Although Mark Twain never stepped foot on Kauai during his visit to Oahu in 1866, he is credited to giving Waimea Canyon its nickname, the 'Grand Canyon of the Pacific' approximately 10 years before the first tourist reached the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Despite this Hawaii folklore, you will see similarities in this colorful 14 miles long (22.5 km) by one mile (1.6 km) wide gorge that reached depths of up to 3,600 feet (1097 m). Enjoy this special departure just for the Pride of America guests!
Departing from the cruise pier in Nawiliwili, you will hop onboard your air-conditioned transportation with your guide for the 90-minute drive to the northwest side of Kauai arriving at the Waimea Canyon State Park. The canyon, like the one in Arizona, has been slowly etched through the rock over millions of years by erosion. Unlike Arizona, the ground underneath has also buckled due to internal collapses under the earth's surface, giving Wailea a uniqueness all its own. From the lookout at 3,400 feet (1036 m) above the canyon floor, you will see multicolored buttes, jagged crags, and cliffs.
Driving back towards Nawiliwili, you will pass through the small town of Waimea, located near the southwest coast where Captain James Cook first set foot on Hawaiian soil in 1778. He was received as the god Lono, arriving with his temple (ship). A year later, he was killed on the big island of Hawaii. A statue of Cook stands in the center of town.
A photo stop will be made at Spouting Horn, a blowhole on the Poipu coast, that is steeped in legend. Your guide will be giving you an insiders take on this as well as information about all of the sites. From here, you will pass through Old Koloa Town. The town dates back to 1834 when Hawaii's first sugar cane plantation was developed here. The quaint old buildings, many of them are originals that have been restored, are now home to cafes and galleries.
From here, you will return to your Kauai cruise pier, where you will have time to grab a quick lunch on board your ship before departing for the second portion of your excursion.
In the afternoon, you will meet your guide again and travel for 20 minutes to the nearby Wailua River, the only navigable river in Hawaii. The river stretches 20 miles (32 km) from the nearby mountains through lush countryside and forests until it reaches the coast. You will board flat-bottomed, covered boats for a scenic 40-minute cruise up the river to the sacred Fern Grotto, a lava rock overhang covered with tropical ferns. Inside the natural amphitheater, you will hear local musicians playing traditional local songs.
On the return drive, a photo stop will be made at the overlook at Opaekaa Falls. From here, it is a quick hop back to your Nawiliwili cruise pier in Kauai.
This popular all-day combo excursion will show you the very best of Kauai. In the morning travel to the grand Waimea Canyon and south shore. After lunch at your cruise ship, spend the afternoon on a leisurely cruise up the Wailea River to the tropical Fern Grotto.