After 17 days on the Noordam with 1900 new friends, the ship docked in Honolulu and we disembarked. (Note: the ship went on to Lahaina but Honolulu was the only port you could disembark with luggage.)
The ship arrived on time in Honolulu about 7 AM and our flight from Honolulu to Maui was booked for 12:15 PM. Everyone on the ship had to clear US immigration before they could go ashore in Honolulu and clearance was to be held in the theatre. What would you think when you hear “immigration, customs, and 1900 passengers” all in the same sentence?? Given how long it can take to clear immigration at an airport, we were prepared for the worst!
We climbed out of bed at 6:30 AM, showered, and hustled off to the theatre where the line for US passengers’ immigration was half the length of the ship! We started timing the line because we bet it would take at least an hour to clear U.S. Immigration, but the line moved in a slow walk to the front of the ship where the ship officer scanned our cruise card and a U.S. Immigration official looked at our passport for about 3 seconds and waved us on. We thought there must be another check point so Mark asked if Global Entry is available. The Immigration guy said, “I am Global Entry.”
They made no differentiation between passengers disembarking for good and passengers just going ashore for the day. Total time – 8 minutes from the start of the line to the end! Note: International visitors took longer – about 45 minutes.
Hey! We had time for a quick breakfast before we picked up our hand luggage in the room, left the ship, walked through a warehouse, turned right and found our suitcases sitting in the Pink group! Holland America gave the disembarking passengers (us) the standard Customs cards the night before. What would you think? Somewhere we’ll have to go through Customs, right? Wrong! We picked up the bags and walked out the door, across the street and took a taxi to the airport.
Mark’s comment about Customs – “This would have been the time to bring back a $20,000 watch”.
Next stop was Maui. The flight landed on time, we made a Costco and Safeway stop, and checked into the Condo for 2 weeks. Maui was incredibly green thanks to all the rain they had this winter.
Mark met Seattle Bob at the grills one night. Seattle Bob asked if we like ahi and snapper because a friend with a fleet of fishing boats sent over several BIG packages of fresh frozen fish and it was too much for them to eat. We love fish, thank heavens, since we ate fish for 5 straight days before we took a pizza break.
It was Iowa week in Maui. Iowans are everywhere and Maui is no exception. Two guys Mark has known since freshman year were in Maui!
At the end of 3 weeks we flew back to Denver! Home again after 263 days!