Hawaiian cruises were hampered for many years by U.S. laws that forbade foreign-flagged vessels from leaving American waters and then returning without stopping in at least one foreign port. Norwegian Cruise Lines opened a lucrative market when they reflagged some of their vessels with the Stars and Stripes, allowing them to provide self-contained cruises of Hawaii. Other cruise lines have followed suit, and some now offer one-way Hawaiian cruises traveling from Honolulu to ports on the North American West Coast or French Polynesia.
Cruises from Hawaii have seen a boom in recent years.
Like most cruise lines offering one-way trips from Hawaii, Royal Caribbean runs the circuit in two parts–from Honolulu to Vancouver and back again–each constituting a separate cruise. The eastbound leg runs 10 nights, starting with a visit to Maui and proceeding to two stops on the big island of Hawaii–Kailua Kona and Hilo. The last five days of the trip are entirely at sea, leaving you with the ship’s various amenities to keep you entertained. Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas as of March 2010 conducts the Hawaiian run. It holds just under 2,500 guests and features two pools, eight lounges, three dining rooms, a fitness center, a spa and library, six whirlpools, a casino and a theater featuring nightly entertainment.
1050 Caribbean Way
Miami, FL 33132
Carnival Cruise Lines follows the same pattern as Royal Caribbean, with a two-part round-trip circuit traveling from Honolulu to British Columbia and back. (Some cruises travel to and from Ensenada, Mexico, instead of Vancouver.) The eastbound leg takes 12 days, with stopovers in Jauai, Kailua Kona and Hilo before making two port stops in Maui. A five-day jaunt from Maui to British Columbia or Mexico completes the cruise. The ship that runs this circuit, Carnival Spirit, features balconies in 80 percent of the cabins, allowing visitors to view the Hawaiian landscape in privacy. The ship also features nightly stage productions, four pools, a sauna and steam room, a library, a piano bar, a dance club and a video arcade.
Carnival Cruise Lines
3655 NW 87th Ave.
Miami, FL 33178
Princess Cruises travels in the opposite direction from most other cruises, in a massive westbound circuit from the North American coast all the way to French Polynesia. The tours that begin in Honolulu last 12 days; the first three days include stops at Maui, Kauai and the big island of Hawaii before heading for the South Pacific. After five days at sea, the tour concludes with visits to Bora Bora, Raiatea, Moorea and Tahiti. The cruise emphasizes natural wonders, such as local wildlife and snorkeling expeditions. The Princess ship for this excursion is smaller than those of other cruise lines operating out of Hawaii. The Royal Princess has room for 710 passengers, with amenities emphasizing a cozier atmosphere. It sports one pool, three lounges, a casino, a library, an Internet café, a gym and fitness center and a golf practice cage.
24844 Avenue Rockefeller
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
- hawaii image by csaba fikker from Fotolia.com