By Fiona K., Client Service Representative, The Cruise Web, Inc.
Hawaii had always been a place I wanted to visit. I had a chance to go there for college, but regretfully I didn’t seize the opportunity. My family previously vacationed in Oahu for a couple of weeks but I wasn’t able to join them at the time.
So last December, I had a vacation coming up and I decided this was the time that I would get to experience Hawaii. I’m so glad I finally got the opportunity to visit this beautiful set of islands, and visiting Hawaii via a cruise was the perfect choice!
My boyfriend and I sailed on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America, which is the only ship that doesn’t have to embark or disembark from America’s mainland.
We experienced much more in Hawaii during my one week cruise than my family did when they visited for two weeks. On the cruise we visited Maui, Kauai and the two main ports on the Big Island: Hilo and Kona. Each island had something completely different to offer with lots of special things to do. This was the most active vacation I’ve ever been on, and each day there was something fun and exciting to see and do.
Here are some of the highlights of our trip:
- Prior to the cruise, we spent a couple extra days in Oahu to explore the island and the sights, especially the beautiful North Shore, and snorkel in the lovely Hanauma Bay. We also spent a day at the Polynesian Cultural Center. There we participated in cultural activities and dances native to some of the Pacific islands, including Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti and several more. We also attended a thrilling evening show complete with fire dancing and a luau with lots of music, dancing and traditional Hawaiian food, including a whole roasted pig for dinner!
- Our first shore excursion, Road to Hana, was a scenic tour through an unspoiled, lush region of Maui where every view of the beautiful coastline was breath-taking and we saw plenty of beautiful rainforests, waterfalls, black sand beaches, and Mt. Haleakala. The drive itself was definitely an adventure too, due to lots of narrow lanes and sudden, sharp twists and turns through unpaved roads.
- On the Big Island, we visited the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park which was very interesting. We saw the Kilauea Caldera and explored lava tubes which are like underground tunnels that lava once flowed through. In several spots, you could see steam rising from the ground and there were also open steam vents located throughout where you could stand and feel the heat coming through the underground tunnel.
- From Hilo, we also visited a macadamia nut farm and factory and an orchid farm, which was beautiful.
- Kona gave us the biggest thrill. We went snorkeling in some of the clearest waters I’ve ever seen, and on our way to the snorkel site we encountered a massive pod of dolphins that had no problem snorkeling beside us. We jumped right into the water with them. It was simply amazing!
- In Kauai, we went to the scenic Waimea Canyon, also nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” and later took an entertaining ferry ride on the Wailua River up to a Fern Grotto. However, since most of Kauai is not accessible by land, we had booked a helicopter tour on the second day. We flew over the island, through Waimea Canyon, and saw hundreds of waterfalls! We also got a spectacular view of the Na Pali coast which is a 15-mile stretch of beautiful, but rugged coastline with soaring fern-covered cliffs and narrow valleys with several waterfalls. It was simply stunning.