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Aerial view of Hawaii's sandy beach and mountains

Why A Cruise Is The Best Way To Go Hawaii Island Hopping

See the iconic Waikiki, lava-spewing volcanoes, and the Road to Hana all in one trip.

Hawaii is a dream getaway and a bucket-list destination. Weather is balmy year-round, with highs in the upper 70s in the “winter” and upper 80s in the summer. Hawaii has every activity imaginable, from swimming in waterfalls to laying out on a black-sand beach to snorkeling a volcano crater. Hawaiian culture is vibrant and the music, dance, and Hawaiian dishes are one-of-a-kind. 


You already know the reasons to take a vacation in Hawaii. The question is this: what is the best way to visit Hawaii—cruise or flight? Count us all in on cruising. 


Here are four reasons a cruise is the best way to island hop Hawaii.

1. Island Hop To Four Hawaiian Islands

The most significant benefit to a Hawaii cruise vs. flight is that you can island hop four islands in one roundtrip Hawaii cruise from San Diego, California or Vancouver. You’ll cruise to Oahu, the Big Island, Maui and Kauai and experience the notable differences between islands. 

Our overnights in Honolulu give ample time to tour Pearl Harbor, hike Diamond Head and wander moon-lit Waikiki. As far as the other ports, the ship arrives in port early and leaves in the evening at 6:00 pm or sometimes 8:00 pm. 

There are itineraries with two stops on the Big Island, one in Hilo and one in Kona so that you can see the volcanoes and coffee-growing region.

With full days in port, you’ll have enough time to explore Hawaii volcanoes or rent a car in Lahaina, Maui and zip along on the Road to Hana. A cruise is the way to go if you want a big-picture overview of the islands and an easy-to-plan vacation. Some even stop in Mexico. 

2. Cruising Hawaii Vs. Flying

Interisland flights take precious time (and budget) away from your vacation. On a cruise to Hawaii, there’s no mad rush to an airport, delayed flights and long security lines, no one kicking the back of your seat or hogging elbow rests. 


There are sea breezes, shimmering ocean waves and spacious decks with pools and lounges.  Flights between islands aren’t long, but it is still a considerable amount of time getting on and off planes.


It does take a few sea days to get to Hawaii (and then back), but if you love to cruise, that’s not a bad thing. You’re on vacation the moment you step on the ship. 


We bring the aloha spirit on board with regional cooking demonstrations and Explorations Central™ talks. Our mid-size cruise ships are refreshingly uncrowded, so you’ll have more space to soak in the views. A well-appointed fitness center, live music venues, and the Greenhouse Spa and Salon® keep you entertained and pampered as you glide across the Pacific. 

3. Consider The Cost

Hawaii prices aren’t a day at the beach and island-hopping Hawaii adds up in more ways than one. Hawaii is notoriously expensive, as it’s a renowned tourist destination and they must ship necessities in. 


There are additional taxes on hotel rooms for non-permanent residents and other costs. A cruise is by far the more budget-friendly way to island hop Hawaii because your lodging and meals are taken care of. Save even more with cruise deals drink packages, specialty dining, Wi-Fi and more. 

4. Best Way To Visit Hawaii For Planning Ease

Island hopping Hawaii becomes a logistical nightmare when considering lodging, flights, flight times and activities. When island hopping Hawaii via cruise, the planning is easy. You book your arrival and departure flights, transportation and excursions—all done when you plan your cruise. If you’re not sure what activities to do, our experts will guide you and help you find tickets. 

Convinced? Start planning with Hawaii cruise tips and travel articles.