Kauai (Nawiliwili), HI

  • Kauai, Hawaii
advanced search

Explore Kauai (Nawiliwili), HI

Hawaii’s oldest, greenest, and most dramatic island, Kauai offers visitors a chance to explore nature and play in the surf. On your Carnival cruise to Kauai, Hawaii, you can see the inaccessible parts of the island via helicopter or get up close with a tour of Waimea Canyon or the Na Pali Coast. Or just relax on the island’s incredible beaches on your Kauai cruise.

  • Take in the beauty of the 3,000-ft. deep Waimea Canyon.
  • Visit thundering waterfalls and remote beaches with a tour of the Na Pali Coast.
  • Enjoy Kauai’s ocean playground at the numerous beaches circling the island.

Things To Do

Local Attractions

The outdoors is your playground on Kauai cruises. This island is blessed by the Hawaiian gods with an enchanting landscape of rainforest-clad mountains for hiking and wide-open sandy beaches for surfing. Explore Kauai by kayak, snorkel, surf board, or helicopter, from dramatic Waimea Canyon to the white beaches of Lihue.

  • See the natural landscape setting of numerous Hollywood movies on a guided island tour.
  • Slip and slide down a river flume on an inner tube.
  • Race through the hedge maze of the Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens.
  • Hike the majestic and primeval Na Pali Coast State Park.
  • Snorkel or surf at Poipu Beach Park.

Fun Facts

  • Hawaiian legends talk about the Menehune (little people) who accomplished great feats (sometimes in a single night), such building of the Menehune Ditch or the 25-mile-long Menehune Fishpond.
  • ”Na pali” means “cliffs” in Hawaiian and refers to the steep green cliffs on the north coast, born from the ocean floor 200 million years ago.
  • The last place to see the sunset in Hawaii is Polihale State Park, Kauai’s westernmost shore.

Within Walking Distance

The Port Area In Hawaii

Beaches, ocean activities, golfing, shopping, and a host of dining options are available near where your cruise to Kauai, Hawaii drops anchor. At the beachfront Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club are two golf courses at the Kauai Lagoons Golf Club: the Mokihana Course, great for the recreational golfer, and the Kauai Kiele Championship Course, for the low handicapper. Shopping and a variety of restaurants are in the Marriott and at the Harbor Mall and Anchor Cove Shopping Center.

Beyond the Port Area

Beyond the Port in Hawaii

Several excellent shore excursions are available from Hawaii cruises, so there are plenty of opportunities to explore in Kauai. In just a couple of hours, not only can you tour the entire island via helicopter while on the Kauai’s Grand Helicopter Tour excursion, but you can see the remote, inaccessible parts of the island that you can only view by air. Nearby the port is Na Aina Kai Botanical Garden, with 240 acres of gardens, arbors, waterfalls, and a whimsical hedge maze. Cascading waterfalls, thick rainforests, and strange geological formations make a hike through the wild Waimea Canyon a unique Hawaiian experience. You have to fly over or hike in to see the dramatic Na Pali Coast on the North Shore, where deep valleys cut into the rainforest cliffs from the sea.

A variety of shore excursions from your Kauai cruise can bring you to the canyon and coast, as well as snorkeling, kayaking, waterfall exploring, or even floating along an old sugarcane flume in a giant inner tube. The unique Tubing the Ditch excursion takes place on the historic waterways, flumes and ditches of the old Lihue Plantation. The primordial landscape of Kauai, Hawaii, has served as the backdrop of numerous Hollywood movies. A sightseeing tour takes in the actual settings for Jurassic Park, Gilligan’s Island, Lilo & Stitch, and the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Beaches in Kauai

Beaches in Hawaii

The closest Kauai beach to your Carnival Hawaii cruise is Kalapaki Beach. Wide Poipu Beach Park is actually two beaches in one, separated by a sand bar. On one side is a sand bar and a protected swimming area, with a sandy bottom and calm waves that are great for kids. On the other side, the open bay attracts swimmers, snorkelers, and surfers. Fronting the beach is a grassy picnic lawn. Hanalei Bay, on the north shore of Kauai, Hawaii, has miles of white-sand beaches for swimming, surfing, and snorkeling.

Watersports in Kauai

Hawaii Watersports

Poipu Beach Park is both a prime snorkeling spot in placid water and a great wave for beginning surfers. Watch the surfing pros work their magic on the heavy waves in Hanalei Bay. The highlight of your trip will be the Waimea Canyon & Wailua River excursion. Combine a visit to the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, the 2,857-foot-deep Waimea Canyon and take a scenic ride up the Wailua River. Drive to a lookout point at 3,400 feet for an unsurpassed view of the canyon where you’ll see the array of colors created by the exposed volcanic rock and lush tropical vegetation. See Spouting Horn and Opaeka'a Falls while on your riverboat journey along the historic Wailua River Valley. Learn of the area's historic significance as the Valley of the Ali'i (Kauai Royalty) and, after a short walk to the Fern Grotto, you will enjoy local musicians who will perform Hawaiian songs and hula at the turn around point in the river. Your river journey will conclude with a performance of the Hawaiian Wedding Song dedicated to those guests who are celebrating their honeymoon or an anniversary. Enjoy a lunch stop at a local restaurant before returning to the ship.

Travel Tips


  • Hawaii cruises arriving at Kauai dock at Nawiliwili Harbor, just outside the capital city of Lihue.
  • There is something for everyone – a variety of restaurants, shops, beaches, ocean activities, and a golf course.
  • Kauai’s year round warm climate (average temperature is in the low to mid-70°'s F.), means locals don a laidback uniform of shorts, t-shirts, and sandals. Carry an umbrella for short, warm spurts of rain.