Category Archives: Hawaii

We’re Down To Four

Just a few more selections and we will be down to announcing the favorite cruise itinerary on Friday. Here is how the draw is looking so far.

Cruise Itinerary Challenge(1)I have been lucky enough to do two of the four itineraries.  Today, I’ll give you information on the Southern Caribbean and Hawaii sailings and you can decide which is best.

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St. Lucia photo taken by Tracy Whipple.  Maui photo courtesy of

There are two types of cruises to experience Hawaii – Inter-island cruising or cruises from the mainland of North America.

Sailings that originate in Hawaii have two requirements by law.  They must either be operated by a US flagged ship or they must sail in specific foreign ports. If the sailing starts and ends at the same US port (closed loop cruise), the requirement is that a nearby foreign port be visited on the cruise.  This could be any port outside of the United States.  If the sailing starts or ends in a foreign port, there is no other requirement to stop in another foreign port.  You aren’t likely going to see a cruise starting and ending in a different US port as this requires the cruise to stop in a distant foreign port which is defined as a port outside of North America.

Most common cruises are the Norwegian Pride of America, which is a US flagged ship with 7 night Hawaiian sailings from Honolulu, sailings to or from Vancouver one way or roundtrip from San Diego, Los Angeles or San Francisco.

Advantages to starting from the mainland include the many sea days in each direction (though this can also be a disadvantage to those not looking for this).  One of the disadvantages though is that you will spend a bit less time in the ports in Hawaii.  If you only have time for a seven night cruise, you are not going to get there from the mainland.  Most cruises to or around Hawaii do stop at four islands at least.

Southern Caribbean itineraries are among my favorites.  So much so that we will be doing a group cruise on the Disney Magic this October going to the Southern Caribbean.


Southern Caribbean sailings also offer a challenge.  To get there from Florida, you either have very few ports of call or at least a 10 night itinerary.  You can have a seven night itinerary, but most of those sailings start from San Juan, Puerto Rico.  This may mean increased cost of airfare, no driving to the port option and longer flights, which may lead to the need for a pre-night.  I find though that the added benefits of what the Southern Caribbean offers to be worth it.

Islands considered to be Southern Caribbean can start as far north as Antigua, St. Lucia and St. Kitts and go as far south as Barbados, Curaçao and Aruba.  There is so much variety of things to do in the Southern Caribbean.  Snorkeling and diving are some of the highlights, but there is also a lot of history on the islands with many forts to explore.  On many of the islands you can tour various liquor factories, spice factories and other local goods.  When we go to Grenada this fall, we’ll take in a chocolate factory as well as a rum manufacturer.

Here are some photos from other trips to the Southern Caribbean.

Which one do you pick for today to meet up in the finals?

ToaD Cruise Itinerary Challenge

As we approach our fourth birthday, we thought it would be fun to see what cruise itinerary, regardless of cruise line, is your favorite! We need your help though. For the next two weeks, we will be offering a different match up on Facebook and Twitter. All you need to do is say which of the two are your favorite as we move through the bracket. When tweeting, use hashtag #ToaDCruiseChallenge.

Cruise Itinerary Challenge

Each day we will introduce a new twosome, but you can vote on the first round until end of day next Friday when we compile the votes and announce the winners moving on to the next round. For our first challenge, we offer two to vote on.

Day 1


Day 2Let us know your pick for each of these.  We can’t wait to see which is your favorite!

Fall 2015 Disney Cruise Line Itinerary

Today, Disney Cruise Line announced the itineraries for fall of 2015.  Bookings open on Wednesday, May 21 to the public with bookings available tomorrow for Gold and Platinum Castaway Club members. Request your quote here.  Be sure to tell us your Castaway Club level so we properly prioritize your request.

Here is what we are seeing:

Disney Wonder

  • September 7, 2015 – 10 night Vancouver to Hawaii with stops in Hilo, Nawiliwili, Kahului and 2 days at Honolulu
  • September 17, 2015 – 10 night Honolulu, Hawaii to Vancouver with stops in Hilo, Nawiliwili, and 2 days in Kahului
  • September 27, 2015 – 4 night Vancouver to San Diego with stop in Victoria.
  • October 1 – 3 night Baja with stop in Ensenada
  • October 4, 11, 18 – 5 night Baja with stops in Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas
  • October 9, 16 – 2 night Getaway from San Diego
  • October 23, 2015 – 14 night San Diego to Galveston with stops in Puerto Vallarta, Cartegena, Cozumel, through the Panama Canal.
  • November 6, 2015 – 7 night sailing from Galvest with stops in Cozumel, Falmouth and Grand Cayman
  • November 13, 20, 27, December 4, 11, 28, 2015 – 7 night Bahamian sailing from Galveston with stops at Nassau, Key West and Castaway Cay
  • December 18, 2015 – 6 night sailing from Galveston with stops at Key West and Castaway Cay
  • December 24 – 5 night Western from Galveston with stop at Cozumel

Disney Magic

  • September 19, 2015 – 11 night Westbound Transatlantic Cruise from Barcelona with stops in Funchal and Castaway Cay, ending in Miami
  • September 20
  • October 4, 18, November 1, 15, 29, December 13, 2015 – 5 night Western Caribbean from Miami with stops at Cozumel and Castaway Cay
  • October 9, 23, November 6, 20, December 4, 18, 2015 – 5 night Western Caribbean from Miami with stops at Grand Cayman and Castaway Cay
  • September 30, October 14, 28, November 11, 25, December 9, 27, 2015 – 4 night Bahamian sailing from Miami to Castaway Cay, Nassau and Key West

Disney Fantasy

  • September 5, 19, October 3, 17, 31, November 14, December 28, 2015 – 7 night Western sailings with stops in Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth and Castaway Cay
  • November 28, December 12, 2015 – 7 night Western sailings with stops in Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Castaway Cay
  • September 12, 26, October 10, 24, 2015 – 7 night Eastern sailings with stops in St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay
  • November 7, 21, December 5, 19, 2015 – 7 night Eastern sailings with stops in Tortola, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay

Disney Dream

  • September 4, 11, 18, November 16, 23, 30, November 6, 13, 20, 27, December 4, 11, 18, 21, 28, 2015 – 3 night Bahamian sailing to Nassau and Castaway Cay
  • December 23, 2015 – 4 night Bahamian sailing to Key West and Castaway Cay
  • September 7, 21, October 19, 26, November 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, December 7, 14, 24, 2015 – 4 night Bahamian sailings with stops at Nassau and Castaway Cay

Announcing the Rest of DCL 2015 — Next Week

That’s right!  DCL has announced on it’s Twitter feed that next week they will be announcing the rest of 2015 dates.

DCL2015Speculation is strong that there will be a return trip to Hawaii and from the looks of the port calendars, it will be two one-way trips to Hawaii!  How exciting is that?

The Magic will likely return from the Mediterranean with a Westbound Transatlantic.

Other than this, the rest of the season looks to be up in the air.  What are you looking for in Fall 2015?  Are you planning to book or sit this one out?


Catamaran Experience and Snorkel Sail

Editor’s Note:  Today we have another shore excursion from Louise Mullen from her recent visit to Disney’s Aulani.  Thanks again Louise for a fantastic review!

We met in the lobby of Aulani for our van ride to the marina where we were to meet up with the catamaran.  There was a little bit of a holdup over, of all things, towels…A bit of confusion over who wanted to sit where in the vans.  These were no big deal, small hiccups.  This excursion was run by a private tour company in conjunction with Adventures by Disney.  The van drive was less than a half hour drive to get to the marina.  We were greeted and our shoes were stored in a bin on the dock.  So it was a “barefoot cruise”.  Once on board the crew did introductions and the mandatory safety check.  We were told the dos and don’ts of the restrooms, and where the life vests were stored etc.

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