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American Hawaii Cruise Vacation

February, 1998 we realized our dream as we celebrated our 25th wedding aniversary and boarded the American Hawaii Cruise ship S.S.Independence. What follows is a diary of sorts on our trip to Hawaii.

To view diary pages, click on underscored day; use your back button to return to this page.

Day 1 - Thursday ... Flew from Texas to Honolulu, Ohau

Day 2 - Friday ... Waikiki and Pearl Harbor

Day 3 - Saturday ... Boarded the S.S.Independence at Aloha Tower and set sail

Day 4 - Sunday ... Day at Sea and sailed into Nawiliwili, Kauai at sunset

Day 5 - Monday ... Nawiliwili and Wailua River/Fern Grotto Tour

Day 6 - Tuesday ... Sailed into Kahului, Maui at sunrise and hung out in Lahaina

Day 7 - Wednesday ... Back to Lahaina to go whale watching

Day 8 - Thursday ... Sailed into Hilo on the Big Island, Akaka Falls/Nani Mau Gardens Tour, lava flow

Day 9 - Friday ... Sunrise in Kona on the Big Island, shopping, and snorkeling

Day 10 - Saturday ... Unfortunately our cruise comes to an end as we arrived back in Honolulu and flew home that night

To learn more about this trip and cruising in general, check out my guest book which has Comments & Questions, as well as replies.

For a list of other lines that cruise Hawaii, see the bottom of this page.

View My Guestbook for possible answers to your questions

Leave New Comments or Questions in My Guestbook
(and check back for my reply)

Cruise News Updates

October 2001 - It was with regret that we heard the news that American Classic Voyages Company, which owns and operates American Hawaii Cruises along with lines Delta Queen Steamboat, Delta Queen Coastal Voyages and U.S. Lines, has filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. To get a feel of what the last voyage was like, below is a copy of one passenger's experience which was posted on the Cruise Critic Message Boards

The Indy's last run

We just got back from what appears to be (although we can still hope for a miracle!) the final voyage of the Independence. This was our first cruise, and we had been looking forward to it since last February.

The week was glorious. It was everything we had dreamed of and more - the ship, the crew, the islands, the excursions - everything was perfect.

We had the late dinner seating. On Thursday night, we decided to stop up at our cabin prior to heading down to the lounge to hear some Hawaiian music and wait for the Grand Buffet. There was a note under our door, letting us know that the company would be filing for bankruptcy the next day, that all Hawaii operations would cease following our cruise, and that our cruise would not be affected.

As we made our way to the lounge, the captain made an official announcement over the speaker - we unfortunately missed hearing most of it, but he was confirming the bankruptcy and announcing that we would not be stopping in Kauai, but would instead spend the day at sea.

I was incredibly impressed by the professionalism and classiness of the staff and crew. Despite the fact that they all knew they would shortly be out of work, they still went out of their way to ensure that the passengers were well taken care of.

On Friday morning, the captain held a meeting for the crew members on the Ohana deck - many of the passengers gathered as well. In his excellent talk, he told the crew members that this was in no way a reflection on their work, and repeated a comment he had gotten that morning from a passenger - 'let us know if there is anything that we, the passengers can do to help'. The meeting ended with everyone - crew and passengers alike holding hands during a Hawaiian chant. Needless to say, there were not many dry eyes on deck.

Around lunch time, we traveled past the northern coasts of Molokai, and "threaded the eye of the needle" - a passage through two cliffs close to the shore line. Late afternoon we met up with the mS Patriot near Lahaina, and sailed next to each other for close to an hour. There were many shouts of "Aloha" back and forth, and patriotic songs were played. Finally, both ships sent up flares, and there were long blasts of the horns. The Independence horn blast truly sends chills up and down your spine. Then, we went our separate ways...

That evening we attended the pre-dinner show "Aloha Oe". It was an excellent and incredibly poignent moment. All week, I was enchanted by the expressions of Hawaiian culture, especially the chanting and hula. This show was the culmination of that. They received a standing ovation, and once again, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

I sincerely hope they can find a way to run the Independence around the Hawaiian islands again. The classic ship, the emphasis on Aloha and Ohana (family), the smaller size, the excursions - all these combined to make a truly unique and wonderful experience.

To all the employees of American Hawaii cruises, our thoughts and prayers are with you. You made these first-time visitors to Hawaii feel like Ohana.

Aloha, and Mahalo
Caryn & Jim Josephson
SS Independence (2001)
posted 10-22-01 05:57 PM

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Dec. 21, 2000 – American Hawaii Cruises features a new itinerary, expanded wedding and honeymoon packages, popular Early Booking discounts, $189 vacation rates for kids, and a new series of 1950s-themed cruises in 2001. The company’s classic U.S.-flag ship, the S.S. Independence, visits 5 ports on 4 major Hawaiian islands every 7 days. Effective Nov. 11, 2000, passengers board in the vessel’s new home port of Kahului, Maui, on Saturday afternoon and sail on Sunday at 2 p.m. The new itinerary includes an overnight stay aboard the Independence in Kahului as well as in Honolulu, Oahu, the ship’s former home port, so that passengers have ample time to explore the isle’s most famous attractions. They can also see the beauty and diversity of on the “Big Island” named Hawaii, while visiting Hilo and Kona, and of the “Garden Isle,” Kauai, while docked in Nawiliwili. More than 80 optional shore excursions, including golf outings, enable passengers to experience the Hawaiian Islands’ best attractions before they arrive back in Maui the following Saturday morning.
American Hawaii Cruises' Homepage

United States Lines®, also a subsidiary of American Classic Voyages Co., will operate the 1214-passenger ms Patriot in Hawaii beginning in Dec. 9, 2000, and has two new ships under construction -- the largest ever built in an American shipyard -- scheduled to begin service in Hawaii starting in 2003 and 2004. Patriot Homepage

NOTE: Other cruise lines that now cruise Hawaii are:

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American Hawaii Cruise Vacation
is created, edited & maintained by
Linda-Jeanne Dolby © 1998
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