We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Only 10 hr cruise stop-Volcano Tour or Rent a Car?

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
114 posts
67 reviews
Save Topic
Only 10 hr cruise stop-Volcano Tour or Rent a Car?

We arrive in Hilo for a 10 hr stop on the Pride of America Cruise ship. We want to take a volcano tour or hike that gets up as up close and personal with the volcano as safely possible. We want to get a lot of info about the volcano. Do we have enough time to rent a car and drive up to the Nat'l Park and if so, will we get a lot of info (are there guides up there or recorded tour CDs to rent? Should we just get a volcano tour out of Hilo? Which one is best for a fairly active 50ish couple?

KapohoKine Adventures
Gift & Speciality Shops, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks, Helicopter Tours, Sightseeing Tours
Mauka Makai Adventures
Nature & Wildlife Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Cultural Tours
Washington DC...
Level Contributor
14,981 posts
312 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Only 10 hr cruise stop-Volcano Tour or Rent a Car?

You can certainly rent a car and drive yourself. The lava viewing area is curently in the Kalapana area (changes so check conditions when you are there) and opend in the late afternoon for night viewing. So you won't be able to do that, due to timing. But you can see the park and even do some hikes (Kilauea Iki is my favorite) and drive down Chain of Craters to the lookout and petroglyohs there. Ot you can skip the Chain of C drive (couple of hours) and go see waterfalls, etc. north of Hilo before you return the car.

There is a visitor center with maps and rangers to ask questions of.

Or you could take a tour. Costs more but nobody has to drive and you get a guide to tell you what you are seeing w/o fumbling with guidebooks.

Palm Springs...
Level Contributor
11,440 posts
105 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Only 10 hr cruise stop-Volcano Tour or Rent a Car?

check out Big Island xcapes......... you need a tour without question.

You really dont have 10 hours in reality.... knock off an hour getting off the ship and about 2 hours in the return because the ship requires you to be on board over an hour prior to sailing.... and checking in a car miles away will eat up more time

not much time for hiking... maybe a quick mile or so... its a 2 hour drive from the ship to the park rt. withour stopping.... and if you dont get lost.

No guides at the park... you need to arrange in advance.

Forget getting close to lava...the viewing area dosent open till 5pm. you will be on the ship...or need to be.

You can rent a car however and wander around with a pocket guide saving $$$$$ while clueless to what your are looking at...... Since you havent been here....ever... get a guide.... make the experience meaningful... not a been there done that... what was that...

washington
Destination Expert
for Maui
Level Contributor
22,684 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Only 10 hr cruise stop-Volcano Tour or Rent a Car?

IF you haven't done so yet, take a look at TA's sister site www.cruisecritic.com. You'll get lots of good info specific to your cruise...go to forum... scroll down to NCL and start reading. The main thing to keep in mind is the ship will NOT wait for you if you are late returning unless you are using one of their tours. another excellent idea for volcano viewing would be a heliocopter tour out of Hilo.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
114 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Only 10 hr cruise stop-Volcano Tour or Rent a Car?

Thanks for your replies! I don't want to ruin the main reason for going to the big island just to save a few bucks. We'll take a tour, for sure. Now, which one? I'll also check out cruise critic.

Kona, Hawaii
Level Contributor
4,236 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Only 10 hr cruise stop-Volcano Tour or Rent a Car?

If it were me with that amount of time I would go with Arthur and Big Island excapes:

http://www.bigislandexcapes.com/

You have a limited time and you do not want to waste it coming up to speed, he has an excellent reputation among the DE's here.

Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
2,634 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Only 10 hr cruise stop-Volcano Tour or Rent a Car?

Check the weather before you head up there, if really foggy and rainy you might need a back up plan like visiting the falls, gardens, and Hilo town.

Last time I was in the park the visibility was close to zero.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
114 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Only 10 hr cruise stop-Volcano Tour or Rent a Car?

Thank you everyone for the advise! We booked the 6 hour Volcano and Akaka Falls tour. We'll have to hope for good conditions, but we'll enjoy it anyway. Thanks again!

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
114 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Only 10 hr cruise stop-Volcano Tour or Rent a Car?

I'm glad we took your suggestions and did the tour! It was actually a 7 mile hike on the lava fields and up to the top of a crater. What a blast! We felt the hot sulphur steam under the rocks and didn't have and vog or obnoxious odors. It was perfect weather for the hike, although there had been a rainstorm earlier that day. The cruise boat drove by the lava flow that night so my husband's desire to see "real lava" was partially satisfied.

washington
Destination Expert
for Maui
Level Contributor
22,684 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Only 10 hr cruise stop-Volcano Tour or Rent a Car?

Thanks so much for letting us know how it went! Glad we could help.

Sydney
Level Contributor
39 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Only 10 hr cruise stop-Volcano Tour or Rent a Car?

Hi DCEowner, Am leaving today to do the Pride of America - any hints about boat or other tips on who or what to boook would be greatly appreciated. Hope your tour was fantastic. Cheers NZtravel

Get answers to your questions about Hilo