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Hawaii is paradise found. A place characterized by a warm, tropical climate, where the beaches are world famous and the terrain astonishingly diverse with peaking volcanoes and deep grand canyons. Jutting out of the Pacific Ocean like a cluster of unpolished jade, the 50th state of the US is a natural attraction for tourists.
There are six main Hawaiian islands (though there are hundreds in total) and taking a cruise offers one of the best methods for exploring a large part of Hawaii in one trip. Most cruise itineraries start in Los Angeles or San Diego and take in the islands of Oahu (home to Honolulu), Maui and Hawaii’s Big Island and Kauai. Some cruises stretch into the South Pacific to Tahiti.
Many people associate Hawaii with beaches and romance and there is no denying it makes a dream beach honeymoon location, but there is much beyond the beaches: from volcano climbing to ocean exploring, hula dancing and sunset staring.
Here are 10 snaps from Hawaiian cruisers that will give you a taster of what it’s like to experience Hawaii on a cruise ship vacation.
1. Boarding the Ship
From the second you step on board a Hawaiian cruise the Aloha Spirit is with you. Fine restaurants, sun decks, pools and a packed schedule of entertainment will keep you busy on sailing days, if the sight of the water doesn’t steal your time. ‘We loved everything about this cruise…the Hawaiian islands we visited, the shore excursions we booked were well organized. We found the food in all the restaurants to be very good every night and the service was always excellent,” said one happy cruiser.
2. Approaching Maui
Approaching the islands of Hawaii is a staggering experience as the first glimpse of jungle covered volcanic peaks wrapped by a contrasting deep hem of fine, white sand and craggy coast loom into view. Only as you approach can you start to get a real grasp of the diversity of the islands’ terrain.
3. Waikiki Beach
Hawaii is known for its swathes of sandy beaches and palm crested Waikiki in Honolulu ranks amongst the world’s most famous. Whether you intend to lie on the icing sugar soft sands or play in the surf, Hawaii’s beaches are hard to beat.
4. The Spouting Horn
One of Hawaii’s most photographed sights is Spouting Horn, which lies on the south shore or Kauai. The effect is created when large swells of salty seawater rush into an ancient lava tube and are pressured upwards through the blow-hole. Water shoots as high as 50ft.
5. Magnificent Manta Ray
Swim with dolphins, catch a glimpse of whale shark or take to the water with mantra rays. You may not need to get wet. One Hawaiian cruiser said, ‘We saw whales when we were leaving Maui and Kauai.’
6. Heliconia Pendula Inflorescence
Hawaii’s tropical location and jungle rich interior makes it a breeding ground for tropical flora and fauna. Visit the Wai’anapanapa State Park, Maui to get closer to Hawaii’s nature.
7. Kauai Sea Caves
On the Na Pali Coast of Kauai caves have formed from the constant thrashing of waves against the porous lava rock. Enter the sea caves by kayak for a chance to see this natural phenomenon up close.
8. The Grand Canyon of the Pacific
Around ten miles long and hitting depths of 3,000ft, Waimea Canyon, Kauai is a dramatic sight, “It was like looking at the Grand Canyon…only greener,” said one cruiser on the Carnival Sprit.
9. Hawaiian Sunset
Put on postcards to inspire the world to travel, the sunsets in Hawaii are like nowhere else on earth. Sit back as you sail into a sunset of a thousand shades.
10. Hula at a Luau
As night falls enjoy a Luau. This traditional sunset fiesta usually includes a traditional dish such as slow roasted kalua pig accompanied by live music and hula dancing.
Have you been on a Hawaiian cruise? How would you describe the experience? What were the negatives?