Hawaiian Islands cruise in brief
Cruising the Hawaiian Islands on Novergian Cruise Liner – Pride of America, offers the ultimate holiday cruise. The cruise offers an amazing mix of experience from visiting beautiful beaches, magnificent views to exquisite cuisine. You get to visit the four major islands of Maui, Hawaii (also known as “The Big Island”), Kauai and Oahu on this incredible Pride of America. This vibrant cruise liner newly refurbished in 2016 provides guests a collection of amenities with more than 15 restaurants and exciting nightly entertainments. What a perfect combination to discover paradise and cruise in luxurious style that will remain with you forever.
Having visited Hawaii twice before, this beautiful island is one of the most beautiful destination I thoroughly enjoy but I never took time to explore the Hawaiian islands that are so unique. With the thought of flying to each island was not on my list of travel itinerary. The process of going through each airport security systems, disembarking and embarking on each flights, checking-in and out of each hotels, packing and unpacking luggages on each destination would have been definitely my “holiday in Hell” – Cruising was the only option and the friendliest way to see the Hawaiian Islands. Taking time to cruise around the Hawaiian Islands has been on my priority-list for sometime and seeing the different islands were something exotic, enticing and filled with unexpected surprises that one has to experience. Embarking on a cruise from Honolulu meant, I could learn about the Hawaiian culture through the eyes of native ambassadors on board the ship. I wanted to enjoy port stops in Kahului, Maui, where I wanted to explore Lao Valley and the old whaling town of Lahaina. Next was to visit Hilo and Kona, where I would have the opportunity to visit Volcanoes National Park and fly over the active volcano in Kona. Then on to Nawiliwili, Kauai where I wanted to embrace the spectacular canyons, cliffs and waterfalls the “Garden Island” is well-known for. Finally, I would have the opportunity to see the breathtaking Na Pali coast while I sit back with a refreshing beverage and taking photographs of amazing colours and incredible views that lies ahead.
The cruise began in Honolulu, Oahu which is the capital of Hawaii. A vast and populated with high-rise buildings and white sandy beautiful beaches, it is a mega touristy destinations for millions of visitors that flood the island annually.
Just within 10 minutes taxi ride from the hotel located just metres away from Waikiki beach was the Honolulu cruise terminal. I checked in early hours of the morning as required for security clearance and have to be onboard 2 hours before sailing. With no major delays at the cruise-terminal as I was boarding and cruising in American waters only, within minutes I found myself inside this mega cruise-liner. As I stepped inside, I was totally immersed in the colour, culture and flavours of Hawaii – “Aloha Spirit”. With no hesitation, I just indulged myself in Aloha mood and was already in so much fun and without a doubt, this was a perfect start to my magical cruise.
As the cruise departs Honolulu in the early hours of late afternoon, you get to enjoy the views of Honolulu as the cruise-liner slowly leave the shores, into the open sea. Relaxing at the top-deck as we cruised away, and enjoying the magnificent views of the foreshore creates a picture perfect backdrop. The thought of visiting different Hawaiian Islands and getting close to lush rainforest, magnificent waterfalls, embracing the soaring cliffs of the Napali Coast and flying over Kilauea Volcano, the most active volcano in the world gave me a sight of relief. I was going to have a great time on the cruise and the adventure that was waiting for me ahead.
Aloha! Come aboard this mega cruise-liner and the best way to island hop Hawaii. From the moment you step into the Capitol Atrium, with its soaring Tiffany-style glass dome and grand staircase, you’ll know this is a spectacular cruise ship. Cruise paradise in style, with 16 dining choices and 12 bars and lounges, excellent family accommodation, spacious suites and lots of private balconies. It is perfect for whale watching, witnessing Kilauea Volcano or taking in the dramatic views of the Na Pali Coast.
Yes, there is so much to do while you’re at sea. The variety of activities they offer onboard for guests to experience and enjoy are endless. You get to choose what you enjoy from live entertainment, shopping, gambling to island-spired activities or do nothing at all and relaxed by the pool-side while enjoying the endless ocean views. All these activities and entertainments are all inclusive apart from beverages and specialised restaurants. Yes cruises are all about eating and drinking.
While onboard, apart from making myself familiar with the ship’s layout as my first priority, I casually explored various areas during the cruise. To make the cruise journey more enjoyable, I prefer to join every activities, this certainly help me discover a whole new world of fun activities and meeting people from all walks of life. All passengers are able to choose which activities to attend from the cruise-program which are delivered to rooms daily or on tv programs.
Apart from attending all onboard attractions and activities at no cost but when it comes to tasting some of the cuisines onboard, I prefer to dine in A’ la-carte and specialised restaurants rather than dining at smorgasbord restaurants.
While on cruise, the offshore attractions are endless on every island destination visited. As cruise-liners are aware of every islands major attractions, they offer variety of official excursions on what there to see and do in every port visited. To gain a better experience of each port of call, the best option is to do both official and non-official guided tours. This means that it can be cheaper and do things in your own phase.
The first port of call to begin our island cruise was Kahului in the island of Maui. Kahului is the largest town and commercial centre of the island of Maui in Hawaii. While on this island, I took a private and non-official off-shore tour – “Road to Hana”.
Road to Hana
This road is famous for its curve and bending narrow roads, lush tropical rainforest, incredible jaw-dropping cliffs, tumbling waterfalls, lave cliffs and rugged northern coastline. Though, we set back and enjoyed the ride with incredibly breathtaking views, I was totally wide awake and nervous throughout the whole tour. Navigating through very sharp bends and curves and along very narrow road and jaw-dropping cliffs made it very uneasy, frightening and terrifying experience.
This tour is not recommended for those people who are prone to motion sickness or suffer from back problems. It is unbelievably very windy and some part of the road is unpaved and is totally dangerous during wet season.
Hilo: Hawaii – The Big Island
The second island to visit was Hawaii in Hilo, known as the Big Island. This island is the largest settlement and census-designated place in Hawaii County. The town overlooks Hilo Bay, at the base of two shield volcanoes; Mauna Loa – an active volcano and Mauna Kea – a dormant volcano. Much of the island is at some risk from lava flows from Mauna Loa and tourism is less noticeable here in Hilo but there is plenty to do. However, it has its share of some of the world’s most extravagant and spectacular natural beauty and attractions.
Taking an all-day official off-shore excursion, meant that I was insured and the cruise-ship won’t leave if there was a delay on the tour. Our guide was a local resident who has lived most of his entire life on the island and been operating his private tours for 20 years. With someone with that tourism background, I knew I was going to get what I wanted to see and experience.
Hilo: Garden and Waterfall
Our first visit within 10-15 minutes drive was the botanical garden and the waterfall. Here was the chance to see this breathtaking view of the Rainbow Falls and unique plants which are native to the island. Been a keen gardener back home, to me this was the place where I would have love to spend most of my time exploring this pristine natural gardens.
Hilo: Kilauea Volcano
On our second site to visit was Kilauea volcano . We headed up the windy road to the top of the mountain. The view on the top was incredibly breathtaking, at the same time we could see the vast destruction that the volcano has done over the years and can see how mother nature can be cruel in its own way. It is still an active volcano today and the volcano continues to take centre stage with its eruptive performances. Accepting the natural phenomenal that it occurs, it is mind bubbling and I was amazed how this vast land has been filled with hot lava and ashes completely destroying the biodiversity and the ecosystem.
Hilo: Macadamia Factory
Finally, we ended our tour with a visit to the Macadamia factory. Hawaii is renowned for its leading producers of Macadamia nuts in the world. Here you, get to have a first-hand educational tour of how the plants are first taken care of in the nursery to its final consumption by human beings. The process involved behind the scene is profoundly labour-intensive and how we don’t realised the time and work involved. Yes, a teacher may teach, a doctor may help patients, a lawyer may fight for justice and pilots may fly aeroplanes but the farmer feeds them all.
Kona: Hawaii – The Big Island
Still on the Big Island, we had an over-night cruise to our third port of call – Kona. Kona is a moku or district on the Big Island of Hawaii. Famous for its Ironman World Champion Triathlon held there and active volcano that is still spitting out lava. Kona offers the quintessential Hawaiian experience. Sunny, warm weather and crystal blue waters entice visitors to partake in a variety of surfside fun, snorkel, kayaking trips and many more fun and adventure activities. Here, I decided to take a helicopter flight to see the eye of the active volcano. It was evident that volcano eruption has caused the lava to flow through this massive hectares and hectares of land, causing vast destructions throughout this entire land, once abundance with plant life, towns and villages.
Helicopter Flight over Volcano
It was time to take a helicopter flight to see the eye of the volcano and the vast destruction from above. Launching off from the heliport, located in the heart of barred land, surrounded by black lava rocks resulting from the volcano eruption over the years. The aerial perspective got me above some of the most dangerous terrain around the volcano. Seeing the eye of the volcano and the sea of lava that goes for miles and miles from above was most impressive and beautiful in a terrifying way. Luckily, it was a perfect day with the smoothest air and best visibility. Taking this flight was the best way to see the best view of the volcano and the experience was beyond, something that will last with me forever.
The final port to visit was Nawailiwili located on the island of Kauai. Named after the Wiliwilli trees, this town has the most picturesque harbour. This port of Kauai is the gateway to what I believe to be the Hawaiis undisputed and most beautiful island. Known as the Garden Island, the name truly defines the islands phenomenal natural nature, from the dramatic mountains of Kokee to the cool rainforest of Haena.
Helicopter flight over “Garden Island”
Taking this scenic flight and sightseeing the major facets of Kauai in a two-hour helicopter flight took me to the most remote, beautiful and majestic areas of the island. With headphones supplied, you can communicate directly with the pilot to answer any questions during the flight. Taking this flight narrated by the pilot added a unique experience as you marvelled and mesmerised everything below while enjoying the whole experience on air. This was by far the best experience you’ll ever had. It is the most efficient and unforgettable way to see all the nature she offers. The flight takes you through some of the most terrifying, yet most beautiful and incredibly breathtaking waterfalls and terrains. The views on air were unbelievably amazing and every direction captures the scenery of long dropping waterfalls, incredible Na Pali coastline, landscapes and lush tropical botanic kingdom. Yes, there is so much that can only be seen from above.
In every cruise-liners, onboard cabin room prices and sizes range from the bottom level to the top of the deck are part of cruising experience. From my personal option, I prefer to have rooms with own private balcony. This definitely gives me a unique and different cruise experience. It is a perfect way to sit back and enjoy the breathtaking views, fresh ocean breeze and famous Hawaiian sunsets from private balcony. This gave me pleasure and great way to relax onboard as we sail along towards our next island of destination. In having a cabin without a balcony is like wandering around in an aquarium. Cabin rooms are cleaned on daily basis during the cruise and they are very artistic in their folding skills.
Embracing the islands
This cruise not gave me the incredible experience of a lifetime but a great opportunity to see some of the most amazing cascading waterfalls, active volcanos, white sand beaches, history and cultural sites and pristine and unspoilt nature on this mix island adventure and carefree cruising. Each of the islands are unique and have its history with modern blend with traditional Hawaiian culture in the most wonderful way, giving each island an unique charm for its visitors that sure to stay with them forever.