Skip to main content

5 Best Hawaiian Cruise Tips for Travelers

5 Best Hawaiian Cruise Tips for Travelers

  1. Choosing When to Go
  2. Cruise From Honolulu or the US West Coast?
  3. Pack Smart
  4. Sample the Local Cuisine
  5. Experience Nature through a Thrilling Excursion


Hawaii is the tropical paradise for everyone. Maui’s famous North Shore for the adventurous, Mother Nature’s most dramatic paintbrush in the sheer cliffs and translucent waterfalls of Kauai, endless intrigue in Hilo for the kids, and perfect Pacific sunsets for the couple soaking in the quiet beauty of it all — yes, Hawaii is everything your imagination thinks it is and more.

And since there’s no time like the present to start experiencing the very best of what life has to offer — Hawaii being towards the top of most people’s must-see list — now seems like the perfect time to start planning your cruise to Hawaii. For that reason, we have put together a list of Hawaii cruise tips to help you get the most of your dream cruise vacation to the islands.

You can thank us later but for now, take a few good mental notes, find those Hawaiian shirts you’ve been keeping in the closet for this very occasion, and let your daydreams run wild because those endless beaches and unlimited fun are closer than you think.

woman wearing a hat an backpack overlooking the waimea canyon in kauai hawaii

Choosing When to Go

While there’s definitely no wrong time for your Hawaiian cruise, there are indeed a few things to take into consideration when deciding when to go. Winter is Hawaii’s wettest season but, given the lush green canopy and amazing waterfalls found throughout the islands, many find a winter cruise to be their preferred time to travel. While the summer is drier and bathes travelers in that idyllic tropical weather that most people dream about, Hawaii is also more popular during those months, especially with family vacations.

Both spring and fall are compromises between the two, not as popular as the peak summer months but still with plenty of sunshine. No matter time of year you choose, however, you’ll have a wonderful time no matter what. In fact, every season has its own set of unique strengths that let the magic shine through those amazing Hawaiian sunsets. Put a different way, whether it’s winter, spring, summer, or fall, you really can’t go wrong.

several palm trees overlooking a carnival cruising ship during the sunset in hawaii

Cruise From Honolulu or the US West Coast?

Choosing between a cruise that starts in Honolulu or the west coast is primarily a matter of time. While we assure you that you’ll never be lacking for fun and exciting experiences while aboard — including everything from comedy clubs and jaw-dropping musicals to world-class dining and endless entertainment for kids and teens — not everyone has the extra days needed to cruise roundtrip to Hawaii.

If an extra four days at sea doesn’t fit into your schedule, beginning your Hawaiian vacation in Honolulu and cruising back to the mainland might be the perfect solution. Once again, no matter what you choose, you’re going to have a vacation you won’t soon forget and a handful of stories to make you the envy of everyone back home.

aerial view of the metropolitan area of honolulu hawaii

Pack Smart

When preparing for your cruise, don’t pack according to your favorite TV show, but instead, to the time of year and how you’ll be spending your time while on the islands. It never really gets cold in Hawaii but it can get wet. In other words, along with your finest beachwear and casuals for shopping and relaxing strolls along the shore, don’t forget that some rain gear might come in handy as well.

Depending on the wide variety of shore excursions you can choose from, items like sunscreen, a waterproof camera, a hat and sunglasses for particularly sunny days, a waterproof bag to keep everything dry, and the aforementioned walking shoes or even boots might come in handy. Of course, no matter the time of year you choose or excursions you select, you’ll always want to bring any necessary travel documents.

family of 5 putting their suitcases in a black minivan as they prepare to get on a cruise to hawaii

Sample the Local Cuisine

With so much to see and do, it’s easy to forget that Hawaii is also a foodie’s paradise. From gourmet dining in Honolulu and resorts throughout the islands to delicious homestyle cooking, Hawaii has something for every appetite and occasion. If you’re busy with excursions and sightseeing, it’s hard to go wrong with some of Hawaii’s famous BBQ. Unlike what you might be used to back home, Hawaiian BBQ has an unforgettable island vibe that’s a mouthwatering combination of the many cultures that have influenced the Pacific paradise over the centuries.

Likewise, you can sample other local favorites like manapua — tasty pastries stuffed with marinated meats and steamed vegetables — or virtually any type of seafood imaginable at roadside stands and smaller restaurants scattered throughout the islands. Also, don’t forget that after a day of Hawaiian adventure, there’s always a Hawaiian shaved ice nearby.

couple of friends laughing as they eat a serving of fruit salad in hawaii

Experience Nature through a Thrilling Excursion

Assuming you want to have the best Hawaiian cruise possible, take advantage of the many excursions available to you during your cruise. If you’re looking for some ideas, the Waimea Canyon & Waimea River Tour is an incredible way to soak in some of Hawaii’s natural beauty. You’ll wind your way through the Grand Canyon of the Pacific along the Waimea River, finding some of the most amazing waterfalls and panoramic views imaginable along the way.

stunning aerial view of waimea canyon in kauai hawaii

Hawaii is an experience to remember, dazzling your senses with sights and sounds that are impossible to find anywhere else in the world. And like we said, there’s no time like today to start planning your dream cruise to the island paradise. The islands are waiting for you.

Note: Onboard activities, shore excursions, and dining options may vary by ship and destination.