Whale watching. Festive luaus with hula dancers. Drool-worthy shopping at Waikiki.
And an incredible live volcano.
Say aloha to Hawaii!
More cosmopolitan and developed than Fiji and French Polynesia, the Hawaiian islands have something for everyone.
There are lots of fun things for kids to do too. (So Hawaii is a better option for a family cruise, than say cruising French Polynesia.)
Indeed, Hawaii family cruises are a great way for families to explore the Hawaiian islands – and have a fabulous family vacation too!
Hawaii family cruises
Hawaiian island cruises often start or end in Honolulu, the state capital on Oahu.
The top attraction in Honolulu – and most poignant – is Pearl Harbor, where a film shows the 1941 attack and a boat trip takes you to the wreck of the USS Arizona battleship.
On your Hawaii family cruise, you’ll no doubt see a shore excursion that takes you to Pearl Harbor.
Surfing in Waikiki:
Fancy catching a wave instead?
Ever since Duke Kahanamoku and fellow “Waikiki Beach Boys” introduced surfing to the world in the 1920’s, Waikiki Beach has been known as one of the best spots in Hawaii to learn to surf.
Or you could surf the stores at Ala Moana, the world’s largest outdoor shopping center.
Polynesian Cultural Center:
And let’s not forget the Polynesian Cultural Center.
This Polynesian-themed living museum in northern Oahu offers fire and war dances, spear throwing activities, canoe rides and many more experiences.
In fact, because there are so many kid-friendly things to do in Honolulu and beyond, Oahu is perhaps the best Hawaiian island for families.
What’s sweet and healthy to eat on your Hawaii cruise? The pineapples, mangos, lilikoi and other Hawaiian fruit!
Visiting the garden island of Kauai on a cruise
Blooming with bougainvillea and bird-of-paradise flowers, Kauai is nicknamed the “garden isle.”
There are many great things to do in Kauai on a cruise.
For one, Kauai is the place for a helicopter ride over jungle scenery where King Kong and Jurassic Park were filmed (choose a “no doors” chopper for great pics).
Wandering around the Allerton and McBryde Gardens is also a delightful way to spend a few hours on the island.
Or maybe you and the kids just want to hit the beach? Kalapaki Beach – one of the best Kauai beaches for swimming – is just a short walk from Nawiliwili Harbor, where cruise ships dock.
What to do in Maui on a cruise
If you’re wondering what shore excursions to do in Maui vs Kauai – and you love whales – be sure to set aside Maui for whale watching. It’s the best Hawaiian island for viewing whales.
In winter, thousands of humpbacks migrate from Alaska to Maui to mate and give birth.
You’re pretty well guaranteed to see them on a whale watching tour – they may even breach just feet away from you! Some boats have hydrophones so you can listen to their whale songs too.
Where else to go whale watching? There’s also epic whale watching in Cabo San Lucas from December to March
Hot stuff on the Big Island of Hawaii
When your Hawaii cruise hits the Big Island of Hawaii, you must visit Volcanoes National Park.
Standing at the rim of the Kilauea Caldera, you inevitably see clouds of smoke and steam spewing out of the enormous (over two miles in diameter) grey-black depression.
After sunset, a vivid red glow illuminates the plume billowing into the night sky.
The moon-like landscape is constantly changing because the volcano is active, so you might even see red lava flowing when you visit.
Kids (and adults) also like walking through the cool dark tunnel of the Thurston Lava Tube – it feels like you’re inside the belly of some giant prehistoric monster.
Best Hawaii cruises for families
The Hawaiian islands also have dream courses for golfers (the PGA and LPGA host many events here), Hawaiian luaus (try the pit-roasted suckling) and beaches galore.
You won’t run out of things to do for you or the kids!
Cruises to Hawaii typically sail from Vancouver, Seattle or San Diego. Some Hawaii cruises sail round-trip from Honolulu.
Enjoy your Hawaii family cruise!
Interested in a Hawaii adventure cruise? Discover hidden Hawaii on an UnCruise Hawaii trip (you get to snorkel with manta rays!)
Photo credits: 2, 6 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase