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Cruise or mainland for a first trip to Hawaii?

Montreal
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133 posts
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Cruise or mainland for a first trip to Hawaii?

My wife and I would like to travel for 7 to 10 days to Hawaii. We are in our early sixties and this is going to be our first trip to Hawaii.

We are not the kind to sit on a beach all day and we are not good swimmers either. We would like to rent a car and go sightseeing.

My local travel agent suggests we stay 3 nights in Honolulu and book the Pride of America 7 days cruise. She says that would give us give us a real goos flavor of Hawaii.

However, I have read that food on POA is no more than OK. My wife and I enjoy good meals and that makes the cruise a little less attractive. We are willing to sacrifice on the quantity of things we see for more commfort and better food. On the other hand we are open minded and are willing to considers all options

What do you recoomend for first time visitors?

Atlantic, Iowa
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1. Re: Cruise or mainland for a first trip to Hawaii?

The food on the cruise is mediocre at best. On the cruise, you can eat in the dining venues that charge the extra fees, as they have a little bit better food. I have done the cruise and have spent time on Oahu and Maui by themselves. The cruise would give you a taste of all of the islands, but it is very intensive and the pace is very fast. If you are on the go everyday like we were you are just exhausted. I, personally would recommend Oahu for 2-3 nights and see the sights there and then go to Maui for 7 nights. There is a lot to see and do on Maui, not just beaches. You will find the best food on the islands on Oahu and Maui. Not so much Kauai or the Big Island. Even with not doing much in the water activities, depending on the time of year you are going, there are whale watches, sunset cruises, dolphin cruises, etc, plus the Iao Valley, Road to Hana, Haleakala, etc.

Honolulu, Hawaii
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2. Re: Cruise or mainland for a first trip to Hawaii?

We took the cruise a couple years ago and really enjoyed the opportunity to see a little of each island with the intent of going back at a later date to see more. I really enjoyed not having to pack and unpack to get around. We enjoyed the shows, the crew and the spa. Was the food mind blowing? No, but the only time I was disgusted with food was when we ate in the Diner with the old time theme. I can't remember the name of it.

If you want gourmet food at all times, well that probably isn't the cruise for you. Better to stay on one island and enjoy all it has to offer and save your cruising for a ship more known for good food.

washington
Destination Expert
for Maui
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22,585 posts
19 reviews
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3. Re: Cruise or mainland for a first trip to Hawaii?

Most of us here go to the islands to stay on and explore an island...however I have several friends that first experienced Hawaii on a cruise, fell in love and have returned many times! They have all said they loved the "taste" they got of each island.

You might enjoy the member reviews from cruisecritic cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/…

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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4. Re: Cruise or mainland for a first trip to Hawaii?

You sound like independent travelers, and I think you would really enjoy exploring the islands on your own. While I haven't done the cruise, I do know a few people that have done it, but they have also stayed on island as well. I prefer to be on island because of the sights, smells and sounds that can only be enjoyed while living on one of the islands. I think you would enjoy Oahu and Maui and you could probably do both, though that depends on your budget. I think you could easily do your research here and with the help of the friendliest forum on TA, plan your own Hawaiian vacation! :)

California
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5. Re: Cruise or mainland for a first trip to Hawaii?

<<the Pride of America 7 day cruise. She says that would give us give us a real good flavor of Hawaii.>>

I couldn't disagree more. The only thing a cruise gives you a good taste of is the cruise ship itself -- limbo parties and cheesy cruise directors and interactive audience shows and buffet lines and trivia contests and napkin-folding seminars. That's not the flavor of Hawaii -- not by a long shot.

I love cruising the Caribbean. But Hawaii has a special kind of flavor and magic that, to me, a cruise would only cheapen.

If I were you, I would stay five nights in Honolulu, preferably at the Royal Hawaiian or the Halekulani, and then another five on either Maui, Kauai, or the Big Island, depending on your preferences. That will give you the real flavor, along with sufficient opportunity to "rent a car and go sightseeing" to some of the most stunning sights in the world!

I'm not saying I'll never cruise Hawaii. I could someday. But I would do so because I wanted something different from my usual Hawaii experience -- not as a substitute for really being there.

Soddy Daisy...
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1,804 posts
39 reviews
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6. Re: Cruise or mainland for a first trip to Hawaii?

Do the math and bag the cruise ship. Why go to Hawaii and spend half your time on what most acknowledge is a mediocre cruise? In 7 days, you could do one island well; in 10 days you could do two islands albeit lightly.

You can easily negotiate your own trip around Hawaii and not be cramped by a cruise ship schedule. You appear to be active travelers, and you will want your evenings to explore interesting dining experiences and shows. You will want your day time to explore historical sites, waterfalls and beaches without worrying about returning to port to return a car and get back to the ship.

Admittedly I have been on one cruise elsewhere. But I believe a cruise of the Hawaiian Islands is not for an independent, self-reliant kind of traveler.

Celina, Ohio
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7. Re: Cruise or mainland for a first trip to Hawaii?

We are planning our first trip to hawaii in September and I too, considered the POA cruise. I too read not so rave reviews about the food and the accomodations. The real deal breaker for me was reading in multiple reviews that the POA cruise ship rocked horribly while docked. I found this to be quite strange since you would think motion would occur more while at sea. Either way, the thought of coping with potential seasickness at night was not at all appealing. We are opting for 7 nights in honolulu and 5 nights in Maui.

8. Re: Cruise or mainland for a first trip to Hawaii?

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