What is the impact of the changes in Hawaii yesterday on "The Best of Hawaii" trip???

The quote below is from KHON2 posted last night.

"by: Sam Spangler

Posted: Aug 10, 2021 / 10:04 PM HST / Updated: Aug 10, 2021 / 10:15 PM HST

HONOLULU (KHON2) — With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations soaring new restrictions are rolling out state-wide.

Effective immediately bars, restaurants, gyms, and other social establishments will once again have to limit indoor capacity to 50%. Social gatherings will now be limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors."



  • Tauck seems to have removed the "Entry Requirements" on their website. I am on the Best of Hawaii trip in September and time is getting short on what is required for the trip.

  • They are most likely scrambling to update all of them. Hang in there.

  • Hawaii has been off my travel list for some time. (One of our first canceled trips.) Their rules are ridiculous, and I’m quite sure their governor is ‘impaired’. I get updates on their rules every day. Hawaiian Airlines is giving away tickets to try to get customers. We might go when covid is over, or they get a new governor. You need to have your dinner reservations before you leave home, or your dining option will be room service.

  • I'm not opposed to the governor's requirements. The Covid rate has increased considerably after Hawaii relaxed its restrictions. It will be interesting to see how Tauck adapts. I will roll with the punches. I'm scheduled to leave within days for a tour before yours, Scott_Parks. I've uploaded my vaccine card (full disclosure -- my daughter did it for me) and will bring the original with me. I'm a little nervous about filling out and uploading the pre-entry questionnaire, which isn't even available on the Hawaii website until 24 hours before I leave the West Coast (my first flight is from BOS) -- because I am definitely technologically challenged, and my daughter will be 2 states away. I have a few dinner reservations; however, as an alternative to room service, there's always the hotel bar! I'll post a review when I return.

  • Aloha!!! Safe travels…it’ll be great!!

  • For places like Hawaii, I wonder how they handle folks who are technology impaired, or memory impaired like me. I think they must be flexible and don't make you walk the plank.

  • Our family went to Hawaii a few weeks ago for a one week trip. Before traveling, we registered on Hawaii's Safe Travels website, located at https://hawaii.safetravels.com. We have been vaccinated so we were "exempt." At that time, this meant that we did not have to get tested. At the departure airport, Hawaiian Airlines gave us a green ribbon which allowed us to avoid the long line at the arrival airport for folks who have not been vetted (vaccine or negative test w/I 72 hours).

    As far as the trip, many restaurants and stores had been impacted by COVID; however, they maintained social distancing, limited capacity, etc. Most of the time we ate outdoors as were our activities. 99% of the people (visitors and locals) kept their masks on in places requiring same.

    The sad part was that like most businesses here on the mainland, restaurants and the like were short-handed - they lacked staff, cooks, waiters, etc. The other sad part was seeing the closing of so many businesses affected by COVID.

  • Did you have any trouble finding a place to eat while in Hawaii??

  • No, not really. It was busy - tourist season. For our fav restaurants, we made reservations before we left. Our son and his fiancé are in charge of dinners (and lunches) so they always seem to find the places where the "locals" go and not the tourists. Eliminates a mild headache for me.

  • As an aside, my wife and I have been traveling to the Big Island of Hawaii almost every year since 1980. When she was pregnant with our son the staff at one hotel made her blankets. The highlight of this year's trip was going to the top of the Mauna Kea to see the observatory (actually there are several), watching the sunset, and then going down to 9,000 feet to star gaze, using a telescope as well. Our guide was amazing, a scientist, small group, had dinner (lasagne and brownie), pit stops, and fun. At the moment he was pointing out Saturn, via his laser type light, a huge falling star appeared. It was magical and after the collective "oohs and aah" I asked him "if he could do that again. . . :smile:

    edited August 2021

    I’m typing this from my room at the Royal Hawaiian on Sunday morning. I arrived Friday afternoon, totally exhausted after a week of not having slept much at home and an early flight from BOS. Although there’s a nonstop flight on Hawaiian from BOS, it cost more than twice as much as United’s flight with a layover in SFO, so I opted for the latter. The flights themselves were fine, but the scene at SFO was a nightmare. It was from other passengers that I first learned that there was a separate gate to go to to get prescreened for travel to Hawaii. There were conflicting stories about whether you had to do it (and get a wristband) before boarding the plane or whether you could do it in HNL. So I decided to give the preboarding screening a try. The line was huge (there was a flight leaving for OGG at about the same time) and not moving well. Worst of all, there was no separate line for people like me who already had their QR code from Hawaii Safe Travels. Afraid I would miss my flight (because it was the scheduled boarding time), I decided to deal with it when I got to HNL. Then they made an announcement that the flight would be delayed because they were waiting for two crew members to arrive on a different flight … so I went back to the other gate where the line was much smaller, because the Maui flight had boarded. I had no trouble getting my wristband once I got to the front of the line, but the whole ordeal was very stressful, and could have been mitigated by clearer communication and separate lines for people who had their QR code. The moral is: do your homework, get your QR code, and if you have a connection, go get your wristband before going to a lounge or elsewhere. My daughter arrived yesterday on a direct flight from EWR, where she was able to get her wristband before boarding.

    I was so tired Friday that I didn’t bother to eat dinner. Last night, my daughter and I just went to the Mai Tai bar in the hotel and got some food to go with our drinks. We have dinner reservations tonight at a restaurant about 10 minutes away. I had a great day yesterday at Pearl Harbor. I didn’t go to the Arizona Memorial, because we’ll do that with Tauck on Tuesday, but toured the Bowfin submarine, the battleship Missouri and the Pacific Aviation Museum. I took the public bus to and from Pearl Harbor. It took over an hour, but I was in no hurry. Everyone is very diligent about mask wearing.

  • MCD,

    What is the size of your tour group? How have they handled the reduction in sizes as ordered by the governor?
    Has the Itinerary been modified? Hope all goes well with your tour.

  • I’ll find out the size of the tour this afternoon when it officially begins and we get the list of tour participants. The package I got this morning had the itinerary for the 3 days on Oahu and it is the same as planned. I’ll check back in later. My daughter spent yesterday on the beach and she’s back there today. I went to the Bishop Museum yesterday, again by public bus, and went for a swim this morning. By the way, if you want to hang out at the beach, it’s good idea to rent beach chairs and an umbrella in advance.

  • There are 34 people on the list for the current tour. Don’t know yet whether everyone will show up. First itinerary change: we can’t have our welcome dinner at the Iolani Palace, but will be going to Queen Emma’s Palace for it tomorrow night (after having done touring tomorrow morning).

  • Hawaii's Governor Asks Tourists To Stay Away Because of Covid. Please don't shoot the messenger. https://www.npr.org/2021/08/23/1030532161/hawaii-governor-tourists-stay-away-covid

  • MCD,

    How is your tour going?

    Have there been any more Itinerary modification?

    Thank for any information that you can provide. My wife is not sure she want's to go on this tour now.

  • We are scheduled on the Feb. 2 tour and absolutely plan to go regardless of any modifications or requirements. After 2 years of no travel, we will be very happy to follow whatever protocols necessary (except quarantining upon arrival). Cannot wait to get to the Aloha State!

  • MCD,, How is it all going? My friend’s daughter and husband are scheduled on an independent trip in the next couple of weeks, very nervous about going, They are in their early thirties and have car, tours and restaurants booked. I say they should go, it’ll be fine. Any input please?

  • I was reading The Points Guy newsletter this morning and it appears the situation in Hawaii is deteriorating due to Covid. This article was as of 4 days ago. Your friends may be ok, especially if they have confirmed reservations for their restaurants, car and tours, however, according to the article, "Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi has added back restrictions on large groups and gatherings. He is asking the state to again shut down beaches and parks. He also issued an emergency health order again restricting restaurant and bar capacity to 50%. This is likely to make a shortage of restaurant availability even worse." Of course, this is Honolulu, I am not sure how Covid is affecting other cities or islands. Here is a link to the article:

    https://thepointsguy.com/news/hawaii-restrictions-warnings/?utm_source=TPG Daily Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2793159&utm_usr=ea6f639740020e5d6772059f34f4fd3004c96e0cc0830f3e2fa11a8d3e1388ef&utm_msg=42e7ec746a904e27af247e225ba97b28&utm_date=2021-08-28

  • Thanks TM, I had read this. It still wouldn’t scare me off as it is still the USA

  • Aloha, everyone. Today is our final day on the Big Island. We head to Kauai early tomorrow. I had mis-counted the number of names on the list of tour participants. There are 33 of us on the list, and everyone showed up. Other than missing the Iolani Palace, there have not been major changes to the itinerary. Once, we split the group between 2 buses because of COVID restrictions (and even then, we were over the “allowed” number, but a 3rd bus was not available) and when entering some buildings, we divide into groups of 10 or fewer. It has not been problematic. I had booked 2 restaurants in Honolulu for the nights we didn’t have Tauck-provided dinners, and last night, when we had dinner on our own, we just went to an outdoor bar here at the hotel (which is absolutely gorgeous, but in the middle of nowhere) and got a light meal following our sunset catamaran cruise. We had about a 10 minute wait, which wasn’t bad. The service and the food at The Royal Hawaiian were not great. It’s much better at the Fairmont Orchid here on Hawaii.

    Here’s a tip: you can reserve beach chairs and umbrellas in advance at the Royal Hawaiian. If you don’t book in advance, it’s first come, first served. The brown umbrellas are closer to the water, but are on the public beach. The pink umbrellas are on Royal Hawaiian property, right behind the brown chairs. My daughter opted for the pink ones. You can always get a towel and just sit on the beach. The beach here at the Fairmont is much smaller than Waikiki. My daughter rented a chair by the lovely pool. She said that the small beach here has rental chairs, with a “roof” for sun protection, and there are also free chairs without the “roof.”

    So far, so good!

  • I neglected to mention — when we checked into the Fairmont Orchid, we had to show that we had been screened at the airport. It was NOT enough to show the QR code that we presented at the airport to get screened. Many of us found that frustrating. Some guests just handed their phones to the hotel personnel and said, “Here, you do it!” which I probably would have done if my daughter hadn’t been with me. The hotel then gave us a rubber wristband to wear on the property.

  • MCD, Thank you so much for posting. We are scheduled to leave on this tour in a couple of weeks and your feedback is helpful in determining whether we should go. Please keep posting.

  • There are some VERY early mornings on this trip. The day we left Oahu, our checked luggage was picked up at 5:30, the day we left The Big Island, it was picked up at 5:00 and tomorrow it will be 5:30. Hawaiian Air cancelled at least one of our flights, so we had to take an earlier flight. Many people were not happy that we had to change planes in Honolulu to go from The Big Island to Kauai, but the only direct flight was around 5:00 pm, which would have completely messed up the schedules on both islands. Today, our only full day on Kauai, is a free day, except for a lecture on local birds at 5:00 pm. My daughter and I are both skipping that. She’s spending the day at the pool and I’m on a day trip to Waimea Canyon that I had the hotel concierge book for me in advance. It’s also available on Viator. I looked at so many excursions in advance that I can’t remember which was which, but I found several that would not pick up a single traveler at the hotel, so I figured I might have better luck using the concierge. km32937, if you have specific questions, please ask.

  • edited August 2021

    MCD, Thanks for the very early warning. I wasn’t expecting that. On the nights that Tauck provides dinner, are there choices of restaurants and times?

  • No choice of restaurants on Oahu or Kauai. On Hawaii, one night the dinner was at Brown’s; the other, we could choose Brown’s or the Binchotan. Both were excellent! We did have our choice of times and, a few times,
    dinner companions. If you didn’t care with whom you ate, the TD would match you up with someone else who wanted to eat at the same time.

  • Will you eat at Tidepools in Kauai?

  • We liked Roy’s in Honolulu. It is about 4 blocks from the Royal H.

  • Tidepools is the location of our included dinner tonight. I went to Roy’s in Waikiki (having made a reservation before leaving home). My fish was overcooked. Another night (I was there 3 nights before the tour started) I went to Island Vintage Wine Bar in the Royal Hawaiian Center, adjacent to the hotel. I also made that reservation in advance. It has a limited food menu, but was just what I wanted. You can check out menus on line.

    By the way, the catamaran cruise on Hawaii is a sunset cruise, so if you make a dinner reservation keep that in mind. We got back to the hotel about 7:30 and just went to the bar and got a light meal after about a 10 minute wait.

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