Who could resist the allure of spending a relaxing vacation in Hawaii? Scenic beaches and countless other attractions make Hawaii one of the top destinations in the world. And while the islands themselves are an attraction on their own, what if you could make traveling to them a vacation as well?
A cruise to Hawaii gives you that opportunity. Unlike simply flying on a commercial airline, a cruise ship offers you a luxurious travel experience.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the best cruises to Hawaii. Our list will include two kinds of cruising options. One is a round trip option. The other is called a repositioning cruise, where you begin in one location and end in another.
For each cruise option, we’ll give you all of the important details you need to know. This includes travel time as well as specific accommodations. With no further delay, here are the best 13 cruise to Hawaii vacations.
Princess 15-Day Hawaiian Islands Cruise
The Princess 15-day Hawaiian Islands cruise is our first example of a round trip cruise. Cruisers have the option of setting sail either from San Francisco or Los Angeles. Either way, the length of the trip remains the same.
After embarking, you will spend four straight days at sea. During this time, you will cover the distance between the Californian coast and the Hawaiian islands. While onboard the Ruby Princess, there will be plenty of entertainment and opportunities for activities such as:
- Visiting art galleries and attending art auctions
- Playing sports like basketball and mini golf
- Trivia contests
The cruise’s middle portion consists of four stops at the islands before sailing back to the California coast. Before returning to your initial port, you will have a final fifth stop at Ensenada, Mexico. This rounds out a lovely trip that is just over two weeks long.
Princess 16-Day Hawaiian Islands Cruise
The Princess 16-day Hawaiian Islands cruise is quite similar to the previous Princess cruise we mentioned. But there are some key differences. The first is that this cruise is a day longer. This accounts for the slightly longer distance between your embarkation port of Seattle, Washington, and Hawaii.
Like the last cruise, you will first spend a few days at sea. But this time, you will be onboard the Emerald Princess ship. This ship is slightly larger than the Ruby Princess and offers plenty of the same guest accommodations. Once you arrive at the Hawaiian Islands, you will visit them in the following order:
Then you will set sail for your final port. This time, you will be stopping by Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, before you return to Seattle. Being a bit longer, this cruise is slightly more expensive than the 15-day version. But overall, the experiences are relatively comparable.
Holland America 18-Day Circle Hawaii Cruise
The 18-day circle Hawaii cruise is the first of a few round-trip cruises offered by Holland America. This cruise begins and ends in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
After departing from Vancouver in the afternoon, you will then spend days two through six at sea. Then you get to spend two full days in Hawaii’s capital city, Honolulu. After plenty of time to explore there, you will proceed to single-day visits at these ports of call:
Then you get to enjoy all that the Koningsdam cruise ship has to offer as you make your way back to Vancouver. While onboard, you will find world-class dining and entertainment options. Be sure to stop by B.B. King’s Blues Club, which is onboard as well.
Holland America 24-Day Mexican Riviera & Circle Hawaii Collector Cruise
Here is another great Hawaiian cruise option from Holland America. This cruise is far more extensive than the last Holland America option. On the 24-day Mexican Riviera & Circle Hawaii Collector Cruise, you will visit several ports in Hawaii as well as Mexico.
You will begin your cruise leaving from San Diego, California, before spending two days at sea. Then you will arrive at the western coast of Mexico, where you will get to stop at:
- Puerto Vallarta
- Cabo San Lucas
After a quick stop in San Diego, you will proceed to the Hawaiian Islands, where you will visit the same locations as the 18-day circle Hawaii cruise. As another point of similarity, you will be sailing on the Koningsdam cruise ship again. However, as a 24-day cruise, you can expect pricing to be much higher.
Holland America 35-Day Hawaii, Tahiti, & Marquesas Cruise
For those who want an even more extensive cruise vacation, here is an option for you. The Holland America 35-day Hawaii, Tahiti, & Marquesas cruise takes you to destinations in multiple hemispheres. On your trip, you will cross both the equator and the International Dateline.
As you cover a great distance, you will stop by numerous island destinations. You will begin with a few stops in Hawaii before proceeding to Christmas Island, followed by visits to eight French Polynesia ports.
With so many destinations, there are plenty of days at sea in between. While you sail, you get to enjoy all the Zuiderdam’s amenities, the first of Holland America’s vista-class cruise ships. This includes regional cuisine and many music and stage performances.
This cruise is one of the longer options for those sailing to Hawaii and beyond. It runs for 35 days, leaving from and returning to a port in San Diego, California.
Carnival 15-Day Hawaii from San Diego Cruise
On this cruising option, you get to spend just over two weeks on the Carnival Miracle cruise ship. The Carnival Miracle is a medium-sized cruise ship that focuses on providing a full schedule of exciting onboard events. These events and activities include:
- Visiting a water park with multiple waterslides
- Joining lip sync battles
- Laughing at jokes in the comedy club
With so much going on onboard the Miracle, you may not feel the need ever to leave the ship. But don’t forget that this cruise will bring you to five different ports in Hawaii. Your itinerary will show that stops at these islands sit between four to five days at sea.
The last leg of the cruise is nearly identical to that of the Princess 15-day Hawaiian Islands cruise. Both make a visit to Ensenada, Mexico, before completing the journey to San Diego.
Celebrity 10-Night Hawaii Cruise
The Celebrity 10-night Hawaii cruise is a bit shorter than those already listed in this article. That is because it is the first cruise on our list that is not a round trip. Instead, this cruise begins in Vancouver, British Columbia, and ends in Honolulu.
The cruise begins with a stop at a nearby port in Victoria, British Columbia. There you can learn about the city’s history as part of British colonial rule. You can also partake in activities like:
After leaving Canada, you’ll spend five days at sea before arriving in Hawaii. The ship known as the Celebrity Eclipse takes you from four Hawaiian ports. While onboard, you will find the highest quality luxury and entertainment as Eclipse is one of the leading cruise ships in the world.
Celebrity 11-Night Hawaii Cruise
This Celebrity cruise is essentially a mirror image of the previous option. Rather than sailing from the west coast of Canada to Hawaii, you’ll take the opposite route. The Celebrity Eclipse will begin in Honolulu before exploring these Hawaiian ports:
- Lahaina, Maui
- Kailua Kona
Then you will cruise for five days to reach your final destination of Vancouver, British Columbia. While Hawaii is often the main attraction, don’t neglect Vancouver as a worthwhile port. There you can experience the culture, architecture, and one of the most walkable cities in the world.
This is a great cruising option for those living on the west coast. Just book a flight to Honolulu, then enjoy your ride home with all the amenities a modern cruise ship has to offer.
Royal Caribbean 8-Night Hawaii Cruise
As a shorter option, the Royal Caribbean 8-Night Hawaii Cruise is a repositioning cruise. This vacation begins in Vancouver and ends on the island of Oahu.
Your first destination is a short distance to the south in Seattle, Washington. This precedes five straight days on the Ovation of the Seas. This ship offers a variety of active recreation options such as:
- Rock climbing
- Surfing simulations
Along with these energetic activities are plenty of options for drinking and dining. You can also enjoy a scenic 360-degree view from the top of the ship. An enclosed capsule at the top of the Ovation of the seas gives you a vantage point from 300 feet above sea level.
Royal Caribbean 11-Night Hawaii Cruise
If you enjoyed the 8-night version of Royal Caribbean’s Hawaii cruise, why not extend it. The 11-night version gives you the chance to do just that. This cruise also alters its course but starting in Hawaii. This remains a repositioning cruise that ends in Vancouver.
Another difference with this cruise is that you will be sailing on the Serenade of the Seas rather than the Ovation of the Seas. The Serenade of the Seas has less than half the capacity of the Ovation. But that doesn’t mean that this ship is lacking in entertainment and activities.
The Serenade of the Seas has many of the same dining and entertainment opportunities common on other cruise ships. The small size is sometimes the preference for many cruisers. This gives a more intimate feel to the journey rather than feeling like you are part of a floating city.
For this cruise, the Serenade of the Seas will start by taking you to five ports in Hawaii, including a two-say stay in Maui.
Norwegian 11-Day Hawaii Cruise
Norwegian also offers a repositioning cruise that travels from Hawaii to Vancouver. This cruise lasts for a total of 11 days and covers the following Hawaiian ports:
The Norwegian Jewel will be your ship as you cross the Pacific Ocean to Canada. This ship has plenty of onboard entertainment and was recently updated in 2018.
With these enhancements, you can choose to be active at the sports court. Or you can relax at the spa with a restorative massage. Norwegian boasts some awards as well. These include the 2016 award for best shore excursions and the 2019 award for the best Hawaiian cruise line.
Azamara Hawaii & Tahiti Voyage
Hop onboard the Azamara Journey to explore a broad swath of the Pacific Ocean. The Azamara Hawaii & Tahiti Voyage is a 19-day cruise that embarks from Los Angeles, California.
The vessel that carries you on this journey is relatively small compared to the other ships on this list. While other ships commonly carry thousands of passengers and crew members, here are some of the statistics for the Azamara Journey:
- 690 Passenger capacity
- 408 Crew members
- Original launch year: 2000
- Most recent refurbishment: 2016
After five days of sailing, you will spend four days at various Hawaiian ports. Then you will sail for six days. The vacation ends with port visits in French Polynesia.
Regent Elements of the Pacific Cruise
For some, even a few weeks is too short for a cruise. If you are one of those who are ready for a significant long-term adventure, try the Elements of the Pacific cruise offered by Regent. This cruise runs for a full 120 nights and is a round trip.
After leaving San Francisco, exploring Hawaii is just the beginning of your long voyage. After visiting there, you’ll experience the excitement of traveling to distant places like:
- French Polynesia
- American Samoa
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong
Believe it or not, that long list doesn’t cover all of the great destinations on this cruise. And each destination includes multiple ports of call. By the time you have finished, you will have effectively encircled the entire Pacific Ocean. This shows the Elements of the Pacific cruise as a great way to see a large part of the world.
Other Considerations When Booking a Cruise to Hawaii
There is much more to planning a cruise to Hawaii than simply picking your favorite ship. You will need to consider a few more factors to ensure you have the best possible Hawaiian vacation. Take a look at some of these tips for making your Hawaiian cruise one that exceeds your expectations.
Extending Your Trip
Hawaii itself is a destination. You could spend months there without getting bored with the experience. With so much to explore on these islands, consider extending your trip.
This plan works best for repositioning cruises. Whether you start or end in Hawaii, stay there or a few extra days.
This not only lengthens your enjoyable vacation. It also gives you the chance to get to know Hawaii in greater depth. After all, there are plenty of reasons that people visit Hawaii without booking a cruise at all.
Planning for the Weather
Although Hawaii is known as a beautiful beach destination, you should take time to prepare for all kinds of weather. As an island state, weather in Hawaii can change quickly.
One moment it will be hot and sunny. A few minutes later, you may find yourself in a heavy rainstorm.
Be prepared for extreme weather changes. This means bringing sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen, as you would expect. But you should also bring a rain jacket in case a storm arrives in the middle of your excursion.
Preparing to Enjoy Hawaiian Culture
Hawaii is a part of the United States. But make no mistake, this island state has an entirely different history and culture than the mainland.
This is all part of the fun that makes Hawaii a destination like no other. To get the most out of your trip, do some research first.
Try learning some essential Hawaiian phrases. Also, look out for the opportunity to learn about Hawaiian cuisine and traditional cultural practices.
In this article, we have covered a few different ways of cruising to and from Hawaii. These include round trips and cruises that extend well beyond Hawaii.
But perhaps you know that Hawaii is going to be your favorite destination. If that is the case, you don’t need to spend time sailing to the many other islands in the Pacific.
Many of the cruise lines mentioned here offer cruises that exclusively stop at Hawaiian ports, usually beginning and ending in Honolulu. Taking one of these cruises requires you to fly to Hawaii. Then board your ship of choice and begin visiting a variety of Hawaiian locations.
These cruises come in many different forms. But they share one common trait. Their itineraries give you a more in-depth Hawaiian experience compared to repositioning or round-trip cruises that cross the Pacific.
Cruising to Hawaii is one of the best vacations you can take. As you now know, these trips come with many different itineraries leading to unique experiences. Hopefully, this list will help you choose the right cruise to Hawaii for you.