09 Oct 2024
Lush tropical greenery, ukulele music, gorgeous palm-fringed beaches, colourful cultures, exquisite cuisine -- whatever the name Hawaii conjures up for you, it's accessible by cruise ship. In fact there's no better way than a cruise to experience these enchanting islands -- they are so diverse, yet you can visit several of them in one relaxed, leisurely journey, without the stress and effort of island-hopping by plane. The only drawback is that no cruise will be long enough to take in all the delights on offer.
In fact, round-trip cruises starting from Honolulu usually take about seven days. Alternatively, many cruises embark from the western coasts of North America, most often from San Francisco or from Vancouver, Canada, and these will usually be 12-14 days, including several days at sea. Many providers include a pre-cruise or post-cruise stay, for instance in San Francisco or Los Angeles, or often on the island of Oahu, where there is so much to see.
The most popular time for Hawaii cruises is winter, particularly around the Christmas holiday season in December-January, which is a good time for whale-watching, but also the time of the rainiest weather. The weather is much better in late spring, and cruise ships are much less crowded at this time. Very few cruises are offered during the summer months.
The state capital Honolulu is the main port, either for embarkation or as a staple cruise stop. Here you can stroll along the renowned beaches of Waikiki, and hike up the iconic Diamond Head crater that dominates the bay. You may have the chance to take in the fascinating Polynesian Cultural Centre or the historic Iolani Palace, and beyond the city lie tropical rainforests and the spectacular Pali Lookout.
Virtually all cruises stop at the magical island of Maui, usually at the pretty port of Lahaina, the former capital of Hawaii. The biggest natural attraction is the mighty Haleakala volcano, steeped in Hawaiian myth and legend, and the stunningly scenic Road to Hana. Ships will also stop at Hilo, where you can take a shore excursion to Volcanoes National Park, and at enchanting Kauai, sailing by the sensational Na Pali coast, giving you the perfect vantage point.
A Hawaii cruise is an amazing way to experience the dramatic coastlines, flaming sunsets, active volcanoes and rich cultures that make up these incredible islands. Every day you wake up to enchanted new horizons and fresh possibilities, whether to explore the extraordinary beauty or immerse yourself in the age-old culture and traditions. But it won't be long enough, and very soon you will be coming back for more.