Located on the southern coast of Oahu, Honolulu is the largest city in Hawaii and one of the most popular cruise destinations for Hawaiian voyages. This tropical city is the epitome of romance and Pacific island luxury: the perfect place to start a memorable cruise vacation.
Cruises from Honolulu
While the Christmas holiday season and summer months are the busiest for Hawaiian cruises, interested passengers can book sailings from Honolulu throughout the year. Norwegian Cruise Line is the undisputed leader of Hawaiian sailings, with multiple interisland voyages departing each week, but other major cruise lines also offer these sought after itineraries, including:
- Princess Cruises
- Carnival Cruise Line
- Celebrity Cruises
- Holland America Cruise Line
- Crystal Cruises
- Royal Caribbean Cruises
Other alternative cruise lines offer local sailings, from day trips and dinner voyages to multi-day tours of less frequented ports. Interested passengers should consider consulting a cruise travel agent to book their perfect Hawaiian getaway.
Honolulu is both a frequent embarkation port as well as a popular port of call for many Hawaiian cruises. Because of this, passengers have a wide variety of travel options. Itineraries range from 7-12 nights or longer, frequently stopping at each of the major Hawaiian Islands with exotic ports of call including Kona, Hilo, Lahaina, Kahului, Kauai, Maui, and Nawiliwili. For cruises departing from the west coast of the United States, usually from San Diego, Los Angeles, or even as far north as Vancouver, Canada, five days or more at sea may be included in the itinerary. Both one-way and roundtrip voyages are available.
Because of cruise travel laws, ships that depart from a United States port are required to visit at least one international port during a voyage ( Norwegian ships have a different registry exempting them from this requirement). Therefore, many Hawaiian voyages also stop in a foreign port, typically in Mexico or as far distant as Tahiti.
For many travelers, a visit to Hawaii is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Honolulu, especially, has many noteworthy attractions for visitors who wish to enjoy more time in port, whether they've arranged a longer visit separate from their cruise or as a package through the cruise line. Popular sites include:
- Hawaii Maritime Center: Next to the pier, this museum documents the importance of maritime history to the island chain.
- Iolani Palace: The only royal residence in America until Hawaii abandoned its monarchy in 1893, this decadent home offers a glimpse into true Hawaiian culture and history.
- Pearl Harbor: One of the nation's most visited memorial sites, Pearl Harbor features both the USS Arizona memorial that commemorates the bravery of the sailors defending the base during the Japanese attack in 1941, and the nearby USS Missouri monument where peace was eventually declared. The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum is another worthwhile stop in Pearl Harbor, where visitors can learn about life aboard submarines (considerably less comfortable than a cruise ship!).
- Waikiki Beach: One of the most popular beaches on Oahu, Waikiki is also one of the most crowded, particularly on weekends.
- Aloha Tower: Located at the cruise pier, this Hawaiian landmark is now part of a marketplace complex with more than 70 stores featuring contemporary boutiques and unique local merchandise.
- Foster Botanical Garden: More than 4,000 species of exotic plants and flowers are on display throughout this 14-acre complex, giving visitors a thorough appreciation for Hawaiian flora.
- Whale watching: Many small charter companies offer whale watching excursions during migration periods when pods of endangered humpback whales pass near the island.
Getting to the Aloha Tower Cruise Terminal
Because of how crowded the city can become, particularly at the height of the cruise season, traffic can cause substantial obstacles to passengers attempting to reach their ships. While the Aloha Tower Marketplace and cruise ship docks are only six miles from the airport, it is important to leave sufficient time when arriving or departing. The pier itself offers very little public parking, and public transportation is recommended.
For more information about cruise facilities in Honolulu, contact the port directly at (808) 587-2076 or:
Port of Honolulu
Aloha Tower Marketplace
Honolulu, HI 96813