While small cruise lines come and go, at the present time, there are 4 large cruise lines that offer cruises within the Hawaiian Islands at very reasonable rates. These are: Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Currently, you can find cruise ships commonly departing from Los Angeles, San Diego, CA as well as Ensenada, Mexico and Vancouver, British Columbia and on 10, 12, 14 and even 21 night cruises. Shorter, 7 day, inter-island cruises leaving from Honolulu are also available from several of the major cruise lines. Currently, you can get some really great deals on the longer cruises leaving from the mainland so be sure to check around for the best price on your cruise package before booking your vacation.
Each Hawaiian Island is truly unique so seeing the islands by boat can be a fun way to experience all of the charm Hawaii has to offer. Most of the major cruise lines stop or originate in Honolulu and then head off to ports of call such as Kauai, Maui, and often make stops in both Kailua-Kona and Hilo on the big island of Hawaii. While in each port of call, you can book side trips like snorkeling, hang gliding, jeep island tours and other fun activities by speaking with the cruise concierge at each port of call. The ships usually arrive in port during the early morning hours and travel back out to see late in the evening so there is plenty of time to explore the sights and sounds of each island.
When planning your Hawaiian cruise, it is important to first select the type of accommodations that you would like. Making sure that you select the right type of cabin for your trip is important since this will determine not only the price of your cruise per person, but also the level of enjoyment you get from your cruise. On most major cruise lines, there are basically 4 or possibly 5 levels of accommodations.
If you are particularly bargain minded, the least expensive cabin type is an inside or interior cabin. Inside cabins do not have windows or portholes and tend to be rather small in size. Since the Hawaiian Islands have some of the most gorgeous scenery on earth, you will not want to miss being able to see outside as you travel from place to place. Inside cabins are good if you do not intend to stay in your cabin for any length of time. They can also be economical for older children will only go to this room to sleep but will spend most of their time in a larger, parent cabin.
The next class of cabin is an outside or ocean view room. These rooms are often a bit larger and do have a window or porthole with a view of the ocean or current port of call. These rooms make excellent choices since you are able to see what is going on with the weather and you can easily tell the time of day.
If you can afford to upgrade a bit on your room selection, a balcony stateroom is by far a great choice for a Hawaiian cruise vacation. These rooms offer a small, private balcony where you can watch the ocean or view the current port of call. Having your own private balcony, where you can sip your morning coffee or just pass the time between ports is idea. Definitely consider this option for a Hawaiian cruise if at all possible. It is definitely worth the extra money if you can possibly afford this level of room.
The most spacious and elegant accommodations on a cruise ship are suites. Depending on the cruise line, suites can vary from 200 square feet to well over 1,400 square feet. These facilities not only provide private balconies for each suite, but they also have upgraded amenities such as large sitting rooms, walk-in closets, and even upgraded bathrooms with whirlpool tubs and granite counter-tops. Some cruise lines will also offer special amenities such as expedited check in and disembarkation, concierge service, daily in room treats and other special benefits reserved only for this customer class. If you want to be pampered and really have room to stretch out on your cruise, booking a suite is the only way to go.
While the typical stateroom is designed to accommodate 2 passengers, most cruise ships have cabins that can accommodate 3-4 passengers in one room. Be sure to ask for rooms that accommodate higher numbers of occupants since the 3rd and 4th passenger in a stateroom pays much less than the first two pay. This can be a beneficial way for a family to save money by traveling together. Since these cabins fill quickly, it is wise to book as far in advance as possible if you wish to book a room that accommodates more than 2 passengers. During the winter months, the seas can be more rough than they are during the other seasons of the year so if you travel from November to through the end of February, bring along a few sea sickness patches if you tend to get sea sick in turbulent waters.
A cruise is a wonderful way to see the sights and get a great feel for each of the Hawaiian Islands. The food and entertainment on board is excellent and you can do as much or as little as you want each day. Since you get a good feel for each of the islands, it is a good way to determine which islands you might like to return to on a future vacation. The food is great, the ports of call are beautiful and each ship has outstanding amenities that will make your island vacation a memorable event. Cruising the Hawaiian Islands is a wonderful way to begin your special Hawaiian vacation.