week) we even get two on the same day. Hilo is a very deep port and can accommodate the very large cruise ships. Here is what we are looking forward to seeing, starting tomorrow (Sunday) morning:

The Pride of America (Norwegian Cruise Line) arrives at 7 am on Sunday with it's brightly painted stars and stripes bringing 2,250 passengers and 900 crew. It will depart at 6 pm. Although the Norwegian Cruise Line Itinerary says it arrives at 8 am. The disembarking generally begins at two hours after docking and all passengers are to be on board two hours before departing. Gotta count those heads! It is a 7 day cruise and we are their first port after leaving Honolulu. From here they go to Lahaina Maui, then Kahului Maui, next on to Kona, then they spend the night at Kauai and finally head back to Honolulu. The Golden Princess (Princess Cruise Line) arrives at 7am on Monday with 2,400 passengers and 1,100 crew. It leaves our shores at 6 pm. This ship is on a 14 day cruise from LA and will visit Honolulu,Kauai (Nawiliiwili), and Maui (Lahaina) before heading to Ensenada Mexico and then to LA. Just in case you are wondering, it takes 4.5 days of sailing to reach Hawaii from LA, so those folks will be very happy to depart the ship when they arrive in Hilo. This same ship has another identical itinerary later in the month and will arrive in Hilo on the 23rd of February.

How does this look for fun? It is one of many activities aboard the Pride of America. Seems to me it is a counter sea sickness idea... This same ship goes to Alaska during the summers, so we only see her in the winter. On Tuesday at 7am the Mz. Zaandam (Holland America Line) arrives with 1400 passengers and 650 crew members. It departs at 5 pm. Here is how they describe their ship: Designed to carry fewer guests while providing more space for maximum comfort, the ms Zaandam is a prize in the mid-size ship category. Offering spacious public areas and plush accommodations, many staterooms have private verandahs(can't we say Lanais?). Here is a veranda stateroom:The musically themed ms Zaandam offers a unique shipboard atmosphere. Inspired by the world's great music, artifacts and memorabilia from a variety of musical genres decorate the ship. You'll find musical instruments such as Bill Clinton's saxophone and signed guitars from Queen, Iggy Pop, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones used as art objects throughout the ship. At the heart of the ms Zaandam, in a soaring three-story atrium: a Baroque-style Dutch pipe organ, inspired by the traditional barrel organs still found on the streets of The Netherlands. Enjoy an onboard IPod self-guided tour of the complete Zaandam art collection.This is the ship that is black on the bottom, most others that visit us are all white. Remember that these folks arrive in Hilo after 5 days at sea, we are their first glimpse of Hawaii. Just imagine walking thorough that ugly port as your first time on dry land in 5 days.

This is a real issue to me, because I believe that it is a shame that every week thousands of people are introduced to our little city in a most ugly manner. The port is almost three miles from downtown and 2 of those miles go through what is truly the most unattractive place in Hawaii with big ugly industrial buildings and other icky and sometimes smelly things. On top of that if we are getting a morning shower, they have no place to hide from the rain. Our town is not the Disneyesque Tropical Paradise that Kona or other ports are in the first place, and I like that about it, but taking people through the industrial waste land to get here is really pitiful.
Back to the ship…This ship is on a 15 day circle tour from San Diego, California; Visiting Hilo, Hawaii; Kona, Hawaii; Honolulu, Oahu, United States; Nawiliwili Kauai, Hawaii; Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii; Ensenada, Mexico. It will return on the same schedule two more times later in February and again in March. It also has a 21 day tour and a 19 day tour later in the year. The 21 day tour leaves April 6th from San Diego, California and visits; Hilo, Hawaii; Nawiliwili Kauai, Hawaii; Honolulu, Oahu, United States; Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii; Kona, Hawaii; Ensenada, Mexico; Avalon, Catalina Island; Astoria, Oregon; Victoria Canada; Vancouver, British Columbia.The 19 day tour in October leaves from Vancouver, British Columbia; and visits Victoria Canada; San Diego, California; Hilo, Hawaii; Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii; Nawiliwili Kauai, Hawaii; Honolulu, Oahu, United States; Kona, Hawaii; Ensenada, Mexico. The ship spends the summers in Alaska.
Here are a few pictures of the ships passing our house, the first one is of Valentine watching a ship come in on the Lanai off of my office:
Anchors Away!


Anonymous said...

Can you say "Norwalk"?

You bring up a good point about the tourists having to good through one of the uglier parts of Hilo.

The sad thing about the amount of time that the tourist have in port, really only gives them a chance to see just a few of the things this island has to offer.

It is interesting Walmart is a prime destination for these tourists when they get off ship.

I got our money maker... will talk about it on in the cruise ship section so we can keep "Lack" in the groove.

Anonymous said...

We always thought it was a shame one could not take one-way cruises to the islands, stay a while and then cruise back. Guess people are in too much of a hurry or just don't have time but we would prefer a leisurely cruise there over a cramped sky bus any day. Besides we like to chill and slow down a bit.

And Damon... I am so headed there next.