A group of 94 Bluegreen owners and their guests visited America’s Paradise by land and by sea from May 2-12, and even an angry and lava-spewing Kilauea volcano couldn’t stop them from catching the aloha spirit of Hawaii. This was the second of five Owner Adventures vacations scheduled in 2018.
This was our fourth Owner Adventures trip to Hawaii since 2012. We believe our itinerary provided a great overview for first-time visitors, while including some hidden gems to delight those who have been to Hawaii before.
The Island of Oahu
The trip started with a three-night stay at the Sheraton Waikiki Beach, a Welcome Reception at the hotel and a Spirit of Old Hawaii luau. The owners took a full-day Battlefields & Memorials of Oahu tour that included Pearl Harbor and the USS Missouri, and a Wonders of Oahu tour that took them to Kualoa Ranch, where scenes from the Jurassic Park movies and many TV shows were filmed, as well as the famous North Shore surfing beaches and the elegant Byodo In-Temple.
Janet and Arthur Harper, owners from Chatham, Louisiana, booked their first Owner Adventures trip to celebrate their 40th anniversary. It was also their first trip to Hawaii, a destination on their bucket list.
“We were so glad we were able to go to Pearl Harbor,” Janet said. “It was very emotional as my husband served in the Army during Vietnam and flew into Hawaii during his tour.”
The Harpers also rated the luau as one of their favorite experiences on the trip.
“Being with the group we got special recognition, sat front and center, and received a beach towel as a token for being there,” Janet said.
Owners Chuck and Ione Good of Cape Coral, Florida, were also celebrating their anniversary. Ione said the view from their oceanfront room on Waikiki Beach was “fantastic,” and so were the included breakfasts at the hotel during their stay. Another highlight for Ione was the luau.
Following their time on Oahu, the owners boarded the Pride of America, a Norwegian Cruise Line® vessel and the only cruise ship that sails the Hawaii islands round trip from Honolulu.
Maui, the Valley Isle
With two full days in port on Maui, the owners were free to explore the delights and natural wonders of the island on their own. Choosing what to do is difficult, as there are so many famous sights here, such as Haleakala, Maui’s highest peak; the quaint seaside village of Lahaina; and the twisting road to Hana.
Ron and Deanna Mashburn, owners from Amarillo, Texas, were on their first Owner Adventures vacation. Ron said since this was their first trip to Hawaii and might be their only one, Bluegreen’s itinerary looked like the best way to see as much as they could in one trip, and they weren’t disappointed.
“We only missed the volcano, which I didn’t need to see up close and personal. We saw more than most of our friends and relatives who have gone there even several times,” he said.
The Mashburns took an excursion on Maui that included a walking tour of the rainforest, and it was a highlight of their adventure. Ron said they didn’t expect such natural beauty in a place where so many tourists visit.
Grumbling & Rumbling on the Big Island
The Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii erupted and spurted lava near the island’s eastern edge on May 3, just as this Owner Adventures trip began. While the eruption did not affect the whole island, it did cause the last-minute cancellation of the included excursion to Volcanoes National Park when the ship couldn’t dock at Hilo. That’s when the value of having Bluegreen travel staff as hosts was demonstrated. They worked quickly to arrange a new excursion for the following day, when the ship was to dock in Kona on the other side of the Big Island. The owners learned how world-famous Kona coffee is produced at the Royal Kona Coffee Center; saw the Painted Church, an historic Catholic church with vivid frescos depicting Bible stories; and got a history lesson at Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, a place of refuge from certain death for those who broke the kapu (laws) that governed every aspect of past Hawaiian society.
Jonathan and Shelly Simmons, owners from Cave City, Arkansas, were on their first Owner Adventures vacation and it was their first time in Hawaii. Jonathan said the Bluegreen hosts “immediately went to work trying to set up another tour for the next day. Although we were not able to go on the tour due to a prior excursion we had booked on our own, I commend them for all they did.”
Owners Neil and Bonnie Wood of Belmont, Michigan, had been to Hawaii before. This was their first Owner Adventures trip.
“We were there in 1971 and always said we would go back. We never expected it would take 47 years to return!” Neil said. He gave high praise to the Bluegreen hosts. “The guides were great, even when they had to ad lib when we couldn’t dock at Hilo,” he added.
Kauai, the Garden Isle
The last port of the cruise was Nawiliwili, Kauai, where the owners had an included excursion to Waimea Canyon, a magnificent place with the apt nickname of the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” They also had an elegant lunch at Duke’s, a restaurant right on the beach where they enjoyed a meal of fresh local fish and world famous Hula Pie. The ship stayed in port here overnight, so the owners also had some time to explore beautiful Kauai on their own.
As the ship sailed away from the island, it passed the dramatic emerald cliffs of the Napali Coast, Kauai’s most famous stretch of coastline. That evening they toasted their adventure at a private Farewell Cocktail Reception aboard ship.
What’s So Special About an Owner Adventures Vacation?
The owners had many positive things to say about traveling in Hawaii together and the aloha spirit that they experienced within the group.
Owners Lance and Mickey Fitzgerald reside in Grayslake, Illinois, but Lance lived in Hawaii as a child and graduated from high school there. Mickey had also been to Hawaii before, but they both wanted to visit the state as tourists.
“A lot has changed since 1971,” Mickey said. “Everything we saw was amazing—the landscape, the different places, the history. We saw so much; it was incredible. The staff and guides were wonderful.”
Jonathan Simmons said Owner Adventures was an aspect of their ownership that they wanted to try.
“This was by far our best experience,” he said. “With Bluegreen we had the best of everything: the best seats at the shows and the first group in line at the buffet. The greatest experience was the new friendships that we made on this trip!”
“It was great to have everything so well organized and not have to worry about much of anything,” said Ione Good. “We made some great friends on the trip that we plan to keep in touch with.”
“The people in the group were great. Always on time for the tours and a lot of fun,” Neil Wood said.
Janet Harper said they took away something very special from this trip: new friendships.
“It was very nice to be with other Bluegreen owners, and we learned a lot from many that have been with the organization since the beginning. All of the owners made us feel very good about being a part of Bluegreen,” she said. The Harpers have already booked their next adventure, Autumn’s Glory in New England and Canada in October 2019.
Travel on an Owner Adventures Vacation Yourself in 2018 or 2019!
Bluegreen will host the next adventure to Hawaii in 2020, but you don’t have to wait to experience the fun of traveling with other Bluegreen owners to amazing places across the globe. Booking is open for an all-American Owner Adventure set for Fall 2018, and there’s still space available on trips to four bucket-list destinations in 2019. Here’s the lineup:
- U.S. Music Cities Adventures | October 19-25, 2018
- Galapagos Islands Expedition | January 24-February 3, 2019
- California Wine Country & the Redwoods | March 28-April 4, 2019
- Tall Sails & D-Day Remembrance | May 27-June 11, 2019
- Exotic South Pacific Discovery | December 5-15, 2019
All Bluegreen owners can book Owner Adventures vacations by calling Bluegreen Travel Services at 855.645.2215. Traveler Plus members have the option of paying for any Owner Adventures vacation with annual, biennial, borrowed and rented Points, a credit card, or any combination of these.*
Call 855.645.2215 to Book Your Owner Adventures Vacation Today!
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