To be honest, sailing around the main Hawaii islands in a cruise ship is something I’ve never considered — until now. Recently, former Honolulu-residents and good friends decided to bring their family to Hawaii. But, instead of doing the usual “hotel and restaurant” vacation, they opted for a Hawaii inter-island cruise. And, judging from their pictures and stories, it seems they’ve had a ball!

The decision got me thinking about Hawaii inter-island cruises and whether they’re a good choice for folks looking for a relaxing Hawaii vacation. Read-on to find out if a cruise is the right pick for you:

Book a Hawaii inter-island cruise if you:

Na Pali coast

Photo: Sarah Herschel

Interisland cruises will provide you with views you can't reach on land--like this one of Kauai's Na Pali Coast.
  • Want someone else to do the planning: Some visitors thrive on planning the details — choosing where to go, where to eat, and what to do brings a thrill for some folks who want to have control over all decisions. However, many visitors LOVE the idea of allowing an expert to plan most parts of their vacation. If this is you, a Hawaii inter-island cruise may be a great choice. The company will decide where you port and when, and activities can be pre-planned by concierge if you please.
  • Don’t like to worry about paying a la carte: When you book your Hawaii inter-island cruise, you can choose a meal plan that works for your family. As our friends put it, “things add-up when you go to restaurants with a large group of people. So, it just made sense to book all our meals on the ship and pay one price.” When you land in port, you may need to book your own excursions, and that’s where the convenience of Hawaii Aloha Travel comes in — for example, you can book an Oahu Circle Island Tour, and your guide will be waiting for you when you arrive.
  • Like cruising: If you’re a visitor who enjoys cruising in general, you’ll love a Hawaii inter-island cruise. You get to experience all the on-board activities and leisure while bouncing from port to port in paradise. For many folks, the cruise-ship life is its own paradise. If this is you, why would you even consider doing a typical hotel vacation?
  • Have a large group: If you’re traveling with a large group of people, and you would all like to stay together, consider cruising around the Hawaiian islands. Although it’s unlikely all of you can fit in one stateroom, the price may be cheaper than trying to get separate hotel rooms or a suite on-land.
Most major cruise lines now service Hawaii, all providing multiple options for seeing the entire state.
  • Want to island hop without the airport hassle: Perhaps the biggest reason you may want to consider taking a Hawaii inter-island cruise is because you would like to see many islands as quickly as possible. Cruising is a great way to see several islands without having to book different hotels, cars, and activities at each stop.

After hearing how much my friends enjoyed their first Hawaii inter-island cruise, I must admit I may be a convert. And, if any of these criteria describe you, you may be one, too!


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