Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

When Is The Best Time To Take A Cruise To Hawaii


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Dulcea Schneider



Are you dreaming of a tropical getaway surrounded by stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes? Look no further than Hawaii, a beautiful archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. Taking a cruise to Hawaii is an excellent way to experience the best of what this paradise has to offer. But when is the best time to embark on this unforgettable journey?


In this article, we will guide you through the optimal timing for a Hawaiian cruise, taking into account factors such as weather conditions, high and low seasons, holiday cruises, budget considerations, and the abundance of activities and attractions. So, let’s set sail and discover the ideal time to plan your Hawaiian adventure.


When it comes to selecting the right time for a Hawaiian cruise, one crucial aspect to consider is the weather. With its subtropical climate, Hawaii enjoys warm temperatures year-round, making it an enticing destination regardless of the season. However, there are variations in weather patterns that determine the best time to visit.


On average, the summer months from June to September offer clear skies and warm temperatures, making it an ideal time to explore the islands. These months also bring slightly higher humidity levels, but the refreshing ocean breeze mitigates any discomfort. However, keep in mind that summer is considered high season in Hawaii, so there might be more crowds and higher prices.


On the other hand, the winter months from December to March bring slightly cooler temperatures to Hawaii. While these months may not be as hot as summer, they are still pleasantly warm, with temperatures reaching the upper 70s or low 80s Fahrenheit (25-28 degrees Celsius). Additionally, winter in Hawaii is the peak season for whale watching, as humpback whales migrate to the warm Pacific waters. So, if you’re a nature lover, witnessing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat is a sight not to be missed.


Spring and fall, which encompass the months of April to May and September to November respectively, are considered shoulder seasons in Hawaii. During these months, you can enjoy mild temperatures and fewer crowds, making it a terrific time for a more tranquil and budget-friendly cruise experience.


In summary, Hawaii is a year-round destination, and the best time for your Hawaiian cruise depends on your preferences and priorities. Whether you choose the summer months for vibrant festivals and beach fun, the winter months for whale watching, or the shoulder seasons for a quieter and more affordable trip, you’re bound to have an unforgettable time exploring this island paradise.


Weather in Hawaii

Hawaii’s climate is classified as a subtropical climate, which means that the weather is generally warm and pleasant throughout the year. However, there are some variations in weather patterns depending on the time of year and the specific island you’re visiting.


Summer in Hawaii, which typically runs from June to September, brings warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine. Average temperatures range from the mid-80s to low 90s Fahrenheit (29-34 degrees Celsius), making it the perfect time for beach activities and water sports. It’s important to note that summer is also the dry season in Hawaii, with lower chances of rain showers.


On the other hand, winter in Hawaii, which lasts from December to March, experiences slightly cooler temperatures. Average temperatures during this season range from the low 70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (21-29 degrees Celsius). While winter is considered the rainy season in Hawaii, it’s important to keep in mind that rainfall is usually brief and sporadic, often occurring in the form of passing showers. Despite the occasional rain, it’s still possible to enjoy outdoor activities and explore the beauty of the islands.


Spring and fall, which encompass the months of April to May and September to November respectively, are characterized by milder temperatures and fewer crowds. With average temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit (24-28 degrees Celsius), these seasons offer comfortable weather conditions for outdoor adventures. Additionally, the chances of rainfall are lower, making it an ideal time to explore the islands without worrying too much about unexpected showers.


It’s important to note that because Hawaii consists of multiple islands, each island can have its microclimate and weather variations. For example, the Big Island of Hawaii experiences diverse weather patterns, with the Hilo side being more prone to rainfall due to its lush and tropical environment, while the Kona side enjoys drier and sunnier weather. Additionally, the higher elevations of some islands, such as Maui’s Haleakala, can have cooler temperatures and even occasional snowfall during the winter months.


Overall, Hawaii’s weather is inviting and pleasant year-round, making it a fantastic destination for outdoor enthusiasts and beach lovers. Whether you’re planning a summer vacation filled with sun-soaked days or a winter escape to enjoy milder temperatures and whale watching, Hawaii’s weather is sure to enhance your experience on the islands.


High Season vs. Low Season

When planning a cruise to Hawaii, it’s important to consider the high season and low season, as they can greatly impact your experience and budget. Understanding the differences between these seasons will help you make an informed decision based on your preferences and priorities.


The high season in Hawaii typically aligns with the summer months, running from June to August. This is when many tourists flock to the islands, seeking sunshine, warm weather, and a vibrant atmosphere. The high season is characterized by bustling beaches, crowded tourist attractions, and higher accommodation rates. If you don’t mind the crowds and are looking for a lively and energetic atmosphere, the high season can be a great time to visit Hawaii. However, it’s important to book your cruise and accommodations well in advance, as they tend to fill up quickly during this time of year.


On the other hand, the low season in Hawaii occurs during the fall and spring months, specifically September to November and April to May. During these shoulder seasons, there are fewer tourists, which means you can enjoy a more peaceful and relaxed experience. Additionally, the prices for cruises and accommodations tend to be lower, making it an attractive option for travelers on a budget. The weather during the low season is still pleasant, with mild temperatures and fewer chances of rain showers. If you prefer a quieter and more affordable vacation, the low season is an excellent time to visit Hawaii.


It’s worth noting that the low season can vary slightly depending on the specific island you’re visiting. For example, the fall months tend to be quieter on the Big Island of Hawaii, while Maui and Oahu experience a dip in visitor numbers during the spring months. Regardless of the island, the low season generally offers a more laid-back atmosphere and better deals for cruises and accommodations.


Ultimately, whether you choose to visit during the high season or low season depends on your personal preferences. If you enjoy the buzz of crowds and are willing to pay a premium for peak-season experiences, the high season may be the perfect time for your Hawaiian cruise. On the other hand, if you prefer a more tranquil and budget-friendly vacation, the low season offers a great opportunity to explore the islands without the hustle and bustle.


When deciding on the best time for your Hawaiian cruise, consider your desired atmosphere, budget, and availability, and choose the season that aligns with your preferences. Whether you’re soaking up the summer sun or enjoying a peaceful fall getaway, Hawaii’s enchanting beauty and warm hospitality will make your cruise an unforgettable experience.


Holiday Cruises to Hawaii

Spending the holidays in Hawaii is a dream come true for many travelers. Imagine celebrating Christmas or New Year’s Day surrounded by stunning beaches, palm trees, and a warm tropical breeze. If you’re considering a holiday cruise to Hawaii, here’s what you need to know.


Holiday cruises to Hawaii offer a unique way to celebrate the festive season. Whether you’re looking to escape the cold winter weather or simply want to experience the magic of the holidays in a picturesque setting, a Hawaiian cruise during this time can be a memorable experience for the whole family.


Most cruise lines offer special holiday-themed itineraries that include festive onboard activities and events. From holiday-themed parties to visits from Santa Claus, there’s no shortage of holiday cheer on these cruises. Additionally, the ship’s décor is often transformed into a winter wonderland, creating a festive ambiance for passengers to enjoy.


One of the highlights of a holiday cruise to Hawaii is celebrating New Year’s Eve onboard. Many cruise lines organize spectacular parties and fireworks displays, allowing you to ring in the new year in style while enjoying the beauty of the Pacific Ocean.


Visiting Hawaii during the holiday season also means experiencing local traditions and celebrations. The Hawaiian culture embraces the spirit of aloha and incorporates it into their holiday festivities. You may have the opportunity to witness traditional hula performances, enjoy special holiday-themed luaus, and participate in cultural activities that highlight the unique traditions of the islands.


It’s important to note that holiday cruises to Hawaii can be popular, so it’s advisable to book your cruise well in advance to secure your preferred dates and accommodations. Prices during the holiday season may also be higher compared to other times of the year, so budget accordingly.


Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, or any other holiday, a cruise to Hawaii offers a magical and unforgettable experience. From the festive onboard atmosphere to the chance to immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture and traditions, a holiday cruise to Hawaii is the perfect way to make lasting memories and create a unique holiday experience for you and your loved ones.


Budget Considerations

Planning a cruise to Hawaii involves considering various budgetary factors. From the cost of the cruise itself to expenses during your time on the islands, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your budget to ensure a stress-free and enjoyable trip. Here are some budget considerations to keep in mind when planning your Hawaiian cruise.


First and foremost, the cost of the cruise will be a significant part of your budget. Prices can vary depending on the cruise line, duration of the cruise, cabin type, and time of year. It’s advisable to compare different cruise options and book in advance to secure the best deals and availability. Keep in mind that prices tend to be higher during the high season, such as summer and holiday periods, so if you’re looking to save money, consider traveling during the shoulder seasons or low season.


In addition to the cost of the cruise, you should budget for additional expenses such as airfare, transportation to and from the port, and travel insurance. These costs can add up, so it’s important to factor them into your overall budget. Research different airlines and transportation options to find the most affordable and convenient choices for your travel needs.


While onboard the cruise ship, most meals and entertainment are typically included in the price of the cruise. However, it’s essential to consider additional expenses such as specialty dining, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments, and excursions. These optional extras can significantly impact your budget, so plan accordingly and decide which extras are worth the splurge for you.


During your time in Hawaii, you may want to explore the islands and participate in various activities. It’s important to budget for these additional expenses, such as admission fees to attractions, rental cars or transportation for exploring the islands, and any souvenirs or gifts you plan to purchase. Researching and pre-booking activities and attractions can often save you money compared to booking on-site, so take advantage of any discounts or package deals available.


Lastly, it’s always a good idea to have some extra funds set aside for unexpected expenses or emergencies. Having a cushion in your budget will give you peace of mind and ensure that you can handle any unforeseen circumstances that may arise during your Hawaiian cruise.


By carefully considering your budget and planning ahead, you can enjoy a memorable Hawaiian cruise without breaking the bank. Researching and comparing prices, being mindful of additional expenses, and setting aside some contingency funds will help you stay within your budget while still experiencing the beauty and wonder of the Hawaiian islands.


Activities and Attractions in Hawaii

Hawaii is a treasure trove of activities and attractions that cater to all types of travelers. From outdoor enthusiasts to culture seekers, there is something for everyone in this paradise. Here are some of the top activities and attractions to consider when planning your Hawaiian cruise.


Beaches: Hawaii is renowned for its stunning beaches with crystal-clear waters and pristine sands. Whether you’re looking to swim, snorkel, surf, or simply relax under the sun, the beaches in Hawaii offer endless possibilities. From the famous Waikiki Beach in Oahu to the secluded beauty of Lanikai Beach in Kailua, there are beaches for every preference and level of adventure.


Hiking: The Hawaiian Islands boast an array of breathtaking landscapes, from lush rainforests to volcanic craters. Hiking enthusiasts will be delighted by the numerous trails available for exploration. One of the most iconic hikes is the Diamond Head Trail in Oahu, offering panoramic views of Honolulu and the Pacific Ocean. For a more challenging adventure, consider hiking to the summit of Haleakala on Maui or exploring the diverse trails of Kauai’s Napali Coast.


Volcano National Park: Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, Volcano National Park is a must-visit attraction for nature lovers. Witness the power of nature as you explore the active Kilauea volcano, hike through lava fields, and marvel at the unique geological formations. Nighttime visits to see the glowing lava create a truly unforgettable experience.


Pearl Harbor: For history buffs, a visit to Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu is a must. Explore the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Missouri battleship, and the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center to learn about the events of December 7, 1941, and pay tribute to the lives lost during the attack.


Luau: Immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture by attending a traditional luau. Enjoy live music, hula performances, and a feast of local dishes while learning about the rich heritage and traditions of the islands. Many cruise lines offer onboard luaus or shore excursions to authentic cultural experiences.


Water Activities: Hawaii offers a wide range of water activities for adventure seekers. Snorkel with tropical fish and vibrant coral reefs, try your hand at paddleboarding or kayaking, or even go on a thrilling submarine tour to explore the underwater world without getting wet. Don’t miss the chance to experience a traditional Hawaiian outrigger canoe ride for a unique perspective of the coastline.


Visit Cultural Sites: Hawaii is home to historical and cultural landmarks that provide insight into the islands’ heritage. Explore the ‘Iolani Palace in Honolulu, the only royal palace in the United States, or visit the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu to learn about the different cultures and traditions of the Pacific Islands.


These are just a few of the many activities and attractions that await you in Hawaii. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Hawaii offers a wealth of experiences that will make your Hawaiian cruise an unforgettable journey.


Best Time to Take a Cruise for Whale Watching

One of the most incredible natural spectacles in Hawaii is the opportunity to witness humpback whales in their natural habitat. If you’re interested in whale watching during your Hawaiian cruise, it’s essential to plan your trip at the right time. Here’s when you’re most likely to have a memorable encounter with these majestic creatures.


The prime season for whale watching in Hawaii runs from December to April. During this time, thousands of humpback whales migrate from Alaska to the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean surrounding the Hawaiian Islands. They come to the area to breed, give birth, and nurse their calves, making for an incredible display of natural behavior.


January and February are particularly popular months for whale watching, as this is when the numbers of humpback whales in Hawaiian waters are at their peak. During these months, you can witness amazing acrobatic displays, with whales breaching, tail-slapping, and engaging in social interactions.


Humpback whales can be spotted from various parts of the Hawaiian Islands, but some areas are known for offering better whale watching opportunities. Maui, particularly the waters around the town of Lahaina and the Auau Channel, is considered the whale-watching capital of Hawaii. The Big Island of Hawaii, with its Hilo and Kona coasts, also offers excellent vantage points for spotting whales.


When taking a cruise for whale watching, it’s essential to choose a reputable cruise line or tour operator with experienced naturalist guides who can provide insights into the behavior and biology of these magnificent creatures. Many cruises and tour operators offer specialized whale watching excursions, complete with hydrophones to listen to the enchanting songs of the humpbacks.


Keep in mind that while the peak season for whale watching is from December to April, sightings can vary depending on factors such as weather conditions and the individual behavior of the whales. However, you are still likely to have a rewarding and awe-inspiring experience during your Hawaiian cruise within this time frame.


It’s important to note that the humpback whales are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which requires boats to maintain a safe distance from the whales. This ensures the well-being of these magnificent creatures and allows for responsible and ethical whale watching.


So, if you’re eager to witness the awe-inspiring beauty of humpback whales in their natural habitat, plan your Hawaiian cruise between December and April. Be prepared to be amazed by their graceful movements and powerful displays as they create lifelong memories against the backdrop of Hawaii’s stunning islands and azure waters.



Embarking on a cruise to Hawaii is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty and allure of this tropical paradise. By considering factors such as weather, high and low seasons, holiday cruises, budget considerations, and the abundance of activities and attractions, you can plan the perfect Hawaiian cruise experience.


Regardless of the time of year you choose to cruise to Hawaii, you will be met with warm temperatures, breathtaking landscapes, and a vibrant culture. Whether you’re basking on pristine beaches, hiking through lush rainforests, exploring historical sites, or witnessing majestic humpback whales, Hawaii offers something for every traveler.


Timing your cruise depends on your preferences and priorities. If you enjoy the energy and buzz of a vibrant atmosphere, consider visiting during the summer months or holiday season. If you prefer a more tranquil and budget-friendly experience, opt for the shoulder seasons or low season.


It’s important to plan and budget for your Hawaiian cruise, taking into account the cost of the cruise itself, additional expenses, and any optional activities or excursions. By being prepared, you can enjoy your journey without any financial worries.


From lounging on sunny beaches to exploring natural wonders, Hawaii offers an abundance of experiences that will create lasting memories. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, a Hawaiian cruise delivers it all.


So, set sail and embark on a Hawaiian cruise to discover the magic of this enchanting destination. Whether you’re celebrating the holidays, seeking outdoor adventures, or simply indulging in the beauty of the islands, a cruise to Hawaii promises an unforgettable journey that will leave you longing to return again and again.