We are very fortunate that we have such a good group that we travel with.  It was so nice that for this trip both my sister and my niece came along with our travel group.  It was fun to be with both of them for the ten days we were in Hawaii.

We had all decided that the best way to see the islands was to do a cruise.  There was only one cruise line that starts in Hawaii and that was Norwegian Cruise Lines.  The ports for this cruise was Honolulu; Maui; Hilo; Kona and Kauai.

We went a few days early to explore Honolulu before taking off on our cruise. I do have to give a shout out to my niece for her stepping in on the flight out to help a passenger having a health issue.  She is a nurse and was the first to notice this man go down and she helped him until the plane could land and get him safely off the plane.  We were diverted to another airport to land so we were about an hour late for our connection to Hawaii.  However, Delta held our flight and we were able to make that connection.

Honolulu, on the island of Oahu’s south shore, is the capital of Hawaii and gateway to the U.S. island chain. The Waikiki neighborhood is its center for dining, nightlife and shopping, famed for its iconic crescent beach backed by palms and high-rise hotels, with volcanic Diamond Head crater looming in the distance. Sites relating to the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor include the USS Arizona Memorial.

Our first morning in Hawaii we decided to visit the Pearl Harbor Memorial. Millions of people from all over the world come to this majestic setting to see for themselves where World War II began for the United States on December 7, 1941.

Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 3,000 miles from the West Coast of America and 4,000 miles from Japan, Pearl Harbor serves as a central gathering place for the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, which consists of 9 historic locations in 3 of the westernmost United States – California, Alaska, and Hawaii. Of these, five are located within Pearl Harbor itself: the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Oklahoma Memorial, the USS Utah Memorial, and parts of Ford Island and Battleship Row.

The USS Arizona Memorial is a must-see destination for all individuals coming to Hawaii, drawing more than 1.8 million visitors each year from all over the world. Visitors are free to explore the grounds of the $65 million Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, which was expanded from the original 3 to 17 acres, in December of 2011.

We rented cars so it was easy to get about there and our next stop was The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific; also known as the Punchbowl Cemetery.   It serves as a memorial to honor those men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces , and those who have given their lives in doing so.  Millions of visitors visit the cemetery each year, and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hawaii.

Below is a picture of the view from the Punchbowl.

We then went to see Diamond Head State Monument which offers breathtaking views overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu.  The trail takes you to the edge of a 300,000 year old crater. This is a rather strenuous hike so some of us passed on this, but the others that did go up to the top said it was worth the hike up.  Again, I do not usually post pictures of our group, but this is one I couldn’t pass up posting and I hope they forgive me:)

We spent almost a whole day exploring the North Shore.  It was so worth our extra days on Honolulu exploring this area and I would highly recommend doing so.

Please join me next week as we start our Hawaiian cruise adventure!


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