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Hawaii has always been a bucket list item for my husband and I. Neither of us had ever been. This year we decided to make it happen! After lots of research, we couldn’t decide on an Island to visit, so we decided to visit them all! A Hawaiian Cruise was the perfect choice for us. It allowed us to see and do so many things that we never could have done by staying in one place! What an adventure. I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to top this vacation. Keep reading for info our Hawaiian cruise itinerary, packing list the islands we visited, shore excursions, ship info and lots of tips. Aloha!

In this article:

  1. A brief overview of Norwegian Cruise line
  2. Day by day itinerary of our Hawaiian Cruise including what we did off the ship each day
  3. Packing list full of everything you’ll need

Norwegian Cruise Line

After lots of research on different Hawaiian Cruise options, we picked Norwegian, The Pride of America. Basically, because they fit in well with our budget and they had a lot of sailing date options. There are a few cruise lines that sail Hawaii. Do some research, but don’t get too hung up on the ship amenities. You’re going to be spending so much time ashore enjoying the islands, you won’t have much time to spend on the ship. This ship was nice. Our rooms were clean, the food was good and plentiful. The entertainment was wonderful(at least on the nights we were able to stay up late enough to enjoy it!).

 Hawaiian Cruise complete guide

Day 1- Honolulu, O’ahu

Norwegian Hawaiian Cruise complete guide

Our early flight and landed in O’ahu at around 11:15 am. We planned to explore Pearl Harbor that morning, but we were too tired. We decided to take a lyft straight to our ship. Check-in was a breeze. You don’t need a passport for this cruise, just a driver’s license. We were greeted with a beautiful lei on the ship. Next, we grabbed some drinks and found a quiet spot while we waited for our room to be ready. As soon as it was available we headed to the room for a quick nap(we’re so old!). That night we choose to eat at East Meets West for some Asian cuisine. There are 5 complimentary restaurants to choose from on The Pride of America. After dinner, we were ready to call it a night. Jet lag’s a killer!

Day 2- Kahului, Maui

We got up bright and early, ready to explore Maui! The port of Kahului is very industrial. We had booked a car through Enterprise that was within walking distance of the port. We walked about 1 mile(not bad) to pick it up. Now, we were ready to explore! I had read about the Road to Hana and knew I had to experience it for myself.

Road To Hana

This was one of my favorite things from the entire trip! The road to Hana is magical. There’s no other way to describe it. We drove the road ourselves, but we had the best tour guide in the entire world! We downloaded the Shaka guide from the app store and it made our entire day perfect! The app guides you along using your location(not data) to direct you where to stop, gives you history, local legends and points out the best place for banana bread. I can’t say enough about this. We explored a bamboo forest, lava tubes, a black sand beach, blowhole, splashed in swimming holes and saw countless waterfalls thanks to this guide. Check it out!

Road to Hana. Hawaiian Cruise complete guide
Cave made by a lava

We started on the road to Hana around 9:30 am and made it back around 9:00 pm. We parked our car at the Maui Beach hotel($5 per night) and walked back to the ship. It was about a 15-minute walk. A quick dinner sounded perfect to us. The Cadillac Diner was the perfect choice to finish out our day.

Day 3- Kahului, Maui

This morning started with a hike up Waihee Ridge Trail. My hubby is a hiker. I am not. The hike was 4 miles round trip. Honestly, it was tough for me. If you’ ver got kids or aren’t an avid hiker, halfway would be perfect. The views are extraordinary and now that it’s over I can say it was totally worth it! It was a little misty while we were there which added to the beauty.

Waihee Ridge Trail. Hawaiian Cruise complete guide

After the hike, I was ready for some beach time! Some locals recommended Paia Beach. It was close and not crowded at all. We were about to leave when my husband spotted a family of sea turtles right by the shore! Talk about a dream come true! We spent lots of time watching them play in the waves. I could not get over how big they are up close!

Sea Turtle. Hawaiian Cruise complete guide

We dropped off the rental car and headed back to the ship for the evening. Dinner was at the Skyline Resturant and we were awake enough to see the show in the theater, “Lights, Camera, Music”. We enjoyed Maui so much!

Day 4- Hilo, Hawai’i

Today was spent on the big island! I knew from my research that I wanted to spend the day at Volcano National Park. We rented a car from Enterprise. They had a shuttle that picked us up and took us to the rental location. From there it was a fairly short drive Volcano National Park. Our favorite tour guide Shaka Guide did a wonderful job guiding us through the parks and giving lots of history along the way. We’d never been anywhere like this and it was incredible to see!

Volcano National Park. Hawaiian Cruise complete guide

On our way back to the ship we had to stop by the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory. I was expecting to learn more about the process of growing and harvesting macadamia nuts, but they basically just have a store, a small restaurant and you can peek in a few windows of the factory. Well worth the stop if you love macadamia nuts as much as we do!

Hawaiian Cruise complete guide

After we returned our rental car, Enterprise drove us back to the ship. We enjoyed dinner at the Liberty dining room and an amazing magic show, WONDERS! A Magical Experience in the Hollywood theatre.

Day 5- Kona, Hawai’i

Today was spent exploring Kona! We booked a shore excursion snorkeling shore excursion here. We were picked up just off the pier by one of our guides and joined a small group of about 15 people on a small boat and set off. They took us to Captian Cook’s monument.

On the way there they stopped by Dolphin Reef and we were lucky to spend about 30 minutes watching a family of dolphins play! Watching the 4-month-old baby dolphin play in the water was a highlight! Afterward, we went to Captian Cook’s monument to snorkel. The snorkeling was great! The water was warm, clear and there were hundreds of fish! After snorkeling, the crew had a lunch of sandwiches, chips, fruit, and dessert prepared for us. It was very good. While we ate, our guides told us the interesting story of Captain Cook and his history in Kona.

Captain Cook Monument. Hawaiian Cruise complete guide
Captain Cook Monument

After we were dropped off, we spent some time exploring Kona on foot. You can walk right off the pier and find shops, a beach, and restaurants to enjoy. It rained that afternoon, so we took cover in Hulihe‘e Palace. This former vacation home to Hawaiian royalty was an interesting stop. We found some good food and lots of good souvenirs on our way back to the ship. That evening we ate in the Aloha Cafe and enjoyed the Vocal Group: These Guys Worldwide. They put on a great show!

Day 6- Nawiliwili, Kaua’i

Enterprise had a shuttle that picked us up and took us a few miles to the Lihue airport where we rented a car. We spent the day exploring beaches and hiking using the Shaka guide. We were impressed with their tours in Maui and Hilo. I couldn’t imagine exploring the island without them! One of their recommended stops was Anini Beach for snorkeling. Imagine my surprise when a sea turtle swam right in front of me! Amazing!

Unfortunately, we were unable to visit Haena state park and beyond. Advanced reservations are now required. We had no idea! We were a little disappointed to miss out on things like Kalalau Trail, Hanakapiai Falls, and Kee Beach. If you’re going, you can make reservations here. We had plenty to keep us busy! Hiking to a swimming hole with a rope swing finished out our day!

Hawaiian Cruise complete guide

Day 7- Nawiliwili, Kaua’i

A shuttle from Safari Helicopter Tours picked us up from the ship and took us to their office first thing this morning. After a safety briefing, we were taken to the airport. Our helicopter tour lasted 60 minutes. It included over 100 miles of amazing Kauai scenery. We flew over the Na Pali coastline, Waimea Canyon and Waialeale. This was our favorite part of the entire trip. The breathtaking views that can only be seen from the air were incredible! We will remember this for the rest of our lives.

Kauai helicopter tour

After our tour, we walked to the shopping area near the ship. We found some food, more souvenirs and enjoyed a little more beach time. Our ship left Kaua’i at 2:00 pm. Around 5 pm we sailed past the Na Pali coastline. This was a highlight of our Hawaiian Cruise! Seeing this view again from the ship was amazing! We enjoyed a relaxing evening on the ship.

Na Pali Coast

Day 8- Honolulu, O’ahu

Our Hawaiian cruise was over, but we still had an entire day to enjoy O’ahu! A lyft took us to pick up our rental car. We went right to Pearl Harbor National Memorial. We spent a few thoughtful hours here learning about the history of this important place and remember the people who lost their lives here.

Pearl Harbor Memorial

That afternoon we made our way to the Polynesian Cultural Center. We spent an enjoyable afternoon there. It is such a fun place! I was wishing we had more time. I guess we’ll just have to go back! We attended a Luau there that evening. The food was delicious! Afterward, we saw Ha: Breath of Life Show. We loved it! The dancing and costumes were incredible. This was a perfect way to end our trip!

Polynesian Cultural Center

We stayed at a hotel near Waiki Beach that night and caught an early flight home. We enjoyed our Hawaiian cruise so much! I can’t think of a better way to see Hawaii! Now, we just have to decide which island was our favorite so we can go back!

Packing List for Hawaiian Cruise-

Here’s a complete packing list for your cruise. I recommend packing light! You really don’t need much. I packed using these amazing packing cubes! Seriously, so great! They kept my thing so organized and I can’t recommend them enough! I’ve included other links to some of my favorite items.

Carry On Bag:

You will not have your luggage with you for a few hours after you board the ship. It’s important to have anything you need with you while you’re waiting for your luggage to arrive.

  • Wallet and travel documents
  • Eyeglasses/contact case and solution
  • Essential medications and over-the-counter products like ibuprofen, antacids and motion sickness supplements
  • Cell phone
  • A swimsuit
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Reef-safe sunscreen
  • Book
  • Portable charger for your electronic devices
  • A reusable water bottle
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Extra change of clothing

On Board:

For the ship, you’re going to want light, breathable clothing.

  • Sandals
  • Swimming suits
  • Swimming suit cover-ups
  • Flip flops
  • Underwear
  • Pajamas
  • Light sweater or sweatshirt
  • Shorts
  • Skirts
  • Capri Pants
  • Blouses
  • Khaki shorts
  • Short-sleeved shirts
  • Dress
  • slacks
  • collared shirts for men
  • Dress shoes


A hairdryer and shampoo/conditioner are provided on the ship if you prefer not to pack them.

  • Toothpaste
  • toothbrush
  • mouthwash
  • Razors and shaving cream
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup
  • Perfume or cologne
  • Tweezers
  • nail clippers
  • A curling iron or flat iron
  • Combs, brushes
  • Shampoo, conditioner, hair gel
  • Feminine hygiene products

For Shore Excursions:

I hope you find this information helpful as you plan your own Hawaiin cruise! Please let me know if you have any questions. I also an expert at planning Disneyland vacations! You can find more information about that here.


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