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Aloha Hawaii!

February 19, 2012

By Cathy Brooks

Aloha! On the mainland this traditional greeting means hello. In the Hawaiian language it means so much more – love, compassion, and affection. A word that expresses warmth. What better greeting for a destination with a warm culture, warm and friendly people and year-round warm temperatures?

I was lucky enough to experience the Aloha spirit in person this past June on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America. As you catch your first glimpse of Hawaii’s diverse paradise, you are immersed in color: deep blue waters, lush green valleys, black, green and white sand beaches and the mist and red flowing lava of an active volcano. For the romantic, the adventurer, or the photographer, the landscapes provided by Hawaii are a backdrop for everlasting memories. Imagine soaring cliffs with rugged edges, exotic plants and flowers, cascading waterfalls and beautiful beaches. Whether staying at a resort, a boutique hotel or choosing to island hop via cruise ship, Hawaii’s unique natural wonders will thrill your senses. The six major islands in Hawaii include: Hawaii’s Big Island, which continues to grow to this very day, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, and Maui. They each have their own persona, charm and beauty.

If you’re hoping to catch a sight of the majestic humpback whales, make sure to visit Oahu and Maui. These glorious creatures migrate to Hawaii each year from December to May to breed and give birth to new calves. February and March may be the best time for viewing.

For the sportsmen, choices abound in the diverse Hawaiian environment. Take the plunge and a few lessons in the land of big wave surfing. My husband, Lon, and I grabbed a couple of longboards in Kauai. With the help of “Hawaiian Surfing Adventures”, we were off and riding a wave in no time. Exciting as it sounds this little adventure wasn’t without its mishap. Surfing didn’t prove to be the problem. Trying to manhandle that huge surfboard against the waves to make it back out to the starting point – now that was the challenge! Not only did I bring home a few souvenirs but also a nice bruise on my chin when the board came up and slapped me in the face. Surfing adventures for sure! If you’d rather be an observer, some of the best surf competitions take place in Hawaii during the months of November and December when the big waves crash along the Northern shores of Oahu.

The cruise aboard Pride of America proves to be an easy way to get an overview of the islands, visiting four islands in just seven days. Their Golf Program offers excursions to Hawaii’s top courses. With nearly 100 hours in port, you’ll be able to explore natural wonders, historic sites such as Pearl Harbor and much more. This is a cruise where the destination is the focus!

If there’s a particular island you want to explore more in-depth, a longer stay at a selected resort may be a better choice. How ever you choose to visit Hawaii – it’s a destination to put on your bucket list. So pull up your anchor and make plans to see for yourself the place that Mark Twain described as, “The loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean.”

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