Heavenly Hawaii (Part 1): Oahu(Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbor, Paradise Cove, Honolulu)

Picturesque view

Nothing is truer than Seeing-is-believing for Hawaii. If you have been to Hawaii, I congratulate you. If not yet, I hope you’ll get to.

Tender blue and brilliant sky, turquoise or sapphire blue water depending where you turn, lush and exotic greens and flowers, amazing marine organism, rolling verdant mountain ranges, blackened rocks lapped by windless yet splashing waves… Hawaiian Islands are sublimely beautiful, and truly wondrous as formations of undersea volcanoes. Thus is the summarized impression I take home from our vacation to Hawaii in Apr.

We flew to Honolulu a couple of days before our cruise, with Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America, so we had some time for Oahu. The ensuing week long cruise was spent between shore excursions every other day and activities/relaxing on the boat. At the end, it was a holiday too good to end and I grew a degree in favor of go a-cruising.

A picture is worth a thousand words and more than ever I am happy to share with you our journey via photos, selected from my reservoir of more than 800 and ordered chronologically.


Waikiki Beach

We stayed in an ocean front room at Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, which, located right across the street, is practically on the beach and has stunning views. The hotel’s location is also convenient with many shopping and dining nearby.

Waikiki Beach is the best beach of all that I encountered during this trip in terms of size and accessibility.

The traffic into Waikiki however can get frustrating as it was the case for us at one time. In an attempt to get back to our hotel from Pearl Harbor and have a little rest before catching our bus for a Luau, we took a taxi. After being stuck in traffic, watching the clock ticked to 70 minutes or so and the meter clicked to $60, we returned with only a few minutes to spare. This taxi ride, almost as long our $4 bus ride from hotel to, was certainly a strained experience in the least. With information we gain later, we were not far off to suspect that particular driver took the worst possible route.

Looking to the west from hotel balcony

Blazing sunset

Brightly colored sails foiled splendidly by different shades of blue from the sky and ocean

Looking to west from Waikiki beach in front of hotel

Diamond Head east to hotel-Viewed from the jetty in front of hotel

Guava tree on Kalakaua Blvd.

Pearl Harbor

Memorial Complex

Located at historical Pearl Harbor is Pearl Harbor Memorial Complex, which serves as an entry point to other monuments. Admission to the memorial complex is free. Once inside, you can purchase tickets for Battleship Missouri Memorial, USS Arizona Memorial, Aviation Museum and Bowfin Submarine. Bowfin Submarine can be accessed directly from the complex while the others located on Ford Island are accessed by bus and ferry.

Fan palm with berry-like fruits

Four WWII surviving veterans who stationed at Pearl Harbor were doing signing that day

The only bridge to Ford Island-A Naval base

Battleship Missouri and USS Arizona Memorial located north of Ford Island-Viewed from the complex

Bowfin Submarine

Battleship Missouri Memorial

We visited Battleship Missouri where Instrument of Surrender was signed by Japanese government and WWII was officially ended.

Fireboat splashing water signaled a submarine returning from 6-month duty

Instrument of Surrender

A Frigate returning from 6-month duty

Sailor’s quarter

Huge pots in kitchen

Captain’s quarter

Looking down to the big guns from the pilot deck

Luau at Paradise Cove

Paradise Cove is a gorgeous location by the ocean and we had a wonderful Luau on the day of our wedding anniversary.

Before booking with Paradise Cove, I browsed the internet and found mixed reviews about it, especially on the food and long wait for drinks. That might have lowered my expectation, but in any case, it turned out great for us, despite the fact that my husband lost his Ray Ben sunglasses close to the end of the event when it was already dark. Food was reasonable and the wait for drinks wasn’t that bad and I really enjoyed the views, activities and display and performance of Hawaiian culture.

Making a bracelet with orchids and plumerias

Participating in activities

Picturesque view

Natural arch

Imu Ceremony

Like a typical Hawaiian postcard

I’ve read that VOG makes Hawaiian sunset the most spectacular

Stage and dining area


View of downtown Honolulu from the ship

View of Honolulu from the ship

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