Hawaii is a world-famous vacation destination, but it isn’t necessarily known as a cruise destination, at least relatively speaking. However, there are plenty of cruises to Hawaii, and they are quite diverse; for this reason, it is helpful to have a guide of the various cruises to Hawaii. We have therefore composed a guide of the cruises to Hawaii, wherein we organize the different types of cruises to Hawaii, as well as list the main cruise lines that sail to Hawaii. This is first and foremost an informative overview that seeks to organize the various cruises to Hawaii, but it will also indirectly help with practical considerations, like how to book a cruise to Hawaii.
What counts as a cruise to Hawaii depends on how you understand the preposition “to.” (Similar prepositional issues came up when we wrote about cruises to the Panama Canal.) If you are content to call any cruise that involves Hawaii a “cruise to Hawaii,” then there are three kinds. The first type covers the cruises that simply begin and end in Hawaii (more precisely, in Honolulu, where there are plenty of things to see and do). Only one company offers these – Norwegian – and they are offered on only one ship, Pride of America. Interestingly, the Pride of America is extremely rare in that it is not a foreign-flagged ship. Rather, it flies a U.S. flag and operates with a U.S. crew because it does not visit any foreign ports. Because of shipping laws, all foreign-flagged ships, which is to say most cruise ships, must visit at least one foreign port during their voyage. Since the Pride of America only sails around Hawaii and couldn’t reasonably sail elsewhere during its seven-day voyages, it has to fly a U.S. flag and deals with the corresponding issues, like higher operational costs. In a sense, though, these cruises that depart and return to Hawaii are not really cruises to Hawaii, as they are in Hawaii the entire duration of the cruise. Thus, Hawaii isn’t really the destination of the cruise, just as Africa isn’t the destination of an African safari.
However, there are of course cruises that begin at a non-Hawaiian port, stop in Hawaii, and then return to the same non-Hawaiian port, and this is the second type of cruise to Hawaii (assuming you are willing to let linguistic technicalities slide and accept the first type as a “cruise to Hawaii”). Carnival, Celebrity, Princess, and Holland America offer these cruises on a seasonal basis. These are cruises to Hawaii in the truest sense, as Hawaii is the primary destination of the cruise, as the preposition “to” seems to demand in these instances. Because of the shipping laws discussed earlier, these voyages either include a stop in Ensenada, Mexico, or else depart from Vancouver.
The third type of cruise to Hawaii is a repositioning cruise, often from a place like Vancouver (the region of Alaskan cruises) to California, although Hawaii is included in much larger itineraries as well, like the cruises offered by both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity that terminate in Australia. The cruises that pass through Hawaii on their way down from Canada to reposition for the season are essentially cruises to Hawaii – they are going to Hawaii, after all – but the ones that depart from Hawaii and end up at some faraway destination (like the Royal Caribbean and Celebrity trips to Australia) are hard to meaningfully regard as cruises to Hawaii. (They are in fact cruises from Hawaii, not cruises to Hawaii.) Be that as it may, even these latter types of repositioning cruises are often categorized as cruises to Hawaii, in the sense that they are grouped (like in search results) with the other cruises that actually sail to Hawaii.
So, there are a lot of cruises to Hawaii, and this is especially true if you have a fairly expansive view of what constitutes a “cruise to Hawaii.”