Say "Aloha" to paradise!
Why cruise Hawaii?
Cruises to Hawaii bring visions of hula dancers, festive luau's and surfers hanging ten while being greeted with the traditional lei. The Hawaiian Islands were created from volcanic origins and while similar they all have different attractions, climates and lures.
taking a Hawaiian cruise is utterly magical experience from it's soaring volcanic peaks stretching up to 14,000 feet above the magnificent blue seas of the Pacific below, rampant wild fauna like anthuriums and poinsettias blooming year round, beautiful public access beaches and remote swimming holes underneath dynamic waterfalls that produce some of the most spectacular rainbows on earth.
Hawaiian Cruises - Unwind and relax Hawaiian style.
Hawaii is known for it's laid back style, beauty and tropical splendor. Cruises to Hawaii are a perfect getaway for families, couples, singles and groups who want to experience the rich island life and sights that this region is known for. Each island is different and all have plenty of unique attractions to enjoy for onshore excursions like Pearl Harbor, Kilauea's crater, Waikiki Beach and much much more. In fact there is so much to see and do on Hawaii and the surrounding islands you may find yourself coming back after your cruise to Hawaii to explore this stunning destination.
Hawaiian Cruises fall into three categories. Cruising just the islands themselves, Hawaiian cruises that end or start in Hawaii and connect to other ports in California, Vancouver or Ensenada, and repositioning Hawaiian cruises that sail between North America and Asia or Australia and New Zealand to name a few. Most Hawaiian cruises run 7 nights but can last in length up to 18 nights or more for repositioning cruise itineraries.
Here is a breakdown of your Hawaiian cruise options.
Intra-island Hawaiian Cruises: This type of Hawaiian cruise is the most sought after because of the port intensive itineraries typically lasting a week with overnights on some popular Hawaiian islands like Kauai and Maui. Currently the only cruise line that offers round-trip Hawaiian cruises all year round from Honolulu is Norwegian. They operate the only U.S.-flagged sailing ship, Pride of America, in the region that can travel between the islands without having to incorporate an international port into the itinerary. Another cruise line that offers off-the-beaten-path intra-island adventures is Un-Cruise Adventures which sails between the Big Island and Molokai.
Hawaiian Cruises with one foreign port of call: Unfortunately foreign-flagged cruise ships, which pretty much encompasses all cruise lines, sailing to Hawaii have to include at least one foreign port of call to be able stop in Hawaii. Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America and Celebrity offer a host of seasonal Hawaiian cruise itineraries round-trip from ports in the U.S. (Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego), as well as, ports in Mexico and Canada. This type of Hawaiian cruise typically lasts between 14 and 18 days to include a foreign port like Ensenada or Vancouver.
Repositioning Hawaiian cruises: This type of cruise happens a few times a year with different cruise lines when they are moving from one home-port to another. Most repositioning Hawaiian cruises are between North American and Asia or New Zealand/Australia. There are also shorter repositioning trips between Vancouver (for Alaska cruises) and back to Southern California. There are also repositioning trips that sail through the Panama Canal and disembark on the East Coast.
Popular Hawaiian cruise destinations.
Hawaiian cruises are very popular during winter months because of the great whale-watching sightings that occur during this period even though it's a bit rainy during that season. Summer is also another popular time, especially for family cruises, when the kids are out of school. Below are some port highlights on a typical intra-island Hawaiian cruise.
Honolulu: This is the embarkation/debark port for Hawaiian cruises on the island of Oahu. This particular island has a multitude of interesting historical landmarks as well as plenty of beautiful beach areas to lounge on and soak up the sun. If you have a few days to spare it is suggested that you visit Pearl Harbor or the USS Arizona Memorial. For those seeking a hike among the natural fauna of Hawaii trek on up to Diamondhead Crater. And for the sun lovers that want to frolic in the surf or catch some rays grab your towel and spend a day at Waikiki Beach. Another great area to discover, especially for families, is the Polynesian Visitors Center which sits on 42 acres of land and introduces visitors to the true Polynesian experience through luau's, dance shows and more.
Maui: Most Hawaiian cruise itineraries will stop in the artsy and historic port in Lahaina. Lahaina affords lots of snorkeling and whale-watching opportunities (when in season). This is also the cruise port where travelers can visit Kaanapali Beach or Haleakala National Park. Also, the Road to Hana, with it's trek through waterfalls and rainforest scenery is something to behold. When visiting the Haleakala National Park, think about booking cruise excursions for a helicopter ride or bicycle ride up to the Haleakala Crater, the world's largest dormant volcano, for some impressive views of the island as well as being able to experience standing on top of a once active volcano.
Hawaiian Cruise, Kona: One of two ports on the Big Island of Hawaii, Kona, is great for beach excursions and historical sight-seeing. Kona has a small village-like setting and is best known for the world-famous coffee that is produced in this area. Coffee lovers can actually take plantation tours that offer tastings while on Kona. Kona is also great for self-guided tours around the historical sites on the island. For water sports there are plenty of beaches to enjoy some with volcanic black sand and others that are powdery white. A nice trip out to Puuhonau O Honaunau, the City of Refuge, for a fun trip viewing ancient temples and fish ponds.
Hilo: The other port located on the Big Island has many must-see locations. Volcanoes National Park is a testament to the stark beauty that a volcanic island affords with a lush green and black landscape where you can view lava tube where steam vents rise from the ground or witness lava flow into the sea (this can be viewed best on a helicopter tour). Another beautiful area to visit is the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens. Breathtaking Akaka Falls, where water drops from more than 400 feet into a pool, is an awe-inspiring location to visit, as is a hike to the summit of Mount Mauna Kea, which is the highest peak in Hawaii.
Kauai: A Hawaiian cruise cannot be complete without a stop in Kauai. Besides snorkeling, kayaking, sailing and swimming a day in Kauai, better known as the Garden Isle, will lead to spectacular views of cliffs and canyons at Waimea Canyon (aptly known as "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific") and luscious walks through Fern Grotto. Take a helicopter or boat tour of the Napali coast and enjoy it's breathtaking beauty. For the more adventurous try a zip-line adventure over the Haupu Mountains where you travel back by foot over an 80' suspension bridge and end the adventure with a relaxing Hawaiian canoe ride back down the Hule-ia River.
A Hawaiian cruise offers an incredible vacation if you are looking for an active cruise. Since Hawaii has so much to offer in addition to a cruise, consider a pre-cruise or post-cruise to fully appreciate this paradise.