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Saturday, October 3, 2020

Our Polynesian Cruise Staycation

I'm back with another destination date night, though this destination is on the "open seas". As with regular vacations, things don't always go as planned, and so goes staycations as well. I had a great big plan for our last one, but my items weren't going to get here in time, so instead we put it off and did a cruise instead. Summer is quickly ebbing away and I wanted to take advantage of one of the last warm days. 

I've been reflecting back on some of our past vacations and put two of them together to create a fun staycation. Cruising is going to take a while to come back. They will tell you that you can start booking cruises now, but please don't do it, unless you can rebook, because until there's an actual vaccine for COVID, you're not going to want to get on a cruise ship. There can't be any social distancing on a ship, unless you don't plan to do any of the things that make ships fun: shows, games, casino, buffets, etc.

Because of this, I decided we would take a cruise to some tropical locale, have some delicious Polynesian-inspired food, while listening to the sounds of the waves and birds singing and sipping on a tropical drink. 

I went all blue for this set-up and with traditional leis made of shells and nuts that I received at various Hawaiian press meet-ups I've gone to. I had a bag of frozen dragonfruit in the freezer for smoothies that I blended up with bananas and coconut milk to make this gorgeous drink. I'd also suggest either some pineapple to the blender, and you could sub Malibu rum for the coconut milk if you want a cocktail. 

We tried fresh dragonfruit for the first time when we were in Hawaii, and we've never gotten the same experience, even when we've gotten it from the Asian market. They cost 4 times as much and have only a small fraction of the flavor. This was a great substitute though and had a lovely color. I added some smoothie size bamboo straws. 

Eric is always excited when we're on vacation. LOL! To keep the feeling going, I jumped on UberEats to find an authentic Hawaiian restaurant (not the quick-service place that's close that we usually go to). That way we would have a different experience than we usually do. 

I ordered two appetizers: Spam musubu (basically a sushi, but with Spam and egg instead of raw fish or other regular fillings) and this gorgeous pickled cucumber and onion salad. Both were awesome. For our main, I asked if Eric wanted chicken or pork. We aren't huge fans of Kaluha pork, so we got Shoyu chicken instead, with a huge side of macaroni salad. This was my bad, because when it asked what side I wanted, I picked mac salad, thinking that was in addition to rice, and also ordered a side of mac salad. You never get enough. That was definitely not a problem this time. Ha! 

I got these gorgeous gold speckled plates through Target online. The ones from my last staycation post are the same, but pink instead of blue. I wish they had other colors. I totally would have bought more. They are by Opalhouse. 

Here we are on the lido deck, enjoying the salty sea breeze, endless ocean, and this weird bird on the ship for some reason. I know he's there because I put him there. I felt we needed an actual bird to go with the sounds of birds. He gave us some good views and ambiance. 

For dessert - there has to be dessert on vacation - I picked up the closest thing I could find to malasadas. Malasadas are doughnuts with different fillings. When in Hawaii, we walked 8 miles to go to Leonards and got a dozen to take back with us to our timeshare. We got normal custard fillings, but also delicious fruit fillings, too. The closest thing to this locally is a place called Beard Papa at our Uwajimaya Asian grocery store. They are giant cream puffs and sell vanilla custard and chocolate filled and then a rotating flavor. 

When I stopped by, the 3rd mystery flavor was Dulce de Leche. It was pretty much vanilla custard inside with caramel on top. I wouldn't say no to it again, but these are fairly messy to eat with your hands, so I suggest either a lot of napkins or a fork, even if you feel like a nerd. 

While eating dessert, we took a tour of the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii via vloggers Perfect Little Planet. We didn't rent a car when we visited Honolulu, and we were only there for a week, so we had to choose what we wanted to do and what we could skip. We didn't want to spend an entire day at the Center and maybe still not see it all, so we skipped that and went to the Dole Plantation instead. There is quite a lot to see and do...and eat. 

This date night wasn't as involved as our others, but we had much of the decorations already, and it was still a great escape from the world and its worries, and we were able to soak up some of the last warm times in the evening. We even "took" the dog. I think this probably ended up costing around $80, which is less than our others, but will definitely even out in the long run, since our next staycation will be more costly than usual. I can't wait.

If you'd like to recreate a Polynesian cruise, or just a trip to Hawaii, here are some things you can do to make it happen:
Learn some Hawaiian words, practice the hula by watching videos, try out the ukulele, play bingo, watch a luau (there's one on my playlist). Make this a fun night that doesn't have to stop at dinner. Make it a whole day where you cook together, do a ton of activities, plan a trip, and enjoy each other as a family or a couple. 

If you want to follow along or see more pics/vids of my "trips", follow me on Instagram.

Where are you looking forward to traveling when it's safe to do so?

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I may be compensated should you choose to make any purchases through them. This allows me to keep this blog running for you. 

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