Hawaii has so much to see and do that it is hard to decide where to begin, especially if you are limited by time or money. There are four main tourist islands to choose from: Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii (the big island), each with a distinct feeling that is nothing like the other islands. So how do you know where to start?
Most of my family had never been to Hawaii. Sure, we read up on the islands and did our research, but were still undecided. Basically, we wanted to see it all. But we are not made of money and all have jobs at home that don’t allow us to take unlimited time off. So we decided the best way to experience Hawaii for the first time was to take Norwegian Cruise Line’s 7-day Hawaii cruise.
The cruise departs from Honolulu, and then gives you two days in Maui, two on the big island (in Kona and Hilo), and two on Kauai (including a scenic cruise by the Nepali coastline) before returning to Honolulu. It is sort of a “sampler platter” of the big tourist islands, allowing you to experience what each island has to offer. And it is also convenient because you don’t have to waste time at airports hopping around between the islands. You can spend your entire day exploring the island, and wake up in the next port. No matter which way you look at it, doing the cruise saves time and money, and removes the stress of having to pack and relocate every few days. Plus it is super nice not having to think about meals at all.
My other Hawaii posts go over all the amazing things we decided to do in each port, so this one is just going to be about the actual cruise experience.
Upon arriving in our stateroom, this complimentary plate of chocolate covered strawberries was waiting for us. How delightful!
In our stateroom, wearing our new leis we got when boarding the ship!
Exploring the outside of the ship while we were waiting for our dinner reservation, while still in the port of Honolulu:
Dinner in the formal dining room. The food was tasty and the wait staff was awesome! They always remembered our names and asked how our days in port went.
Walking around after dinner… it was pretty cold, and very windy. The ship was rocking quite a bit. My sister was not pleased to be outside.
Oh how our clothes blow… trying to demonstrate how windy it was by how much our dresses were blowing around-
The waves in the pool were quite tempestuous.
However, the rocky seas did not stop us from seeking out snacks in the late night diner!
It wouldn’t be a cruise without the stateroom towel animals…
After our second night on Maui, we decided to brave the cold and the wind and head for the hot tub! You will notice the jackets and towels used as blankets…I am not kidding when I say it was cold.
Silver lining- the hot tubs were all empty. Yay!
We were all starving after our day spent in Hilo, having skipped lunch, so we grabbed a quick snack back on the ship. The grill by the pool ha burgers and hot dogs cooking from lunch time till dinner, so you can always have access to food.
Then we walked around deck for awhile to see the sunset.
Our time on deck was cut short, however, as it started pouring rain.
We didn’t just spend all our time on the ship eating though. After dinner my sisters and I went out to see the nightlife! And then found this fish mural-
We got tropical cocktails and watched a band play in one of the lounges.
Best band I’ve ever seen? No. But they were good enough to keep us entertained at least, even though we aren’t really into lounge-y music.
The day in Kona ended earlier than the other days in port, so we took the opportunity to grab frozen cocktails and hang out by the pool!
It may have been freezing at night, but it was definitely hot during the day!
We took this trip in December, and in case you were wondering, Norwegian definitely gets into the holiday spirit!
They had a gingerbread house decorating contest…
And a “Holiday Spectacular” show in the theatre…
And what was, without a doubt, the most terrifying Santa I have ever seen.
This was definitely the night to take advantage of the ship’s onboard activities! After the “Holiday Spectacular” show, the fun continued, and my sister and I went to the “White Hot Party.” Which was basically a nightclub.
Our last full day of the cruise, back onboard after a half day spent in Kauai. Just in time for lunch!
And more tropical cocktails!
And some day time hot tubbing!
At dinner that night, they served my very favorite cruise ship dessert: the Grand Marnier souffle!! But I was too full to eat it, so I just took it back to the room with me.
My sisters thought I looked funny eating a souffle while walking through the halls. But dang it! They are just so delicious. And I wasn’t about to let it go to waste.
Back in Honolulu at the crack of dawn! Literally… this is a picture of the sunrise as seen through our stateroom window.
Time for a quick, final breakfast on the ship before we had to head home…
So basically, this cruise was awesome. If you are thinking of going to Hawaii for the first time, do yourself a favor and take this cruise! I went home feeling like I really got to experience all of Hawaii, even if our time in each port was brief. And now, I know which islands I liked the best so I know where to return on my next visit!