Uncruise Adventures Sails Hawaii On Intimate Yacht
Small-ship adventure line UnCruise Adventures kicks off its first-ever summer sailing season in the Hawaiian Islands, in July and August 2019, building on the companys already-established Hawaii presence, which normally operates between November and April. Sign up for one of six weeklong summer itineraries, cruising round-trip from the island of Molokai with stops in Lanai, the Big Island, and Maui. Cruises embark on the 36-guest, upscale-yet-laid-back Safari Explorer yacht, making it the most intimate voyage option in the region.
The four-island itineraries include less commonly visited ports and come chockful of active adventures like hiking to a waterfall in the Halawa Valley or snorkeling alongside green sea turtles off of west Maui. A complementary cultural heritage component includes hosted visits inside a local familys home and a traditional paina feast, accompanied by traditional music and dance. Rates from $5,195, including excursions, ground transfers, and alcoholic beverages; uncruise.com
Your Vacation Starts Immediately
From the moment you step foot on your cruise ship bound for Hawaii, your vacation begins. Head for the pool deck and relax on a plush lounger, or take a refreshing dip in the pool. Treat yourself to a day at The Spa to relax and rejuvenate, or savor a gourmet meal while taking in the mesmerizing ocean view.
Delight in knowing that youll never have to drag your luggage from here to there, because once you unpack in your luxuriously appointed stateroom, youre set for your entire vacation.
Whens The Best Time For Families To Cruise To Hawaii
Avoid the summer crowds in Hawaii and plan your family cruise vacation in May, just before the school year ends. In May, the rainy season will be over in most regions of the Hawaiian Islands, guaranteeing sunny weather for you and your kids.
Plus, you might even get to see a few whales from the ship , which is sure to delight everyone in your group.
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Visiting Hawaii By Cruise Or By Land: Pros And Cons
A visit to the Hawaiian Islands holds a firm spot on many bucket lists and for good reason. Stepping off the plane in Hawaii brings with it an inviting whiff of plumeria flowers, a warm breeze and unfaltering sunshine. It is nearly impossible to have a bad vacation in Hawaii because activity options are limitless.
Adventure seekers never have a drought of things to try, from surfing and body boarding to hiking steep cliffs and skydiving over deep blue waters. Those with an interest in more relaxing pursuits have an array of options including sitting by the pool or on the beach, taking a ride onboard a catamaran or just going for a leisurely drive.
But what is the best way to visit Hawaii? Should you visit by land or by sea, onboard a cruise ship? Cruise Critic breaks down the pros and the cons of both options to help you decide which is right for you.
Make Your Own Schedule With Freestyle Cruising
Hawaii is all about the Shaka sign, interpreted as hang loose. And isnt that what a Hawaiian vacation should be all about? On an NCL cruise, youll get that laid-back experience both on land and at sea with the relaxed, flexible take on freestyle cruising that this cruise line pioneered. Meals at your leisure, casual attire, more lounges, bars, entertainment and activity optionsall geared toward giving you the freedom to do what you want, when you want.
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Dining And Drinking Aboard The Pride Of America
Norwegian Cruise Line is known for their freestyle dining. You can dine when you like, where you like and with who you like. You are not limited to a set dining time or assigned to a group table.
A limited number of beverages are included in the standard cruise fare. Regular coffee, tea and ice water are generally your only free options, except some fruit juices at the breakfast buffet. The package we booked included a free perk of the Hawaii Beverage Package which included bottled water, sodas, beer, wine and mixed-drinks up to $15. A 20% service charge was applied to our package prior to the cruise. We were glad to have the beverage package.
The Pride of America offers plenty of restaurants and lounges to enjoy throughout the one-week itinerary. If you prefer casual fare, theyve got it. If you want a more upscale meal, theyve got that, too.;This link describes all the complimentary restaurants on board and this link lists the specialty dining options.
The complimentary main dining rooms of Liberty and Skyline were not as upscale as weve experienced on other cruise lines. We heard other passengers sharing similar sentiments. Ill give an example from just one dinner at Skyline:
- My glass was chipped and cut my lip.
- I ordered a pork chop that must have been microwaved to re-heat it as it was super hot, tough and chewy. Even the flavor seemed missing. I only ate a few bites.
- I ordered a warm apple dessert. It was served cold.
What To Wear On A Hawaiian Cruise
With average highs exceeding 80° F all year round, loose-fitting, breathable fabrics will make the heat more bearable until your next ocean plunge or air-conditioned reprieve. In typical aloha style, the local Hawaiian dress code skews casual, but your ship may have special events going on to dress for so check your itinerary in advance. Pride of Americas White Hot Party, for example, is a white-attire celebration youll definitely want to pack for!
Its likely youll encounter the occasional rain storm, especially from October to March, so having a packable poncho or rain jacket on hand is a good idea if youre planning an outdoor adventure far from cover. These tropical storms are usually brief, but can leave you drenched!
Planning to summit a volcano or two? It can get very chilly up top, especially if youre visiting at sunrise or sunset, so layer up for the elevation change. Some tour companies provide jackets for guests to stay warm but its worth asking if you should bring your own.
We hope you found this article helpful in planning your Hawaii cruise. No matter what time of year or who youre travelling with, youre bound to have the time of your life exploring this island paradise. Remember to book your excursions before you leave home to avoid disappointment!
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Things To Know About Planning A Hawaii Cruise
Perched in the North Pacific surrounded by crystal blue waters, the Hawaiian archipelago seems like a destination made for cruising. But planning a Hawaii cruise is more complicated than one might imagine. Its remote locale and protective regulations mean surprisingly few cruises are offered to this Polynesian paradise.
Among the many perks of a Hawaii cruise is the ability to see four islands within the span of a weeka logistical feat only accomplished through several flights for land vacationers. Cruising is also a highly economical way to see Hawaii, a notoriously expensive vacation destination.
Last but certainly not least, the wonders contained within the islands themselves are what bring in over nine million visitors each year. Cascading waterfalls, revered volcanoes, abundant marine life, postcard-perfect beacheseach of Hawaiis islands offer unique and memorable experiences for guests to enjoy.
Here are the five most common questions answered about planning a Hawaii cruise.
Special Events And Activities In Hawaii
If you plan to go parasailing, then you will want to hold off on your Hawaiian cruise from mid-December through the beginning of May. Since the humpback whales are migrating during these months, Maui authorities do not permit parasailing. ;
If you would like to experience traditional Hawaiian festivals, then plan to visit the islands from early to mid-March. The Cherry Blossom Festival features a variety of special cultural events. It takes place during March. The Honolulu Festival, which regularly attracts more than 80,000 visitors a year, also takes place during March. This festival honors the Pacific, Hawaiian, and Asian cultures with dances and various events held in downtown Waikiki.;
Discover why Norwegian Cruise Line was voted the “Best Hawaii Itinerary” for 13 years in a row by Porthole Cruise Magazine. Go ahead: Book your Hawaiian cruise vacation today.
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Final Thoughts On Our Pride Of America Cruise Of Hawaii
The itinerary is excellent and the island destinations are fantastic. Its a great way to see the four major islands in seven nights, though, as the itinerary is planned, theres practically no sightseeing time for Oahu.
The food and service were unfortunately sub par.
The stateroom cabins are compact, but okay.
Our cruise fare with a balcony room, the beverage package, speciality dining package and some nominal credits totaled $4,768 for the two of us. That does not include excursions. Thats quiet a hefty price for seven nights. In my opinion, thats not a good value. The food and stateroom experience felt budget-level, but the cruise cost was far from being a budget price.
Have you taken the Pride of America cruise in Hawaii? How was your experience?
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
Steps from the azure blue waters and soft sands of Waikk Beach, Hyatt Regency Waikk Beach Resort and Spa offers magnificent personalized services and luxurious amenities including world-class dining, award-winning spa, interactive cultural activities, 24-hour fitness centre, swimming pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and more than 60 on-site boutiques. The resort provides the perfect place for those who want to make the most of their island experience and connect with the heart of Hawai`i. And for your convenience, Norwegian Cruise Line can assist you with island adventures, transfers and more.
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The 10 Best Hawaiian Cruises For People Over 50
A trip to the tropical paradise of Hawaii is on many peoples bucket lists. Whether you have extended vacation time or youve retired and have a flexible schedule, the Aloha State is likely on your mind.
The 50th state comprises six main islands and several smaller islands. All have beaches, waterfalls, beautiful landscapes, and unique culture. If you want to see more than one island on your bucket-list trip, the easiest way to do so is to take a cruise. But which cruise should you choose? Lets take a look at the possibilities.
Several popular cruise lines visit Hawaii, including Princess, Crystal, Celebrity, Norwegian, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean. Norwegian has a large ship based in Hawaii that sails from Honolulu and visits the other islands. If you are an adventurous type, expedition lines like UnCruise Adventures sail to Hawaiis smaller, less-visited islands. Theres a lot of variety when it comes to Hawaiian cruises, and youve got options when it comes to size of ship, ports to visit, type of excursions, length of itinerary, and more. One things for sure: Theres a cruise out there thats right for you.
As I evaluated the following cruises, I looked at the following criteria:
If youre looking to cruise to, from, or around Hawaii, here are some great cruises to consider.
Slavik Krassovsky / Shutterstock
Drive The Road To Hana From Kahului Maui
The winding road to Hana Bay is legendary, and for good reason! En route youll stop at tropical waterfalls, black sand beaches and breathtaking lookouts including Hookipa, where you can watch some of the worlds best windsurfers. This is a full day excursion best enjoyed before an overnight stay in Kahului.
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Pride Of America Video Overview
For more insight into the cruise experience, check out our Pride of America Hawaii cruise video.
- You can look through more of our photos here.
- The Pride of America falls under the Jones Act, which requires that the crew consists of at least 75% U.S. citizens.
- The ship has some shops where you can buy souvenirs, clothes with Hawaiian prints and sundry items.
- Theres a library onboard.
- Theres a photography center.
- There is no casino on Pride of America.
- A tent was stationed at the end of the gangway at each port to sign out beach towels.
- We booked our cruise through Costco Travel.
- As is common with most cruises throughout the world, most of the dock locations were more industrial than scenic. Oftentimes there was a flurry of fork lift activity going on near our docked location.
- In Kona, there is no cruise ship dock, so passengers are transported by tender/lifeboats to the shore.
- We were glad that we had a port side cabin on the day of the Na Pali Coast tour as we only had to step out onto our balcony to enjoy the scenery.
- The best opportunities to enjoy a Hawaiian sunset are from Kona and after the Na Pali Coast cruise on the final evening.
- If you have questions about this cruise, check out NCLs FAQs.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
Rhapsody of the Seas, a cruise line in Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines fleet, sails to Hawaii in 10- and 12-day, family-friendly cruises from Honolulu and Vancouver. Activities for children and teens on board the Rhapsody of the Seas include a rock climbing wall, Teen Center and the Adventure Ocean playroom for on Deck 10. A video arcade for children and adults alike is also offered on Deck 6. Cruises are offered with one-way itineraries.
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Excursions From The Ncl Pride Of America
NCL has done a nice job curating their menu of excursions to suit both the adventure seeker and the casual sightseer. For adventures, theres hiking, zip lining, kayaking and snorkeling. For the sightseer, there are many tours filled with amazing island scenery that hit some of each islands highlights. Skim through this link for some examples of the excursions offered through NCL.
We enjoyed a mix of excursions offered through Norwegian Cruise Line and some that we booked independently. We enjoyed them all. Well be writing more about excursion selections and our recommendations to help you get the most out of your limited time and vacation budget. Stay tuned!
We did some price comparison between what the ship offered and what we could find independently. The ships prices were always more expensive. We noticed that the closer that we got to our sailing date, the prices of the excursions increased.
The ship heavily pushes the Luau Kalamaku on Kauai. I heard mixed reviews from fellow passengers.
Set Sail Any Time Of Year
One of the best perks of cruising in Hawaii with NCL is the ability to set sail at your leisure, any time of year. As the only U.S. flagged cruise ship that sails round-trip from Honolulu all year long, NCLs Pride of America gives you the freedom and flexibility to vacation on your schedule. And because this tropical paradise boasts near perfect weather year-round, theres really no bad time to go.
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Princess Sails Unique Round
Princess Cruises maintains an ongoing portfolio of Hawaii-focused cruises, with more than 20 such voyages scheduled aboard four ships through 2020. Not only is it the only cruise line to run a full season of round-trip voyages from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii but it also stands out from the pack for its rare round-trip itineraries out of San Francisco and Los Angeles . These 15-night sailings include stops at Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island, with a late-night stay in Honolulu, as well as a call in Ensenada, Mexico.
Guests can opt in for a variety of excursions, including an Animal Planetbranded shark cage encounter in Honolulu. But keep in mind that these lengthier voyages factor in a whopping nine days spent at seatime where you can reboot on the ships signature adults-only Sanctuary relaxation deck and partake in Hawaii immersion while mingling with the Hawaiian ambassadors onboard or enjoying Aloha Spirit programming, like lei-making workshops, hula dance lessons, Polynesian language classes, and a menu dedicated to Hawaiian dishes, including a farewell luau on deck. Rates from $1,112/person; princess.com
Royal Caribbean Runs Repositioning Cruises On Quantum
Known for its bigger-is-better, embrace-all-the-bells-and-whistles ethos, Royal Caribbean offers a select number of Hawaiian sailings each year, as part of its repositioning routes. Its trio of Quantum-class ships are among the biggest, boldest, and newest of the amenity-packed cruise lines 26-ship fleet. But two of those threeQuantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seashave been serving the Asian and Australian markets since their debut, with only the New Jerseybased Anthem of the Seas targeting U.S.-based travelers.
That changes this year when the 4,180-passeger Ovation of the Seas repositions from Sydney to Alaska for the summer 2019 season. En route, cruisers can sign up for an 11-night voyage from Honolulu to Vancouver; embarking May 2, 2019, it includes an overnight stay in both Oahu and Maui, scenic cruising past the active Mount Kilauea volcano, and a call in Victoria, British Columbia. Several sea days afford ample time to explore the mega-ship, with its FlowRider surf simulator, RipCord by iFly indoor skydiving experience, and SeaPlex entertainment center .
The Ovation runs a similar return route from Vancouver to Honolulu, embarking September 20, 2019, with repeat Hawaii-inclusive repositioning voyages scheduled in May and September of 2020, too. Rates from $840/person; royalcaribbean.com
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Hawaiian Influences On The Pride Of America
We were pleased to find several Hawaiian influences during our cruise. Heres what we found:
- Passengers are greeted with a lei at embarkation.
- A dedicated Hawaiian Ambassador was on board to introduce passengers to the Hawaiian culture. He taught lei-making classes, hula dancing and narrated the ships tour of the Na Pali Coast. I attended the kukui nut lei-making class and really enjoyed hearing about the significance and culture of this type of lei.
- You can enjoy live bands playing Hawaiian music on most days.
- Most of the staff wore a Hawaiian shirt and/or lei and often greeted passengers with a warm Aloha.
- Stateroom decor have artwork and/or fabrics with beach-y influences.