I just got back from our Cat Country Trip to Hawaii. (...and, boy, are my arms tired.)

Over the next few days, I'll be sharing some pictures and stories from our fabulous trip. My wife and I truly had a wonderful, relaxing time in this tropical paradise. We went on the trip with several Cat Country listeners - who are still in Hawaii. I'd be there, too, if my silly boss didn't say I was "needed" back today....

The trip started with the long flight to Hawaii. Including a quick change of planes in San Francisco, we were in the air about 12 hours. Basically, we left Philadelphia Airport at 6am local time, and arrived at the Honolulu Airport just after 12 noon.

That first day, we met some of the wonderful YMT travel staff and they helped us gather our luggage and get checked into our hotel in Waikiki. After checking onto the hotel, we went to the world famous Waikiki Beach, which seemed much smaller than on TV. We grabbed some dinner at a restaurant just off the beach, did some sightseeing on foot, and collapsed back in our hotel after a very long day.

Early evening on Waikiki Beach

Throughout Wakiki, there are ABC Stores. These tourist-focused stores are literally everywhere - often on every corner. Think Wawa, but with leis and macadamia nuts.

ABC Stores - they are everywhere!

The next day, Saturday, we met again with YMT vacation staff, who previewed our week ahead. We then grabbed breakfast with a few of our fellow South Jersey travelers, packed up, and were whisked off to our cruise ship, Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America. (Before we left, I did manage to find a local ice cream place and sample some pineapple ice cream. Yum!)

We would be on the ship for a week, but most of the time, the ship was stopped at one of four Hawaiian Islands that we visited. It truly was a "floating hotel", as we actually spent most of our waking hours off the ship.

Early morning at Waikiki Beach with The Pride of America just coming into sight

The first day on the ship, Saturday, was a day spent exploring the ship, and getting some time in the sun. Temperatures the whole week were mostly in the upper 70s. We did see a mixture of sun and clouds, with a little rain here and there on a couple days. Mostly, the weather was fantastic.

Sunday, on the island of Maui, we had an excursion planned: a whale-watching trip, with some extra time to explore the town of Lahaina. How good was the whale watching? On the bus on the way to Lahaina, we saw a full grown humpback whale breech out of the water completely only about 200 yards off-shore.

Our whale watching trip was spectacular!
Getting up close with whales in Maui

Once on our whale watching boat, we followed a mother and her calf for about an hour. Rather, they followed us. the pair stayed very close to our small boat, with the calf breaching within 20 yards of the boat. What an experience!

After the whale watching, my wife and I explored Lahaina - a wonderful small town on Maui's west coast. We agreed, this was a place we'd certainly like to return and spend more time in the future.

The Maui town of Lahaina - for several weeks each year, it's a whale watching town
Lahaina - I want to go back. Soon.

The next day, we stayed in Maui and went to the world famous Wailea Beach. It was beautiful - and the hotels nearby were extremely expensive. (I think if we just asked "how much", we would have been told we couldn't afford it...) The beach into the water was the smoothest I've ever walked on --- no shells, rocks, seaweed, or unidentifiable crustaceans - just smooth sand.

Wailea Beach. Just wow.

Click here for Part 2 of my recap.

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