The Hawaiian Islands have long been America’s tropical playground, a volcanic archipelago in the middle of the Pacific that is the country’s most surprising state. Before they became an American territory, before Captain Cook dubbed them the Sandwich Islands, the Hawaiian Islands were the home of a Polynesian culture whose roots still run deep. In Hawaii’s floral-scented valleys and on its black-sand beaches, that legacy lives on in an aloha spirit that promises a welcome as warm as the ocean breezes.
In 2022 and 2023, Koningsdam sails roundtrip from San Diego, California, plus one departure roundtrip from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on a series of cruises that explore the Hawaiian Islands. The “Circle Hawaii” cruises range from 16 to 18 days and call at a combination of stunning ports.
• 16-day roundtrip from Vancouver with calls at Lahaina, Hilo, Honolulu (overnight) and Nawiliwili.
• 17-day calls at Lahaina, Hilo, Honolulu, Nawiliwili and Kona, Hawaii, and Ensenada, Mexico.
• 18-day calls at Lahaina, Hilo, Honolulu (overnight), Nawiliwili, Kona and Ensenada.
The capital of Hawaii — and gateway to the island chain — is a suitably laid-back Polynesian mash-up of influences and experiences. Away from the Waikiki crowds and glossy high-rise hotels, our Hawaii cruises give a taste of the “real” Hawaii: brick Victorian buildings, including America’s only royal palace; thriving Chinatown nightlife; sacred temple remains on distant bluffs; and the wartime memories of the attack on Pearl Harbor, including the USS Arizona Memorial.
How beautiful does a place have to be to win the title of paradise of paradises? Well, start with enormous stretches of beach, some full of surfers, some off bays packed with whales, some sporting nothing but your own footprints. Toss in two volcanic craters, one with a road that takes you from sea level to 3,055 meters (10,023 feet) and through tunnels of jacaranda trees. Then there’s the rain forest, which you can experience on a scenic drive so full of twists and turns and waterfalls that 83 kilometers (52 miles) can take most of the day. At the end, though, you’re rewarded with yet more falls, plus cool ponds perfect for a soak.
The oldest of the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai, sits under a steady blast of trade winds that sweep in abundant moisture. Kauai only gets about a quarter as many visitors per year as Oahu, yet it may be the island we all know best, thanks to its amazing topography, full of perfect waterfalls and lush knife-edged mountains. It’s called the Garden Isle for good reason and Hollywood can’t get enough of this backdrop, from White Heat in 1934, all the way through Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark and the 1976 remake of King Kong.
This is a land of verdant rain forests bisected by sparkling falls. But the fiery element flares along the volcanic coast of Kohala and the roaring furnace of the Kilauea volcano: Lava has continued to seep from the crater since its last eruption in 1983. Once a busy fishing and farming area, Hilo blossomed into a commercial center for the sugarcane industry in the 1800s. Today’s town — its waterfront rebuilt since the last destructive wall of water in 1960 — flourishes as a hub of galleries, independent shops, farmers markets and homegrown destination restaurants. A world-class astronomy center has joined this mix, underlining the awe unfolding through the telescopes atop Mauna Kea (the world’s tallest peak from base to summit, outstripping Everest by 1,363 meters, or 4,472 feet!).
Both culturally and geographically, Hawaii’s Big Island divides into exact halves. The east is jungly, dark and prone to lava flows. The other side, the Kona side, grows all the coffee, and everyone wakes up early. The shapes of the hills and the way rain snags on ridges means Kona holds hundreds of microclimates. That’s how the coffee growers have flourished: Variations of only a few feet in altitude can result in very different brews. Thankfully, plenty of places exist to play and burn off a little caffeine around Kona. History lies thick on the ground, from Kamehameha’s heiau (temple) to the sacred buildings of Puuhonua O Honaunau (“The Place of Refuge”) to the bay where Captain Cook took his last breath. Whales love the Kona side, spinner dolphins live up to their names, and giant mantas slowly barrel roll up from the depths.
If you’re looking to find paradise on earth, join us for an island-hoping adventure to Hawaii that will leave you with breathtaking photos and even more vivid memories.