The Hawaiian Islands are the top global destination for honeymooners and couples who are celebrating an anniversary. Filled with over one hundred beautiful beaches, world-class golf courses, legendary surfing sites, awe-inspiring volcanoes, and Polynesian cultural experiences, Hawaii is packed with adventures. Book your shore excursions early – you won't want to miss out on all of Hawaii's natural wonders and the opportunity to enjoy activities you didn't even know existed (including snuba, a modified version of scuba diving for novices).
Cruises departing from within and around Hawaii generally sail for a week, while cruises that leave from the mainland usually sail longer because of the increased travel time required to reach the islands.
Popular Hawaiian cruise destinations include:
Big Island: The largest of the Hawaiian Islands, as evidenced by its name. Rich in history and natural attractions, such as volcanoes and botanical gardens, the Big Island is home to two ports of call (Hilo and Kona).
Honolulu, Oahu: The capital city of Hawaii is also the busiest city in the island chain and home to the area's largest number of activities and attractions.
Kauai: The oldest of the Hawaiian Islands is also one of the least developed, laying claim to Hawaii's largest number of beaches per mile of coastline (a total of 43 for the island).
Maui: Maui has everything that an exotic island can offer – 42 miles of beaches, a bustling nightlife scene, beautiful national parks, volcanoes, top-rated hotels, and 5-star restaurants.
Hawaii Activities & Attractions
Hanapepe: Historic village in Kauai that's home to 69 separate historic sites. Tours are available.
Hilo Beaches: Highlights include Leleiwi Beach Park, an ideal spot for snorkeling.
Hilo Shopping: Available on Kamehameha and Keawe Avenues.
Hilo Sites: Attractions include Akaka Falls, the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, Hilo Farmer's Market, Naha Stone, Nani Mau Gardens, the Pacific Tsunami Museum, Queen Liliuokalani Gardens, and The Lyman House Memorial Museum.
Kauai Beaches: Choose from Anini Beach County Park (for snorkeling), Brennecke's Beach (for surfing), Haena Beach, Hanalei Beach, Kalapaki, Kawai Loa Bay, Kee Beach, Lydgate State Park (for swimming), Mahaulepu Beach, Makawehi Point, Poipu Beach (for surfing), Polihole State Park, Salt Pond Beach (for swimming), and Shipwreck Beach.
Kauai Attractions: Highlights include Gay & Robinson Sugar Plantation, Grove Farm, Guava Kai Plantation, Haraguchi Rice Mill, the Kauai Heritage Center of Hawaiian Culture & The Arts, the Kauai Museum, Kiahuna Golf Club, Kokee Natural History Museum, Poipu Shopping Village, and Russian Fort Elizabeth Historical Park.
Kauai Excursions: Options include four-wheel drive tours, guided walking tours, tubing, guitar concerts, hiking, horseback riding, luau lunches, and river cruises.
Kauai Natural Sites: Attractions include Allerton Gardens, Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, Kokee State Park, Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens, the Na Pali cliffs, the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Spouting Horn Blowhole, Waimea Canyon, Waipoo Falls, and Wailua River State Park.
Kauai Shopping: Available at the Aloha Center, Anchor Cove, and the Harbor Mall.
Kona Beaches: Choose from Anaehoomalu Bay (for swimming and snorkeling), Hapuna Beach (for snorkeling), Kahaluu Beach (for snorkeling), Kaunaoa Beach, and White Sands Beach (for surfing).
Kona Excursions: Options include canoe rides, deep-sea fishing, snorkeling, party cruises, and whale-watching cruises.
Kona Golf: Highlights include the courses at Mauna Lani Resort & Spa and Kona Country Club.
Kona Historical Sites: Attractions include Ahuena (King Kamehameha's temple), Hulihee Palace (the summer palace for Hawaiian royalty), Mokuaikaua Church (the first Christian church on the Big Island), and Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park.
Kona Sites: Highlights include Kahaluu Beach Park, the Kahanahou Hawaiian Foundation Cultural Center, King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel, Kona Coffee Plantations, Mauna Kea Mountain, Mauna Lani Bay Historic Hotel Grounds, Parker Ranch, Waimea Highlands, and the Waipio Valley.
Lanai: Shore excursions departing from Maui travel to Lanai. Popular activities include golfing, scuba diving, and visits to the spa.
Lanai Attractions: Highlights include the Garden of the Gods, Luahiwa Petroglyph Field, Manele Bay Beach, Polihua Beach, and Shipwreck Beach.
Maui Beaches: Choose from Hookipa Beach (for windsurfing), Kaanapali Beach (for snorkeling), Kapalua Beach (for swimming and snorkeling), Kahekili Beach, Kamaole Beach, Maluaka Beach, Oneloa Beach, Ulua Beach, and Wailea Beach.
Maui Excursions Options include biking, horseback riding, kayaking, parasailing (at Kaanapali Beach), scuba diving, snuba, submarine rides, surfing lessons, whale watching, windsurfing (at Paia), ziplining, and trips aboard the famous Sugar Cane Train.
Maui Golf: Highlights include the Plantation Course at Kapalua and Wailea's Emerald Course.
Maui Helicopter Rides: See beautiful Maui from a bird's-eye perspective.
Maui Natural Sites: Attractions include the Haleakala Crater, Haleakala Volcano, Iao Valley State Park, Kaumahina State Wayside Park, Launiupoko State Wayside Park, Oheo Gulch, and Waianapanapa State Park.
Maui Shopping: Available along Front Street in Lahaina, at the Maui Mall and Queen Ka'ahumanu Center, or in the upscale Shops at Wailea.
Maui Sites: Highlights include Carthaginian II (a replica of a 19th-century whaling vessel), Keawalai Church, the Kupanaha Magic Show, Maui Ocean Center, Turtle Town, and Whalers Village.
Molokai: Few cruise ships stop here, but shore excursions departing from other islands will visit Molokai. Beautiful beaches are Molokai's main attraction.
Molokai Beaches: Choose from Halawa Beach, Kepuhi Beach, Kumimi Beach, One Alii Beach, Papohaku Beach, and Sandy Beach.
Molokai Sites: Highlights include Halawa Valley and Kalaupapa Lookout.
Oahu Attractions: Attractions include Chinatown, the Contemporary Museum, Dole Plantation, Foster Botanical Garden, Hawaii Maritime Center, Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Honolulu Zoo, Kualoa Ranch, Makapuu Lighthouse, the Polynesian Cultural Center, Queen Kapiolani Gardens, Sea Life Park, and the Waikiki Aquarium.
Oahu Beaches: Choose from Ala Moana, Banzai Pipeline (for surfing), Waianae Coast, Kahala, Kailua, Ko Olina, Makaha (for surfing), Makapuu Beach, Sunset Beach (for surfing), and Waikiki Beach (for surfing).
Oahu Excursions: Options include biking, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, snorkeling, submarine tours, surfing, whale watching, windsurfing, and the opportunity to get up close and personal with real sharks.
Oahu Historic Sites: Highlights include the Bishop Museum, the Hawaii State Art Museum, the Hawaii State Capitol, the Hawaii Theatre, Hawaii's Plantation Village, Iolani Palace, Pearl Harbor (USS Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri, USS Bowfin), Kawaiahao Church, King Kamehameha's Statue, Kualoa Village, the Mission Houses Museum, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Queen Emma's Summer Palace, the U.S. Army Museum, and Washington Place (the governor's residence).
Oahu Natural Sites: Attractions include the Halona Blowhole, Hanauma Bay, the Leahi Diamond Head Crater, Lyon Arboretum, the Makiki Manoa Cliffs, Pali Lookout, the Waahila Ridge Recreation Area, and Waimea Falls.
Oahu Shopping: Aloha Tower Marketplace is Oahu's most popular shopping destination, but you'll find plenty of other options at Ala Moana Center, the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, Ward Centre, Waikiki Plaza, and Ward Warehouse.
Puuhonua O Honaunau, City of Refuge: An historic Big Island city – and a National Historic Park – located near Kona. Home to many ancient ruins.
Volcanoes National Park: Located in Hilo on the Big Island. Additional attractions located nearby include the Volcano Winery, the Mauna Loa Macadamia Factory, and Volcano Village.
Hawaii Ports Of Call
Hawaiian itineraries typically include stops in the following ports of call: Honolulu (Oahu), Lahaina (Maui), Kahului (Maui), Kona (Big Island), Hilo (Big Island), and Kauai. Cruises to Hawaii may depart and arrive from within the islands themselves, or they may depart from the West Coast of the United States and sail either roundtrip or one-way.
When To Visit Hawaii
The best deals on Hawaiian cruise vacations are generally available for sailings that depart between Thanksgiving and mid-December, typically regarded as Hawaii's off-season. Peak demand occurs during the summer months and around the time that many schools schedule their winter breaks (i.e. December 21st – January 4th). The weather in Hawaii is always pleasant, so vacationing in the islands is a good option year-round.