Traveling to Hawaii by ship affords the traveler a different perspective on the islands. (Photo: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images )
You"ll have lots of time to practice saying "aloha" if you decide to take a boat from Hawaii to the mainland. It"s over 2,500 miles from the West Coast to Hawaii, and no ferry boats ply this distance. But you"ll have a fine pick of cruises that will pamper you with luxurious accommodations, excellent meals and a panoply of fun activities. You can book a one-way cruise aboard a luxurious cruise ship leaving from the mainland and heading west, or else choose a circle tour starting and ending in the same city. The cruises start at about 14 days, but you can select a longer option that calls in both Hawaii and Mexico if you have the time.
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The most popular Hawaiian cruises take passengers from one island to another, taking in the fabulous coastal scenery, including a view of molten lava pouring into the Pacific. Travelers enjoy these inter-island sailings as a way to explore several tropical isles without having to take a plane.
But cruises from the mainland are also possible. Some of these are round trip, but some go only one way. Typical cruises from the continental United States leave from either San Francisco or Los Angeles and arrive in the ports of Nawiliwili on Kauai, Honolulu on Oahu, Lahaina and Kahului on Maui, and/or Kona and Hilo on the Big Island. Some cruise lines offer sailings every month, while others ply the Pacific only rarely, and require reservations well in advance.
Carnival Cruises and Celebrity Cruises
If you are ready to head for Hawaii on a Carnival Cruise, you can take off from either Vancouver, in British Columbia or Long Beach, in California. The Vancouver cruise is a one-way experience. It offers 11 tranquil days on the blue Pacific. That starts with six fun days at sea followed by one-day adventures on Maui, the Big Island, Kauai and finally Oahu.
The Long Beach cruise is a round trip. It takes you on the magnificent boat, the Carnival Splendor, for 14 leisurely, sun-filled days. It stops in ports of call on Maui, Oahu and the Big Island before heading back, through Ensenada, to Long Beach.
You can take a Celebrity Cruise to Hawaii from Vancouver, spending 10 peaceful nights and 11 fun-filled days aboard the luxurious Celebrity Solstice. On day six, you arrive in the port of Hilo on the Big Island, followed by a day in Kona and two days in Lahaina, Maui before docking in Honolulu.
Holland Cruises and Princess Cruises
Holland America Line offers many different types of cruises from the mainland to Hawaii. You can pretty much pick your poison from the incredible array of exciting and soothing luxury trips. Opt for Holland"s 18-day round trip cruise leaving from San Diego, or make that a 25-day cruise and add in stops in Mexico. If you prefer to leave from Seattle, take the 18-day round trip from Seattle. From Vancouver, take the 16 or 17-day round trip cruise.
Princess Cruises offers a 15-day circle cruise from San Francisco that stops in the same Hawaii ports as the other cruise lines, then circles to Ensenada, Mexico before returning to home port. Another Princess Cruise makes the same circle tour leaving from Los Angeles, and another leaves from Vancouver.
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Pack a remedy for motion sickness, such as Dramamine or prescription ear patches, and use it regularly. The Pacific is a big ocean with huge swells. Regardless of your ship"s size or stabilizing technology, you will feel the motion of the ocean and should prepare accordingly to keep your cruise experience enjoyable.
Teo Spengler was born in central Alaska and has been traveling ever since. A freelance writer with an MA in English and MFA in Creative writing, she's written travel pieces for S.F.Gate, Fairmont Hotels, IHS Hotels, Jet Blue, Choice Hotels, Women of Green, eHow, Arizona Central and USA Today, among others. She has lived one the East Coast and the West, as well as Mexico, Switzerland, Italy and France. She and currently splits her time between San Francisco and France's Basque Country.
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