December 7th, 2016 commemorated 75 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor. National Pearl Harbor Rememberance Day was an opportunity to honour the sacrifice and dedication by those involved in this tragedy, which thrust America into World War II.
We visited Honolulu last October and there was only one place that we had to go to whilst we were there – Pearl Harbor.
Firstly, before you go, don’t feel that you have to use the official cruise excursions to make your trip to Pearl Harbor. We found that this was a really popular excursion that had sold out before the cruise so with a bit of research we were able to book advanced tickets independently at a fraction of the price with US Parks and Recreation. These tickets can be booked up to two months in advance.
Tickets for the USS ARIZONA Memorial are free with just a $1.50 booking fee, which is well worth it as you can book a time slot. We booked a morning slot, which was fortunate as the time slots in the afternoon were cancelled due to high winds. The boat that transports passengers over to the Memorial will not operate if weather conditions are not safe.
We opted to get the Passport to Pearl Harbor tickets which included entry to the USS ARIZONA Memorial, USS BOWFIN, BIG MO and the Pacific Aviation Museum for $65 each. If you choose this package, plan to be there for the whole day.
On the day we came into port in Honolulu we got off the ship early and caught a taxi outside the cruise terminal with ease, costing us around $25, which took around 20 minutes. Pearl Harbor was quiet at this time, before the cruise excursions and tourists arrived and we quickly visited the information desk where we were handed our tickets and earphones.
Above: cruise port at Honolulu
The USS ARIZONA Memorial is definitely worth the experience, it was very interesting and a poignant tribute to the those who lost their lives. The Memorial has the names of all those who died and the atmosphere is respectfully quiet. If you look into the water, you can still see the oil forming on the surface from the USS ARIZONA, 75 years on.
Pearl Harbor is a must for anyone visiting Oahu, for those of you who just want to visit the USS ARIZONA Memorial, you can do this in half a day, leaving the rest of the day to explore Honolulu and visit the iconic Waikiki Beach but we opted to spend the majority of the day visiting all of the sites, still leaving a few hours to hot foot it over to the beach.
Princess Cruises offered daily lectures on sea days on our way to Hawaii, which allowed us to learn more about the Pearl Harbor attack from experts, before visiting. For someone who didn’t know a lot about Pearl Harbor before the cruise, these lectures really helped put things into perspective during our visit.