The Final Port of the Journey

Day 75, Grand Asia 2017

Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 – Honolulu

I loved waking up in Honolulu this morning, knowing I could go ashore at any time, that I could use my smartphone from bed to check email and SnapChat with my nephews. I had left the phone in airplane mode since leaving the terminal in San Diego 75 days ago. Yesterday I had turned airplane mode off and immediately had AT&T cell service with unlimited data.

With no specific plans, I jumped on the No. 2 city bus a couple of blocks from the Aloha Tower pier and headed to Waikiki. I had never been to the famed beach. By late morning it was crowded, even in the slower tourist season of the weeks before Christmas. I had thought I might have lunch and a drink at the pink Royal Hawaiian Hotel, but its access from the beach was limited to guests only.

Being without a house (living with my sister), I haven’t shopped for much on this trip. But last year in Hawaii I had bought a beautiful flowered tote bag and thought I would look for a similar but smaller one today. The shops were either junky souvenir stores or high-end Prada, Cartier and the like. I practiced my superpower of invisibility and spent 15 minutes in the Apple Store looking at Macbooks, but no one ever came my way to see if I wanted to buy (I might have).

DSC00743ehcFrom there my smartphone app told me which bus line to take for the 45-minute ride to Costco. Last year during my Hawaii vacation I had found some great flip-flops (called slippers in Hawaii) there and wanted another pair. Alas, the current stock was ugly black. I picked up a couple of Hawaii-themed Christmas gifts and used my all-day bus pass to return to the ship.

All aboard wasn’t until 6:30 p.m., so I had time to take my laptop to the nearest Starbucks and upload photos to the blog. I sat next to Scotty and Terry, who are entertainers joining the ship for the last leg of our voyage. I’ll report on their performance later.

The shop hosted a luau “cook-in” in the Lido buffet as we left port. At one time these special meals were served around the pool, with lots of decorations, ice sculptures and even a roasting pig in a barbecue spit. Those days have ended, due to stricter health regulations according to the ship’s officers. So we had tablecloths and artificial leis at every seat, but otherwise it wasn’t too special. I understand the reasoning, but I really miss the excitement of the pool barbecues. I’m glad I sailed in the days when they were a part of even the non-grand longer cruises.

Tonight the captain warned us of rough seas with 14-foot swells. I felt the rocking and rolling during the night, but it led to a good night of sleep.