Honeymoon destination and dates
Cruise on the Tahitian Princess to Tahiti and Hawai'i, August 31 – September 14, 2007
How and why we chose a particular place or region.
Melissa always wanted to go to the South Pacific and we wanted somewhere extremely romantic and beautiful... after debating between this tropical choice vs. a possible Baltic cruise, we selected the more leisurely option knowing we would need relaxation above extensive city touring following our wedding and week of playing hosts to tourist family and friends prior to departing. Coincidentally, the highly touted water colors in this area – indigo and aquamarine – are Melissa's favorite colors (and James loves blue in general); it was pretty funny to listen to the Tiare channel on our Air Tahiti Nui flight out going on about how everything there is "blue, green, bluish green..."
Where we stayed, why we selected the establishment, and how we enjoyed your time there.
We chose a cruise both for the ability to unpack once and visit a variety of islands, as well as for the value. We also knew that as much as we wanted to spend time alone, we'd also value the friendships we'd make with fellow passengers – and we truly did meet some wonderful, fun people who we hope to vacation with again! Ironically, Melissa had worked for the cruise line that originally built the ship we cruised on: our Tahitian Princess, now operated by Princess Cruises, was none other than Renaissance Cruises' former R3, which Melissa had toured during its christening in our home city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida back in 1999.
Of course, we couldn't miss the opportunity to stay in an overwater bungalow in Tahiti, so we flew in a day early and stayed at Le Méridien Tahiti, which also provided amusement by addressing us as Mr. & Mrs. AXEL Melissa. At least they were aware that Melissa hadn't opted to change her name! The bungalow was absolutely wonderful and we enjoyed watching the fish swim under and by us as we relaxed in the warm sea air.
Since the cruise took us from Papeete, Tahiti to Honolulu, Hawai'i, we chose to stay an extra two days at the Moana Surfrider, which had recently been taken over by Westin and treated us extremely well as honeymooning guests. We were greeted with flower and kokui nut leis and guava juice, given the key to a hospitality suite so that we could change for the pool upon early arrival, and upgraded to a Tower Suite with a late check-out to accomodate our evening flight home. While at the Moana, we enjoyed tea service on the recently reopened historic Banyan Veranda and had a wonderful time walking around exploring the city of Honolulu. Several of our new friends from the cruise were staying at the nearby Royal Hawaiian Hotel (famous "pink hotel"), and we got to enjoy spending more time with them from this convenient locale on Waikiki Beach. We also enjoyed a free historic tour of the Moana, during which we were given complimentary souvenir postcard books and tea to take home.
Our favorite activities and experiences during the honeymoon and why.
Our helicopter tour on the big island of Hawai'i was one of the highlights of our trip, complete with a bird's eye view of both fuming volcano crater and lava flow not far from the pit. On Bora Bora in Tahiti, we enjoyed swimming in the clearest, most beautiful water at Matira Beach, where we could walk out in the shallow waves quite a distance. On board, we had a wonderful time attending the art auctions, where we learned a good deal about art buying and several artists we were not familiar with. We purchased two paintings and had an enriching time on Maui going to several galleries and discovering other favorite artists. Of course, we also purchased "Just Maui'd" t-shirts (resistance is futile, fellow honeymooners)! The entire cruise was made incredibly amusing by our group of friends' random "obsession" with coconut monkey banks – on one evening's deck party, our drinks were served in them. Somehow, everyone just became hysterical when we noticed that not only were they carved with the message (order?) "HAVE FUN" on their chins, but their heads were emblazoned with stickers that read: "Take me home – I'm also a coin bank!" Throughout the cruise, we could be seen carrying the monkeys and even performed a group karaoke number to – you guessed it, "Hey, Hey, We're The Monkees!" We became known as the Monkey Club and there are a host of silly pictures to prove it plastered throughout our flickr accounts.
The approximate cost of the honeymoon (including airfare).
Cruise for two – $2800 One-way flights to Tahiti – $1400 Flights to LA and back from Honolulu (to/from Denver) – used frequent flyer miles on USAir (who was incredibly helpful)
If we would recommend the destination to other honeymooners and why.
Our honeymoon trip was an absolute dream come true and we would highly recommend it! It was high romance on the high seas, with exactly the right balance of activity and relaxation (and food!!! the cruise folks never seem to stop serving you, and it's all delicious). The South Pacific is incredibly beautiful, and cruising was a convenient, luxurious yet affordable way to see a good deal of it in a short span of time. We highly recommend the pre- and post-cruise stays as well (and suggest booking these yourself as there are better options than offered by the cruise lines). In both Hawai'i and Tahiti, the scenery was only outmatched by the happiness of our newly married bliss.