In terms of exotic getaways, they don’t come much more inviting and inspiring than Hawaii. While the Caribbean might be the first tropical escape your mind conjures when considering a voyage at sea, cruises to Hawaii are sensational mixes of culture, activity and sunshine.

Although we often think of Waikiki Beach when considering Hawaii, it’s a network of islands that’s actually far more intriguing and varied than you might first expect. Join us on a quick guide to Hawaii’s best hotspots and the cruise lines that visit, and you’ll be more prepared than ever to enjoy your Hawaii cruise.

Ports you’ll visit

Hawaii’s various islands have a great deal of appeal, yet one port that’s always visited is Honolulu. It’s on the island of Oahu, and as such, hosts the famous Waikiki Beach among its countless attractions. For nature lovers or those looking for superb Pacific views, a hike up to Diamond Head is a fantastic plan. That said, Honolulu itself offers plenty of appeal, from bars and upmarket shopping through to cultural attractions like The Bishop Museum, home to the island’s historic relics. There’s also the magnificent Iolani Palace, now also open to the public as a museum. Foodies are also advised to check out Kaphalulu, the neighbourhood where the finest local flavours, from seafood to pastries, come to life.

Big Island, as it’s lovingly known, is another staple of Haiwaii cruise deals. It’s here that much of Hawaii’s natural volcanic beauty gets the chance to shine, as well as be added to your photo album. You can expect rolling hills covered in rich green grasslands, together with dramatic ashen landscapes where raw lava seethes down towards the sea. The latter can be experienced closely at Hilo, the port where much of Big Island’s natural splendour comes to life. It is right beside the immense and beloved Volcanoes National Park, and you can imagine why such an area has been given that name.

Meanwhile, Kona has a small town charm that’s a far cry from the high tourism energy you’ll find in the likes of Honolulu. As such, real Hawaiian traditions and folk tales take the fore, and you’re often free on shore excursions to peruse the local history at your leisure. However, once again the natural realm shows off Hawaii’s appeal in Kona, which houses coffee plantations you can tour, black sandy beaches that owe their distinctive looks to a volcanic past, and snorkelling experiences beneath the waves to discover the mysteries of the deep.

For those of you who really want to get stuck into both diving and watersports, see if your Hawaii cruise stops at Maui. This island has a thriving watersports scene where surfers and waterskiing classes all form part of the fun. Similarly, divers, both beginner and experienced, make a splash as they head down beneath the waves to a world of colourful fish and sumptuous plant life. Maui is also home to Lahaina, a port town that has a chic and artsy feel. It’s here that the hipsters gather and the best creative works in Hawaii flow forth, as well as whale-watching trips that make for serene and graceful sights at sea.

While these are the major ports to which Hawaiian cruises tend to visit in their itineraries, there are plenty more on offer. Which of these you’ll visit, alongside more besides, varies depending on the cruise line you choose to voyage with. Keep that in mind as you take on these tips for a Hawaii cruise holiday.

Recommended cruise lines for Hawaii

While plenty of cruise lines visit the islands, Norwegian Cruise Line is particularly friendly with the Hawaiian way. In fact, part of the reasoning behind the cruise line’s launch of Pride of America was to ensure that guests like us enjoy complete access to the wonders that Hawaii offers. Entertainment onboard this cruise ship goes from the mellow, like outdoor chess and games of cards, to the lively, like the video arcade and the Mardi Gras Lounge & Club. In that respect, Pride of America beautifully mirrors the mix of excitement and laid-back fun Hawaii offers as a cruise destination. To drive the point further home, the cruise ship even offers its own Waikiki Bar, where you can sip rum cocktails while awaiting your voyage’s stop at the real thing.

Elsewhere, Holland America Line often sees seasonal itineraries that focus on Hawaii, with its cruise ships usually departing from Californian ports. The cruises offer all the hula and good spirits you’d expect of a Hawaii cruise, with those extra details that Holland America specialises in. Those range from cooking lessons and digital design courses onboard through to top musical acts and fine dining that takes its cues from recipes books across the globe.

Of course, it makes sense that the fun-filled cruise ships of Carnival® make the colours and music of Hawaii their home on many a voyage. These colourful cruise ships weave their way around the Hawaiian islands with style and grace, and onboard, life is a dream. Entertainment ranges from casinos and video arcades through to top entertainment acts like comedians, magicians and musicians. Restaurants offer opulent cuisine as much as tailored meals to meet specific dietary needs, and kids will love the ice creams and pizzas available. They also get their own activities, like painting and crafts, while teens get their own shore excursion itinerary onboard Carnival cruise ships to get the most out of Hawaii.

Another great cruise line to consider for a Hawaii trip is Princess Cruises. The prestigious cruise line has done much to make its fleet of ships enticing to even budget cruise fans in recent times, and that makes top cuisine and fine wine all the more appealing. This is a superb way to see Hawaii in style, with a touch of class and the chance to indulge in some self-improvement at an arts course onboard. Painting the unique landscapes of Hawaii with the skills learned during your voyage makes for a fulfilling cruise break indeed.

Naturally, the ways in which you can see Hawaii are as varied as those choosing to take a cruise to do so. However you’re looking to enjoy these culturally rich islands in the sun, let us take the hassle out of planning and booking alike.

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