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Top Things to Do in Hawaii Cruising the Pride of America

Updated: Aug 7, 2021

The State of Hawaii is the only state in the US made up entirely of islands, it's actually the longest island chain on the planet, covering more than 1,500 miles!

With eight main islands, there are six main inhabited islands which can be visited by tourists. It's easy to confuse the state with one of the most popular destinations.

Green slopes of Kauai's Napali Coast. Experience once in a lifetime views between local cultural attractions cruising the best of the Hawaiian Islands with Norwegian
Experience once in a lifetime views between local cultural attractions cruising the best of the Hawaiian Islands with Norwegian

Technically, the Hawaiian Islands include Hawaii, which is the biggest island of the chain. Often just "Hawaii" or "The Big Island" or the "island of Hawaii".

Due to the separation of the islands, getting from one island to another on your own can be quite cumbersome and might only add to your stress. That's not ideal for a relaxing tropical vacation, is it?

You may have already decided then that the most convenient and enjoyable way to visit Hawaii is by cruising Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America. NCL's Pride actually offers the only 7-night itinerary spent entirely in Hawaii, so you can spend more time exploring the islands instead of sea days - although there is a scenic cruise of the Napali Coastline during one of the last afternoons onboard.

Of course, it's popular with honeymooners and couples celebrating an anniversary or another romantic milestone, but it’s also an excellent venue for families.

Waves crashing onto the sand shore of Maui's Makena Cove, the secret beach between rocky outcroppings now popular with couples for the wedding and honeymoon photos
Makena Cove is also known as Maui's Secret Cove is a picturesque spot for honeymoon photos

No longer simply parents and children of all ages, but multi-generational travel has become more and more popular, with mom and dad, the kids, and the grandparents, too!

Group travel with friends is another fun option, you can also join an arranged group to find some of the best rates for a balcony cabin.

Award winning and innovative cruising

NCL’s Pride is reflected in their multiple awards, including Best Cruise Line and North America’s Leading Cruise Line in 2020 by the World Travel Awards. Pride of America’s itinerary has been voted the best by Porthole Magazine for 15 years. Fantastic right?

Norwegian also lays claim to the original freestyle cruising experience, where you don’t have any strict schedule or timeline to follow but your own. Relax, dine and play at your own pace.

Onshore excursions can be booked or DIY without any restrictions other than availability, with some of the most anticipated activities selling out quickly.

After embarking in Honolulu, you'll visit Maui, Hilo, Kona and Kauai. Before returning for disembarkation at Honolulu, you'll enjoy a scenic cruise of the picturesque Napali Coast.

What will you do on your week-long vacation?

This is your chance to experience Hawaii like never before. When you experience Hawaii with NCL, you get to explore glorious Hawaii and immerse yourself in island after island.

You'll have opportunity to see the rich local culture and discover rugged wilderness or carefully curated tropical gardens, the best of what each destination has to offer. Cruising the Pride of America also means an overnight call to port in Maui and Kauai

Embark in Honolulu and let your vacation commence by familiarizing yourself with the ship and all that it has to offer! It won't be long until you arrive at your first port of call, Maui.

Spend the night in Maui

With an overnight stay in Maui, you can do a combination of long and short excursions, how exciting is that! A whole thirty four hours is scheduled, so you and your group can explore all of Maui’s charm.

A mother humpback whale with a calf swimming in the waters near the coast of Maui in Hawaii
A humpback whale and her calf in the waters off Maui

You can choose to take multiple short excursions throughout your day. Such as whale watching in a Zodiac vessel, canoeing around Maui’s historic harbors or checking out the massive Haleakala volcano – these types of excursions can be enjoyed in as little as 2-4 hours, giving you plenty of time to add more excursions to your list.

A scenic drive along the famous Hana Highway has long been on top of the list for tourists visiting Maui. It’s a long eight-to-nine-hour drive with all its twists and turns but with majestic falls, lush forests and beautiful coastline to explore along the way, I’d say it's definitely worth it if you can find a rental to explore on your own.

That's a big if, however. Rentals have always been in short supply across Hawaii, pandemic disruption has made the task even harder.

You can instead take a tour in a limo or van with driver, it’s luxurious and spacious enough for a group of eight. You won’t have to worry about the winding roads; just sit back, relax and have an amazing time enjoying the view with your family and friends.

Colorful roadside stands selling coconut candy and decorative surfboards along the Road to Hana in Maui, Hawaii
Colorful roadside stands on the Road to Hana

Food and wine tasting are a staple shore excursion in Maui. You will definitely enjoy these types of tours packed with Maui’s highlights and history. Consider taking a guided hike led by a friendly local, stroll across a mesmerizing lavender field or trek through a verdant rainforest.

Maui has been known as a windsurfing paradise since 1970. Tourists would flock Maui’s cloudless beaches and surf in its endless gusts of wind the whole year round. If you are a windsurfer, where else can you best showcase your skills than in the windsurfing haven itself right? If you haven’t yet tried windsurfing (you’re missing a lot!) you can find schools dotted along Maui's coastline to help you try it out.

Not bad for a day of fun and sun on your vacation. And that’s just the beginning!

Helicopters, waterfall hikes and more in Hilo

On your 3rd day, you'll explore the convenient port of Hilo, the lovely eastern town of Hawaii’s Big Island. Known for its active volcanoes, you can get a bird's eye view of volcanic activity via a helicopter tour around Kilauea.

Although Hilo's most active volcano, attracting visitors to its glowing lava fields for more than 30 years, the crater's peak has gone somewhat quiet following an intensive period of activity in 2018. You can still explore the crater's caldera and there are incredibly interesting lava tubes to explore.

Rainbow Falls outside of Hilo, Hawaii, one of the easiest waterfalls to visit for cruisers and families
Hilo's Rainbow Falls is one of the easiest waterfalls to visit on the islands

Try Hilo's Volcanoes National Park or go to Puna Forest Reserve for access to steam vents if you don't feel like committing to a National Park for the day.

If you love active tours, you can start the day with a fun bike adventure or stroll down the magnificent Hamakua Heritage coastline with a historical narrative from your friendly guide.

How about engaging in an exhilarating seven stages of a rainforest zipline flying over a tropical forest. Just imagine catching a fantastic view of the waterfalls from above, with the Pacific Ocean’s crystal blue waters as your background. Book me now - love ziplining!

If you want a more relaxed expedition, you can walk through the many banyan trees planted by celebrities in the Hilo Walk of Fame. Do you like walking/hiking? Then how about a visit to the Wailuku River State Park where one can witness the vivid mist effects of Waianuenue, also known as Rainbow Falls.

Do you love flowers? You can immerse yourself in a paradise of 2,000 fragrant flower species, plants, and fruits from around the world at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.

A man with a headtorch exploring the incredible caves at Kaumana Caves State Park near Hilo, Hawaii
Not far from Rainbow Falls and the port town of Hilo you'll find the Kaumana Caves

Then there’s always shopping for souveneirs - The Hilo Farmers market is always open and has a lot to offer that are uniquely Hilo or Hawaii, so don’t forget to drop by before the day ends!

Clouds, Colored Sands and Coffee

Your 4th port of call and offshore excursions will be spent in Kona, a gorgeous 60 mile stretch on the west side of the Big Island. Kona’s sunsets are truly captivating, wherever your vantage point is.

While on the island you can go for a relaxing swim, as the gorgeous sun sets. If you're really lucky, you might encounter a group of manta rays which can be found from time to time in the region – making this sunset experience truly one of a kind.

Like something out of a science fiction movie, the Mauna Kea Observatories looking out over Hawaii's clouds
Like something out of a science fiction movie, the Mauna Kea Observatories looking out over Hawaii's clouds

Another scenic sunset to look forward to in Kona is at the top of Mauna Kea, the highest volcano in the state and an alternative to the bustling sunrise tour of Haleakala.

Rent a 4x4 and drive up high above the clouds to catch a glimpse of one of the most spectacular sunsets you’ll ever see in your lifetime. While you're up there and closest to the sky, stay after sunset for an extraordinary stargazing experience viewing the starry heavens through Mauna Kea Observatory’s four telescopes.

Black sand? Green sand? Kona’s got them both! Don't miss out on an absolutely fun time snorkelling with the turtles at Kona’s Black Sand Beach or sink your toes in the Papakolea green sand beach. Learn about the volcanic origins of these beaches and discover the history of King Kamehameha as you visit these amazing beaches with your guide.

Are you a coffee aficionado? Then you can’t leave Kona without sampling their world-famous locally grown Kona coffee. Stop by coffee shops for a sip (or two) or bring this aromatic Hawaiian experience with you and buy a bag of Kona coffee beans for your home brewing bliss.

Coffee drip filtered at Rooster Farms in Kona, the oldest certified organic Kona coffee in Hawaii
Rooster Farms lays claim to being the oldest certified organic coffee in Kona

Chocolate anyone? The “Kona Joe” excursion will also take your group to a tour around cacao trees and show the process of making melt-in-your-mouth chocolates at the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory.

During your ten hours and thirty minutes at the bright district of Kona, you have plenty of time to wander through the mystical Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary. While there, you will find a vast 70-acre property that’s home to many exotic birds, plants and tree species.

There’s also the chance to discover Hawaii’s rich history and culture in Pu'uhonua or Honaunau’s 180 acre National Historical Park.

Your own Jurassic world

This is your 2nd overnight and your 5th port of call, the island of Kauai. Kauai boasts lengthy spans of hazy green mountains, more gorgeous sunsets, and spotless beaches. It’s dubbed Hawaii’s Garden Island. That’s why it’s a beloved location for filmmakers.

Go for an incredible tour around famed Hollywood filming locations around Kauai. Take lots of photos from real filming locations featured in movies Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, The Descendants, and more!

A tourist takes photos on their iphone out the open door of a helicopter while flying over the green mountain range of Kauai in Hawaii
You could re-imagine your own opening sequence to Jurassic Park!

Looking for more spectacular views? Then fulfill your adventurous souls with a trip to the red and orange canyon walls of Waimea. It stretches 14 miles long and 3,600 feet deep. This extraordinary world wonder is also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. There are several look out points where the view will take your breath away - truly awe inspiring.

Most of Kauai’s magnificent places can’t be accessed by land, so it’s time for another helicopter tour! Book a flight over the beautiful Wailua falls, featured in Fantasy Island. Take a voyage and float up the serene Wailua River via a flat-bottom motor boat. Reach the Fern Grotto and Opaekaa Falls with thick forest landscapes on your way.

If you didn't experience a Luau, did you really visit Hawaii?

How about ending your day with a Luau Kalamaku excursion? Count me in! It’s a Vegas-style extravaganza showcasing hula and fire dancing, emphasizing the rich culture of the Hawaiian Islands. It’s the end of your day and you may be pretty hungry, feast on exceptional regional delicacies while you and your travel companions sit around a conventional fire pit.

Dine under the Napali stars

Saving the best for last, it's true that you've selected the Pride of America's itinerary because it is so port-intensive. But you'd be surprised how many past guests count the afternoon's scenic cruise of the Napali coast among the highlights of their voyage. You'll take in the grandiose scenery at a leisurely pace before the ship sets course for the evening's journey back to Honolulu.

Blue seas and green mountainside ridges of Kauai's Napali Coast in the Hawaiian Islands
Take in the gorgeous green landscapes of Kauai's Napali Coast

Ample time to be enchanted by Napali’s natural beauty before the sun sets. Verdant green slopes and water features, the coastline looks as though it was sculpted just for your viewing pleasure.

This is a picture perfect moment for a romantic dinner or a quieter, private moment with someone special under the stars and after the sun has set. It's also a great backdrop for a romantic proposal.

Not celebrating a romance? No problem, recount the week's highlights with family & friends with your favorite drink in hand, lounging on deck and totally relaxed as your trip's excitement winds down in the perfect way.

Push some pillows out onto your private balcony and snooze under the stars if you feel so inclined, waking up to a marvelous sunrise. What more could you ask for?

Stay safe and worry less during your trip

Hawaii had some of the most stringent travel policies during 2020's pandemic and still maintains its vigilance over entry and movements between islands in order to keep both locals and visitors safe.

Norwegian continues to engage with the State of Hawaii to enforce safe travel to and from the islands, and is an industry leader in setting and maintaining hygienic cruise standards.

At time of writing, Norwegian requires all guests and crew to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to sail the Pride of America. An addition, an antigen test is done prior to embarkation for everyone’s peace of mind. NCL's Hawaii intensive itineraries are scheduled to restart in January of 2022.

Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America off Kauai's Napali Coast, Hawaii
Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America off Kauai's Napali Coast, Hawaii

Be sure to speak with your travel advisor for an update. We've been in near-constant communication with our clients throughout this period, keeping you informed of events and updates which may affect your travel plans and how you might prepare for these changes. An experience you won't likely receive from faceless online travel agencies.

The Pride of America sails from Honolulu all year long, giving you the freedom to choose a vacation that suits your schedule instead of pressure to book during a popular time of year. Because of Hawaii’s beautiful landscapes we highly recommend and therefore offer balcony staterooms on our curated group vacations.

Early booking incentives for limited groups!

Save on your travel with friends and family with an amazing rate and you'll still enjoy the unbeatable FREE at SEA perks offered through Norwegian, not to mention bonus OBC. The more you share this promo the more perks you and your group can build into your booking!

We know you’ve been daydreaming of that perfect vacation with the people who matter to you most. Transform those dreams into reality and reserve your stateroom today, it'll have been nearly 2 years since Pride of America has sailed with passengers - demand is high!


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