See the Best of Hawaii: Travel Opinion and Analysis

A string of islands melting into deep blue Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is the American state which takes a little more effort to reach, but is more than worth it. Indeed, choosing between islands like lively Oahu or the escapist’s dream Lanai has meant that plenty of visitors now opt for the variety afforded by Hawaii cruises as a way of seeing the best of them all.

Playing host to the state capital and much of the native population, Oahu often receives most of the attention, perhaps deservedly so. Add on a few extra days for some partying in Honolulu, make the most of Waikiki beach or see the surfers carving up the North Shore. Cruise lines offer excursions or overnight stays on the main islands so you can explore places like Pearl Harbor or see the famous Diamond Head crater up-close.

Though the islands are close enough together to spend more time on shore than at sea, every port is unique. The largest of the islands is known as the Big Island and is home to black-sand beaches, Mauna Kea, the biggest mountain on Earth and more climate zones than should be possible. Cruise vessels often make port at Hilo and itineraries include the unmissable Volcanoes National Park.

While Kauai is a slice of instant calm, with its preserved natural landscape and ‘Coconut Coast’, Maui is home to sleek seaside towns like Lahaina and unique whale-watching trips. Expert drivers can be provided for those who want to disembark for a nature tour here, while more specific interests are also catered for: golf-fans will have their pick of 14 world-class courses.

Lanai, Photo taken by My VR

Smallest of all, Lanai is where to head if you’re looking for a different experience. With scenery that boasts names like ‘Garden of the Gods’, a few laid-back towns and a complete absence of traffic lights, this is the romantic Hawaii of sunsets and swaying palms. Though not all cruises stop here, this is the perfect excuse to take a time out after your trip, perhaps leaving the ship at Maui and catching the ferry over for a few days of quality time.

Na Pali, photo taken by Barry Ferg

The variety and convenience are only some of the advantages to making your Hawaii holiday a cruise. Parts of the dramatic coastline like Na Pali on Kauai are especially spectacular when viewed from the sea and with optional shore excursions from Luau dances to exploring the lava caves on the Big Island, you can cater to exactly what you want.

Given the chance to hop from island to island in just a few days, without even having to change hotel, it’s easy to see why so many opt to travel by sea. Strolling the impeccable shores, gazing at tumbling waterfalls or pushing through rain forests  however you explore this diverse archipelago, Hawaii leaves an impression that’s unlikely to rub off.

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