We are now home after a wonderful month in the South Pacific.We realise how fortunate we were to escape the frigid temperatures and huge snowfalls and to bask in 25C - 28C sunny skies every day. Even my broken wrist did not detract from the holiday - although it may impact my golfing season. If you have to have a broken wrist on board a cruise ship may be the best solution - no meals to prepare, no cleaning, no beds to make, no laundry to do, no bathrooms to scour....... what could be a better cure!!
If you are looking for exotic ports of call plus lazy days at sea - then this itinerary is a must! Hawaii was our first stop with visits to three different ports including an overnight in Honolulu. Here we took advantage of showing our ID (to prove we were senior citizens) and then asking for a transfer on the bus. We went from the pier to Waikiki Beach for the grand total of $1.00 each!!!
One of the highlights was a visit to Fanning Island. This is home to 2,000 residents. There is no running water, no hydro, no sewer system, no communications tower, no store or gift shops, no banks. The people here live a happy stress free life. A supply boat visits every few weeks and Holland America is the only cruise line that visits and their twice yearly stops are highly anticipated by the locals. It was made very clear to us that this was NOT a charity stop and these people are not poor. They fish, catch crabs, grow various crops - all for their own consumption. Their "export" is seaweed which they farm and sell to Japan for sushi. There was no begging or expectation of money or gifts.
There is a school and I spoke to the Grade 2 teacher (who spoke English). I was so amused that even here, in this remote location, the teacher’s complaint was the same as teachers everywhere - she had 35 children in her class - too many students!! I remarked that the children were learning to count in English and there was a sentence on the blackboard (yes blackboard and chalk!) that read…"See the people" She smiled and said that it was in honour of our visit!! The children were all bare footed, not a cell phone, computer, or any other technical gadget anywhere!!! Just big smiles.
Another highlight, for me, was sailing into Bora Bora- just missing Bloody Mary standing on the shore singing Bali Hi.
The Polynesian Islands are magical. Everywhere we went we were met with singing and dancing and smiles. We loved the scenery, the people - and sunshine every day. Of course life aboard the ship was also fabulous and one could be as busy or lazy as one wished.
We travelled over 10,000 miles on the Holland America ship - the ms Statendam and were treated to wonderful food, interesting shows every night, the latest movies in the cinema and a very interesting group of people.
We can highly recommend this excellent trip!