When it comes to Hawaii, the question is never really whether you’ve dreamed about visiting, rather how often you dream about visiting. Being the only state made up entirely of islands — there’s no easier way to see it than on a cruise, and Holland America Line has put together itineraries and shore excursions that highlight all that it has to offer. Its diverse natural scenery features fiery volcanoes, rushing waterfalls and idyllic beaches all in a sunny, warm tropical climate. Adventure is awaiting at Hawaii, here are some ways you can find it.
Bike & Hike at Hilo
Hop on a 21-speed mountain bike for an eight-mile ride around the crater rim of active volcanoes with the Kilauea Volcano Bicycle Adventure tour at Hilo. At Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Hilo you’ll make your way through an incredible rain forest, with stops along the way to take in the scenery. You’ll also have the chance to enjoy some time hiking, including a hike that leads you directly through an amazing lava tube. You’ll see the heart of the volcano at Halema’uma’u Crater and enjoy fresh island fruit, macadamia nuts and other snacks. After your ride, you’ll stop at the Jaggar Museum to check out real-time seismographs, eruption footage and beautiful displays of lava and Hawaiian geology.
Tube the Ditch at Nawiliwili
At Nawiliwili (Kauai), a short drive will take you to the Hanamaulu Ditch system where you can enjoy a unique tubing adventure taking you back in time to the sugar plantation era. Grab a tube, don a headlamp and jump in for a different kind of cruise! You’ll float down the tropical waterway consisting of open ditches, tunnels and flumes, all of which were engineered and hand-dug in the early 1900s — one of Kauai’s most spectacular engineering feats. At the end of your ride you’ll enjoy a snack and a pristine swimming hole, the perfect spot for a swim and a picnic.
AdventurePerson gave the tour five stars on the Holland America website. Here is what they had to say:
“Terrific adventure for all ages. You sit on top of large (truck size) very comfortable inner tubes (made from the same material as they make zodiacs) and float down these irrigation ditches, that are actually beautiful, fern covered, spectacular water plumes… You go through tunnels carved through the lava 150 years ago, turning on your headlamps as directed by the guides. It was thrilling and relaxing at the same time. I wanted to start all over and do it again at the bottom.”
A Volcano Adventure Awaits at Honolulu
If tubing is a little too leisurely for you, head to Diamond Head Crater in Honolulu for the hike of a lifetime. You’ll learn all about this world-famous volcano, including its Hawaiian history, European discovery and the origin of its name. You’ll set out on a 45-minute hike to the 763-foot summit of Diamond Head, stopping at several points to snap stunning photos along the way. You’ll enter a dark 200-foot tunnel and climb a spiral staircase. Upon reaching the summit, you will encounter an incredible panoramic view of Waikiki Beach, with its emerald green mountains and the sparkling aquamarine water of the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy the scenery before making your way back down.
ShuShu felt it was quite an achievement — and rated the tour five stars.
“What an experience, wonderful views of Waikiki Beach and we’re thrilled that we accomplished the hike!!!!”
Experience Hawaii from New Heights
Take your need for speed to new heights on a thrilling Zip Line through Paradise adventure through Paradise at Nawiliwili. Covering nearly two miles of gorgeous tropical river gorges, the 8-line zip course will give you a beautiful view of multiple waterfalls as you soar over 160 feet above them. The staff will guide you over one of the longest lines in Hawaii, at more than 2,400 feet in length!
Come Explore the Sea
You wouldn’t be doing Hawaii right if you didn’t take some time to enjoy its beauty under water. With the Captain Zodiac Rafting & Snorkel Adventure tour at Kona, you’ll explore this picturesque island’s scenic coast with a 12-mile ride as you seek out pods of dolphins, sea turtles, whales in the early months of the year and other marine life. You’ll also admire the view of the lava formations and sea caves. The highlight of the tour is snorkeling in the Kealakekua Bay Marine Preserve. Kealakekua Bay is the site of the Captain Cook Monument, accessible only by boat and an important area in Hawaiian lore! The Preserve is home to hundreds of varieties of tropical fish and coral formations, and its calm and pristine waters make it the perfect spot for snorkeling.
Islandgirl gave the tour five stars and said it got off to a pretty incredible start!
“What a great experience! Captain Karl piloted our 24′ zodiac away from the dock and before we could get underway ….dolphins appeared! We had to stop and watch these graceful marine mammals as they swam at the side of our little boat! … The company equipment was excellent, so the snorkeling experience was excellent. Although the day was partly cloudy, the fish appeared and the colors were brillant. The zodiac slowly floated on the edge of the snorkeling until it was time to climb aboard again. Somehow they managed an easy access ladder, a warm fresh water hose down, and then a refreshing snack. This was what we came for, but…then there was so much more. On the way back to Kona, Captain Karl took us close to the shore to ride surf right up to the edge of sea caves, to view different plants, birds or land forms. He told great stories about the Big Island and the people and history.”
The Atlantis Submarine Dive at Lahaina, is another way to see Hawaii from underwater — but this one lets you stay dry! First you’ll head out on a boat ride along the breathtaking Maui coastline. Once you arrive at the site you will transfer to the world’s most technologically advanced passenger submarine. You’ll descend to depths of 125 feet, witnessing this watery world through two-foot viewports and admiring the variety of exotic tropical fish, coral gardens, moray eel and other fascinating marine life. You’ll also learn about Maui’s rich culture and history.
Helicopter Tours Let You Soar
If seeing Hawaii from below is not for you, how about seeing it from above? Helicopter tours provide phenomenal views of the islands. The ‘Circle of Fire’ Volcano Helicopter Experience at Hilo features stunning views of the most geologically active environment on earth — the famous Kilauea Volcano. This volcano has been in eruption continually since 1983 and the tour emphasizes the most current areas of volcanic activity! You’ll fly over lava flows, black sand beaches, tropical rain forests and small cascading waterfalls as you learn about the history and culture of Hawaii.
Jacqueline from the Netherlands said it was one of the best helicopter flights she’s taken.
“I have taken quite a few helicopter flights during my trips but this was one of the best ever. The volcano was sending lots of steam up in the air, of course it would have been great if it had really spewed things but you cannot have it all. We saw trees and bushes catch fire beneath us. The lava almost looked like a brownish mud slide but then the pilot found a crack in the field and was able to show us the glowing orange red molted lava beneath it. It was interesting and breathtaking. Our pilot made sure we all got the best possible views. He did take us over the rain forrest in the end and even flew us back over the bay so we could have a good look at our ship…”
You can also get a view of Crater Rainbow by helicopter at Maui. This thrilling 45-minute flight includes views of the Seven Sacred Pools (Oheo Gulch), Haleakala Crater, Hana Town, the Hana rain forest and the shoreline of Maui — some of the island’s most popular points of interest.
If you’ve dreamed of visiting Hawaii, there are a couple different Holland America Line ships cruising to Hawaii this year. Here are some options:
Statendam departs from San Diego, Calif., to Papeete on a 17-day Circle Hawaii, Tahiti & Marquesas cruise April 14, featuring calls at Hilo, Lahaina and Honolulu, as well as an overnight at a guest favorite – Bora Bora, French Polynesia. The 29-day circle Hawaii, Tahiti & Marquesas cruise lets guests cruise an additional 12 days before returning to San Diego.
You can visit all the stunning Hawaiian ports mentioned in this post with Statendam’s 17-day Circle Hawaii itinerary that cruises from Vancouver, Canada, to San Diego, departing Sept. 20, or Veendam’s similar itinerary that cruises roundtrip San Diego departing Nov. 26.
If you’re taking a cruise that visits these ports, remember that the shore excursions can be pre-booked so you get the tour of your choice.
Have you been to Hawaii? What sites did you enjoy most? Tell us in the comments section below.
December 2015 UPDATE: Take Advantage of View & Verandah
We want to make your dream cruise even dreamier with our new View & Verandah promotion. We’re offering stateroom upgrades, up to 10 percent off shore excursions and up to 25 percent off Collectors’ Voyages on 2016-2017 sailings when booked by Feb. 29, 2016. Check out the offer to see if your dream cruise is included and book now!