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A Cruising Guide to the Top Things to Do in Hawaii

When you think of visiting Hawaii, a cruise may not be the first travel method that comes into your mind. However, Hawaii cruise packages provide an excellent way for exploring the islands of Hawaii, and many of the top things to do in Hawaii for tourists can be easily done during a cruise vacation.

Another great reason to cruise to the Hawaiian Islands is it lets you effortlessly sample several of the islands. You can find out which one you like best before committing to a vacation that only visits one island. Although, you may find you enjoy the relaxation and convenience of a cruise to Hawaii so much that you want to take one again and again!

Here are some of the top things to do in Hawaii cruise ports.

Top Things to Do in Hilo, Hawaii

Hilo is located on the Hawaiian island that is actually called Hawaii, though you’ll often hear it referred to as the “Big Island.” The size of the island of Hawaii provides a variety of things to do during a port of call in Hilo.

Some of the top things to do on the island of Hawaii are volcano-based. Hawaii is home to Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes.

These volcanoes are still active and you can get up close and personal with them by visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Certain parts (or all) of the park may be closed for safety reasons depending on current conditions of the lava flow and activity of the volcano, so it’s always a good idea to check status updates for the park before going.

A popular way to spend time in the park is by doing the Crater Rim Drive, which will teach you more about the volcanoes and also give you a view of Halema'uma'u Crater. Lava tubes and bubbling basalt-lava rock pools are a couple more volcanic sites you can see when visiting Hilo cruise port.

Away from the heat of the volcanoes you can find beautiful water attractions near Hilo that come in all shades of the rainbow – literally. One of the top things to do in Hawaii is to visit Rainbow Falls, a massive waterfall near Hilo that creates a prism of color at its base from the spray reflecting just right in the sunlight.

Things to Do in Hawaii’s Capital City of Honolulu

Your cruise will likely either start or end in Honolulu when visiting Hawaii with Celebrity Cruises. Use your time before the ship embarks or you return home to see Honolulu’s top sights.

Downtown Honolulu is home to the Hawaii State Capitol as well as numerous restaurants, bars, and shops.

The city of Honolulu is also one of the few places in Hawaii where you’ll find gleaming skyscrapers. These architectural wonders are especially visually striking to see in Honolulu due to being right next to a palm-tree lined beach.

A popular visitor attraction for those interested in maritime history is visiting Pearl Harbor and learning about the history of this U.S. Naval Base and the Pearl Harbor bombing in 1941 that prompted the United States to enter World War II.

Things to Do in Kailua Kona, Hawaii

On the other side of Hawaii along its rugged west coast is the city of Kailua Kona, known for wide beaches and historic sites.

Kailua Kona is the site where King Kamehameha once ruled Hawaii and you can still view remnants of this time in Hawaii’s history.

From Kailua Kona, you can take shore excursions to see the original statue of King Kamehameha that dates back to 1878, visit the Pu’ukohola Heiau temple, and tour the one time Royal Residence of Hulihe'e Palace. The history doesn’t stop there: Kailua Kona is also the location of Hawaii’s first Christian church, which is built out of lava rock and koa wood.

In addition to history, you’ll encounter beautiful scenery in Kailua Kona, including sprawling coffee plantations; the area of Kailua Kona is especially known for its Hawaiian coffee. Next to the coast you’ll find long beaches framed by picturesque coves that are often great for snorkeling, especially if you long to see the many sea turtles that call Hawaii home.

Top Things to Do in Lahaina, Maui

In Maui, your ship will dock in Lahaina, which puts you right next to many of the top things to do in Hawaii.

Lahaina itself is home to a quaint downtown area called Lahaina Town that is dripping in Hawaiian charm. It is full of shopping, art galleries, and restaurants. The streets are lined with gorgeous trees and you’ll even find a small park that is shadowed by the massive limbs of a Banyan tree that is over 140 years old. It makes for an incredible place to enjoy a coffee, or Hawaiian shaved ice while shielded from the sun beneath one of the winding tree branches.

Lahaina is adjacent to Kaanapali, which is known for its miles upon miles of beaches, perfect for a day of sand, surf, and sun.

One of the other top things to do in Hawaii is snorkeling and Lahaina is a great place from which to set off on a snorkeling shore excursion. You’ll visit reefs teeming with fish and sea turtles and may even see stingrays or reef sharks.

Plan Your Hawaii Cruise

Hawaii cruises with Celebrity Cruises typically sail between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Honolulu, Hawaii. The benefit of a one-way cruise means you can add on a couple extra days before and after your cruise to explore Honolulu and Vancouver – two iconic cities – more in-depth. One option for this is a City Stay, which is a 4-night land package that includes your hotel accommodations and guided tours.

Celebrity Cruises can help you find your ideal Hawaii cruise itinerary and plan your cruise vacation complete with airfare and activities already reserved before you depart. Soon you'll be exploring several of the exotically beautiful Hawaiian Islands.

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