Honolulu: A Fun Layover Makes for a Great Day

We’re back and we’re excited to be crossing one the major travel destinations off our bucket list with this 17 day trip to Tahiti and Hawaii.  As with many of the destinations on our list, Tahiti is a long way away from home, so today is a heavy travel day as we make our way from Oakland, California to Papeete, Tahiti via Honolulu, Hawaii.

Up at 5:30am, we headed over to Oakland Airport to board our first of two flights today.  This one would take us due west from Oakland to Honolulu on-board Hawaiian Airlines.  First experience with Hawaiian and they were exceptional.  From check in to in flight service, they exceeded customer expectations for service, and get this…  They serve a real honest to goodness meal!  This morning, we dined on a Spinach fritatta with a blueberry muffin, made good time and touched down a little ahead of schedule around 12noon in Honolulu.

Here, we were fortunate to have a layover for a few hours and were able to share them with Sophie and Scott as we shared lunch with them in town and Darin got to see an amazing mural at the NEX commissary by Wyland.  Over our cruises, we have been introduced to the amazing artwork of Wyland and as a resident of Oahu, he has completed a number of amazing works to the public in shopping areas, etc, providing them a truly brilliant alternative to dull beige walls.  In this case, an amazing mural of dark blues and greens provided the backdrop for a view from the bottom of the ocean looking up to the surface (the ceiling) along with all the creatures in the Hawaii waters, including whales, dolphins, fish, coral, etc.  It was exceptional.  From here, we just had a few minutes more before we needed to return to the airport for our next flight, but Scott and Sophie treated us to Hawaiian shave ice, which just topped off the afternoon of seeing them.

From here, it was back to the airport and time for another check-in.  We were back with Hawaiian for the second leg of our flight, this time from Honolulu to Papeete, Tahiti.  The amazing thing about the two trips was that the flight time for both legs was exactly the same…  5 hours and 18 minutes.  Though the flight times were similar, this leg hit a bit of a bump when we had some extra luggage loaded onto our plane that didn’t belong.  This required a manual search in the cargo compartment for the “rogue luggage” that needed to be removed.  This delayed things for almost 90 minutes, but the passengers were good and the crew did the best they could and we got underway a little after 6:15pm.

This got us into Papeete and the Faaa (yes, three As) International airport, which is basically a runway, an open air pavilion, and a really long line for customs and immigration.  They worked the plane through the process, and we were headed to our hotel by 12:15 or so.

We arrived to the Hotel Tahiti Nui, a beautiful new construction hotel in downtown Papeete, only 4 blocks from the cruise ship terminal, and checked-in to our 5th floor balcony room with a view of the city.  The room was well appointed and we crashed for the night, with the hope of waking up early tomorrow for a trip to the Marche Municipal (the Papeete market) and to complete a walking tour of the city.

Tomorrow — Papeete and boarding the Royal Princess!

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