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How Long To Cruise To Hawaii


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Lin Heal



Cruising to Hawaii offers a dream getaway for many travelers. The allure of the pristine beaches, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture makes it a top destination for cruise enthusiasts. However, one common question that arises when planning a Hawaiian cruise is how long it takes to reach the islands.


The duration of a cruise to Hawaii can vary depending on several factors, including the departure point, cruise route, and the number of days spent exploring the islands. In this article, we will explore the different factors affecting cruise duration to Hawaii, popular cruise routes, typical durations, activities and excursions, the best time to cruise, and some tips for planning your Hawaiian adventure.


When it comes to the factors that affect cruise duration to Hawaii, the departure point plays a significant role. Most cruises to Hawaii depart from West Coast cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, or San Francisco. The distance between the departure point and the Hawaiian islands will determine the travel time. For example, a cruise from Los Angeles to Hawaii will typically take around 4 to 5 days, while a cruise from San Francisco can take around 7 to 9 days.


Another factor to consider is the cruise route. Some cruises take a direct route to Hawaii, while others may make stops at other ports of call along the way. These additional stops can add extra days to the overall duration of the cruise. It’s important to carefully review the itinerary and the number of days spent at each port to determine the total duration of the cruise.


Popular cruise routes to Hawaii include roundtrip cruises from West Coast cities, as well as one-way cruises that start or end in Hawaii. Roundtrip cruises typically offer a more convenient option for travelers as they eliminate the need for additional flights. One-way cruises, on the other hand, provide the opportunity to explore multiple Hawaiian islands and discover different ports of call.


Now that we have covered the factors affecting cruise duration and various routes to Hawaii, let’s delve into the typical durations of cruises to the Hawaiian islands.


Factors Affecting Cruise Duration to Hawaii

Several factors influence the duration of a cruise to Hawaii. Understanding these factors can help you plan your trip and choose the right cruise that suits your preferences. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Departure Point: The departure point plays a significant role in determining the cruise duration. Most cruises to Hawaii depart from West Coast cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, or San Francisco. The distance between the departure point and the Hawaiian islands will impact the travel time.
  2. Cruise Route: The chosen cruise route can also affect the duration of the journey. Some cruises take a direct route to Hawaii, while others may include stops at other ports of call along the way. These additional stops can add extra days to the overall cruise duration.
  3. Number of Days Spent at Each Port: The amount of time allocated for exploring the Hawaiian islands can vary depending on the cruise itinerary. Some cruises offer longer stays at each port, allowing passengers to immerse themselves in the local culture and enjoy a variety of activities. Others may provide shorter port visits, prioritizing the cruise experience over extensive island exploration.
  4. Ship Speed: The speed at which the cruise ship travels will impact the overall duration of the journey. Different ships have different cruising speeds, and this can influence the time it takes to reach Hawaii. Modern cruise ships are designed for efficiency and speed, helping to minimize travel time.
  5. Weather and Sea Conditions: Weather and sea conditions can occasionally affect cruise schedules. Inclement weather, such as storms or rough seas, may lead to itinerary changes or delays. It’s important to be aware of this possibility when planning your Hawaiian cruise.
  6. Customs and Immigration Procedures: When traveling to a foreign destination, customs and immigration procedures can also impact the cruise duration. These procedures may require additional time for clearance when entering or leaving the Hawaiian islands.

Considering these factors will give you a better understanding of what to expect when planning your cruise to Hawaii. It’s important to research different cruise options and carefully review their itineraries, ensuring that they align with your desired duration and preferences for island exploration.


Popular Cruise Routes to Hawaii

When it comes to cruising to Hawaii, there are several popular routes that offer different experiences for travelers. Whether you prefer a roundtrip cruise or a one-way journey, here are some of the most sought-after cruise routes to the Hawaiian islands:

  1. Roundtrip Cruises from the West Coast: Roundtrip cruises from West Coast cities such as Los Angeles or San Francisco are a convenient option for many travelers. These cruises typically depart from the mainland and return to the same port. They offer a relaxed and hassle-free travel experience, with no need for additional flights or transportation arrangements.
  2. One-Way Cruises from the West Coast: One-way cruises that start or end in Hawaii provide the opportunity to explore multiple islands and enjoy a diverse range of ports of call. These cruises often depart from West Coast cities and make stops at different Hawaiian islands before reaching their final destination. They are ideal for those who want to combine the excitement of a cruise with in-depth island exploration.
  3. Transpacific Cruises: Transpacific cruises are another option for travelers looking to include Hawaii as part of a longer journey. These cruises typically start or end in Asia or Australia and often make stops at Hawaiian islands. They offer a unique opportunity to experience different cultures and destinations before or after exploring the Hawaiian paradise.
  4. Inter-island Cruises: For those who want to focus solely on exploring the Hawaiian islands, inter-island cruises are a popular choice. These cruises operate exclusively within the Hawaiian archipelago, allowing passengers to visit multiple islands during the trip. It’s a fantastic way to witness the diverse landscapes and immerse yourself in the local culture of each island.
  5. Crossing the Panama Canal: Some cruise itineraries include a Panama Canal crossing, providing a unique and memorable experience. These cruises start from or end in the East Coast and make their way through the Panama Canal, stopping at several ports, including some in Hawaii. It’s a longer journey but offers a combination of scenic beauty and cultural exploration.

Each cruise route mentioned above has its own advantages and appeals to different types of travelers. Whether you prefer a convenient roundtrip cruise from the West Coast or an immersive inter-island journey, carefully consider your preferences and interests to choose the most suitable route for your Hawaiian cruise adventure.


West Coast Departure Points

When planning a cruise to Hawaii, the West Coast of the United States offers several convenient departure points. These cities serve as gateways to the Hawaiian islands, providing easy access for travelers. Here are some of the popular West Coast departure points for cruises to Hawaii:

  1. Los Angeles: The vibrant city of Los Angeles is a common departure point for cruises to Hawaii. The Port of Los Angeles, located in San Pedro, offers a variety of cruise options that will take you to the tropical paradise. With its iconic landmarks like the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Universal Studios, Los Angeles provides an ideal starting point for your Hawaiian adventure.
  2. San Diego: Known for its year-round pleasant climate and beautiful beaches, San Diego is another popular departure point for cruises to Hawaii. The Port of San Diego is conveniently located near downtown, offering a range of cruise itineraries for those looking to explore the Hawaiian islands.
  3. San Francisco: Featuring the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and diverse cultural attractions, San Francisco is a fantastic departure point for a Hawaiian cruise. The Port of San Francisco, located in the northeastern part of the city, provides easy access to cruises that will take you to the stunning islands of Hawaii.

These West Coast departure points offer not only convenient access but also the opportunity to explore the cities themselves before or after your cruise. From the glamour of Los Angeles to the laid-back charm of San Diego and the cultural richness of San Francisco, these cities provide a delightful start to your Hawaiian adventure.


It’s important to note that the availability and frequency of cruises from each departure point may vary. Consider factors such as proximity to your location, preferred cruise line, and the itineraries offered when choosing your West Coast departure point for a cruise to Hawaii.


Typical Cruise Durations to Hawaii

The duration of a cruise to Hawaii can vary depending on several factors, including the departure point, the cruise route, and the number of days spent exploring the islands. While specific cruise durations may vary, there are some typical durations that you can take into consideration when planning your trip:

  1. Roundtrip Cruises: Roundtrip cruises from West Coast cities like Los Angeles or San Francisco to Hawaii typically last around 10 to 14 days. These cruises typically include multiple days at sea to reach the Hawaiian islands, followed by several days exploring various ports in Hawaii before returning to the West Coast.
  2. One-Way Cruises: One-way cruises that start or end in Hawaii can have varying durations depending on the specific itinerary. These cruises often include stops at multiple islands and can last anywhere from 7 to 21 days. The duration will depend on the number of days allocated for each port of call and any additional stops along the way.
  3. Inter-island Cruises: If you want to focus solely on exploring the Hawaiian islands, inter-island cruises offer a shorter duration. These cruises typically last around 7 to 10 days and allow you to visit multiple islands within the archipelago. It’s a great option for those who want to immerse themselves in the beauty and culture of Hawaii.
  4. Transpacific Cruises: Transpacific cruises that include stops in Hawaii as part of a longer journey can have extended durations. These cruises can last anywhere from 14 to 30 days, depending on the starting and ending points and the number of other destinations included in the itinerary.

Ultimately, the duration of your cruise to Hawaii will depend on your preferences, budget, and availability. It’s important to consider how much time you want to spend exploring the Hawaiian islands versus the time spent at sea. Also, take into account any extracurricular activities or excursions you plan to do during your trip.


Keep in mind that these durations are just general guidelines, and the actual duration of a specific cruise can vary. It’s always best to check the details of the cruise itinerary before making a decision, as the duration may be affected by factors such as weather conditions, port schedules, and any unforeseen circumstances.


Activities and Excursions in Hawaii

When cruising to Hawaii, one of the highlights is the abundance of activities and excursions available to explore and experience the natural beauty and unique culture of the islands. Here are some popular activities and excursions you can consider during your Hawaiian cruise:

  1. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving: Hawaii is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life. Snorkeling or scuba diving excursions allow you to immerse yourself in the colorful underwater world, exploring coral reefs, swimming with tropical fish, and perhaps even encountering sea turtles or dolphins.
  2. Hiking and Nature Exploration: The Hawaiian Islands are a paradise for nature lovers. From hiking trails that lead to majestic waterfalls to exploring volcanic landscapes, there are numerous opportunities to reconnect with the outdoors. Consider excursions to iconic sites like the Haleakala National Park in Maui or the Volcanoes National Park in Big Island.
  3. Luau and Cultural Experiences: To truly experience the vibrant Hawaiian culture, attending a traditional luau is a must. Enjoy a delicious feast of local cuisine, watch captivating hula dances, and learn about the rich history and legends of the islands. Cultural tours and visits to historical sites like Pearl Harbor are also popular options.
  4. Water Activities: Hawaii offers an array of water activities to suit every interest. From kayaking along picturesque coastlines to surfing the world-famous waves, stand-up paddleboarding in calm lagoons to parasailing above the sparkling waters, there is no shortage of thrilling adventures to embark on.
  5. Helicopter Tours: For a truly breathtaking experience, consider taking a helicopter tour over the islands. This gives you a unique perspective to witness the dramatic landscapes, lush valleys, cascading waterfalls, and volcanic formations from above. It’s a fantastic way to capture spectacular photos and create lasting memories.
  6. Shopping and Dining: Hawaiian cruises often include stops at ports with fantastic shopping and dining opportunities. Explore local markets for unique souvenirs and handicrafts, indulge in fresh seafood and traditional Hawaiian dishes, or simply relax at a seaside café and savor the island flavors.

These activities are just a sample of the countless possibilities that await you in Hawaii. It’s important to research and plan ahead to ensure you make the most of your time on the islands. Take into consideration your interests, physical abilities, and any specific requirements to choose the activities and excursions that best suit your preferences.


Remember that some activities or excursions may require advance booking, especially for popular attractions. Be sure to check the cruise itinerary and consult with the onboard excursion experts to secure your spots in advance. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, the Hawaiian islands offer experiences that will make your cruise a truly unforgettable one.


Best Time to Cruise to Hawaii

The Hawaiian islands are a year-round destination, offering pleasant weather and a plethora of activities regardless of the season. However, some months may be more favorable for cruising to Hawaii than others. Here are the key factors to consider when determining the best time to embark on a Hawaiian cruise:

  1. Weather: Hawaii enjoys a tropical climate with warm temperatures throughout the year. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are slight variations in weather patterns. The peak tourist season is during the summer months of June to August, with temperatures ranging from the mid-80s to low 90s Fahrenheit (around 29-35 degrees Celsius). Spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) offer milder temperatures and are considered shoulder seasons with fewer crowds.
  2. Rainfall: While Hawaii generally experiences brief, intermittent showers year-round, the winter months of December to February tend to have a higher chance of rain. This is especially true for the windward (eastern) side of the islands. However, rainfall patterns can vary from island to island, so it’s always a good idea to check the specific weather forecast for the areas you plan to visit.
  3. Surf Conditions: For those who enjoy surfing or watching the professional surf competitions, the winter months bring larger waves to the islands. The North Shore of Oahu, in particular, is famous for its massive surf during this time, attracting surfers from around the world. If surfing is a priority for you, consider cruising to Hawaii during the winter months.
  4. Whale Watching: Another highlight of cruising to Hawaii is the opportunity to witness the mesmerizing humpback whales in their natural habitat. These majestic creatures visit the Hawaiian waters during the winter months, with peak whale watching season occurring from December to March. If observing these magnificent creatures is on your bucket list, cruising during these months would be ideal.
  5. Cruise Availability and Rates: The time of year can also affect the availability and rates of Hawaiian cruises. Peak tourist seasons, such as summer and holidays, tend to have higher demand and, as a result, higher prices. Shoulder seasons and offseasons may offer more competitive rates and greater availability, allowing you to potentially find better deals on your cruise.

Ultimately, the best time to cruise to Hawaii depends on your personal preferences and priorities. Whether you want to experience the vibrant summer atmosphere, enjoy milder temperatures in the shoulder seasons, or witness the awe-inspiring whale migration, there is a time that will suit your needs. Consider the weather, activities, and budget when deciding on the perfect time to embark on your Hawaiian cruise.


Keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to check with your chosen cruise line for specific itineraries and to consult local weather forecasts closer to your travel date, as weather patterns can vary.


Tips for Planning a Hawaiian Cruise

Planning a Hawaiian cruise can be an exciting and memorable experience. To help you make the most of your trip, here are some useful tips to consider:

  1. Research Cruise Lines and Itineraries: Take the time to research different cruise lines that offer trips to Hawaii and compare their itineraries. Consider factors such as departure points, cruise duration, ports of call, onboard amenities, and activities offered to choose the cruise line that suits your preferences and budget.
  2. Book in Advance: Hawaiian cruises can be popular, especially during peak seasons. To secure your preferred cruise dates and cabin category, it’s advisable to book well in advance. This will also give you ample time to plan and prepare for your trip.
  3. Consider Pre- and Post-Cruise Stay: Extend your Hawaiian adventure by considering a pre- or post-cruise stay on one of the islands. This allows you to explore more of Hawaii’s beauty and immerse yourself in the local culture before or after your cruise. It’s a great way to make the most of your time in the islands.
  4. Pack Accordingly: Depending on the season and activities you have planned, pack appropriate clothing and essentials. Lightweight, breathable clothing, swimwear, sunscreen, a hat, comfortable shoes for excursions, and a reusable water bottle are must-haves. Don’t forget to bring any necessary travel adapters or chargers for your electronic devices.
  5. Research Ports of Call: Take some time to familiarize yourself with the ports of call on your cruise itinerary. Research the attractions, activities, and excursions available at each port to make the most of your time ashore. Look for reputable tour operators or consider exploring on your own if you prefer a more independent experience.
  6. Check Visa Requirements: If you are traveling from a foreign country, ensure that you have the appropriate visas and travel documents for your Hawaiian cruise. Check with the respective authorities or your travel agent to confirm the requirements, as they can vary depending on your nationality.
  7. Consider Travel Insurance: Protect your investment and give yourself peace of mind by considering travel insurance. It can provide coverage for unforeseen circumstances such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, or lost luggage. Review the policy details to ensure it meets your needs.
  8. Stay Hydrated and Practice Sun Safety: Hawaii’s tropical climate requires extra precautions. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, especially during outdoor activities. Apply sunscreen regularly, wear a hat and sunglasses, and seek shade during the hottest hours of the day to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.
  9. Embrace the Aloha Spirit: Finally, embrace the spirit of aloha and immerse yourself in the welcoming Hawaiian culture. Be respectful of local customs and traditions, learn a few basic Hawaiian phrases, and engage with the locals to make your Hawaiian cruise experience even more memorable.

By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared to plan and enjoy your Hawaiian cruise to the fullest. From choosing the right cruise line and itinerary to packing appropriately and embracing the local culture, these tips will help ensure a smooth and unforgettable journey to the beautiful Hawaiian islands.



A Hawaiian cruise offers a magical and unforgettable journey filled with stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and endless opportunities for adventure. Understanding the factors that affect cruise duration, exploring popular cruise routes, and considering the best time to embark on your Hawaiian adventure will help you plan a successful trip.


Whether you choose a roundtrip cruise from a West Coast departure point, a one-way cruise for a more immersive experience, or an inter-island cruise to explore multiple Hawaiian islands, each route offers its own unique charm and appeal.


During your cruise, you’ll have the opportunity to partake in a wide range of activities and excursions. From snorkeling and scuba diving to hiking through lush landscapes, attending traditional luaus, and exploring the rich cultural heritage of Hawaii, there is something for every type of traveler.


Considering the weather, surf conditions, and whale migration patterns can help you determine the best time to cruise to Hawaii. Whether you prefer the warm summer months, milder shoulder seasons, or the peak whale watching season, you can find a time that suits your preferences.


As you plan your Hawaiian cruise, be sure to research cruise lines, book in advance, pack accordingly, and familiarize yourself with the ports of call. Consider adding a pre- or post-cruise stay in Hawaii to further explore the beauty and culture of the islands.


By following these tips and embracing the aloha spirit, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on a remarkable Hawaiian cruise that will create memories to last a lifetime.


So, get ready to set sail and experience the enchantment of Hawaii as you cruise to paradise on your dream vacation.