Last month we experienced our third Cruise in Hawaii and like the last two we loved every minute of it as in our minds there’s no better way to see these Beautiful Islands then by Cruise Ship! 🙂
A lot of people don’t realize Hawaii is made up of four main Islands… Oahu, Maui, Kauai & Hawaii: AKA “The Big Island”. And yes, there’s a few more Islands but these 4 are the main ones for tourism.
Many people fly into Honolulu on Oahu and spend a week on the beach in Waikiki. (See Waikiki Beach in the background of this picture below. Also, check out Shawn’s grin from ear to ear- happy to be in Hawaii!!)
…or they fly into Maui and do the same thing there and that’s all fine BUT…
…after having vacationed in Hawaii by Cruise Ship three times now and staying in resorts for 5 weeks another time (1 week in each of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Hawaii: AKA “The Big Island” & Molokai) we think you’re not getting the full Hawaii experience by spending time in only one place as many people do.
Why, you ask?
Each of the four main Islands are unique from one another, have their own feel and have something new to offer each time you go there. So do yourself a favour on your first trip to Hawaii (or next) & consider taking a Cruise there!
This time, we Cruised around Hawaii on Norwegian Cruiseline’s “Pride of America”.
FYI, there are 3 main ways you can visit Hawaii on a Cruise Ship:
1. The shortest Cruise you can take in this area (which is the one we did last month) is where you fly into Honolulu & take a seven night roundtrip Cruise to Maui/Hilo/Kona/Kauai… it’s operated by Norwegian Cruiseline on their “Pride of America” ship. (in the pic above) As it’s the ONLY ship that operates this itinerary (due to legalities other Cruiselines can’t offer this option as they’d need to have a US flagged ship which isn’t the norm in the industry) no need to spend hours shopping around for choices… there are none! 🙂 It’s a great option though as you spend LOTS of time in each port (over 90 hours in total/compare that to 30 on a Caribbean Cruise)… there are no sea days & you even overnight in Maui & Kauai so you’ll have plenty of time to see all the sites. And when you add up how much it’d cost to fly from Island to Island (remember we said earlier, we’ve done the “Island Hopping” by plane ourselves) and stay at nice resorts, pay for food, etc. even though this ship is more costly per day then say a Caribbean Cruise, it’s a GREAT value when compared to other Hawaii options!
Side note: We spoke to a couple on the ship who reside in Oahu, Hawaii and we asked if they take extended weekends to the other Islands and and they told us they prefer to take this ship because by the time they fly, pay $100s per night for a hotel room plus a $40 daily resort fee (common here on the islands) pay for parking etc, etc, it is more economical for them to take this cruise for birthday celebrations and holidays- so there you go, proof that it’s an economical way to have a Vacation in Hawaii!
2. Usually starting in October each year & ending in April you can do 2 week roundtrip Cruises from California… typically from LA or San Diego or San Francisco. This is a nice option if you LOVE sea days as there’s normally 5 going over & 5 coming back and of course you don’t need to do the 5-6 hr flight to Hawaii from the West Coast but you usually spend less then 1/2 the time on the Islands compared to option # 1 and again out of 2 weeks, 10 days of that is at sea so this option isn’t for everyone.
3. Every spring there’s usually “repositioning” 1 way sailings from Hawaii back to Vancouver or the West Coast of the US and every fall they go back to Hawaii from these areas… as you’ll see here https://gallery.shawnpower.com/CruiseVacations/Hawaii-Pacific-Princess/, we did one of these ourselves for our Honeymoon a decade ago from Vancouver. We really liked it as we started with 5 relaxing sea days from Vancouver and then we got to enjoy the Islands but we didn’t need to do the 5 days back like in option # 2 so it was a great combination… another pro is you only have to pay for 1 way airfare but again if you’re short on time these are usually 9-10 days minimum so not as short as # 1 if you only have a week off. And, like option 2, you spend less time in the ports compared to option 1.
Anyways, these are all great options and what’s best for you of course depends on your time available/budget, etc. but now that you know your choices feel free to contact Shawn so he can help you see which Hawaii Cruise option is best for you.
Who doesn’t want to come to this Paradise, right!?! 🙂
FYI, the below blog post is all about things to see & do in Hawaii but if you want to see what it’s like onboard the “Pride of America” Cruise Ship in Hawaii, Check out Our Pictures & Videos Gallery and be sure to read the captions underneath the pictures & videos to get some great advice and tips!
Alright, now that you know the options for Cruising in Hawaii and all about Norwegian’s Ship experience…
Let us tell you about some of the things to see & do on each Island to help you see that a Cruise really is The Best option instead of simply flying to one Island and missing out on the rest:
This is Hawaii’s most populated & commercial Island… it’s main city and state capital is Honolulu. Honolulu’s main neighbourhood is World Famous “Waikiki” which is one of the most popular beach destinations on the planet!
Not only is Waikiki popular for it’s beach (see why in the scenic pics below) but also for it’s great shopping/restaurants/night-life, etc.
If you do Norwegian’s 7 night roundtrip Cruise from Honolulu, as we did last month, MAKE SURE to fly in as early as your budget allows… for example, last month we flew in on a Monday for our Saturday Cruise spending 5 nights prior… for our 1st Cruise there 12 years ago we spent 3 nights there before we sailed & for our Vancouver to Honolulu Honeymoon Cruise we spent 2 nights there after our sailing. Either way, there’ll be LOTS to see & do no matter how many days you spend.
Some of our favourite things to do on this Island are:
- Spend the day at Kualoa Ranch
- Visit the Polynesian Culture Centre
- Hike up Diamond Head
- Snorkel in Hanauma Bay
- Take a drive up to the North Shore to see where some of the World’s best surfing takes place & visit the huge sea turtles
- Visit Pearl Harbour
See a few pictures of the fun we had in Oahu over the years (the first one of us horseback riding is at Kualoa Ranch):
Did you know?
Honolulu’s home Island, Oahu, is part of the largest mountain range in the world- most of which is under water. Interesting, huh?!
Maui is the second largest Island of the Hawaiian chain, is the most visited of all the Hawaiian Islands but is sparsely populated.
It is home to pineapple, sugar cane, cattle ranches, rain forests and the worlds largest dormant Volcano called Haleakala. It is estimated that 50% of the World’s humpback whales return to Maui’s warm waters yearly.
Some of our favourite things to do on this Island are:
Road to Hana
Sunrise or Sunset at Haleakala
Snorkel at Molokini
“Feast of Lele” Luau
Drive the North Shore
Visit historic Lahaina
Check out some pictures of beautiful Maui we took, including this first one as proof that the “North Shore” drive is fun and exciting! LOL
Hawaii: AKA “The Big Island”
This Hawaii Island’s population is about 150,000, the least populated Island per square mile, but is called “The Big Island” as it is more than twice the size of all the Islands combined.
The city of Kona, located on the West side of the Big Island, means “leeward side” in Hawaiian and is known for its great coffee and big fish!
Captain cook landed here in 1778 while seeking shelter from the winter months and make no wonder why.
Here on “The Big Island” you can soak up the sun on its stunning beaches of white and black sand (see pic directly above), enjoy waterfalls, volcanoes, sea turtles, seahorse farms and much more.
Did you know?
“The Big Island” is getting bigger by approximately 42 acres each year because of the continuous eruption of the Kilauea Volcano. It’s been erupting for 30 years.
Did you also know?
- The annual Ironman World Championship starts in Kailua-Kona each October and is known as the best triathlon in the world…………….
- The city of Hilo, located on the East side of the Big Island, is the second largest city in Hawaii and is known as the “Orchid Capital”…………………
- Hilo is the America’s wettest city getting an annual rain fall of 120 inches and is the gateway to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park where Kilauea has been erupting everyday since 1983 and although most of it is in the ocean, it’s entirety is taller then Mt Everest
Here is what we loved doing the most on The Big Island:
Hilo- Visit Volcano National Park, Lava Tube excursions, zip-lining, hiking to waterfalls & kayaking, etc.
Kona- Snorkel at Turtle Bay, Catamaran Cruise, Waterfalls Hike, Beach Day, Chocolate factory & Coffee Factory Visit.
…and here are a few pics:
Kauai has a population of approximately 63,000 people. It is the oldest and most northern of the Hawaiian Islands famous for Waimea Canyon, its mountains, valleys, and m-a-n-y beaches. It is also the smallest of the four major Islands.
Kauai is a special place because it is still much like it was when the first Polynesians settled here. No building is allowed to be built taller than the coconut trees.
Did you know?
Kauai has more beaches, rivers, streams and waterfalls than any other Hawaii Island.
What to do here:
Visit Waimea Canyon
Hike Napali Coast
Helicopter over the Island
A few pictures of this stunning Island…
Note: A side note about The Napali coast. She is best visited in ALL three ways- by sky, land and sea, which is simply another reason why the cruise is SO amazing because you have the sea part covered…
…and not only did we sail “really slow” so we could admire it and take dozens of pictures, we experienced a true Hawaiian Blessing from a local expert as we approached and he gave us commentary the entire time too! It is a highlight of the cruise for sure. 🙂
TIP: And speaking of the sky, on multiple islands you can do a Helicopter ride- if in budget, they’re incredible!! We loved the one we did on Kauai as it’s a Beautiful Island and to see the “Napali Coast” from above is pretty special, as you can tell from Shawn’s expression…
Well, there you go, that was a look at all the wonderful things you can experience on the Islands while taking a Cruise in Hawaii.
Speaking of the ship…
Want to learn more about the ship and our experience onboard Norwegian’s “Pride of America”? Than be sure to read the captions underneath our pictures & videos for great tips and advice: Our Hawaii Cruise Pictures & Videos Album.
Have more questions or want to book a Cruise like this too?
As always, any questions get a hold of Shawn & he’ll be happy to share more of our experiences to help you decide the best option for you & from there he’ll help you get your next exciting Cruise Vacation booked. 🙂
We Appreciate You!
Nancy & Shawn
Your Trusted Cruise Experts!