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Friday, April 10, 2009

Vacation Recap

As The Mr said the day after we returned from our wonderful vacation, re-entry is hard. We've been working to get back into the swing of things, but it's been slow this week.

I've been trying to put our 15 fabulous days into a blog. We did so many fun things and had such a fantastic time (and took so VERY MANY PICTURES) that I've really struggled. Here's a start anyway. When I get the pictures all organized and edited, I'll post a link. Until then,

"The Z and G Aloha Cruise 2009!"

  • Entertainment!  We enjoyed the wonderful production shows on the ship.  They also had a fantastic comedienne, a comic juggler, and several musicians.  Musicians also played throughout the ship at different times.  One of my favorites was the string quartet that played before and sometimes during dinner.

  • Snorkeling!  We went snorkeling in Kona's Kealakekua Bay.  Lots of very cool fish and coral.  Unfortunately, the water was super-cold!  

The Mr swimming with me in the frigid water!

  • Snow!  One of the highlights of our trip was visiting the Keck telescope at the summit atop Mauna Kea.  Hawaiians claim that Mauna Kea is technically the tallest moutain in the world.  It rises over 33,000 feet from the ocean floor, from which the height is measured.  It is 13,796 feet above sea level (quite an experience, making that journey)!   And wow!  It was COLD up there!!

  • History!  Another highlight was our tour of Pearl Harbor.  We visited the USS Arizona memorial.  Very moving.  We also went to a number of the sites that were bombed when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.  I was really glad that we had watched "Tora! Tora! Tora!", "Pearl Harbor" and "Midway" prior to going on our vacation.  Those movies, about WWII, really helped put the history in perspective.
The Arizona memorial from across the harbor.

Inside the memorial.

Flag flying over the Arizona.

This is The Mr and I in front of Richardson Hall, the headquarters of the US Army Pacific Division (nicknamed The Pineapple Pentagon).

You might remember this fountain from the movie Pearl Harbor.  It was shown when Ben Affleck's girlfriend (Kate Beckinsale) and best friend (Josh Hartnett) first met up again after Ben's character had apparently been killed.  (our guide told us that - I didn't remember)

  • Luaus!  We went to a fabulous luau and had, as you can see, an amazing sunset.  The food was wonderful and the show outstanding!

  • Movies!  One of our favorite tours was a Hollywood and Hawaii tour.  Many movies and television shows have been filmed on the island of Kauai.  Fantasy Island, Voodoo Island, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Amazing Race, South Pacific... just to name a few.

This is the waterfall in the opening scene of Fantasy Island. Wailua Falls.

This is Moloaa Bay, where the pilot episode of Gilligan's Island was filmed.  Also maybe the nicest place I've ever been.  

Parts of "South Pacific" was filmed here in Hanalei Bay.  

Elvis' "Blue Hawaii" was filmed at the Coco Palms resort on Kauai.  The Coco Palms has been closed since hurricane Inkiki wiped out much of the island.  We were able to tour the resort and we had our picture taken where Elvis was married in the movie (also glad we watched that movie before we left).

  • Road trip with friends  On Maui, we met up with friends Kellee and Larry, who took the day off to drive the road to Hana with us.  (Thanks again!!  We had a fantastic time!!!)  The road to Hana basically takes you around the perimeter of the island.  Such incredible scenery!

A grove of Rainbow Eucalyptus.

Madame Pele's Island

More beautiful and lush scenery.

  • Food  The food on the cruise was amazing, as always.  Here's a quick sample of some of the things we got to eat.

From the dessert extravaganza...
From our cooking class (my dad and sister actually made this dish!)
Beautiful and delicious pastry!

  • Special Dinners  One of our favorite parts of our cruises is our long relaxing dinners.  We chose a late dinner seating (8:00 PM) and chose a table with 3 extra seats.  We were so fortunate to have the charming Howard and Marie from Marina del Rey join our table.  They fit right in to our crazy family!  

    Also, on each of our four formal nights, we had an officer join our table (bringing free wine!).  We had a 3rd Engineer (Robert), the Hotel Manager (Paul - he is the guy in charge of everything that is not the actual ship), the Environmental Officer (Joe - fascinating guy, a retired Seattle police officer who lives on his sailboat when not living on the ships) and the Head of Security (Mark - from Bombay... quite handsome, and single...)
Pictured here... standing... My Sister, The Mr, and Me
                            seated... My Mom, My Dad, Marie and Howard

In this picture, we are joined by our wonderful wait staff, Gede, Mede and Ricardo.  We surely miss them!

  • Fun with the Family!  Of course the best part of a vacation is fun with the family!
Here I am helping my mom put on a new scarf.

We all did a 5K walk - On Deck for the Cure, in honor of my sister.

They've got a lot of art and fun seating around the ship.

We liked these Indonesian masks.

We learned to hula!  Here I am with my sister...

... and here is The Mr.

Hope you enjoyed a glimpse of our vacation.  Tomorrow I'll let you in on my favorite parts of cruising. Aloha!

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  1. Oh wow, I'm jealous! Looks like fun!

  2. OMG, these pics are amazing! Looks like you guys had a great time! I want that vacay!

    Thanks for the linky-love for the Giveaway, too!

  3. Your pictures of your trip are gorgeous! It makes me want to be there!

    I'm sorry to say I am so behind on reading blogs...I decided to change your blog name on my blog list so it will be at the top...instead of at the bottom starting with "z."