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PNW Traveler

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About PNW Traveler

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    WA State, USA
  • Interests
    cruising and rving
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Royal Caribbean and Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Northern Europe and Panama Canal

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  1. PNW Traveler

    Kauai Beaches

    Kalapaki Beach is within walking distance of the dock at Nawiliwili. It's a public beach park with some rentals. There are food trucks and restaurants nearby. Just around the corner is the Marriott if you would like a more "resort experience." My personal favorite nearby is Lydgate Beach Park. It's a huge park with nice beaches and walking paths. It is easy to buy an inexpensive folding beach chair or straw beach mat at an ABC store or Walmart. Food trucks are common in the islands and are great for lunch. Markets (grocery stores, drug stores such as CVS) sell take-out and snacks for lunches and beach picnics. I would encourage you to try a local beach rather than a resort if you want a true Hawaiian beach day.
  2. The Kauai North Shore road has been closed due to storm damage. It's reopening! https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2019/06/07/kauais-north-shore-prepares-reopen-flood-damaged-kuhio-highway/
  3. If you look at a map or chart of the route between Victoria and Seattle you will see that you cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca. There can be a little chop in this area depending on wind and weather although it can also be "smooth as glass." Our most recent crossing of the Strait was early March and was definitely glassy water. You are not sailing the open waters of the Pacific Ocean so no ocean swells and big waves. We are long-time boaters (24' mostly) as well as being cruisers and know these waters well.
  4. No rough waters. You will not be sailing in open ocean, but instead be sailing inland waterways.
  5. Mango Thai by the Doubletree is very good with nice decor and ambiance. Cedarbrook Lodge offers a superb dining experience in the dining room with lower cost but excellent menu choices in the bar dining area. If you are willing to Uber, Wally's in nearby Des Moines has the best fish and chips and other fresh options, northwest nautical decor, a casual local favorite. These are local non-chain restaurants and some of my favorites. I live 30 minutes from SeaTac.
  6. I haven't taken the trolley but have visited all of the sites along its route. We spend much of January each year in the area of Wailua/Kapaa. I like the trolley's choice of sites to visit. They show the culture and tropical beauty of Kauai without making the long drive to the North Shore or the more touristy area around Poipu. Lydgate Beach Park is a beautiful beach park with walking trails, sheltered and calm swimming beaches, and food trucks. It is definitely a good hop-on-hop-off stop. The tour's ancient cultural sites are beautiful and easy to approach on foot. The pickup point for the tour at Kalapaki is walkable from the ship if you don't want to take the shuttle.
  7. We toured Cartagena with Dora the Explorer, customizing our tour and itinerary, two couples. Our tour guide worked for Dora and was one of the best private tour guides we have encountered in many years of international travel. Cartagena is a fascinating city with an old-world ambiance and vibrant culture. We allocated more travel dollars to this port and thus booked the private tour. Cartagena's weather is hot and humid year-round. Yes, we walked on our tour, but we also appreciated the tour driver's airconditioned car for point-to-point travel in the city. http://www.cartagenatour.com/
  8. Ovation of the Seas is Royal Caribbean's large ship that is new to Alaska cruising. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity are owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Perhaps Royal picks which of its ships gets the less premium dock. πŸ™‚ We have not experienced tender issues on our Alaska cruises. We may occasionally book an excursion through the cruise line in order to guarantee timely sightseeing., but for the most part, we try to depart the ship after lines have subsided and return to the ship at least an hour before the last scheduled tender.
  9. We live a fair distance south of Seattle and routinely use Shuttle Express. Because we are a bit out of the way for the regular mini busses we are often assigned a limo. I would not hesitate to book limos with this company for a family group. Shuttle Express offers discounted rates for AAA members or Veterans. The reduced rate is applied at the time of booking.
  10. Here's a chart for sunset and hours of daylight - Victoria, BC. Sunset is late in May. https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/canada/victoria?month=5 The downtown and inner harbor area are beautiful in May with abundant flowers. Even if you are unable to tour Butchart, the gardens surrounding the Fairmont Empress and Parliament Building are photo worthy. Many of the shops on Government Street stay open later when there is a cruise ship in port. Roger's Chocolates, Murchie's and Munro Books are some that have been open into the evening. Carriage rides are usually available at the corner by the Parliament Building. There are many cruise ships that dock in the late afternoon and depart late evening. Victoria tourism doe not shut down at 5 pm.
  11. Try the phone app "gas buddy." We travel throughout the U.S. and this app is a great help for price and location. Assuming you have google maps on your phone, you should be able to find a convenient station for a final fill-up. https://www.gasbuddy.com/GasPrices/Hawaii/Honolulu
  12. I have sailed for many years on Royal as gluten free. It is not difficult. Most of the ships now have a dedicated GF island in the Windjammer. Sometimes the dessert island has additional GF items, labeled. There are always fresh fruit choices, but more limited choices in GF desserts. The Windjammer will prepare GF toast for you. Ask at the center area of the Windjammer near the egg prep station. The toaster is dedicated GF and is prepared as a special order item. Sometimes it takes some time. If you have further questions re menu items, the Windjammer chef will walk you around the Windjammer and point out GF items. We eat most meals in the Windjammer as I seem to have better luck with GF there. On longer cruises the Windjammer manager has even brought freshy baked GF cookies to our table! The dining room requires a 24 hour pre-order for GF (dinner) and selections have been very limited. I bring GF crackers, GF nut and fruit bars and snacks that are prepackaged in individual portions for port days and excursions. Even if you complete Royal's "special needs form," you will need to be vigilant and proactive regarding food choices aboard ship.
  13. We have been in 9652, just next door to 9654, for a 16 day transatlantic. The stateroom was quiet. We viewed 9654 during the cruise and would not hesitate to book that stateroom. The balcony is oversized and protected from the wind. The ladder "obstruction" is the window washing equipment. During the ocean voyage it was not used. We did not feel it was a significant obstruction.
  14. The beach within walking distance is Kalapaki Beach Park. It"s near restaurants and food carts and an ABC store. Just beyond Kalapaki Beach is the Marriott Kauai Beach Club. All beaches in Hawaii are public, so you can also use the hotel's beach, just not their lounge chairs, pool, and such. The ABC store should have straw beach mats and beach towels and other beach sundries if you need.
  15. Even if you don't rent a convertible, consider driving with open windows. On all of the islands (excluding Oahu) the speed limits are lower. With the windows open I can smell the fragrant flowers, tropical air, and hear the birds and the surf. Each year we spend most of January on Kauai. Our rented condo doesn't have A/C and we don't need it. We don't use A/C in the car. We picnic on the beach, do our annual visit to Kilauea Lighthouse to watch the whales, frequent the local markets and food carts. My cousin who lives full-time on Maui says it best: "Hawaii is a feeling." This is just an opinion from a CC member who has lived in Hawaii and is lucky enough to be there each January! πŸ™‚
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