Aloha Bruce offers up a special extended 2021 year-end episode of the Hawaii Vacation Connection for Tuesday, December 21, 2021 (new episodes return in the new year of 2022). He talks about booking Hawaii cruises (there are many), offers his restaurant recommendations, and gives his own unique perspective on the year that was 2021.
Our host recalls talking with local news broadcaster Mahealani Richardson at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, and how two years have slipped by in the grips of the global crisis. Bruce notes that no new travel restrictions have been put in place as the Omicron variant continues to spread.
Bruce begins with the Restaurants of the Week. Up first is The Counter, a unique burger place in Kahala Mall on Oahu, where he and Yaling enjoyed the turkey burger, impossible burger, a “burger bowl” and fried pickles. Bruce also mentions Fete in Chinatown, saying “I’m gonna give them another chance.”
The topic of Duane “The Rock” Johnson is up next, and Bruce comments on the Hawaii superstar’s affinity for bringing fanny-packs for his Hawaii visits and Oahu being his favorite island. “Fanny packs are in!”
Bruce also notes that the Obama family is back in Kailua on Oahu, where they stay at a Paradise Point property that goes for $5400 per night. “A lot of celebrities have stayed there,” Bruce notes. He also says Obama is building a home at the former Magnum PI “Masters Estate” in East Oahu.
The topic moves on to what happens if you test positive for COVID during a Hawaii vacation. “It is quite a mess if that happens,” Bruce says. He mentions HAT’s Facebook Covid Support Page, a community of 5000 that tackles tough questions. “A lot of hotels are not accepting people who are Covid-positive.” Vacationers who do test positive are required to undergo 10 days of mandatory quarantine (without clearance from the Department of Health) out of their pocket.
“It’s really a big problem now,” Bruce offers. He also makes the important point that visitors should have a contingency plan in the event that they do test positive.
Next in Hawaii news is the high number of hiker rescues that have been made recently and an alarming number of trails that have been closed due to hazards, including an incident at Sacred Falls that killed multiple hikers years ago. Bruce says that Hawaii’s hiking community is increasingly frustrated with these closures due to hikers needing rescue from illegal trails. “Please take heed on these trails!” Bruce implores.
The common question of finding remote, “exotic” Hawaii locations is up next. “Hawaii is not an exotic destination,” Bruce explains. “We’re not another country.” He discusses Kauai and the Big Island as being something close to “exotic” locations.
Bruce notes that we are seeing an increase in cruise bookings. “Cruising, I think, is coming back,” he says, and offers some recommends a variety of Hawaii cruise options. He mentions a 17-day Holland America “circle island” cruise out of San Diego that visits each of the major islands, with day-stops.
Among the many cruises and stops Bruce mentions is a Royal Caribbean “Quantum of the Seas” cruise that offers a wide variety of on-board activities out of Vancouver that makes stops on Maui and Oahu. The Norwegian Cruise Lines “Pride of America” Hawaii 7-day cruise also comes up, and Bruce mentions that rates are fairly high-end. The “Safari Explorer” yacht cruise that visits four islands including Molokai and Lanai is noted.
BruceAlohaBruce signs off with a warm thank you and mahalo and happy holiday wishes to Hawaii Vacation Connection Podcast listeners over the past 14 years from him and Aloha Yaling Fisher. “I love hearing from you!”
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