Hawaii is a paradise filled with almost 11,000 square miles of attractions, fantastic restaurants and shopping destinations that would satisfy even the most experienced traveler. From the Big Island to Honolulu, you’ll be engulfed in beautiful ocean views and memorable moments for the duration of your trip to this tropical haven. But with so many entertainment options at your fingertips, it can be hard to make the most of your time on this trip. Cruise.com is here for you with an outline of the best destinations, dining, shopping and excursions that Hawaii has to offer on a cruise to Hawaii.
Destinations: There are ports throughout the Hawaiian island chain in areas like Hilo, Honolulu, Lahaina, Kahului, Kona, Nawiliwili and the Republic of Kiribati. Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) offers cruises that both begin and end in Hawaii. These Hawaiian-based cruises are popular for travelers interested in flying to a destination in Hawaii and embarking on a cruise once they have arrived. Many other cruise lines offer cruises from the coast of California to the islands. These cruise vacations often include a stop in Baja, Mexico before the 5 day trip to Hawaii. Most cruise lines visit Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and Kauai so be sure to examine your cruise itinerary closely so you don’t miss any attractions.
Dining: If you choose to dine portside Hawaii offers a variety of options. The ‘Ilima Awards, issued annually by the Honolulu Advertiser, spotlight some of the best restaurants in Hawaii from casual to extravagant. For those interested in a casual dining experience, Hapa Grill in Kapolei is an award winning restaurant featuring breakfast lunch and dinner daily. They offer anything from hamburgers to steak and chicken items and desert that is legendary on the island. Interested in cocktails? Kincaid’s Fish, Chop & Steak shop is the see-and-be-seen drinking spot in Ala Moana. Cruise vacations are a time to let loose and enjoy the finer things in life so perhaps a trip to a fine dining establishment is in order. Hy’s Steakhouse in Waikiki is among the best high-end restaurants in Hawaii. Prime rib at Hy’s is a must-have for the most carnivorous of travelers. There’s no specific dress code at Hy’s but ‘proper attire is required.’ Oh, and if you skip the flambéed desserts, you’ll regret it!
Shopping: Let’s face it; one of the most enjoyable parts of a vacation is the impulse buying and shopping. But you’re going to need to know where to go and what to get, right? If you’re in Oahu, the Aloha Tower Marketplace is not to be missed. The clothing, jewelry and specialty shops at Aloha Tower seem to go on forever. Don’t miss AT Hula, a homegrown shop that makes some of the most amazing Hula dance costumes. The Royal Hawaiian Center in Honolulu is another fantastic shopping spot. Cartier, Kate Spade, Bebe and Juicy Couture all have stores in this high-end shopping mecca. On the Big Island, King’s Shops at Waikoloa is a 75,000 square foot shopping dreamland. As you shop at their more than 75 stores, you can enjoy hula performances, live entertainment and arts displays.
World Class Golf: Golfing in Hawaii is spectacular. With more than 70 golf courses, each offering breathtaking scenery, unforgettable holes and championship caliber courses, it’s no wonder why Hawaii attracts so many golfers from around the world. The courses are unique. You can gold on greens lined with volcanic rough to stunning seaside water hazards. You can play each day of your cruise on a different course or just play once.
Excursions: For just $225, the Kauai Helicopter Adventure is a jaw-dropping aerial tour of one of the most scenic locations on the planet. Spotting the Waimea volcano from the sky is sure to be an event you’ll never forget. You can also visit Waimea Canyon and tour what Hawaiians call the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’ in all its glory. Another popular attraction, Pearl Harbor, will satisfy your cultural desires as you make your way though Oahu. In picturesque Maui, Haleakala Crater is dent (the size of Manhattan) in the island that would look great in your Facebook photo album for this trip. In Hilo, the Highlights of Hilo tour will take you from candy factories to exotic gardens and waterfalls and no matter where you are in Hawaii, the ancient petroglyphs will take you to a world long before your time.
A cruise through the Hawaiian islands can be a whirlwind experience so be sure to make the most of your trip. Visit some amazing destinations, have a top-notch Hawaiian meal, shop your tail off and experience everything that Hawaii has to offer. Your Hawaiian cruise vacation will be the experience of a lifetime.