There’s more than one way to cruise Hawaii, the beautiful island state of swaying palms, sandy beaches, awesome surfing and delicious luaus. You can either fly to Hawaii and board a ship for an inter-island cruise; or, depart from the mainland and enjoy some time at sea before and after visiting the islands.


If you have the time to spend a few extra days at sea, check out cruises that sail from ports like San Diego, Los Angeles and Vancouver. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the amenities of your ship, relax around the pool, sample the dining venues and more. A quirk of cruising to Hawaii is that most ships departing from the U.S. mainland must call somewhere outside the U.S., due to passenger shipping laws that prohibit foreign-flagged ships from sailing entirely U.S.-based itineraries. It’s likely that your ship will stop at Ensenada, Mexico, or Fanning Island before or after visiting Hawaii. Ships that leave from Vancouver, British Columbia, automatically meet the foreign-port requirement.


If you have a briefer time available for your vacation, the fly-to-Hawaii option may be for you: you’ll get there faster and spend a greater percentage of your vacation time in the beautiful islands.


However you choose to get to Hawaii, select a cruise itinerary that will take you to as many of the islands as possible: they each have their own character.


Oahu offers the city of Honolulu, with Diamondhead and the famous Waikiki Beach. A visit to the lovely and solemn USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor is a must; other historic highlights include the Iolani Palace, the Mission Houses Museum and Kawaiaha’o Church.


West of Oahu is the island of Kauai, which some believe is the most beautiful of the islands. Take an excursion to lush Waimea Canyon or to the island’s breathtaking Napali coast.


To the east of Oahu are the islands of Maui and Hawaii. Maui is known for its artsy ambiance; terrific beaches, golf courses and restaurants; and Haleakala National Park, which offers some adventurous excursions. The “Big Island” of Hawaii has beaches of white sand or black volcanic sand, plantations that produce world-famous Kona coffee, and the stark beauty of Volcanoes National Park.


Some cruises also stop on the tranquil, less-developed islands of Lanai or Molokai. However you cruise Hawaii, you’ll find it’s a relaxing and memorable vacation. To make your plans, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.