Hawaii Cruises and Cruise Lines - Choosing A Hawaii Cruise
Seafarers sailed into Hawaii long before cruise ships began charting courses for the exotic Pacific islands. More than 1,000 years ago, in fact, Polynesian settlers paddled their outrigger canoes to see much of what modern-day visitors see on their arrivals in Hawaii: verdant volcanic peaks forming a backdrop to fertile valleys of sugar cane, thick groves of coconut palms and ocean as blue as Windex.
Today, cruise ships often begin or end their cruises to the Hawaiian islands from Southern California, a sea journey of more than 2,500 miles. Ships also visit Hawaii when repositioning before and after the Alaska cruise season.
Certainly, few places on earth are as beautiful as Hawaii. The tropical landscape is lush and at the same time, dramatic, with high craggy peaks, smoldering volcanoes and powdery Pacific beaches. Hawaii, in fact, boasts some of the world’s most active volcanoes. Eruptions are frequent and gentle for the most part. The natural spectacle is perhaps best viewed from the deck of a cruise ship, and indeed few moments can match watching the rivers of glowing, red lava stream into the Pacific.
On a Hawaii cruise vacation, you will have a chance to experience shore excursions that include nature walks, helicopter flight-seeing, tropical forest tours and snorkeling. Cruises around Hawaii typically include stops in Hilo and Kona on the Big Island plus Kahului on Maui and Nawilliwilli, Kaua’i and its the dramatic Na Pali coastline, the inspired coastline where parts of Jurassic Park were filmed.
How Many Days?
Hawaii cruises come in two versions. The most popular way to experience the Hawaii is on a 7 day cruise roundtrip Honolulu on Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America. This is the only Hawaii based cruise ship, and also the only yearround Hawaii cruise.
The other way to experience Hawaii is on a longer 14 to 15 day cruise from Los Angeles or San Diego roundtrip to Hawaii.
When To Cruise?
The 7 day cruise roundtrip Honolulu depart yearround. The longer Hawaii cruises on Princess Cruises and Holland America Line depart from November to April. There are some other cruise lines that call at Hawaiian ports in the spring or fall, on their repositioning cruises to or from Alaska.
Hawaii Freestyle Cruising is "uku pile"
There's a Hawaiian phrase: "uku pile", which translates to "lots of choices". On a Freestyle Hawaii cruise you have more choices in staterooms, entertainment, onboard activities and onshore options than ever before.
Whether you dream of mountain-biking down a volcano, snorkeling in an undersea universe or strolling through a garden of orchids, you'll find a world of adventures to enhance your Hawaii experience.
With the Pride of America, you have the freedom to cruise exclusively within the Hawaiian islands. Hawaii is heavenly year-round and Norwegian Cruise Line cruises Hawaii throughout the year.
Cruising America’s Paradiseby Ralph Grizzle. An award-winning travel writer, and recognized cruise ship expert.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America offers a tasty sampler platter of a Hawaiian vacation, sailing direct from one island to the next. Pride of America’s itinerary eliminate the long days at sea required of non-U.S.-flagged cruise ships.
This makes the Pride of America vacation a fun and convenient exploration of the Hawaiian islands, eliminating the hassle and stress of packing and making connections for the next leg. The ship spends nearly four full days at port on a seven-day itinerary, giving families plenty of time to get off the ship and find something fun to do on the islands.
Comprehensive facilities for kids on board and a destination that is fun and interesting make these seven-night itineraries great for families, even those with young ‘uns. The NCL youth program is broken into four age groups, starting with 2-year-olds. And Pride of America can handle big families, too, in its 12 family suites that can sleep up to eight people.
Too Much Fun
The Mud Buggy Safari / Waterfall Excursion in Kauai is available to children 5 and older, and it’s well worth the money and the muddy mess. Enjoy a guided tour of the mountains, sugarcane fields and stop for a swim in the waterfalls to rinse off before a very nice lunch.
Best Adventure, or THE attraction
Sightseeing on the islands is not complete without a volcano tour, such as The Land of Frozen Fire tour on Hilo. This hiking excursion shows the beauty and the destructive force of lava flows. On Kauai, Blue Hawaiian’s helicopter tours provide spectacular airborne views of the dramatic landscape.
Keep’em Happy/ No Shuffleboard, Dad!
In addition to the youth programs and their age-appropriate activities, these Hawaiian itineraries provide opportunities for amusements and activities that will keep the entire family smiling. Whether you take advantage of hundreds of shore options offered by the cruise line or go off on your own, Hawaii is an American destination that’s easy and rewarding to explore.
When To Go
Norwegian Cruise Line offers Hawaiian cruises year-round. The best Hawaiian weather is often found in April, May, September and October, which also happen to be months when tourism is usually not at its peak.
You’ll have lots of days and evenings on the islands, and with a little research you’ll find some splendid Hawaiian restaurants. On board, the ship’s East Meets West is a small Asian fusion restaurant that’s perfect for a quiet night out. There are also separate steak restaurants, Lazy J Texas Steakhouse, and a gourmet French room, Jefferson’s Bistro, that both require reservations and per-person cover charge.
It would be hard to imagine a better way to see Hawaii than to cruise on your floating hotel from island to island. With its Freestyle concept that breaks down regimentation, particularly for dining times, NCL offers a relaxed and laid-back way to see America’s paradise.