Thrills and Chills of Honolulu, Oahu – a doors off heli tour and a visit to Pearl Harbour

I had the good fortune to take part in a 7 day cruise industry related business trip to Hawaii recently. My fellow travellers were a group of 7 highly respected cruise industry professionals who had come to Hawaii to meet with the various harbour representatives, members of the Visitor’s Bureau, and the partners and suppliers at each of the ports – sharing ideas, offering advice and discussing the various ways in which ports and cruise lines can continue to grow onward and upward together in this ever evolving industry.
Great stuff, a truly inspiring and unforgettable week spent in the Hawaiian Islands in the company of passionate, nice people.
Hawaii, a destination I am sooo going to return to. The genuine warmth of the people I met, the ever changing landscapes, the beaches, cliffs, waterfalls, the culture – all of it. It captivated me. Volcanoes, rain forests, Tiki Gods and steel guitars. IZ, conch blowers and graceful Hula dancers. Diverse and fabulous. What an amazing cruise destination and one you simply must add to your bucket list.

We spent the first days in Honolulu, staying at the magnificent Moana Surfrider Resort at Waikiki beach, where our tightly packed familiarisation program kicked off in style at the Travel Weekly 2016 Hawaii Leadership Forum at the Sheraton, Waikiki.
Detailed inspections of all six cruise ports within the state of Hawaii followed, including samplings of shore excursions and introductions to local highlights at each port.
Alongside the meetings and detailed port inspections program, our timetable also included insights into each port’s shore excursion program and the highlights of each locality. In the port of Honolulu we took part in two of the most popular shore excursions – a visit to Pearl Harbour and a Magnum PI style doors off helicopter tour.

I’ll start with the Magnum PI helicopter tour. This was an insanely fun, adrenalin fuelled, unforgettable experience. Our pilot ‘Jim’ (a Trip Advisor favourite) was fantastic and well deserving of his complimentary on line reviews. He somehow managed to effortlessly blend safety, fun and some seriously impressive helicopter manoeuvres into a helluva heli experience. He even dressed like Tom Selleck. Moustache and all – perfect selfie material and a nice chap to boot! Great scenery and photo ops throughout so keep your phone camera handy. Preferably in a plastic pouch securely fastened around your neck.
Insiders tip: Wear a jacket, it gets cold up there with the doors off. And ladies, tie your long hair up tightly. Heli Hair is a very real and seriously painful condition – best avoided at all costs.
This tour gets a big fat 10 out of 10 from me and is a must do when in Honolulu. Go for the doors off, full blown Magnum thing. You won’t regret it!

An equally unforgettable, best selling tour experience is a visit to Pearl Harbour and the Battleship USS Missouri where history was made during the signing of the surrender of the Empire of Japan at Tokyo Bay ending WWII. The official Pearl harbour website states, ‘On December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, hundreds of Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor and the Island of Oahu, Hawaii. The devastating surprise attack killed 2,403 and wounded over 1,000. It marked USA’s entrance into WWII. While the ships were still burning, patriots from across our country enlisted to fight back. Eventually, Japan surrendered on the deck of the USS Missouri, ending WWII.
Today the ‘Mighty Mo’ has taken a position as an icon of peacekeeper, watching over her fallen allies still in the hull of the USS Arizona just 400 yards away.’
An extremely well presented, poignant tour that alongside the visit to the Battleship USS Missouri also includes a visit to the Arizona Memorial WWII Museum where dramatic footage of the actual attack is shown. It’s a very powerful tour and one that is guaranteed to leave an indelible mark. Lots to see and learn on this one.
Insider’s tip: Word on the street is that this tour sells out very quickly so be sure to book well in advance with your cruise line to avoid disappointment.

I shall be posting a series of blogs on my Hawaiin adventures over the next few days so please call by again soon for more tales featuring Donkey Balls, Surfing Goats and Vodka shots amongst the sugar cane…

Many thanks to all of the Oahu Partners – MC&A Inc, Atlantis Adventures, Makani Kai Magnum Helicopters, Roberts Hoku Mini Bus Travel Pearl Harbour and USS Missouri tour (incl Arizona Memorial), Hawaii Tourism Authority, Access Cruise, CLIA, Roy’s Waikiki, Chef Chai.


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