Back in Honolulu, Switching from Ship to Hotel

Saturday evening was a busy night for most of the passengers on the Celebrity Solstice, but not in a good way. For about 2,400 of the 2,800, this was our last night on the ship – on Sunday morning we had to disembark in Honolulu. The other 400 would continue to Australia on her.

For many, it was the end of their vacation, and flights home were booked for Sunday. Cathy and I chose to stay in Honolulu for 4 nights, though, as the ship had allowed for no good beach time, and we couldn’t imagine leaving the islands without some time enjoying the sand and sea as well as the sun.

When I looked out our cabin windows at 06:05 Sunday morning, we were already well past Diamond Head. We were in no hurry at all to get off the ship, so had booked the latest possible disembarkation time – 9:30. That would give us a relaxing morning, and might even allow for an early checkin at our hotel.
Diamond Head - Honolulu, Hawai'i
Approaching the harbor 5 minutes later.
Approaching Honolulu Harbor, Hawai'i
There were lots of people already out enjoying the warm water as the sun came up.
Aa Moana Park - Honolulu, Hawai'i
A few hundred cars had been gathered in the container yard beside the pier we docked at, and this group, 100 or so, were all damaged, some badly. I’m curious as to why they were there. I initially thought they it was a rental fleet, but a few didn’t looked like rental cars.
Damaged cars at Honolulu, Hawaii
As we docked, Holland America’s Oosterdam was approaching – she too was on a repositioning sailing to Australia.
Holland America's Oosterdam approaching Honolulu, Hawaii
Just before 08:00, the 2 Atlantis submarines (of the tourist type) were being towed past us, out towards Diamond Head somewhere.
Atlantis tourist submarine at Honolulu, Hawaii
Cathy and I love the canopied hammocks on the ship, and decided to spend one more morning there. MJ and Jim joined us there while we waited for our disembarkation time.
Canopied hammock on the Celebrity Solstice
The ship’s crew was very busy as we relaxed. They had to make the ship perfect for the passengers who would soon be boarding. Although everything was already clean, it was all cleaned again, including getting a few grains of dried salt off the windows.
Window cleaning on the Celebrity Solstice
Fifteen minutes before the allocated time, the 4 of us went to the main dining room as requested, to await the call to disembark.
Main dining room on the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice
We were group #35 to leave the ship that morning, with perhaps 60 people in each group. That makes disembarkation so easy, so stress-free. As we were leaving, a large team of agents was being briefed for the arrival of 2,400 new passengers starting in about 90 minutes.
Disembarking a cruise ship at Honolulu, Hawai'i
Even finding our luggage was easy – all the bags were set out in groups matching our numbers. I overheard a Celebrity agent phone a woman, who had already left in a taxi from what I heard, to tell her that she’d forgotten a bag there. That’s impressive luggage control!
Disembarking a cruise ship at Honolulu, Hawai'i
Unfortunately, with 2 large cruise ships docking at the same time, that’s where the efficiency ended. We needed 2 taxis, and the lineup was very long. I spotted a Hertz shuttle bus, and instead of waiting for a taxi, Jim and I caught it to the airport to get the Hertz car he had rented, while Cathy and MJ had to wait 45 minutes in the heat to get a taxi to our hotel.
Disembarking a cruise ship at Honolulu, Hawai'i
The rental car area at the Honolulu airport is quite easy to find and navigate.
Getting a rental car at Honolulu airport, Hawaii
Right in front of the generic silver rental car Jim had been assigned, this Challenger RT was waiting. Aw come on, Jim, see if you can get an upgrade – I’ll even drive it for you! 🙂
Challenger RT rental car at Honolulu, Hawaii
The traffic in greater Honolulu is quite bad, although it doesn’t look it in this photo taken on H1. I was surprised by the size of the freeways, but also by the speed limits – 45 mph is the norm, and you can see a sign reducing it to 35 in this photo. Given the short distances involved, I suppose that 45 is reasonable, but those signs look funny on a freeway.
Freeway H1 in Honolulu, Hawaii
Jim and I got to the beachfront hotel that Cathy and I had booked, the Outrigger Reef on the Beach, just before 11:30, and within a half hour the 4 of us were checking out our room, #1436. It’s a mid-priced room, with a partial ocean view which we’re very pleased with. The beach isn’t a priority for MJ and Jim, so they booked a much cheaper condo a couple of miles from us.
The view from the 14th floor of the Outrigger Reef on the Beach - Honolulu, Hawai'i
When MJ and Jim got word that their condo was ready, they left, and after having a look around the property a bit, we went for dinner at the Shore Bird Restaurant & Beach Bar, one of the 3 restaurants in the hotel. The food, service and location were all excellent, and after dinner, as the sun started to set just before 6:00 pm, we walked a few feet from our table to enjoy the beach.
The beach in front of the Outrigger Reef on the Beach - Honolulu, Hawai'i
Just after the sun set, this huge storm moved in over the beach, and when the rain started, I’d never seen a beach clear so fast!
Storm over the beach at Honolulu, Hawai'i
One more photo taken from our room, then we did some exploring of the streets around the hotel, lined with some of the best hotels in Honolulu, and some very interesting shops.
The view from the 14th floor of the Outrigger Reef on the Beach - Honolulu, Hawai'i

The next day was planned to be spent at Pearl Harbor with our friends.


Back in Honolulu, Switching from Ship to Hotel — 2 Comments

  1. Boy, too bad you couldn’t continue on to Australia. That would’ve been a great trip. But then again you’d probably want to continue on to wherever it was heading next.

  2. Many of us were saying that, Richard, but the reality is that it was time to come home. That was our last long trip without the fur-kids – from here on, the 5 of us will be touring in the motorhome. But we’ll both remember the Celebrity Solstice for many years to come, and some day may be on another even longer cruise – there are so many faraway places we want to see yet.