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by Phil P
Bronx, New York
August 13, 2007
From journal Hawaii in Style
San Jose, California
April 11, 2006
This dinner sunset cruise departs from Pier 6. We were picked up from our hotel (Hawaii Prince) at 3:45pm and returned by 10pm. There are two levels for dining, the lower level is buffet dining with one drink ticket included, the upper level is a five-course meal with three cocktails. It costs an additional $10 to get a window seat. We enjoyed the Royal Sunset Dinner Cruise on the Navatek I. Prior to boarding, your picture will be taken and can be purchased later for $20 (also includes a picture of the ship sailing with Diamond Head in the background). We received three drink tickets, however, if you decide to purchase a bottle of wine or sake it will be extra. I paid $12 for a bottle of premium sake.
Our menu began with an appetizer plate of poached salmon filet with dill and caper cream sauce. It was excellent. We continued with a royal salad, locally grown greens, fried wonton, and papaya seed/sesame dressing. Delicious! I was jealous of my companion's extra dressing on his salad. A local musician gently strums Hawaiian music as we are dining, eagerly awaiting the sunset. He is later joined by a female vocalist and some Hawaiian dancers. The staff is very enthusiastic and friendly, and there is a chance for audience participation. We make time to go outside for picture opportunities with Waikiki and Diamond Head in the background.
This cruise actually goes further out than most others, heading past Diamond Head and towards the Kahala coast. For those of you worried about getting seasick, this ship operates on SWATH technology, which basically means it operates at higher speeds while retaining low motions. It rides above the waves on four hulls. We return to our window seat for the main entree, steamed Maine lobster served with butter and ponzu sauce. The server was more than happy to assist those who had never eaten whole lobster before. The next entree was roasted filet of tenderloin beef, served with carrots and zucchini, and roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Dessert was a delicate chocolate mousse cake with raspberry coulis. The price for this sunset cruise runs about $100 per person. I was more impressed with the appetizer and salad, but I think the true value is in the drinks and the view.
From journal Hono-woowoo!
September 8, 2001
After booking your tour through the internet or a hotel concierge (or simply buying a ticket at the information booth near the Atlantis pier at the Hilton), you congregate on the pier at the designated time. A motor launch picks up the group for a ten minute ride out to rendezvous with the submarine off Waikiki. Following a short safety video briefing, passengers may go topside to enjoy the view or ride inside. As you approach the rendezvous, a bright green roiling appears on the surface of the ocean where the submarine has released air as a warning where it will surface. Things happen quickly, so be prepared if you want to snap a photo of the sub as it breaches. The shuttle then quickly approaches and ties off next to the submarine. Returning passengers disembark first, then the new "crew" is invited to cross over a gangway, walk along the sub’s deck and enter down a ladder either fore or aft. Inside, the pilot has a large bubble window ala Captain Nemo. On the 64 passenger sub, the largest of the fleet, a long seat divides the cylindrical body of the vessel allowing passengers to sit on either side and look out the numerous large viewing portals. All seats have equal views, but sitting near the pilot also provides a forward view. Watch the depth displays (one each forward and aft) to check your depth, and watch the colors fade from your clothing as sunlight is increasingly filtered by the ocean.
A few tips. The trip lasts two hours from start to finish including the shuttle rides to and from the submarine. Before you arrive, be sure to buy some high speed film (ASA 400 is the minimum, faster is better) or plan to pay a premium at the Atlantis desk. Because the colors from sunlight are almost completely absorbed at the depths of the dive, only high speed film can really capture what you will see with any fidelity. On the other hand, you may want to keep a few frames of daylight speed film handy for the trip out to and back from the rendezvous…it’s fun to capture the sub just as it is surfacing.
Our flight from Dallas landed at about 1:30pm, so we booked the last (4:00pm) tour on our day of arrival. This worked well, though we were advised to call ahead if we experienced a significant airline delay.
The tour is well managed and boasts a perfect safety record.
From journal Honolulu: It's a lu - lu