There are two cruise terminals in Honolulu: Honolulu Cruise Terminal and Terminal Pier 2. Honolulu Cruise Terminal has 2 locations where ships berth – Pier 10 and Pier 11. The two piers are adjacent to Aloha Tower Marketplace – a complex of shops and restaurants, overlooking the harbour. There are modern facilities for cruise passengers at the piers – there is luggage storage, porter service, restrooms and plenty of seating space. The nearest parking is about 0.7 miles from the piers. The terminal is only 4 miles, 10 min by car from the international airport. Traffic can be bad during peak times, so do allow extra time if you are arriving by car. There are a few public transportation options available. There is a “Red Line Trolley” that stops at Aloha Tower Marketplace, the local buses are called “TheBus” with an extensive network, there is a complimentary bus line to the Airport, called the “Wiki Wiki Shuttle and a taxi is easy and affordable to get as well.
Terminal Pier 2 is less than a mile south from Pier 10 and 11. As a rule a complimentary shuttle picks the passengers up and takes them to Aloha Tower Marketplace. In addition to the facilities mentioned above, there might also be dancers, performing traditional Hawaiian dances to welcome you in Honolulu. The terminal is less than a mile from Downtown Honolulu and 5.5 miles from the International Airport. There are convenient bus and train stops just outside of the terminal.
The local currency is the American dollar (USD). All major credit cards are accepted everywhere. There are ATMs everywhere as well and exchanging money is easy, however the rates at home in UK seem to be better than in the States, so do some research prior to travelling. Most banks and exchange shops also tend to charge commission. Most travellers prefer to withdraw money from their debit cards via ATMs, but if you decide to do that, make sure you have called your bank to say you would be abroad, and also are aware of any fees your bank may charge you for using your card abroad.
Opening hours and bank holidays. Most independent shops of Honolulu are open all week from 9 am to 6 pm. Banks and post offices would be open 9 am until 5 pm weekdays and would work until midday Saturday as well. The outlets near Waikiki beach, markets and tourist-related shops will be open as late as 10pm. There are a few bank holidays in Hawaii, and the banks and post offices will be closed, however most shopping malls and other outlets will work as normal.
Tipping culture is huge in Hawaii, as in the whole of the USA. As a general rule, you should tip any service staff. Many of them are paid low hourly rates and rely heavily on tips. Between 15 and 20% of the bill at a restaurant is considered normal but beware that some establishments include it in your bill, especially for larger groups. Hotel staff should also be tipped about a dollar per bag for the bellboy and about 2 USD per day for the housekeeper. Taxi drivers and spa saloon staff expects between 10% and 20% of the bill. Bartenders expect about a dollar per drink, more if the place is more upscale, and tour guides anything from 15 to 20%, depending on the length and the size of the group.
The local time in Honolulu is GMT-10 hours and the dialling code is +1 808.
Things To Do
The main reason for most travellers to go to Honolulu is the legendary Waikiki Beach. Only 2 miles from Terminal Pier 2, Waikiki is the main waterfront playground of the Island of Oahu. Apart from sunning yourself, swimming and snorkelling, you can enjoy the (many of them free) Hawaiian music and dance performances, learn how to make a “lei”, hang out at the saltwater Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, try one of the many water sports, and if you overnight in Honolulu, admire a mesmerizing sunset. There is 10-minute fireworks display every Friday night, best seen from the lagoon and the nearby beach.
When you are ready to peel yourself off the beach and would like to see the most recognizable landmark of the islands of Hawaii, head to the Diamond Head. A dormant volcano, this is now the most popular hike for visitors, as well as locals and it gives you the best picture opportunity at 232m (762ft) of height. On a clear day, you can see as far as the nearby island of Molokai. An interesting fact is that the mountain got its name from some calcite crystals, found at the base by British soldiers, who initially thought they have discovered diamonds. Hawaiians actually call the mountain Le’Ahi – the brow of the tuna fish – as it looks like the back and the fin of a tuna fish from a distance. The hike to the crater is a moderate one, and it would take between 30 and 60 minutes each way, depending on your pace. There is a second, more challenging hike in Oahu, the Koko Head Trail, with about 1000 steps before you reach the top.
Pearl Harbour is the historic site where Japanese soldiers lounged a surprise air attack over the American military base and started the World War II on 7th of December 1941. This date was later called “a date which will live in infamy” by President Roosevelt. There are five sites to see – the WWII Valor in the Pacific (USS Arizona Memorial), Battleship Missouri Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, USS Oklahoma Memorial and the Pacific Aviation Museum. A visit to the sites may take a whole day and will give you an insight and a different prospective of the war.
If time permits and you would like to explore more of the beaches of Oahu, head to any of the island’s 125 of them – they are all different and wonderful in their own way. Head to Waimea Beach to watch surfers. Lanikai Beach has ben voted as one of the best beaches in the world. Sunset beach is popular for the most picturesque sunsets. Pokai Bay is one of the less visited spots of Oahu, so head there for privacy. Makapu’u Beach is the best spot for body surfers and makes the best pictures with the black mountain that towers over it.
The love of the outdoor and sun, sea and sand runs through many of the recommended activities on the Island. The Manooa Falls hike is another moderate one, only 1.6 miles round trip to reveal a fascinating 150 feet waterfall. The walk to the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail will reward you not only with stunning views of the shore and nearby islands, but also with the opportunity to see humpback whales from December through May. Hanauma Bay Reserve is a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park since 1967 and the second most visited beach after Waikiki. This curved bay is a home to more than 300 Hawaiian species of fish, living in the shallow coral reef and provides the best snorkelling and diving experience on the island. There is also dolphin, Hawaiian monk seals and sea turtles watching on the island for the nature lovers.
If you would like to learn more about the unique culture and history of Hawaii and Oahu, head over to the Honolulu Museum of Art. This is the largest museum in the state of Hawaii and the largest single collection of Asian and Pan-Pacific art in the USA, displaying more than 50,000 pieces of art. Check out the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum or the Hawaii State Museum of Natural and Cultural History – a home to the largest collection of Polynesian cultural artefacts and natural history specimens. The museum was founded by the American husband of the last descendant of king Kamehameha I – Bernice Pauahi. Doris Duke’s Shangri La Palace is an opulent mansion of the daughter and heiress of the founder of Lucky strike cigarettes. Today it’s operated by Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and displays about 2500 art pieces and interior elements from Iran, Morocco, Turkey, Spain, Syria, Egypt and India. The Iolani Palace is the only official royal residence in the USA, former residence of the Kingdom’s last two monarchs – King Kalakaua and his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani. This beautiful building, influenced by European architectural styles, contains an elegant koa staircase, portraits of the Royal Hawaiian family, original furniture and royal gifts from around the world.
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