I love days at sea – so when I got the opportunity to sign on as Voyager Club Host on the April 24, 2011 Crystal Serenity’s sailing roundtrip from Los Angeles, through the Hawaiian Islands, I couldn’t pass it up. This is exciting for me for two reasons: first, Crystal is one of my favorite cruise lines and I love time spent onboard the ship. And second, this will be my first experience in the Hawaiian Islands.

Yes – I know it’s hard to believe since I’ve traveled so much. This cruise is absolutely perfect as it visits four of the islands and will give me the opportunity to see which I like best! I am also looking forward to all the wonderful programs and activities aboard ship while we sail across the Pacific.

One of the things I love about Crystal is that they don’t nickel and dime you. Soft drinks and bottled water are included in your cruise fare, as are the specialty coffees and snacks available at the Bistro. We’ll also each receive $500 shipboard credit to use for adventures ashore or spa services. Folks booking through Hager’s Journeys will receive prepaid gratuities and an additional shipboard credit.

Crystal’s onboard programs and entertainment are tops. We’ll enjoy several big production shows as well as guest entertainers ranging from classical musicians to a ventriloquist. There are many fun things to do during the day. We can take hands-on piano lessons from a certified Yahama teacher, study a foreign language with a Berlitz instructor, or attend a Cleveland Clinic Wellness Seminar. We can enjoy ballroom dancing lessons (guest hosts will be on board for us “single” ladies), learn new techniques at the computer University at Sea, and play bridge.

If you are a golfer, you’ll absolutely love this golf-themed sailing. Ken Venturi, 1964 US Open Champion and CBS Golf Commentator, is the Guest Golf Pro. Crystal has a complimentary golf clinic using their onboard driving range and putting course. LPGA Teaching Professional Shannon Kneisler from Ft. Worth, Texas will be giving instruction, and optional shore excursions playing Hawaii’s fabulous golf courses will be offered. It has been many years since I’ve played golf, and I plan to take advantage of trying to get my game back.

Of course, the real excitement will come when we arrive in the Hawaiian Islands. Our first stop will be a day at Hilo on the big island of Hawaii. While there will be many shore excursions offered, I am looking forward to visiting the new Imiloa Astronomy Center with its full-dome planetarium show. There are also exhibits tracing the history of the islands and the Polynesian people, and a beautiful native garden depicting Hawaii’s ecosystem.
I’m not sure if I am adventurous enough, but I also find the Zipline and Waterfall Adventure exciting. The thing that draws me to it is the fact that the zipline course has it’s lines ground to ground making it easier to participate. I’ve always avoided ziplines because I would have had to climb up and down from the start and finish platforms – and that definitely is not my forte! This excursions sounds great because there is some hiking between the ziplines, taking you through the lush rainforest and across a suspension bridge with views of a number of small waterfalls.

After soaring through the forest canopy by zipline, participants join a guided walk through the World Botanical Gardens & Waterfalls. Situated on 300 acres of former sugar cane fields, the gardens are lush with foliage and blooms and are home to the famous triple-tiered Umauma Falls, considered Hawaii’s most beautiful waterfall.

During our day in Honolulu, we’ll also have lots of choices for excursions. We can visit the US Arizona Memorial, trek to the Diamond Head Summit, or take a tour of the famous North Shore. There is also great shopping for island attire and souvenirs. I am quite curious about Waikiki Beach, as I’ve heard so much about it – both positive and negative.  For first time visitors to Honolulu, Crystal offers a good city tour of all the major areas and attractions.

Everyone I know who has visited Hawaii seems to really enjoy Maui. Known as the Valley Isle, Maui is a nature lovers tropical paradise. Here we have a wonderful choice of activities ranging from a panoramic Maui excursion to surfing lessons. I know I won’t be taking surfing lessons, but I would like to see the famous waterfalls and do a little light hiking.
The island of Kauai offers many scenic shore adventures. We can visit waterfalls, take a narrated train ride through a plantation, or enjoy the excitement of a 2-mile tubing expedition. If you don’t mind climbing up to the zipline platforms, you can see experience the beautiful scenery from above. We can see canyons, gardens, or elect to take a helicopter tour.

I’d love to have you join me on this exciting journey. Double Occupancy cruise only prices, including all taxes, begin at $5,030 per person for an obstructed Category E cabin, $5,830 for an unobstructed ocean view cabin and $6,170 for a cabin with a large picture window located on the promenade deck. Balconies start at $7,295 for Category B. You’ll receive prepaid gratuities and an As You Wish $500 onboard credit, plus an additional Virtuoso onboard credit. You’ll also enjoy a Virtuoso hosted cocktail party where you will meet your fellow Virtuoso travelers. If we have enough people from the greater Phoenix area interested in a drive to the pier instead of flying, we’ll look into group transportation by road. Crystal past passengers and those paying in full six months prior to departure (November 20, 2010) will receive additional savings.

For more information, please contact us at 623-974-4690 or you can email me at marion@hagers-journeys.com. I look forward to cruising with you!