Shore Excursions in Hawaii

By Viator, February 2014

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After experiencing the natural and cultural delights of Hawaii’s four main islands, you’ll be hard pressed to figure out which was your favorite. Nature reigns supreme here, from active volcanoes to gushing waterfalls, but manmade attractions like the Pearl Harbor memorial are just as stirring. The currency in Hawaii is the US dollar. English is the official language, as is Hawaiian, which many locals speak, as well.

Big Island of Hawaii

Cruises to the Big Island – the largest and southernmost island in the Hawaiian archipelago – pull into port in either Kona, on the west side of the island, or Hilo, on the east side. Imposing volcanoes and island-grown coffee are what set this island apart from the others. Take a Kona coffee tour, visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park or zipline over waterfalls.


Kauai – the Garden Isle – lies at the northern end of the Hawaiian Islands. Known for being the greenest of all the islands, it boasts a landscape so incredible, it’s been featured in dozens of movies, including Jurassic Park, The Descendants and Tropic Thunder. Film location tours make a great shore excursion. Ships dock in Nawiliwili Harbor on the southeast coast.


Sitting pretty between Oahu and the Big Island, Maui is the second-largest of the islands. Don’t miss the Hana Highway (aka Road to Hana), perhaps the island’s most famous attraction, which takes you past waterfalls and beaches. Ships dock in Kahului Harbor on the northern coast or anchor off Lahaina on the western coast.


Oahu is the most populous of the islands and is home to the state capital, Honolulu, where cruise ships dock in the harbor by the Aloha Tower Marketplace. Oahu is where you’ll find Hawaii’s big-name attractions like Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, the Polynesian Cultural Center and the Dole Pineapple Plantation. You can also take to the water on a submarine shore excursion or stand-up paddleboard lesson.

Mainland Departure/Arrival Ports:

Los Angeles

Ships depart from the World Cruise Center in San Pedro, about 20 miles (70 km) south of downtown (except Carnival ships, which leave from Long Beach). Arrive in town early or stay late to see the bright lights of Hollywood or take a for a pre- or post-cruise helicopter tour shore excursion.

San Diego

Cruises dock at the B Street Cruise Ship Terminal, right in the center of downtown San Diego. If you get to town early or stay after your cruise, visit the USS Midway Museum, the San Diego Zoo (one of the country’s best, known for its pandas) or charming Coronado Island.

San Francisco

Ships dock at Pier 35 at Fisherman’s Wharf, at the northern end of the Embarcadero. Get ready for your cruise or relax afterward with an Alcatraz tour or Napa Valley wine country day trip, or check out some of the city’s favorite neighborhoods like North Beach, the Mission and Chinatown.

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