7 March 2011...Chicago ORD —Honolulu, Hawaii HNL
9/10 March.......Honolulu HNL— Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands MAJ
13 March..........Majuro MAJ— Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia KSA
14 March..........Lelu Ruins, Kosrae, FSM
15 March..........Kosrae, FSM KSA — Pohnpei, FSM PNI
16 March..........Nan Madol, Pohnpei, FSM
17 March..........Pohnpei, FSM PNI — Kwajulein, FSM KSA — Chuuk, FSM TKK —
..........................Guam GUM — Koror, Palau ROR
18 March..........Rock Islands, Palau
19 March..........Babeldaob Island, Palau
20 March..........Koror, Palau ROR — Yap, FSM YAP
22 March..........Runming Island, Yap
23 March..........Yap, FSM YAP — Guam GUM — Saipan, Northern Marianas SPN
24 March..........Saipan, NM SPN — Guam GUM
25/24 March.....Guam GUM — Honolulu HNL
25/26 March.....Honolulu HNL — Chicago ORD
Two pages of photos to keep you interested...
A trip to a part of this earth that’s difficult, at best, to get to – and expensive when you do. There aren’t a lot of options to visit the Micronesian islands, and this trip from World Travel appeared to fit the bill. Although I would have preferred a cruise, those that do go there are horribly expensive and I doubt I would have had the opportunity to do as much as we did.
So, first, the high points: there were only 14 travelers in the group; we did manage to get to all the islands listed on the itinerary and the hotels/resorts were as described; the weather cooperated–it rained a lot but that didn’t have much effect on our excursions or flights; we saw all of the included sights/sites/excursions plus a few non-advertised ones that were pretty good; the landscapes and the Pacific waters were magnificent–each island presented its own personality and the local guides were very good (with one exception) at showing us the best their home had to offer. The food was plentiful and tasty, and authentic local arts and crafts were available with some searching. The locals were universally pleasant, helpful, courteous, and pretty good with their English, and the US dollar is used everywhere.
And the rest of the story: roundtrip to the islands from Honolulu involved 10 flights in 17 days–’nuff said; do the math: 8 hotels in 17 days...and in two of those hotels we didn’t even stay a full 24 hours. A slower pace would have been more desirable, but the cost for just the land portion of this trip (including the noxious single supplement) was about $450 per day. I have to say that I think the trip was overpriced: all but two of the hotels were in the $100 - 140 range for a single [rack rate], the meals were OK but hardly gourmet and the service was glacially slow in several places, land transport was tight and often non-air conditioned, water transport [local boats] was in several cases makeshift, and the American ‘tour escort’ was generally befuddled by questions like “What time are we leaving for the airport?”.
My biggest complaint involved the arrangements for the last day: leave for the airport on Saipan at 6 am for arrival on Guam at 9:20 am; wasted time going to the hotel [a Hyatt, in this case] to drop off luggage; spend the rest of the day in a tourist van, visiting some places of little interest [three Spanish forts with fake cannons and the place Magellan may or may not have landed in 1521] and some places of no interest whatsoever [a stupid place where Japanese couples come to get married because of some hokey Romeo-and-Juliet myth and a fake Chamorro ‘village’ which was deserted--I mean, who cares?]; tasteless lunch at a tourist trap restaurant; and top it off by driving right past all the WWII sites, beaches, and the main museum with nary a slow-down, much less a stop [and by that time, it was too late in the day to go back by taxi]. This was followed by a ‘gala farewell dinner’ with really bad ‘entertainment’ [which I skipped] and then be packed and ready to leave for the airport at 3:45 am for a 7 hour flight back to Honolulu. Truly a day from hell. Funny thing is, I kinda liked Guam and would like to stop there again sometime – hopefully for more than 21 hours.
So, all in all, a trip that I’m very glad I went on but I wish it had been better organized and had better communications between the ‘tour escort’ and ALL the members of the group.
Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands
Federated States of Micronesia: Kosrae, Pohnpei, & Yap
Republic of Palau
Saipan, Northern Marianas
Back to Oceania Page