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January 30, 2020
Honolulu: Aloha!

Russell writes…

We are grateful that our cruise started with five days at sea. It gave us a chance to slow down and relax after several weeks of hectic preparations. It gave us a chance to get our sea legs and acquaint ourselves with our new “home.” And it gave us a chance to meet a lot of incredible people.

Last night we had dinner with Mark Preston, one of the guest entertainers. Mark used to sing with the “Lettermen” and now performs as a solo act. We enjoyed him so much that we invited him to dinner. After a long and successful career, Mark as reached the point where he is just having fun. At the same time, he remains humbled that people want to come and hear him sing. We had a delightful dinner and exchanged funny stories about working on cruise ships.

Mark Preston (photo from recordnet.com)

Speaking of dinner guests, in our last post we mentioned we had dinner with HR Director Dejan Ilic. Here he is!

This morning, we arrived at our first port, in Hawaii on the island of Oahu. Honolulu is Hawaii’s most populous city and the state capital. We docked at 8:00 am and were already in the theater at 8:10 for a morning excursion.

Sunrise over Diamond Head as our ship approaches Honolulu

When we first booked our cruise, we had to decide between a port or starboard cabin. Given that we were headed west, we chose starboard. Here is our view!

One of the reasons we selected Regent was because everything is included. At every port, one or two excursion options are absolutely free. (They do tend to be panoramic bus tours.) For our first day in Honolulu, we selected “Pearl Harbor & City Highlights”… a panoramic bus tour.

The main stop was Pearl Harbor, which merits its own blog post. In addition, we saw (or at least drove past) Punchbowl, the Pali Lookout, Chinatown, Iolani Palace and the statue of King Kamehameha.

Honolulu has been very, very developed!

Iolani Palace, the only royal palace on American soil

The first statue of King Kamehameha was lost at sea during transport through the Cape of Good Hope. This is the second. (Amazing, the first was recovered and is now in Hilo!)

A sad sight: while downtown, we saw the memorial processional for Honolulu police officer Tiffany Enriquez, who was killed last week in the line of duty

But the highlight of our day came after a brief stop back at the ship for lunch and a nap. One of our friends back home in California, Elsa, is from Hawaii! And she just arrived in Hawaii today! So she and her cousin John drove down to the pier, picked us up and gave us an insider’s tour of Honolulu.

For days, Elsa has been texting us about the local foods we must try, including Leonard’s Malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts) and Manapuas (super-sized barbecued pork buns). Sure enough, she showed up in her rental car with a box of Malasadas. And our first destination was Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory for some Manapuas.

We took the food and drove to Ala Moana, a local beach. There we kicked off our shoes, parked ourselves in the sand, and ate and chatted for several hours watching the sun set. After dark, John acted as tour guide while Elsa drove us through Waikiki and downtown after dark. (Honolulu is an amazingly complex network of one-way streets that are almost impossible to navigate.) We finally got back to the ship at 8:00 pm.

Honolulu is not only our first port, it is also our first overnight port. We will explore more of the city tomorrow.

Russell, Elsa, John and Gail

Leonard’s Malasadas

Gail with her knockout pair of… Manapuas

Ala Moana Beach Park

Waikiki is like a gigantic, one-mile-long shopping mall run amok

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