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13 Unforgettable Hawaii Cruises, Including a Tiny 36-Passenger Sailing and a Disney Ship

By Meena Thiruvengadam

13 Best Hawaii Cruises 2022 Disney Norwegian Viking and More

The thing about Hawaii cruises is that there’s no bad time of year to take one. Thanks to its year-round sunshine and warm weather, Hawaii will be there for you whenever you’re ready to set sail. 

Several cruise lines, including Holland America, Princess Cruises, and Viking Cruises, call on ports in Hawaii, with many of them traveling to or from the United States or Canada. Norwegian Cruise Line is the only company that sails exclusively between Oahu and neighboring Hawaiian islands. The  Pride of America , a United States-themed ship, makes stops in Maui , Kauai, and the Big Island before returning to Honolulu , a perfect home base for visiting Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbor. 

Sailing between the Hawaiian Islands is generally relatively calm, though there are occasional reports of rough patches on cruises that cross the Pacific Ocean. And while every month is a good month to cruise to Hawaii, peak whale-watching season in the region is between January and March. It can be rainy, so you’ll want to pack a rain jacket. But a little rain might just be worth it to avoid summer crowds in one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. 

Cruises are an ideal way to explore Hawaii, and there are plenty of options that fit a broad range of travel styles and tastes.  

Norwegian  Pride of America

Norwegian - Pride of America

The best Hawaii cruises for easy island hopping 

Most cruises to Hawaii require several days at sea, but not Norwegian’s  Pride of America . The 2,186-passenger  Pride of America is the only cruise ship that sails from Oahu to neighboring Hawaiian islands, minimizing sea days while taking travelers to four Hawaiian islands in a single week. The  ship departs from Honolulu every Saturday all year long, making it easy to tack on visits to Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, and Waikiki Beach. The ship spends the night in Maui and Kauai, and makes two stops on the island of Hawaii—also known as the Big Island—in Hilo and Kona. Aboard the  Pride of America , you’ll find a Miami -inspired pool, a Gold Rush Saloon, and restaurants for every palate. 

Royal Caribbean offers several  eight- to 10-night cruises between Hawaii and the western coast of North America, giving travelers the chance to island hop between Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island before or after sailing the Pacific Ocean. This itinerary doesn’t require as many sea days as a roundtrip journey but includes plenty of time for lounging by the pool, catching shows, and trying all the on board restaurants. 

Princess Cruises in Hawaii

Princess Cruises in Hawaii

The best Hawaii cruises for travelers who love sea days

Holland America ships sail roundtrip from  San Diego and Vancouver to Hawaii , giving travelers the chance to swap a long flight across the Pacific Ocean for 10 long, lazy sea days. The journey includes stops in Ensenada, Mexico, as well as at four Hawaiian islands: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. 

Or opt for one of Princess Cruises’ many  Hawaii itineraries . They sail roundtrip to Hawaii from Los Angeles , San Francisco , and San Diego . Ships spend long days in port, and a variety of restaurants and events, like movies screened under the stars, are sure to keep you and yours entertained on board the ship. And while 10 might seem like a lot of sea days, skipping the airport could be a priceless vacation upgrade.

The best Hawaii cruises for travelers who love sea days and small ships

For a smaller ship, consider Viking Cruises. Viking’s 17-day roundtrip  Hawaiian Islands Sojourn from Los Angeles happens on board the Viking  Star , which carries a maximum of 930 passengers. This journey includes 10 sea days and stops in Hilo, where you can see Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s largest volcano, and in Kauai, where you can take in the breathtaking sight of Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Check the ship’s daily schedule for expert lectures, and make time to experience the spa’s snow room while getting acquainted with Nordic bathing rituals.

For fewer sea days, sail from Honolulu to Vancouver on the 462-passenger Seabourn  Odyssey . Seabourn’s  11-day Hawaiian itinerary includes stops in Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island and requires just six sea days, plenty of time for playing cards, lounging by the pool, and relaxing at the spa. 

The best Hawaii cruises for travelers with lots of time

Why cruise only to Hawaii when you could cruise to Hawaii, Tahiti, and Fiji? Holland America includes several Hawaiian stops on longer itineraries, including the 51-day Tales of the South Pacific and the 35-day Hawaii, Tahiti & Marquesas voyages. Each of those itineraries departs from and returns to San Diego, crosses the Equator and international dateline, and stops in Kiribati and French Polynesia.

Princess and Seabourn also include Hawaii on longer cruise itineraries. In 2024, Seabourn is offering a  145-day cruise from Los Angeles to Athens, Greece. That itinerary includes port days in Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island before sailing around New Zealand and Australia en route to the Middle East and Greece. Spend one sea day cruising the Great Barrier Reef and the others treating yourself to spa days, meals with new friends, and drinks under the stars. The luxury cruise line Azamara plans to sail from  San Diego to Hawaii, Bora Bora, and Tahiti in January 2025.

Holland America in Hawaii

Holland America in Hawaii

The best Hawaii cruises for travelers with kids 

If Disney and Hawaii are both on your travel list, you’re in luck. Disney plans to cruise to Hawaii in 2023 and 2024 , giving you a chance to merge your Disney dreams with your Hawaii volcano and beach dreams. The Disney Wonder is scheduled to sail this itinerary, and it’s sure to quickly win over anyone who’s a Marvel fan or grew up on Disney movies. The ship’s Oceaneer Club gives kids the chance to step in Andy's Room from Toy Story or to connect with their inner superhero in a Marvel-themed room. And like all Disney experiences, there’s a good chance you may run into your favorite characters on board.

Holland America ships have cabins that can accommodate up to five guests, big enough for the whole family. On the Holland America Koningsdam, which sails an  18-day itinerary around Hawaii, the kids club is at the top of the ship and includes three enclosed outdoor play areas. Sign up for family-friendly shore excursions or leave your kids onboard to paint, learn to cook, or play video games while you explore. There’s also special programming for kids, tweens, and teens. 

The best Hawaii cruise for getting off the tourist track

If boarding a ship with thousands of strangers isn’t your idea of a vacation, UnCruise Adventures may be the cruise line for you. UnCruise itineraries are all about connecting with nature and local culture. UnCruise offers a yacht-like experience on board the 36-passenger  Safari Explorer . Sail from November through April on a seven-night itinerary that swaps touristy Oahu for Hawaii’s least developed island—Molokai. Because it’s so small, the Safari Explorer can access ports the big ships can’t and help travelers better connect with local communities. This itinerary includes a traditional evening feast in Molokai, something you won’t find on other Hawaiian cruise itineraries.


1 Hotel Hanalei Bay

1 Hotel Hanalei Bay

Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

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Cheap Hawaii Cruises from Vancouver

  • United States    
  • Hawaii (HI)

9 Night Cruise to Hawaii

  • You want nonstop fun and activities with cutting-edge flair
  • You love high-tech gadgets, like the robotic Bionic Bar
  • You are a first-time cruiser; this ship shows aims to wow
  • You prefer a more traditional cruise experience; this isn't it
  • You want to digitally detox; this is one very plugged-in ship
  • You're dislike extra charges; upsell opportunities abound

17 Night Cruise to Hawaii

  • You want a big ship with lots of classy fun for all ages
  • You enjoy live music and plenty of enrichment activities
  • You're happy with good quality service and a relaxing vibe
  • You enjoy strolling on a true wraparound promenade deck
  • You miss the more intimate feeling of the line's smaller ships

21 Night Cruise to Hawaii

13 night cruise to hawaii.

  • You want to do it all, from bumper cars to skydiving and surfing
  • You travel with family and want a ship that will amaze all
  • You want to sail in Asia with an international passenger base
  • You don't enjoy having to make reservations for most activities
  • You want full freedom over when and how you choose to dine
  • You want an upscale cruise experience at a decent price
  • You like having plenty of options for dining and entertainment
  • You appreciate cruise ships with plenty of innovative amenities
  • You are looking for a truly all-inclusive cruise vacation
  • You typically only cruise on the latest and largest ships

16 Night Cruise to Hawaii

  • You want a big ship experience with plenty of onboard choice
  • You like a traditional cruise with lots of cutting-edge options
  • You value having plenty of open decks to admire the scenery
  • You want a ship that's got plenty of action-packed amenities
  • You don't want to pay extra for optional purchases onboard

11 Night Cruise to Hawaii

  • You want a classy, traditional cruise on a feature-rich ship
  • You love having plenty of choice, from dining to lounges
  • You have kids and want features designed just for them
  • You need larger-than-average cabin and suite accomodations
  • You like a large pool at the back of the ship for relaxing
  • You want that Princess style on a smaller, less-crowded ship
  • You like having public rooms with bright, oversized windows
  • You appreciate a classy, more traditional style of cruising
  • You want a ship that screams nonstop-action at every turn
  • You're expecting thrilling amenities like themed splash parks
  • You want to cruise on a ship with never-before-seen features
  • You value cutting-edge technology and plenty of activities
  • You are traveling solo and want a single-occupancy stateroom
  • You are on a budget; this is one of the hottest ships around
  • You are looking for a classic, traditional cruise experience
  • You dislike using technology to enhance and manage your cruise

12 Night Cruise to Hawaii

56 night cruise to hawaii.

  • You want the amenities of a big ship on a smaller scale
  • You appreciate fine art and elegantly appointed public areas
  • You love quiet nooks and spaces to appreciate the sea outside
  • You are traveling with kids and need top-notch facilities
  • You prefer vibrant nightlife that lasts into the wee hours

10 Night Cruise to Hawaii

  • You are traveling as a family and want a slice of Disney at sea
  • You love family-friendly activities and adult-oriented amenities
  • You want a ship that can please adults and children alike
  • You dislike cruising with large numbers of families and children
  • You are budget-conscious and book cruises at the last-minute
  • You are looking for an adult-oriented cruise experience

27 Night Cruise to Hawaii

  • You want a ship with a great mix of activities and features
  • You enjoy a more quiet, laid-back cruise with classic touches
  • You appreciate live music and plenty of enrichment options
  • You want a ship with the most elaborate children's facilities
  • You like nonstop activities and vibrant, unending nightlife
  • You dislike dress codes; formal nights are part of the cruise

Explore Vancouver

Forever Karen

Cruises From Vancouver To Hawaii, Things To Know

Honolulu cruise port featuring the iconic Aloha clock tower

With cinematic jungles, colored sandy beaches, and volcanic landscapes, why settle for one Hawaiian island when I could see several? And so began my love affair with paradise, a 12-day cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii .

If you’ve never been to Hawaii, a cruise offers a chance to see more than one island. But if you’ve researched a cruise around the Hawaiian Islands, you’ll know that Norwegian’s ‘Pride of America’ is the only ship that has exclusive sailings.

While it offers 7-day roundtrip and 10-day cruise and land itineraries, the cost of this cruise is exceptionally high due to lack of competition. By cruising from the downtown Port of Vancouver , I got the same Hawaiian experience at a fraction of the cost. Plus, I enjoyed a lengthier vacation.

My first cruise to Hawaii allowed me to enjoy four different islands, giving me a teasing snippet of each island’s vibe. A taste taster, so to speak, of the landscape, culture, activities, and overall ambiance of each isle.

Should I choose to take a land vacation in the future, I’d better understand which island to choose. Since I live in Vancouver and chose a repositioning cruise, I only needed a one-way flight home.

If staying on one of the islands, island hopping is possible but comes at a high cost. So, a Hawaiian cruise not only makes a budget-friendly adventure viable, but I can appease my desire to see several places in one trip. (And being a Sagittarius woman, being mobile is a must!)

Cruise Lines Who Offer Cruises From Vancouver To Hawaii

Princess Cruises and Holland America offer roundtrip (15 to 18-day itineraries) cruises from Vancouver to Hawaii for those who live on the west coast and prefer not to fly. These cruises do not sail regularly but at certain times of the year, so plan ahead and check to see what months they offer these.

A cruise ship, mountain range and canoes in Hawaii

If you want to experience Hawaii and don’t mind the one-way flight, other cruise lines offer one-way cruises from Vancouver to Hawaii and vice versa.

Bear in mind that these are only available in April or May and in September or October when vessels are repositioning for the start and end of the Alaska season.

These repositioning cruises are available through Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Disney, Norwegian, and Holland America.

Length Of Cruises From Vancouver To Hawaii

Repositioning cruises from Vancouver to Hawaii generally sail 9 to 13 days. When selecting an itinerary and cruise line, it’s important to note that it takes a full five sea days to cross the Pacific Ocean. So, if you choose a shorter cruise, you will have fewer port days.

In my four sailings to Hawaii, I sailed on Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas for nine days, Carnival Cruises for 12 days, the Celebrity Eclipse for 12 days, and the Ovation of the Seas for nine days.

Living in Vancouver, I prefer Hawaii to Vancouver itinerary because it means the sea days are at the end of the cruise. With busy port days at the start of the vacation, I relax during the return ocean crossing.

I always combine my cruise with a few days on land. That way, I get to explore more of Oahu and immerse myself in the Aloha spirit.

Which Hawaiian Islands?

One-way cruises from Vancouver to Hawaii always end in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Honolulu is the main port and main airport that serves Hawaii.

Other port days can include Kona on Hawaii (Big Island), Hilo on Hawaii (Big Island), and one of the cruise ports in Maui. Maui has two harbors to accommodate ships; Kahului, a commercial port, and Lahaina, a tender port.

Take note that the Big Island of Hawaii is so big that cruise ships stop on both sides of the island at Kona and Hilo. Some cruise lines (not many) also stop at Nawiliwili on Kauai.

Should you book a 12- or 13-day cruise to Hawaii, some itineraries include a port day in Victoria, BC, Canada.

Maui Beach

If you have never visited Hawaii before, cruising offers you snippets of three or four islands. Although the islands were born from volcanoes, I was amazed to see the differences between them.

By exploring a group of islands on one trip, there is no need to choose between Kauai or Maui , or Maui and Oahu because you get to experience each island. After a cruise, you’ll have a better idea of which island to visit if you choose to fly another time.

Is It Rough On Open Ocean?

When considering a cruise on the open ocean, one of the biggest concerns is seasickness. I’ve crossed the Pacific Ocean three times and was blessed with calm seas every time. However, not all cruisers are fortunate enough to experience a smooth crossing.

In fact, on one of my cruises from Vancouver to Hawaii, the Pacific Ocean looked like a sheet of glass. In the five sea days, I only saw one other ocean vessel, a sea tanker far off in the distance. It made me realize my cruise ship was just a pin-head in a massive ocean of water.

If seasickness is of great concern to you, remember to pack motion sickness patches, sea bands, ginger pills, or motion sickness medicatio n to be on the safe side. Stateroom location can also help to minimize the ship’s motion.

Vancouver To Hawaii Cruise Pricing

While Norwegian is the only cruise line that sells a 7-day roundtrip itinerary from Honolulu, its price tag may startle you. From USD 1500 to USD 2000 per person for an interior stateroom, the sticker shock may make you rethink your plans to cruise Hawaii. 

Since repositioning cruises require at least a one-way airfare, cruise lines offer them at lower prices. I have cruised to Hawaii three times from Vancouver for a fraction of the cost.

I sailed a nine-day cruise with Royal Caribbean for a mere USD 560 in a balcony cabin on a Quantum-class ship. While that was a meager price, my other two were great deals too, at around USD 1000 for 12 days. 

The downside of this type of cruise is the number of sea days. It takes a full five days to sail between North America and Hawaii, with the consecutive sea days occurring at the beginning or end of the cruise. 

Hawaii Weather

When sailing one way, ships are repositioned from changing climates. So, the sea days closer to Vancouver will experience cooler temperatures.

Be prepared by packing layers for the cooler days at sea. You may not want to use the outside pool during the chilly days, so choosing a ship with an indoor solarium might serve you well.

Outdoor amenities may not be available on those days either. During my cruises to Hawaii, the water slides and the climbing wall did not open for use until the ship had almost reached Hawaii. The same is true of the reverse journey from Hawaii to Vancouver.

The weather in Hawaii can’t be any more perfect given its proximity to the equator. For example, average temperatures range from 75 to 90 degrees, but with trade wind speeds of 10-20 mph, the temperatures feel cooler. However, don’t be misled by these cooling breezes.

The sun’s rays are still harsh so protect yourself with sunscreen and Rashguard clothing. Being half Asian, I rarely burn, but I have received burns in Hawaii snorkeling for a short time.

Depending on the island or location, the weather can vary greatly. For instance, if you plan to drive to the top of Haleakala Volcano in Maui, the temperature can drop 30 to 40 degrees.

Hi’ilawe Falls on Hawaii Island

Named the “Rainbow State” for a good reason, Hawaii can experience rain showers at any given time. These rain showers are short-lived though, and often end with a spectacular rainbow to give you the “oohs and the aahs.” It’s interesting to note, that most of Hawaii’s precipitation falls at night.

On occasion, Hawaii experiences hurricanes, with hurricane season running from June to September. I do say “on occasion” because hurricanes and tropical storms are not a common occurrence as they are around Florida. It is best, however, to purchase travel insurance.

In general, the windward side or the northeast side of the islands is cooler and wetter, while the leeward or southwest side is hotter and dryer.

Temperature Chart

Cruise attire.

Whether roundtrip or one-way, Cruises to Hawaii are typical to Aloha style, which is more casual and far less formal. On one formal night, we had the option to dine in colorful Hawaiian clothing.

Men showed up in Hawaiian shirts, and women wore bright floral dresses. Yes, Hawaiian shirts are a must and available at most shops, including the inexpensive ABC Stores and Walmart.

When packing, it’s best to take loose clothing made from breathable, natural fabrics and plenty of pieces to wear in the heat of the day. With warm daily temperatures, most Hawaii port excursions are beach or water-based.

Ideally, it’s best to have two bathing suits, a cover-up, a sun hat, and my favorite item, a Rashguard t-shirt to wear over my swimsuit when snorkeling. Rashguard’s soft, comfy fabrics are comfortable for long periods, offer UPF 50+ protection, and dry quickly.

A dry bag is helpful, especially if excursions are water-related. My water shoes came in handy on many port excursions, and I liked that they took up so little space in my luggage.

Sunscreen is essential, and it’s important to know, that Hawaii has banned the use of sunscreen containing oxybenzone or octinoxate. These ingredients are toxic to marine life and harm the coral larvae. So, instead, use coral-safe sunscreens such as Sun Bum  and  Banana Boat .

Ports Of Hawaii

There are eight primary islands in Hawaii, all formed from significant volcanic activity as the Pacific Plate shifts slowly northwesterly. Cruising from Vancouver, your ship will stop at three to four Hawaiian Islands, depending on your itinerary.

The most commonly visited islands are Oahu, Maui, Big Island (Hawaii), and sometimes Kauai. Honolulu on Oahu is the major cruise port and services both one-way cruises and roundtrip itineraries on Norwegian’s Pride of America.

Hawaii or the Big Island is the most prominent and youngest island. Due to its size, cruise ships visit two ports, Kona and Hilo, and sail past the impressive Kilauea volcano. Cruises around Hawaii can also stop at Lahaina or Kahului, on Maui, and Nawiliwili on Kauai.

Of the Hawaiian cruise ports, passengers must tender at Lahaina and Kona. Should you choose a cruise or 12 or 13 days, your itinerary may include two days in one port.

  • Island:  Hawaii Island or Big Island |  Population:  15,000+

While cruise ships stop at Kona, this is actually a region and not a city. Kona is located on the western side of the Big Island. When arriving in Kona, ships anchor in Kailua Bay, and passengers tender to the Kailua Pier as there is no cruise terminal.

The tender boats take you to the heart of Kailua Village, so there is no need for ground transportation should you choose to wander the area instead of booking an excursion.

Inside the painted church

The western side of the Big Island is blessed with lots of sunshine and warmer temperatures. Remember to carry sunscreen and wear a hat. It seldom rains in Kona, so this region is perfect for surfing, snorkeling, or a lazy day at the beach.

Kona is fertile with the rich volcanic soil nourishing the best coffee, vanilla beans, and cocoa (chocolate). Who doesn’t love coffee and chocolate?

Its delicious and addictive coffee makes an awesome Hawaiian souvenir  for family and friends. If you love coffee, be sure to stop by a coffee and macadamia nut farm to enjoy some free samples. 

Throw away the traditional dark roast because  Kona Coffee   comes in flavors like vanilla macadamia, toasted coconut, chocolate macadamia, and hazelnut. If you love a good premium roast, the peaberry coffee is the champagne of all coffees.

The macadamia nuts are equally flavorful with variations such as honey coconut, frosted, wasabi, Maui onion, and hot & spicy.

Kona’s Best Excursions

A port day in Kona is all about being outside, and the selection of outdoor activities is almost overwhelming. The snorkeling and watersports are top-notch, with chances to see spinner dolphins in Kealakekua Bay  (and also the Captain Cook monument).

For the fearless, a night snorkel or dive with the huge manta rays  in Manta Village is a must. I was thrilled that after three Hawaiian cruises, I got to scratch that off my bucket list.

Nothing is more enchanting than standing atop the world’s tallest volcano, Mauna Kea. At over 33,000 feet, the mesmerizing views from this volcano are heavenly. Dress warmly as the ascent travels through a wide range of climate zones with drastic temperature changes.

If being above the clouds isn’t your thing, consider visiting Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. At the park, visitors can relive the history of the Hawaiian culture.

Extend your day with a stop at Hulihe’e Palace. The Royal Palace is a beautifully restored museum once used by Hawaii’s royal family as a summer home. Located on Ali’i Drive, it’s an easy walk from the tender pier.

I found Kona to be more upscale than Hilo, with a great selection of high-priced restaurants, local breweries, and trendy boutiques. If you’ve not booked a port excursion but want to explore the landscape, a vehicle is necessary to get the most out of your day.

With a rental car, visitors can explore the colored sand beaches. Being a volcanic island, the tiny fragments of lava make up the black sand found at Punalu’u Beach. Black sand retains its heat, and because of this, sea turtles choose this sand to bask in the midday sunshine.

Papakolea Beach glistens in a beautiful shade of green. Its color comes from the thousands of Olivine crystals formed from an eroded volcanic crater. Due to its remote location, Papakolea Beach sees fewer tourists.

  • Island:  Hawaii Island or Big Island |  Population:  46,000+

Nestled on the windward or eastern side of the island, Hilo is the polar opposite of Kona, with old lava fields, few beaches, and lots of rainfall. Interestingly, it is the wettest city in the United States with over 120 inches of annual rain.

Due to the frequent showers, it’s lush with foliage, has plenty of waterfalls, and overflowing with natural beauty. The vibe in Hilo is slower-paced than in Kona, but its small-town feel is charming.

Walking distance from the cruise terminal, some of the best views of Hilo Bay are from the meticulously kept Liliuokalani Park and Gardens. This stunning Japanese garden is eye-candy with picturesque pagodas, stone bridges, and meandering pathways through swaying palm trees.

A short distance away is Banyan Drive, an incredible canopy of banyan trees named after famous people.

Your day in Hilo is a good starting point to visit its many attractions. With daily rainfall in Hilo and the constant runoff from Mauna Kea, the island’s eastern side is graced with numerous breathtaking waterfalls. 

Hilo’s Top Port Excursions

Close to the cruise terminal, Rainbow Falls is an 80-foot-tall attraction on the Wailuku River. It’s a favorite stop amongst cruise passengers since it charges no fee and is wheelchair accessible.

Fifteen miles north of Hilo, I visited the more spectacular Akaka Falls . There’s a small fee to access the park for waterfall viewing. Inside the park, it’s a bit of a hike, but the falls are a must when in Hilo.

Stairs to the main waterfall

Without a doubt, the most popular port excursion includes a trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. While some port tours include Rainbow Falls, Banyan Drive, Liliuokalani Gardens, and an Orchid Farm, the day’s pinnacle is seeing the mighty Kilauea Volcano.

I have visited Kilauea three times and have been amazed at the caldera changes and its level of activity. If you plan to visit Kilauea, be sure to check if the park is open before you plan a visit. 

Hōlei Sea Arch

I rented a car during one of my visits and took a humbling drive to the Puna district and Pahoa. Here, the black lava engulfs an entire fishing village. It’s an eerie feeling standing on an old lava field with no trees, birds, or signs of life.

Kilauea demonstrated its fury during that visit as molten lava flowed through Pahoa’s town, swallowing everything in its path. It takes a unique individual to live in a place that a natural disaster can consume at any given moment. Certainly not a place I wanted to put down roots.

Without a doubt, the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Farm and Factory is a crowd-pleaser. Driving up to the factory, travelers can view avocado trees and thousands of nut trees planted in manicured rows.

The factory provides free samples, and visitors can watch the sorting and packaging process in their plant.

  • Island:  Kauai |  P opulation (Lihue):  7,000+

Of the cruises from Vancouver to Hawaii, not many include Kauai in their itineraries. Out of my three Hawaiian cruises, only one, a 12-day cruise, ported in Kauai.

Located on the southeast coast of Kauai, Nawiliwili Harbor is the gateway to a beautiful Garden Isle that made me yearn for more. While Nawiliwili is not a town itself, it’s located a short distance from Lihue. I remember my first visit to Kauai and thinking it didn’t have much to offer, judging from the commercial port.

Kauai is sometimes called the “green” island, and after my initial visit, I understood why. The Napali coastline consists of emerald green ragged mountains that reach for the sky from the aquamarine waters. With 50″ of annual rain, the deep crevices in the landscape are home to the most spectacular waterfalls.

In fact, the cinematic landscape scenes from Jurassic Park were filmed here. So, in Kauai, you can re-live moments of the movie minus the dinosaurs, of course.

Most of Kauai’s landscape is inaccessible by land, so take to the skies on a helicopter tour for a once-in-a-lifetime experience like none other. Alternatively, boat excursions are also available to view the magnificent cathedral peaks.

Kauai’s Top Tours

One of Kauai’s most popular tours is a trip to the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” Waimea Canyon’s jaw-dropping peaks and valleys left me mesmerized. Its beautiful green vegetation and rust-colored rock are genuinely a baby Grand Canyon, painted in different hues.

Waimea Canyon in Kauai

Words cannot accurately describe this piece of paradise, and photos don’t show the magnitude of its incredible beauty. But what’s with that red dirt? Kauai is Hawaii’s oldest cousin and is often forgotten by travelers.

With millions of years of weathering, the soil no longer contains rich minerals and nutrients. As a result, the remaining ground is rusty-colored or red dirt. Be warned, the earth is stubborn and will forever stain your shoes and clothes.

The Kauai people like to think of it as a free souvenir of your adventures on the Garden Isle. One company has capitalized on that red dirt by making “Red Dirt Shirts’. Colored from the fertile red soils of Hawaii, their shirts are truly unique.

One of Kauai’s most accessible waterfalls is Kailua Falls. Made famous by the show “Fantasy Island,” the dramatic falls tumbles an incredible 80 feet into a 30-foot-deep pool. The double falls don’t require a hike as the viewpoint is next to the parking lot.

For the adventurous, take to the mountains on a tubing excursion. Once home to numerous sugar plantations, the Hanamaula ditches brought water to the sugar cane.

With the farms gone, the waterways allow visitors to float on innertubes through a tropical rainforest.

If you decide not to book a shore excursion in Nawiliwili, renting a vehicle is best. There isn’t much to see and do within a short walk of the commercial port.

  • Island:  Maui |  Population:  13,000+

Like Kona, Lahaina on the tropical island of Maui is a tender port. Disembarking the tender boats, a spectacular banyan tree welcomes visitors. Planted in 1873, it’s currently the largest banyan tree in Hawaii, spanning almost two acres.

Banyan trees hail from India and thrive in a tropical climate. As the tree grows, it sends out roots from its branches, draping towards the ground, creating new trunks. The remarkable example in Lahaina has sixteen trunks and is home to various birds, including the noisy mynah species.

Sometimes, the Lahaina Banyan Court hosts local craft fairs with vendors selling handmade soaps, locally carved wood sculptures, Hawaiian quilted bags, and an array of Hawaiian crafts.

The downtown area is a Maui hotspot featuring thriving restaurants with outdoor patios, fascinating boutiques, and local art galleries. Let’s not forget the delicious shave ice, which is a must. I’d highly recommend Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice which catered to my intolerance for lactose.

There is no better place than Lahaina for the sun worshippers and the adventurous. With endless sandy beaches and warm waters, it’s the perfect place to book a water excursion while catching some rays.

During the winter months, whale watching tours are popular, with plenty of humpback sightings as the tropical ocean’s giants give birth.

Lahaina’s Popular Excursions

My favorite port excursion was a snorkel excursion to Molokini Crater, a bird sanctuary . Here, the crystal-clear waters are teeming with numerous varieties of tropical fish.

At Molokini Crater, I saw an octopus, a turtle, and a massive moral eel. A large pod of dolphins accompanied the zodiac on the ride back, jumping in the boat’s wake.

If you can’t get enough of the stunning Hawaiian landscape, I’d recommend driving to Iao Valley State Park. The valley is not only home to an incredible vista of a lush rain forest, but the star attraction is the dramatic Iao Needle.

Iao Needle, Maui

This natural landmark juts out of the valley like a “needle in a haystack.” A short trail through a shaded, breezy pathway to a small lookout offers the best views. 

When cruising from Vancouver to Hawaii, I had to attend at least one luau. The highest-rated luau is Old Lahaina Luau, which welcomed me with their traditional lei greeting. The luau features authentic Hawaiian cuisine, native dance, and local demonstrations.

Don’t let the price scare you away because the experience, food, and entertainment while watching a perfect sunset is a must when in Hawaii. Other luaus worth seeing are the Drums of the Pacific and the Royal Lahaina Luau.

Port excursions are plentiful in Lahaina. Let’s not forget the surfing, kayaking, and snorkeling, which are top-notch in this region.

  • Island:  Maui |  Population:  32,000+

Kahului is on the northern side of Maui and is not considered a tourist destination. Cruise ships dock here because it has a commercial port, and there’s no need to tender. The commercial port is located close to the airport, so car rentals are easily accessible, and I’d recommend one to access Maui’s top attractions.

It’s no secret that Maui is drop-dead gorgeous. So, take to the skies in a helicopter and get a bird’s eye view of the incredible landscape. Try the “doors off” excursion for unobstructed views of Maui’s lush rainforest, scenic waterfalls, and unforgettable coastline.

While Kahului may not be a bustling tourist destination like Lahaina, it offers plenty of shopping, from the big box stores to the more intimate boutiques. Weekly swap meets and local markets allow for sampling the fresh local produce and buying Hawaiian souvenirs.

Port Excursions In Kahului

My pick for the shore excursions is a visit to Haleakala National Park and the  highway to the little town of Hana . If you suffer from motion sickness, you may want to give the Road to Hana a miss or use a motion sickness patch as I did.

Colored volcanic landscape at Haleakala crater

The trip is not about the destination but the journey itself. The road is narrow and has 620 curves and 59 bridges, most of which are one car wide. While the roller-coaster road put my wits to the test, it did offer amazing views.

The lush rain forest, spectacular waterfalls, a lava tube, and the best banana bread are not experiences I’ll forget.

In distance, it’s 52 miles from Kahului to Hana but takes 2-1/2 hours or longer, depending on the number of stops. My Road to Hana drive took over four hours because I wanted to savor every waterfall and sample smoothies along the way.

I’ve visited Haleakala several times, and the drive is as incredible as the views above the clouds. Driving through different climate zones allowed me to examine a variety of flora. These ranged from the lush rain forest to the barren desert cactus at the peak.

I just about froze the first time I made the journey, as the temperature dropped 40 F. I soon learned it’s best to take a lightweight jacket as I never considered the weather change from sea level to 10,000 feet above the clouds.

Should you have the time and enthusiasm, I highly recommend the downhill bike excursion from the summit. What better way to enjoy Maui’s panoramic views than on the longest downhill bike tour in the world?

Where else can you coast on a bicycle from the top of a volcano to the ocean? This is a Hawaiian adventure like none other; just do it!

  • Island:  Oahu |  Population:  375,000+

Honolulu is the capital and largest city in Hawaii. It’s located on the island of Oahu. When cruising from Vancouver to Hawaii, your cruise will end in Honolulu or begin here should you be sailing the reverse itinerary.

On debarkation day, the airport is just 5-miles away from the cruise ship terminal, and easy to get there by taxi or airport shuttle. Should you be embarking in Oahu, Honolulu has two cruise terminals.

The first is at the Aloha Tower and the second at the Port of Honolulu located at 521 Ala Moana Blvd, although most cruise ships sail out of the latter. It’s about a 20-minute drive to the terminal by shuttle, taxi, or Uber from the international airport.

Aloha Tower, Oahu

Of all the ports in Hawaii, Honolulu is the only one that resembles a metropolitan city because it is. Also, it holds the title of being the remotest city in the world.

But even though it offers the comforts of large chain franchises and big-name restaurants, it still emits a touch of intimacy with its torch-lit streets and abundance of beachside patios to watch the glowing sunsets.

Should you extend your stay in the downtown Waikiki area, a taxi ride will cost you approximately USD 25. While it’s only 3.1 miles or 4.9 km from the Honolulu cruise terminal to Waikiki, the slow traffic makes it seem longer.

Staying at Waikiki Beach can be expensive, with hotels charging resort fees and additional amounts to park a rental car. However, there are plenty of  cheap Waikiki activities , and with the recent addition of the Biki-bike program, getting around without a rental vehicle is doable.

The Waikiki area is a hub of activity with fantastic dining venues, shopping, and a good starting point for other excursions. If you have a rental vehicle, the activities are just as plentiful outside of Honolulu.

What To Do In Oahu

The Waikiki area is, without a doubt, one of the most famous tropical playgrounds in the world. With endless sports like stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling, kayaking, and bodyboarding, who would want to leave the beach?

One of the best places for snorkeling is Hanauma Bay  which is close to Waikiki. While the region around Waikiki remains a tourist hotspot, it isn’t for everyone.

Traveling around Oahu, there are awe-inspiring trails to hike like Diamond Head, Lanikai Pillbox, Koko Crater, or Stairway to Heaven, also known as the Haiku Stairs.

If hiking isn’t adventurous enough, try surfing the big surf on the north shore or getting some GoPro action in a shark cage (something I intend to do on my next trip!)

Stairs of doom at Diamond Head, Oahu

No trip to Hawaii is complete without learning its incredible history. At Iolani Palace, digest the sad story of Hawaii’s last royal family and their decline in power. Continue the history lesson at the Bishop Museum to absorb yourself in the exciting artifacts, people’s culture, and volcanic land that makes up the islands.

Also, a day at the Polynesian Cultural Center is necessary to discover the regions that make up Polynesia.

Without a doubt, the most popular port excursion is a humbling tour of Pearl Harbor. Here, I learned about the events that led to the sorrowful attack on Pearl Harbor and those that gave their lives for their country.

While it takes a day to see the Arizona Memorial, battleship, submarine, and museum, you can see parts of the exhibit if you have a plane to catch. 

Brian on the USS Bowfin

As an army brat, my visit to Pearl Harbor was not complete without a solemn visit to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. This stunning cemetery at Punchbowl Crater memorializes all men and women who perished while serving in the United States Military.

Volcano Cruising

One of the highlights for everyone cruising from Hawaii to Vancouver (or vice versa) is seeing the mighty Kilauea in action. Cruising by Kilauea usually happens between the Kona and Hilo port days.

It’s important to note that while the cruise lines list “cruising by Kilauea” on the itinerary, it’s not the spectacular event I imagined. Cruise ships circle the Big Island far from the coastline, so even if Kilauea is exercising its fury, the red lava is a speck of a glow in the far distance.

During the sail by, the captain will announce the red glow (should there be any). However, no matter how expensive your camera is, passengers cannot capture it digitally due to distance. Also, cruising past the volcano happens around midnight, when most have retired for the night.

A cruise ship at he Vancouver cruise terminal, Kilauea and colorful flowers from Hawaii

The Pros And Cons Of A One-way Cruise

With any cruise itinerary, there are pros of cons, and Hawaii is no different. Here are the highs and lows of Hawaii island sailing.

  • The one-way cruises to Hawaii are budget-friendly.
  • Ships visit up to four islands.
  • The weather is always perfect.
  • A cruise is typically less expensive than a land vacation.
  • You may only need a one-way flight.
  • Food is included, so you avoid the expense of costly restaurants.
  • It saves on the cost of island hopping.
  • Ease of planning.
  • It’s suitable for all ages.
  • One-way Hawaiian cruises have lots of sea days.
  • You cannot gamble around the Hawaiian Islands.
  • It takes a long flight to get to or from Hawaii,
  • Not enough time to enjoy each island.
  • They don’t stop at every Hawaiian island.
  • Since ships don’t usually stay overnight, evening excursions are not possible.
  • Less flexibility.

Final Thoughts

For those that have the time and the money, a back-to-back cruise extends the fun in the sun by continuing to Australia. The extended cruise stops in Tahiti, the Society Islands, and New Zealand and includes a few sea days.

While cruising to Hawaii from Vancouver, Canada makes for a fabulous vacation, it isn’t for everyone. First of all, you have to like cruising and not mind the five consecutive sea days. If you don’t feel like you see enough of Hawaii, extend your vacation with some days in a hotel.

Have you cruised to Hawaii? What was your overall experience? I’d love to hear from you.

Happy travels ~ Karen

Melanie Kerr

Saturday 8th of July 2023

I really enjoyed reading your reviews and tips on the cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii. I am booked for a the cruise on Quantum of the Seas Vancouver to Hawaii with my Mom, my sister, and her three boys. This is my Mom's bucket list cruise and I am really looking forward to it. Reading your information helped me feel more prepared and know what to expect. I really enjoyed reading about your experiences. Thank you!

Forever Karen

The cruise to Vancouver to Hawaii is one of my favorites. You've picked a great ship with lots of activities to keep everyone entertained at sea. Enjoy!

Thursday 9th of June 2022

I enjoyed reading this . My husband and i are interested in doing a cruise to Hawaii . We are 63 years old and in good health but for us , cruising might be our style. The pros outweigh the cons to me. Thank you for sharing your information .

Cindy, cruising is a relaxing way to travel, and sailing from Vancouver to Hawaii allows you to enjoy several different islands.

Saturday 30th of October 2021

Price for 15 days

Princess Cruises has one return cruise to Hawaii from Vancouver on October 18, 2022. Prices start at USD 1349, which is considered much lower than they usually sell for (maybe due to the pandemic).

Privacy Overview

Hawaiian Cruise Guide

Vancouver to Hawaii Cruises

There are cruises that go from Vancouver Canada to the Hawaiian Islands. The departures are mainly in the fall months. Some are round-trip cruises, but the others end in either Honolulu, Los Angeles, or San Diego. See our calendar of cruise departures below.

If you're mainly interested in a one-way cruise to Hawaii we have a page just for them.

Browse reviews of cruises to Hawaii from Vancouver .

16-day cruise to Hawaii on Norwegian Cruise Line . One-way from Vancouver to Honolulu (Hawaii). Visit Ketchikan (Alaska), Juneau (Alaska), Skagway (Alaska), Icy Strait Point (Alaska), Kauai (Hawaii), Maui (Hawaii) and Hilo (Hawaii). • 2024 departure: May 8.

12-night cruise to Hawaii on Celebrity Cruises . One-way from Vancouver to Honolulu (Hawaii). Visit Hilo (Hawaii), Kailua Kona (Hawaii) and Maui (Hawaii). • 2024 departure: September 21.

9-night cruise to Hawaii on Celebrity Cruises . One-way from Vancouver to Honolulu (Hawaii). Visit Kailua Kona (Hawaii), Hilo (Hawaii) and Maui (Hawaii). • 2024 departure: September 22.

10-night cruise to Hawaii on Royal Caribbean . One-way from Vancouver to Honolulu (Hawaii). Visit Hilo (Hawaii), Kauai (Hawaii), Kona (Hawaii) and Maui (Hawaii). • 2024 departure: September 22.

10-night cruise to Hawaii on Disney Cruise Line . One-way from Vancouver to Honolulu (Hawaii). Visit Kauai (Hawaii), Maui (Hawaii) and Hilo (Hawaii). • 2024 departure: September 23.

16-day cruise to Hawaii on Norwegian Cruise Line . One-way from Vancouver to Honolulu (Hawaii). Visit Ketchikan (Alaska), Juneau (Alaska), Skagway (Alaska), Icy Strait Point (Alaska), Kauai (Hawaii), Maui (Hawaii) and Hilo (Hawaii). • 2024 departure: September 25.

13-night cruise to Hawaii on Royal Caribbean . One-way from Vancouver to Honolulu (Hawaii). Visit Victoria (Canada), Seattle (Washington), San Francisco (California) and Maui (Hawaii). • 2024 departure: October 1.

9-night cruise to Hawaii on Royal Caribbean . One-way from Vancouver to Honolulu (Hawaii). Visit Maui (Hawaii) and Napali coast (Hawaii)(cruising). • 2024 departure: October 4.

16-day cruise to Hawaii on Princess Cruises . Round-trip from Vancouver to Maui (Hawaii), Kauai (Hawaii), Hilo (Hawaii) and Honolulu (Hawaii). • 2024 departure: April 14.

16-day cruise to Hawaii on Princess Cruises . Round-trip from Vancouver to Maui (Hawaii), Kauai (Hawaii), Hilo (Hawaii) and Honolulu (Hawaii). • 2024 departure: September 10.

17-day cruise to Hawaii on Holland America Line . Round-trip cruise from Vancouver to Honolulu (Oahu), Nawiliwili (Kauai), Hilo (Hawaii) and Kona (Hawaii). • 2024 departure: October 5.

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You can sail on a posh cruise from Vancouver to the Hawaiian Islands at a steal

Elana Shepert

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Vancouverites looking to visit the Hawaiian Islands this year can enjoy a two-week vacation at a steal — but most of it won't be on land. 

Princess Cruises is currently offering a round-trip sailing out of Vancouver to Hawaii that allows locals to travel to the tropical destination without spending big bucks on hotel fees or flights.

While hotels and resorts on any of the islands cost hundreds of dollars each night for accommodation alone, the cruise works out to just over $150 CAD per day and includes all of your meals, transportation, and entertainment, too. 

The 15-day Hawaiian Islands cruise departs the Canada Place terminal on Oct. 18 and spends five days at sea before visiting its first port of call, Honolulu, Oahu, on Oct. 24. The following day, guests will visit Kahului, Maui. After that, the cruise stops in Hilo, Hawaii on Oct. 26 and makes its final stop in Kona, Hawaii on Oct. 26.

Guests spend five more days on the lavish vessel before disembarking in Vancouver on Nov. 2. 

Cruise from Vancouver with Princess Cruises to Hawaii

The total for two guests in an interior stateroom works out to $5,046.30 CAD including all taxes and fees, which works out to $2,523.15 CAD per person. Since the cruise is 15 days long, this works out to a per diem cost of $168.21 CAD.

Not only does that cost include your transportation on a beautiful five-star vessel, but it also includes meals, entertainment, snacks, and lodging. The only thing it doesn’t factor in is alcohol, but you may opt to purchase a drink package that can reduce the cost of your spending.

The cruise ship is the five-star Crown Princess, which offers four swimming pools, seven hot tubs, a live theatre, tennis, mini-golf, renowned spa treatments, movies under the stars, a jogging track, a video arcade, and much more. 


Book your cruise with Princess Cruises  online . 

Early this year, I sailed on another cruise line's first voyage to Vancouver since the onset of the pandemic. Read my experience  sailing from San Diego in April . 

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norwegian cruise vancouver to hawaii

The ultimate guide to Norwegian Cruise Line ships and itineraries

Gene Sloan

Looking for a cruise where you can do what you want, whenever you want, without a lot of structure and rules? Norwegian Cruise Line could be your brand.

The Miami-based cruise line pioneered the idea of "freestyle cruising" — cruising without rigid dining schedules, dress codes and formal nights — and it's still the go-to line for vacationers who want a floating resort experience with a casual, laissez-faire vibe.

Instead of a few big main restaurants with fixed seating times, Norwegian ships offer a wide range of eateries and no assigned seating times — just make a reservation. When it's time for dinner, if you want to dress up, fine. There's no rule saying you must, though.

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Norwegian vessels also offer lots of options for daytime fun but are particularly well known for evening entertainment. You'll find everything from music halls with Beatles cover bands and dueling piano bars to theaters with some of the most elaborate shows at sea — including some big-name Broadway productions.

Norwegian ships are also loaded with bars, lounges and nightclubs, including always-busy casinos. Put it all together, and you have vessels with a very lively atmosphere — particularly at night. If you had to compare Norwegian ships to something on land, you'd probably say they were like floating versions of the casino resorts you find in Las Vegas.

Just to be clear, Norwegian is a big-ship line . Its largest vessels are among the biggest cruise ships at sea (they must be, to accommodate everything mentioned above). If you want an intimate cruise experience, Norwegian probably isn't a good choice.

That said, the line does offer some smaller ships that aren't quite as big and bustling as its giants.

Norwegian is also a mass-market brand, not a luxury cruise operator. Still, as we'll explain below, it offers a wide range of accommodations, some of which fall squarely in the luxury segment. In some cases, its ships have an exclusive area full of high-end cabins and suites called The Haven that comes with its own private pools, lounge areas and even restaurants.

In short, if you want to turn a Norwegian cruise into a luxury experience , you can do that, too. Norwegian really is the line where you make the trip what you want it to be.

Related: Which cruise brand is right for you?

3 things TPG loves about Norwegian Cruise Line

  • The do-what-you-want freestyle vibe
  • The wide range of restaurants, bars and nightspots
  • The stellar entertainment

What we could do without

  • The sky-high extra charges

The Norwegian Cruise Line fleet

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Norwegian is the world's fourth-largest cruise line by passenger capacity, with 19 ships that together offer 56,780 berths.

Smaller only than Royal Caribbean , Carnival Cruise Line and MSC Cruises , the brand has become increasingly known for having some of the biggest, most amenity-filled vessels at sea. The line doesn't just operate giant ships, though. More than half of its fleet is comprised of vessels that, by today's standards, are considered almost midsize.

Indeed, Norwegian is essentially two cruise lines in one. The line's nine newest ships are big, bustling floating megaresorts that can carry upwards of 3,000 to 4,000 passengers at double occupancy (and even more with every berth filled). At around 143,000 to nearly 170,000 tons, all eight currently rank among the 50 biggest cruise ships in the world (although their rankings will shift downward as more big ships debut).

Related: How to book a cruise with points and miles

However, Norwegian's 10 older ships are much more modest in size, measuring around 75,000 to 94,000 tons and carrying closer to 2,000 passengers at double occupancy.

Norwegian thus appeals both to cruisers who like a giant resort vibe and those who prefer something more modest. The key, depending on your tastes, is getting on the right ship in the fleet.

On the big-ship end of the spectrum, Norwegian's four relatively new Breakaway Plus-class vessels — Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Escape — are the line's premier offerings. While not quite as big as Royal Caribbean's giant, Oasis-class ships , they are firmly in the pantheon of the world's cruising giants. They are the Norwegian vessels most packed with restaurants, bars, entertainment and over-the-top attractions.

Unveiled in 2019, Norwegian Encore is, notably, the 23rd biggest cruise ship in the world as of this story's publishing (it will drop in the rankings over the coming years as additional megaships debut). At 169,116 tons, it's bigger than all but three Carnival ships. Only Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises have significantly more bigger vessels.

One step down in size from the Breakaway Plus ships are the still-quite-large Breakaway-class ships — Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway — as well as the one-of-a-kind Norwegian Epic and the recently unveiled Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva .

Around 17% smaller than Norwegian's biggest vessels, Prima and Viva are the first tow of six sister ships that the line will roll out between now and 2027 that will significantly change the composition of its fleet. While not the biggest vessels in the Norwegian fleet, these ships will be notably packed with restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and decktop attractions. They also mark a more upscale turn for the line, with more space per passenger than earlier Norwegian ships and lots of suites.

Related: I've been on nearly every Norwegian ship. Here are my first impressions of Norwegian Prima

Norwegian's 10 smaller vessels break down among five classes, but many are roughly the same size and offer similar amenities.

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One notable outlier among the smaller ships is the 2,186-passenger Pride of America. Sporting a patriotic U.S. theme (you'll find venues named after Thomas Jefferson and John Adams), and a distinct array of lounges and entertainment, it's the only big cruise vessel based year-round in Hawaii.

Pride of America notably operates with a mostly U.S. crew, in keeping with regulations governing cruise itineraries that only include U.S. ports.

Related: Our take on the new Norwegian Encore

Destinations and itineraries

Norwegian sails almost everywhere in the world, but its heaviest presence is in the Caribbean, Europe and Alaska.

In a typical summer, the line will deploy nearly half its ships to Europe while sending several more to the West Coast to sail to Alaska from Seattle; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Seward, Alaska. It'll also operate trips to Bermuda from New York City and Boston, usually with two ships, and trips to the Bahamas and the Caribbean out of Miami.

During the winter, the line will move many of its vessels to North America to operate sailings to the Caribbean and Bahamas. It also sends a few ships to Asia, Australia and South America, and it'll typically keep a single vessel in Europe, too.

As mentioned above, the line also operates one ship (Pride of America) in Hawaii year-round. It's the only cruise line to offer year-round voyages in Hawaii.

norwegian cruise vancouver to hawaii

In North America, Norwegian ships sail out of Baltimore; Boston; Galveston, Texas; New York City; Miami; Tampa; San Juan, Puerto Rico; New Orleans; San Diego; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Seattle; Honolulu; Vancouver, British Columbia; Quebec City; and Seward, Alaska.

In Europe, Norwegian ships sail out of Amsterdam; Stockholm; Copenhagen; Oslo and Tromso, Norway; Southampton and Portsmouth, England; Le Havre, France; Reykjavik; Lisbon, Portugal; Barcelona; Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) and Trieste, Italy (near Venice); Piraeus, Greece (the port for Athens); and Istanbul.

Related: The best Caribbean cruise for every type of traveler

Who sails Norwegian Cruise Line?

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Norwegian appeals to vacationers who want a big-resort experience at sea with lots of options for dining and entertainment. In that, it's similar to Royal Caribbean — perhaps its closest competitor.

However, unlike Royal Caribbean, Norwegian hasn't retained any of the trappings of old-style cruising. There are no formal nights, as you'll still find on Royal Caribbean ships, or dress codes. Norwegian has also thoroughly done away with the concept of big main restaurants with fixed seating.

Because of that, Norwegian is popular with people who are seeking flexibility — freedom to eat when they want, with whom they want and to dress however they want, for sure, but also more freedom in general to just set their own schedule day and night.

Norwegian cruises are very unstructured vacations, and that's by design.

Like Royal Caribbean ships, Norwegian vessels have an inordinate amount of teen- and tween-friendly attractions — everything from some of the largest waterslides at sea to the only go-kart tracks on the ocean . That makes them particularly appealing to families, including multigenerational groups. Families are a big part of Norwegian's business.

It's not just families that flock to Norwegian, though. The line's ships are designed to offer a little something for everyone, and thus they appeal to a wide demographic, including couples of all ages and even solo travelers (the line has been a leader in adding solo cabins to ships in recent years). They also draw customers with a wide range of incomes.

At their core, Norwegian ships are mass-market ships, with entry-level cabins that are affordable to middle-class travelers. However, overlaid across most vessels are high-end suites and services that are at a luxury level, and the line draws a good number of luxury-seeking travelers.

The exclusive, keycard-accessed suite complex called The Haven (found on 13 of Norwegian's 19 ships) comes with private lounges, pools and other tony features. It's essentially a small, luxury vessel that has been planted atop otherwise middle-class, mass-market megaships. These complexes appeal to well-heeled travelers who want a luxury cruising experience while also getting all the fun attractions, entertainment and dining venues only a mass-market megaship can offer.

Cabins and suites

Norwegian is known for offering a wide range of accommodations on its ships. You'll find everything from relatively low-cost, windowless inside cabins that measure as little as 135 square feet (perfect for the budget traveler) to massive, multi-room suites that are more than 50 times that size.

At the high end, the accommodations are aimed at affluent travelers who, for whatever reason, prefer the megaship experience to that of a luxury ship, and they truly are among the most spectacular accommodations at sea.

Some, such as the giant Garden Villas found on six Norwegian ships — Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Star — sprawl over thousands of square feet and have as many as three bedrooms plus separate living rooms and dining rooms.

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The Garden Villas also have private outdoor sun decks and courtyards with hot tubs. Additionally, the Garden Villas on Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Star include private outdoor dining areas and steam rooms.

norwegian cruise vancouver to hawaii

Depending on the ship, top suites can come with perks such as private butlers and concierges who attend to your every need, access to a private restaurant, a private suite lounge and sun deck, reserved seating in entertainment venues and priority boarding and disembarkation.

On more than half of Norwegian's ships, many of the top suites are part of The Haven. Billed as an upscale "ship within a ship" and aimed at luxury travelers, The Haven is located at the very top of vessels and often comes with private lounges, pools, sunning areas and even restaurants.

norwegian cruise vancouver to hawaii

Norwegian is also heralded for kicking off the trend of more solo cabins on cruise ships . In 2010, it debuted an entire zone of small studio cabins for one — 128 in all — on its then-new, 4,070-passenger Norwegian Epic, and it has since added them to seven more new ships.

The studio cabins are tiny at just 100 square feet. However, they're superbly designed to maximize storage space. On the ships that have them, they are clustered around an exclusive Studio Lounge where solo travelers can mingle at daily happy hour gatherings.

Related: What it takes to get concierge lounge access on a cruise ship

Restaurants and dining

Norwegian was an early pioneer of the idea of giving cruisers lots of choices when it comes to restaurants on ships, and even its smallest vessels offer a wide range of options.

On Norwegian's recently built Breakaway Plus-class ships, there are up to 20 places to grab a bite, ranging from high-end French restaurants and steakhouses to casual pubs.

Every vessel has two or three main restaurants and a casual buffet where meals are included in the fare — the latter is usually called the Garden Cafe.

Other included-in-the-fare venues found on some ships include O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar and Grill, a casual pub; an outdoor bar and grill called Topsiders; and casual Asian restaurants that go by many names including Shanghai's Noodle Bar, Ginza and Bamboo.

Also, every ship has a least four and often many more extra-charge eateries. Two found across the entire fleet are Cagney's, the line's signature steakhouse, and Le Bistro, a fine French restaurant. Every ship also has an Italian restaurant, called Onda by Scarpetta or La Cucina. There also are churrascaria restaurants called Moderno on most Norwegian vessels.

norwegian cruise vancouver to hawaii

On some ships, you'll also find Ocean Blue, a seafood restaurant; The District Brew House, a gastropub serving craft beers; and a Mexican spot called either Los Lobos or Los Lobos Cantina. Every vessel has some sort of sushi restaurant, often called Sushi or Wasabi, and there are hibachi-style teppanyaki restaurants on nearly every Norwegian vessel.

You might even find Starbucks stores on some ships (the one-year-old Norwegian Prima has two!) and there are Starbucks products on every Norwegian vessel. Also, some ships have private restaurants just for passengers staying in The Haven.

Some of the extra-charge restaurants come with a flat fee (the teppanyaki outlets are $59 per person, not including the cost of drinks). However, most are a la carte, with sometimes hefty pricing. One thing you need to know upfront about going on a Norwegian cruise is that there are a lot of extra charges — and sometimes quite high extra charges — on the line's ships, particularly for things like restaurants.

A surf-and-turf dish at Ocean Blue that combines an 8-ounce filet mignon with a lobster tail costs $55, for example. If you just order a whole lobster, you'll be out $49. The least expensive entree on the menu, a roasted cauliflower steak, is $22.

norwegian cruise vancouver to hawaii

If you know you want to eat at several extra-charge restaurants during a single voyage, you can buy one of several dining packages that offer meals at a discount.

Related: The 7 best meals you can have at sea

Entertainment and activities

Few lines offer as broad a range of entertainment and activities on their ships as Norwegian. The line's biggest vessels offer multiple entertainment venues, from theaters to comedy clubs; a wide range of deck-top attractions; large casinos; full-service spas; and even virtual reality attractions. You'll also find a seemingly endless array of bars, lounges and nightspots.

Theaters and shows

norwegian cruise vancouver to hawaii

Entertainment is one of the core areas where Norwegian excels, and if you're the kind of person who loves nights out with live music and lively performances on your vacations, you're going to love the line.

Many of Norwegian's biggest ships have state-of-the-art theaters as big as those you'd find on Broadway, with big-name productions to match. Norwegian Bliss, for instance, has the Tony Award-winning "Jersey Boys."

In some cases, the Broadway shows are cut down slightly from the original versions, and the casts aren't quite as seasoned as what you'll find on Broadway. However, these are quality productions. The best part is they are entirely free. Compare that with the hundreds of dollars you'd spend to take your family to a show in New York City.

norwegian cruise vancouver to hawaii

Norwegian ships also are jam-packed with music venues. Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Epic, for instance, have the Cavern Club, a reproduction of the British club that gave rise to the Beatles. It comes complete with a cover band that plays the group's greatest hits.

There are also Howl at the Moon dueling piano bars on some Norwegian ships, and there's the lively Q Texas Smokehouse found on Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy (a music-and-food concept that pairs live music with barbecue).

In addition, several Norwegian ships offer dinner theater venues with circus-type productions, and one vessel, Norwegian Getaway, features a magic-infused dinner theater show in a steampunk-inspired space called The Illusionarium.

Several ships also offer comedy club entertainment.

Other interior attractions and activities

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In addition to entertainment spaces, the interiors of Norwegian ships are loaded with other venues where passengers can kick back and let loose day and night.

All but one Norwegian ship (Pride of America) has a casino, and on the line's bigger vessels, they are huge operations. The casino on Norwegian Encore has more than 300 slot machines and 26 table games (including blackjack, roulette, poker and craps), plus its own bar.

On the line's big Breakaway-class and Breakaway Plus-class ships, the casino — along with a large proportion of all onboard restaurants, bars and clubs — sprawls across three central decks connected by an atrium-like space known as 678 Ocean Place (the name derives from the location of the decks, which on each ship are decks 6, 7 and 8). At night, these three-deck complexes become bustling places.

The Breakaway- and Breakaway Plus-class ships have innovative outdoor promenades called The Waterfront lined with seating for many restaurants and bars. The Waterfront is located on Deck 8 of each of the ships, which is one of the main decks for restaurants on them all.

Like the ships of the Breakaway and Breakaway-plus classes, the Prima Class ships have a lively zone that mixes casino space, bars, eateries and entertainment that sprawls across decks 6, 7 and 8. These vessels also have outdoor eating space in an area called Ocean Boulevard.

In addition, Norwegian two new Prima Class ships (Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva), as well as another relatively new Norwegian vessels — Norwegian Encore — have innovative gaming and virtual reality zones called Galaxy Pavilion (a fourth Galaxy Pavilion area on Norwegian Joy is being removed during an overhaul in dry dock scheduled for early 2024).

There's nothing quite like Galaxy Pavilion in the cruise world. The venue has an amazing array of high-tech virtual reality experiences, including incredibly realistic race car simulators (on Norwegian Encore, there are eight in a row along one wall), hang gliding simulators, virtual mazes and a virtual reality "Jurassic Park" ride.

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The Galaxy Pavilion on Norwegian Encore is the biggest of them all. Among added features, it includes a 45-minute escape room experience laced with special effects. Themed around a Spanish galleon, it's designed to be played by up to six people at a time.

Just be warned that you'll pay a hefty fee to play in the Galaxy Pavilion. A weeklong pass to the venue will set you back $199 per person. There also are hourlong passes available for $29 per person, or you can sample a single ride for $8 (except for the escape room, which is priced separately at $15 per person).

There's also a bowling alley on Norwegian Epic and duck pin bowling lanes on Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway.

Norwegian ships also all have Mandara Spas, which can be quite big on the bigger vessels, and there are fitness centers on every ship.

Deck-top attractions

What you'll find on the top decks of Norwegian ships will vary quite a bit depending on the vessel. The line's smaller ships will have at least one or two pools, sunning areas and usually a sports court area — but not all that much else.

The big ships are a different story.

On the line's Breakaway-, Breakaway Plus- and Epic-class ships, you'll find giant waterslides and kiddie splash zones and, in some cases, even more over-the-top attractions such as go-kart tracks and laser tag arenas.

The go-kart tracks (now on Norwegian Viva, Norwegian Prima, Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy) are quickly becoming Norwegian's signature can-you-believe-this-is-on-a-ship attraction, and they truly are impressive. The biggest two of them, on Norwegian Viva and Norwegian Prima, are nearly 1,400 feet long and sprawl over three decks.

Note that this is some serious go-karting. The cars that Norwegian uses can hit speeds up to 32 miles per hour. Three of the speedways, on Norwegian Viva, Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Encore, also feature middle-of-the-track observation areas where your family and friends can cheer you on to victory — and even shoot you with "lasers" that'll give you a boost of power.

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The open-air laser tag arenas also are significant venues that are unlike anything you'll find atop the ships of other lines. The one on Norwegian Encore, which is the largest laser tag arena ever put on a ship, is themed around the lost city of Atlantis and spans the back of the vessel.

As is the case with the Galaxy Pavilion attractions mentioned above, the go-kart and laser tag experiences on Norwegian ships don't come cheap. You'll pay $15 per person for an eight-lap romp on the go-karts. Joining a five-minute laser shootout costs $10 per person. In both cases, you can buy a weeklong pass for $199.

norwegian cruise vancouver to hawaii

The top decks of a few Norwegian ships — mostly the bigger ones — also have a ropes course, a climbing wall or both. Some vessels also have miniature golf courses.

You'll find an exclusive, extra-charge, adults-only VIP sunning area on seven Norwegian ships called Vibe Beach Club. The biggest of these areas is on Norwegian Encore, where Vibe Beach Club is an expansive private lounge with a full-service bar, cabanas and two hot tubs designed to hold up to 270 people — far more than on other ships.

For those with money to burn (pricing on Norwegian Encore recently was $99 per person for a day pass), the Vibe Beach Clubs are lovely, secluded deck-top hideaways. However, there's a downside for everyone else on board the ships that have them, which is that they take away from the deck-top lounge space available to everybody else.

Related: The 12 cruise ships with the most spectacular attractions at sea

Children's programs

As is typical for big-ship cruise lines, Norwegian has an extensive children's program, with programs and activities for children as young as 6 months through the age of 17.

The heart of the program, called Splash Academy, brings free, supervised activities daily for children ages 3 to 12. The line splits children here up into three age groups: Turtles (ages 3 to 5), Seals (ages 6 to 9) and Dolphins (ages 10 to 12), and they each have their own age-appropriate activities ranging from treasure hunts to video game competitions. On many ships, there are extensive dedicated spaces for the different groups.

While the free programming ends at 10:30 p.m., you can pay extra to leave your kids at Splash Academy past 10:30 p.m. until 1:30 a.m., when it's billed as the Late Night Fun Zone.

norwegian cruise vancouver to hawaii

Norwegian also has rooms on its ships for babies and toddlers ages 6 months to 3 years. Called Guppies, the program offers parents a place to play with their youngest children, with occasional youth staff-led activities and games.

Norwegian also offers dedicated teen zones and programming on ships for children ages 13 to 17. Called Entourage, the teen zone is a place for teens to hang out, dance and play games, and it's supervised by counselors who plan activities and challenges.

What to know before you go

Required documents.

A passport is required for all cruises leaving from a non-U.S. port and all Panama Canal sailings (regardless of departure port). If you're a U.S. citizen, you don't need a passport for most sailings from U.S. ports (including sailings to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, the Mexican Riviera and Alaska).

Instead, you can travel with a state-certified birth certificate or other proof of citizenship and a driver's license or other government-issued photo identification. That said, Norwegian strongly recommends that all travelers bring a passport.

Passports must be valid for at least six months after your trip, and the name on your reservation must be exactly as it's printed on your passport or other official proof of nationality.

Norwegian adds an automatic service charge of $20 to $25 per person, per day, to final bills, depending on your cabin category. Depending on the service you receive, you can adjust the amount up or down at the guest services desk before disembarking. In addition, a 20% gratuity is added to the bill at bars, extra-charge specialty restaurants and ship spas.

Related: Everything you need to know about tipping on a cruise ship

Norwegian has been rolling out faster Wi-Fi systems across its fleet in recent years, so you can now stream video on ships.

Pricing changes over time, but the fastest "premium" service on Norwegian vessels recently was priced at $39.99 per person per day, if you bought it in advance. Norwegian also offers a less expensive plan that doesn't allow video streaming for $29.99 per person per day if purchased in advance.

This pricing is quite a bit higher than what some other lines, such as Carnival or Princess, charge for Wi-Fi. Princess recently was charging just $14.99 per person per day for a WiFi package.

Related: Wi-Fi on ships really is getting better

Carry-on drinks policy

Norwegian allows you to bring bottles of your own wine or Champagne on board, but it will charge you a hefty corkage fee of $15 per bottle for the privilege — even if you plan to drink the bottle in your room. This is a more draconian policy than you'll find at most lines. Most lines allow passengers to bring at least a bottle or two of their own wine on board at no charge.

Smoking policy

On all ships, smoking (including e-cigarette smoking) is only allowed in designated outdoor areas, cigar lounges (for cigar smoking only) and casinos. It's forbidden in cabins and on cabin balconies. Passengers caught smoking in their cabins will be fined $250 per occurrence.

Unlike many cruise vessels, Norwegian ships do not have self-serve launderettes on cabin decks for passenger use. Instead, the line offers extra-charge laundry and dry cleaning services.

Related: Everything you need to know about cruise ship laundry services

Electrical outlets

All cabins on Norwegian vessels have standard North American-style, 110-volt outlets and European-style, 220-volt outlets. Some cabins also have USB ports.

The currency used on all Norwegian itineraries is U.S. dollars. All vessels operate on a cashless system with any onboard purchases you make posting automatically to your onboard account. You'll receive a cruise card you can use to make charges. This same card also lets you into your cabin.

Drinking age

The official drinking age on Norwegian ships is 21. That said, passengers who are 18 to 20 can purchase and consume beer or wine on ships in international waters with permission from parents or legal guardians. The parent or legal guardian must be on board and sign a waiver at guest services. The lower drinking age in international waters does not apply during sailings in Alaska and Hawaii.

Norwegian Cruise Line may be the most laid-back line out there when it comes to dress codes. You can basically wear whatever you want, whenever you want.

The line specifically says that casual wear (think: khakis, jeans, shorts and casual shirts for men; casual dresses, skirts, shorts, jeans and tops for women) is just fine anytime during the day, at the buffet and in most specialty restaurants.

The line just recommends a step up to "smart casual" outfits in its more formal dining rooms and upscale specialty restaurants. In keeping with Norwegian's laid-backness, this might still mean nothing more than a crisper pair of jeans, or maybe slacks with a collared shirt, for men. Definitely no need for a jacket. For women, slacks, jeans, dresses, skirts and tops will do fine.

Related: What to pack for your first cruise

Norwegian Cruise Line loyalty program

Norwegian has a point-based frequent cruiser program, Latitudes Rewards, that has seven tiers, ranging from Bronze (requiring 1 point) to Ambassador (700 points).

Members earn points for every night they sail on one of the line's ships. They get an additional point for every night they stay in a concierge room, a suite (not including stays in minisuites, or stays in suites resulting from an upgrade) or a room in The Haven. They also get an additional point for every night booked through a Latitudes Rewards Insider Offer.

Hitting the first tier, Bronze, takes one cruise. Reaching the second tier, Silver (20 points), would take at the most three cruises if you're doing seven-night trips.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Norwegian loyalty program

Lower tiers don't bring all that much in terms of truly valuable benefits. You'll get things like priority check-in and discounted spa treatments performed while ships are in port. However, higher levels of the program start to be enticing.

Platinum (75 points) brings free dinners at two extra-charge restaurants, a discount on an internet package, behind-the-scenes ship tours and concierge service.

The top Ambassador level brings a truly wonderful perk: a one-time complimentary seven-night cruise in a balcony cabin. You can pick almost any sailing except trips around Christmas and the new year.

In contrast to airline frequent-flyer programs, cruise line loyalty programs do not require you to requalify for status every year. So, yes, the perks with lower tiers aren't great. But it's not as difficult as it might at first seem to hit the more rewarding higher tiers in just a few years if you're cruising a lot.

A passenger staying in suites and booking through Latitudes Rewards Insider Offers could get to the Platinum level with just four seven-night cruises.

Related: The TPG guide to cruise line loyalty programs

How much does a Norwegian cruise cost?

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Norwegian designs its ships to appeal to a broad mix of people, in part by offering a wide range of cabin types at varying price points. On a typical sailing, you might find an entry-level cabin for around $100 a night while a high-end suite is five to 15 times that amount.

At the time of this story's posting, A The Haven two-bedroom family villa on Norwegian Jewel for a seven-night Alaska cruise in August 2024, for example, was going for $13,978 per person, based on double occupancy. That's more than 13 times the cost of the least expensive inside cabin (which was starting at $1,058 per person, based on double occupancy). Oceanview cabins on the same sailing started at $1,698 per person, based on double occupancy.

Note the "based on double occupancy" caveat in the above paragraph. As is typical for cruise lines, Norwegian charges on a per-person basis, not per room, and it prices most cabins based on two people occupying a room. It does offer some cabins for solo travelers on some ships that are priced based on single occupancy.

In general, Norwegian's newer ships including Norwegian Viva, Norwegian Prima and the Breakaway-class and Breakaway Plus-class vessels will be more expensive than the line's older, smaller ships. However, there are many factors that go into pricing for any given cruise, including the popularity of the specific itinerary, the time of year when the cruise is taking place and changing demand trends.

As you might expect, pricing for all ships will generally be lower during offseason periods such as September and October.

The timing of when you book can also matter. Cruises book up much further in advance than airplanes or hotels, and many cruisers will tell you the best pricing for any given sailing often is available when cruises first go on sale (which can be a good two years before a departure). Booking far in advance will also give you the best chance of getting your preferred cabin type and location on a ship.

Once on board a Norwegian ship, you'll pay extra for most drinks, extra-charge restaurants, spa services, shore excursions, internet service and a few other things — unless you've bought a package for some of these items in advance. Some onboard activities such as go-karting also come with an extra charge. What's included in the fare is your lodging, meals (in non-extra-charge restaurants) and most entertainment.

Related: 15 ways that first-time cruisers waste money on a cruise

How to book

If you're sure you know what sort of cabin you want, on which ship, on which itinerary — and about a dozen other things — you can head over to to make a booking directly.

That said, given the complexity of booking a cruise (there are a lot of decisions to make during the booking process — trust us) we recommend you use a seasoned travel agent who specializes in cruises.

A good travel agent will quiz you about your particular interests, travel style and preferences, and steer you to the perfect cruise line, ship, itinerary and cabin for you. They can also help you if something goes wrong just before, during or after your voyage.

If you're sure Norwegian is your line, look for a travel agent who specializes in trips with the brand. You want someone who understands all the little quirks that are unique to Norwegian's cabin categories and, preferably, has done ship inspections to see the cabins firsthand.

Whether you use a travel agent or not, make sure to maximize your purchase when paying for the cruise by using a card that offers extra points for travel purchases . This could be the Chase Sapphire Reserve , which offers 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining (excluding the annual $300 travel credit), or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card , which brings 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on dining.

Bottom line

For big-ship lovers, Norwegian pretty much has it all. There's tons of great entertainment on Norwegian's vessels, plenty of venues for eating and drinking, and all sorts of deck-top diversions — at least on the line's newest ships. Throw in the brand's low starting prices, and it's an even more compelling package.

If we have a gripe with the line, it's about the "extra-charge creep" we've been seeing for attractions on Norwegian ships such as go-karts and laser tag in recent years, and the higher a la carte prices spreading across the line's onboard restaurants.

Then again, you get what you pay for, as the saying goes. If you're on a tight budget, there are plenty of included-in-the-fare choices for dining and entertainment. If money is no object, you can follow a different "journey" through the ship, as Norwegian executives like to say, to a far more high-end vacation.

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Hawaii & Alaska from Honolulu to Vancouver, 21 April 2024

Departure: 21 Apr 2024

  • Cruise + Flight

Map of the cruise

Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line

Ship: Norwegian Spirit

  • Family Friendly
  • Transfers Included

What our customers say

"The stay in Rome was great before the cruise, It was our first cruise and it was great. the ship, the Norwegian Spirit was not to big but good. the staff were a credit to NCL and could not do enough for you. food was excellent and the freestyle suited us as there where no set times for meals. the speciality restaurants were good for our first cruise it was brilliant. The entertainment and shows were great .Looking forward to our next with planet cruise" view more

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  • Travel Requirements

Ship facilities

Cabins & prices, what's included.

On board Norwegian Spirit:

  • Freestyle Dining with choice of complimentary dining venues
  • Speciality Dining venues* including: Cagney's Steakhouse and Le Bistro
  • Choice of bars & lounges including Magnum's Champagne & Wine Bar, Henry's Pub & Spinnaker Lounge
  • Stardust Theatre
  • Aqua Park with swimming pool, hot tubs, sundeck and kid's pool area
  • Sports Complex including outdoor basketball court and golf driving net
  • Family friendly activities including Video Arcade, Splash Academy and children’s and teen’s clubs
  • Maharajah's Casino with gaming tables & slot machines
  • Mandara Spa with treatment rooms and an on board beauty salon
  • Pulse Fitness Centre with full range of exercise equipment & gym facilities
  • Jogging track

*Please note some dining venues may require an additional cover charge

What's included?

  • 1-2 Fly from the UK
  • 2 Cruise departs from Honolulu, Oahu departs at: 7 pm
  • 3-4 Nawiliwili, Kauai - Overnight onboard arrives at: 8 am, departs at: 2 pm
  • 5 Kahului, Maui arrives at: 8:30 am, departs at: 8 pm
  • 6 Hilo, Hawaii arrives at: 8 am, departs at: 4 pm
  • 7-11 At Sea
  • 12 Icy Strait Point arrives at: 8 am, departs at: 8 pm
  • 13 Juneau arrives at: 8 am, departs at: 8 pm
  • 14 Glacier Bay - Cruising
  • 15 Skagway arrives at: 7 am, departs at: 5 pm
  • 16 Ketchikan arrives at: 12 pm, departs at: 8 pm
  • 18 Vancouver arrives at: 6 am, departs at: 5 pm
  • 18 Fly to the UK
  • 19 Arrive in UK - Overnight flight

norwegian cruise vancouver to hawaii

  • Additional bedding (1 or 2 guests)
  • Bathroom with shower
  • Other amenities
  • Refrigerator
  • Room service
  • Sleeps up to 4
  • Two lower beds that convert to a queen size bed

Guarantee Inside

  • Additional bedding

Cabins may be on any deck and assigned up to one day prior to embarkation

Family Inside

Oceanview picture window.

  • Big picture window
  • Sitting area
  • Sleeps up to 3

Family Oceanview

  • Picture window or porthole window

Guarantee Oceanview

  • Some cabins may have partially or fully obstructed views
  • Two pull-down beds

Some cabins do not have two pull-down beds

Deluxe Oceanview

  • Floor-to-ceiling glass doors
  • Private balcony
  • Single sofa bed

Guarantee Balcony

Some cabins do not have a single sofa bed

Aft-Facing Owner's Suite with Master Bedroom & Balcony

  • 24-hour butler and concierge service
  • Dining room
  • Large Balcony
  • Living room
  • Luxury bath with whirlpool tub
  • Separate bedroom with king or queen-size bed

Forward-Facing Penthouse with Large Balcony

  • Bedroom with a queen-size bed
  • Dining area
  • Luxury bath and shower

Aft-Facing Penthouse with Large Balcony

  • Walk-in closet

Forward-Facing Deluxe Penthouse with Large Balcony

Penthouse with large balcony.

  • Bedroom with queen size bed

Customer reviews for Norwegian Spirit


The stay in Rome was great before the cruise, It was our first cruise and it was great. the ship, the Norwegian Spirit was not to big but good. the staff were a credit to NCL and could not do enough for you. food was excellent and the freestyle suited us as there where no set times for meals. the speciality restaurants were good for our first cruise it was brilliant. The entertainment and shows were great .Looking forward to our next with planet cruise


The ship Norwegian spirit was fantastic . The staff were absolutely fantastic . Food was amazing . Would definitely cruise with Norwegian again and have already recommended this cruise line to family and friends

Cabin service was spot on, meal time attendance to detail was impressive and polite.

The itinerary was good. The trips were excellent mostly. The cabin was poor, we had to complain, firstly the keycard wouldn’t work several times & by the time we’d sorted that we then realised how poor the cabin was, we’d paid for an outside view & we were on level 4 so our only view of the outside was looking down a tube( porthole) but the worst problem was the noise after we left port, not the sea noise but the metal noise after each wave, the first few days we were told the ship was completely full so no available cabins eventually after about a week we were offered a much better cabin on level 5 with a proper outside view & much better standard of decoration. With the exception of one man on guest services, everyone was very helpful & polite & couldn’t do enough to help. Food was reasonable but we found that the entertainment was a bit limited, compared to other ships. The Norwegian spirit was built for the Asian market & therefore its ceiling height in the public spaces is less than in other ships. It’s being renovated at the end of the year & then it’s back off to the Far East. A good cruise but could have been better.

More cruises on Norwegian Spirit

  • Any destination Alaska Asia Australasia Canada Far East Hawaii Indian ocean North america Repositioning Inside">Inside Cabin Balcony">Balcony Cabin Suite">Suite Cabin Outside">Outside Cabin
  • Explore the Fjords of New Zealand & Australia with Auckland Stay 16 Feb 2024 18 nights Inside from £3,349 per person
  • Australia & New Zealand from Auckland with Stay 17 Feb 2024 17 nights Inside from £2,879 per person
  • Highlights of New Zealand & Australia with Auckland & Sydney Stays 17 Feb 2024 18 nights Inside from £3,199 per person
  • Australia & New Zealand from Sydney with Stay & Opera House Tour 28 Feb 2024 18 nights Inside from £3,449 per person
  • Australia & New Zealand from Sydney with Stay 29 Feb 2024 17 nights Inside from £3,299 per person
  • Australia & Fjords of New Zealand with Sydney and Auckland Stays 02 Mar 2024 17 nights Inside from £2,749 per person

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Life onboard norwegian spirit.

Norwegian Spirit

Home to well appointed staterooms and suites, fabulous dining options, and activities for everyone. Travel in style on Norwegian Spirit. Read more

The Norwegian Difference

No fixed dining times, no pre-assigned seating, freedom and flexibility to follow your own schedule. Read more

Relax and Recharge

Sweat it out or slow it down with facilities to unwind your body and your mind on board Norwegian Spirit. Read more

Freestyle Dining

Dine inside or oceanside. Formal or casual. Perhaps even start with dessert. Dining on board Norwegian Spirit is all about choice. Read more

Activities for Everyone

There’s never a dull moment with activities for everyone packed from top to bottom and from bow to stern on Norwegian Spirit. Read more

It’s Showtime!

Embrace the holiday spirit and enjoy evenings brimming with entertainment. You'll be spoilt for choice with a stellar line up on board. Read more

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NCL Hawaii (2023-25)

Availability twin share (per person) solo (own room) triple share (per person) quad share (per person) click on prices below to view cabin upgrades and details, similar cruises.

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Cruises from Vancouver to Hawaii

From luxurious days at sea to gorgeous Hawaiian landscapes

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On our cruises from Vancouver to Hawaii, you’ll get plenty of time to enjoy all of the onboard amenities our award-winning luxury cruise ships offer before experiencing the magic of the Hawaiian islands. Get a five-star spa treatment at The Spa, watch riveting live performances, and delight in culinary creations designed exclusively by a Michelin-starred chef.

A fter indulgent days aboard one of our innovative ships, you’ll arrive at the magnificent Hawaiian islands. Witness jaw-dropping waterfalls nestled deep in the lush rainforest in Hilo. Taste the world-famous Kona coffee and chocolate, and admire the views of the island from the vantage point of a helicopter in Kailua Kona. Board a catamaran off the coast of Maui for an unforgettable sunset cruise. Immerse yourself in the pleasures of this awe-inspiring Pacific paradise.

View All Hawaii Cruises from Vancouver

Departure port.

Regularly voted one of Canada’s top destinations, it’s not hard to see why vacationers love Vancouver. Get your fix of art and culture at one of the city’s many landmark institutions, like the Vancouver Art Gallery or the Museum of Vancouver. Sample fresh seafood and local ingredients in one of the city’s trendy restaurants. Spot wild orcas off the coast or take a gondola ride to the summit of Grouse Mountain.   

Ports of Call

Your first port of call on a Vancouver to Hawaii cruise will be to the port city of Hilo, located on the east coast of the Big Island. If it's an adventure you’re after, strap on a harness and zipline over gorgeous gorges, rushing waterfalls, and thick rainforest. Taste the exotic wine blends of volcano country at the United States’ southernmost winery. Hike to one of the area’s picturesque waterfalls or marvel at an active volcano. Hilo is the ideal destination to experience the natural wonders that Hawaii is so famous for. 

Many passengers on cruises from Vancouver to Hawaii head straight to the legendary Waikiki Beach upon arriving in Honolulu. Jump in a game of beach volleyball, try your hand at parasailing, or snap photos of the impressive skyline juxtaposed against the golden sands. Visit Pearl Harbor and discover the history of this famous war site. Admire local flora and fauna on a hike through the Lyon Arboretum to a lookout point offering panoramic vistas of Oahu. If you book a one-way Vancouver to Hawaii cruise, stay a few extra days in the city to explore all it has to offer.

Kailua Kona

Kailua Kona offers excursions that awaken all five senses. Hike deep into the island’s northern interior. Go deep-sea fishing for mahi-mahi, tuna, and marlin. Drive along a million-year-old volcano and experience the local cowboy scene. Kona coffee is highly regarded the world over, and a trip to a local coffee farm gives you the pleasure of sampling a cup straight from the source.

From wildlife encounters to mountain treks, Lahaina offers an endless number of exciting adventures. Spot humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Maui. Head to a local country club and play a round while soaking in views of the Pacific Ocean. Descend to the depths of the ocean on a submarine, partake in a traditional Hawaiian luau, or swim with green sea turtles.

Top Shore Excursions on Cruises from Vancouver to Hawaii

Wild waterfalls.

On a cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii, visiting one of the island chain’s spectacular waterfalls is a great way to spend the day in any port. Admire cascades from a helicopter ride in Kailua Kona, or hike through a rainforest and dive in their refreshing waters in Maui or Hilo.

Experience an Authentic Luau

There’s perhaps no experience more quintessential when visiting Hawaii than attending a traditional luau. You’ll be mesmerized by local performers as you feast on a spread filled with Hawaiian delicacies.

Natural Wonders

Waterfalls aren’t the only natural wonders to see on a cruise to Hawaii. From strolling through beautiful botanical gardens and along striking coastlines to hiking volcanoes and rainforests, there is no shortage of ways to experience Hawaii’s pristine natural beauty. 

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The 8 top alaska cruise lines of 2024.

Discover the best lines and itineraries for your type of travel style.

The Top Alaska Cruise Lines

Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas in Alaska.

Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

A cruise vacation to Alaska is a profound adventure. The spectacular natural beauty, rugged wilderness, massive glaciers and endless opportunities for wildlife viewing make a trip to the 49th state a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many travelers. As an added bonus, cruise ships can reach remote parts of the state, including Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve: one of the most significant (and picturesque) marine and wildlife sanctuaries in the world.

With the ever-growing popularity of the destination and an extended cruising season (some lines now travel to Alaska between April and October), more ships are heading north to the shores of The Great Land. With these expanded itineraries, there's more than ever to think about when booking your Alaska cruise.

To assist in your decision-making process, U.S. News listed the top cruise lines to consider across five categories, including the best options for families, luxury-seekers and adventurers. U.S. News consulted data provided by and the results of our 2024 Best Cruise Lines rankings to help develop this list of the top cruise lines sailing to Alaska.

  • Best Overall: Holland America Line; Princess Cruises
  • Best for Families: Norwegian Cruise Line; Royal Caribbean International

Best for Couples: Celebrity Cruises

  • Best Luxury: Regent Seven Seas Cruises; Silversea Cruises

Best Small-Ship Expedition Line: UnCruise Adventures

Find your perfect cruise

Best Overall: Holland America Line and Princess Cruises

Holland america line.

Holland America Line's Westerdam in Glacier Bay, Alaska.

Courtesy of Holland America Line

Alaska cruise ships: Eurodam , Koningsdam , Nieuw Amsterdam , Noordam , Westerdam , Zaandam Departure cities (cruises and cruisetours): Anchorage , Fairbanks and Whittier, Alaska; Seattle; Vancouver, British Columbia Starting from: $379 per person for seven-night Alaska Inside Passage cruise on May 1, 2024, or Sept. 22, 2024. Round-trip from Vancouver.

Holland America Line has been cruising Alaska's pristine glacial waters for more than 75 years – longer than any other cruise line. On top of that, the line features more voyages to Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve than its competitors. Seven-night round-trip sailings depart from either Seattle or Vancouver, while cruisetours – Holland America Line 's sea- and land-based packages – leave from several cities and extend each trip to nine to 18 days.

If this will be your first visit to Alaska, consider booking the comprehensive 14-day Yukon + Denali cruisetour. This Alaska adventure includes a voyage aboard Koningsdam, plus a three-night stay at Holland America's exclusive lodge in Denali National Park, where you'll have the opportunity to see Alaska's big five: moose, caribou, grizzly bears, Dall sheep and wolves – and book bucket list activities like flightseeing over Denali. If it's a picture-perfect day, your pilot might even be able to land on the tallest mountain in North America, also known as "The Great One." Other excursions include meeting dog mushers from the Iditarod, landing on the Yanert Glacier, heli-hiking or embarking on a covered wagon adventure on the Alaska tundra. The Yukon Territory portion of this trip is exclusive to Holland America; while there, visit the mining town of Dawson City and learn about Northern Canada's Klondike Gold Rush of August 1896.

Another highlight of sailing Alaska with Holland America is the Alaska Up Close program, which immerses guests in an array of expert-led lectures and excursions on board and shore. When it comes to dining , Holland America is the only cruise line to achieve the Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) certification, which means cruisers will enjoy certified sustainable wild Alaska seafood on board (think: Alaskan king crab legs and fresh salmon). You may also have access to culinary excursions in partnership with Food & Wine magazine, as well as special offerings like Alaska salmon bakes.

Cruisers should also consider one of the Holland America's new itineraries for 2024: the 28-night Alaska Arctic Circle Solstice voyage aboard Westerdam, round-trip from Seattle. This sailing, which departs on June 9, 2024, features highlights like crossing the Arctic Circle; celebrating the summer solstice in Nome, Alaska; and watching Kodiak bears – the largest bears in the world – on Kodiak Island.

Insider tip: Sample Holland America Line's famous Dutch pea soup while glacier viewing on the outside decks. The crew passes around mugs of the warm soup in this Holland America tradition that gives a nod to the line's heritage – and keeps guests warm on chilly summer days in Alaska.

Princess Cruises

View from the deck of a Princess Cruises ship in Alaska.

Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Alaska cruise ships: Grand Princess , Sapphire Princess , Royal Princess , Ruby Princess , Majestic Princess , Discovery Princess , Crown Princess Departure cities (cruises and cruisetours): Seattle; Anchorage, Alaska; Vancouver, British Columbia; San Francisco ; Fairbanks, Alaska Starting from: $398 per person for seven-night cruise from Anchorage (Whittier, Alaska) to Vancouver on May 18, 2024

Princess Cruises has a long history in Alaska, boasting more than 50 years of sailing to the Great Land. Cruise itineraries last between seven and 14 nights, and many visit the Inside Passage. Princess Cruises also owns and operates five wilderness lodges for guests of its cruisetours, plus exclusive "Direct to the Wilderness" rail service to those properties. The line's wide selection of cruisetours includes independent adventures and off-the-beaten-path destinations, like Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve, the largest national park in the U.S. For travelers seeking the highest level of service and the most time on land, the Connoisseur cruisetour is a good option, including up to 10 nights ashore following the seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise. The Connoisseur trip is hosted by a tour director and includes select sightseeing outings and most meals in the fare.

Princess' special programming, North to Alaska, offers guests unique insights into the history and culture of the region with visits from local Alaskans, photography sessions, demonstrations on lumberjacking and excursions like Cook My Catch, where guests will go fishing (with a guide), then bring their fish back for chefs to prepare for dinner at one of the designated Princess lodges.

There are two new Princess cruisetours to consider for 2024. The 15-night National Parks Tour includes a seven-day cruise, visits to five national parks, scenic rail travel and a total of eight evenings across four Princess wilderness lodges. Meanwhile, the Katmai National Park Tour is a nine-day adventure that takes guests to the famed Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park & Preserve to see bears feasting on wild salmon in Alaska's wilderness.

Insider tip: While visiting Denali National Park, be sure to check out the Princess Treehouse at the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. Built by Pete Nelson of Animal Planet's "Treehouse Masters," the treehouse offers a different perspective of Denali and features "Sappy Hour" and other fun activities.  

Best for Families: Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International

Norwegian cruise line.

Race track atop the Norwegian Bliss in Alaska.

Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Alaska cruise ships: Norwegian Encore , Norwegian Bliss , Norwegian Jewel , Norwegian Sun , Norwegian Spirit Departure cities (cruises and cruisetours): Seattle ; Vancouver, British Columbia; Seward, Alaska Starting from: $349 per person for seven-night sailing between Seward and Vancouver (itineraries visit Hubbard Glacier and Skagway, or Glacier Bay, Skagway and Juneau). Available on Norwegian Jewel in April, May and June 2024.

Norwegian Cruise Line has one of the longest seasons in Alaska, extending from April through October. The line operates two of its larger ships in Alaska: Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Encore. These ships feature a plethora of onboard activities to keep kids and adults entertained, like racetracks, laser tag, mini-golf, complimentary kids and teen clubs, video arcades, themed parties, live performances and more. Families will also enjoy entertainment by Nickelodeon, character breakfasts, salmon bakes and sessions with a park ranger who comes on board to narrate the Glacier Bay passage. You'll find many spacious room options on board perfectly suited to larger families – especially in The Haven, the line's exclusive ship-within-a-ship concept. In addition, Norwegian Cruise Line offers select cruise deals where third and fourth guests sail free .

There are two new Alaska shore excursions for 2024: the Mendenhall Glacier Canoe Paddle & Trek and the Fly-In Norris Glacier Hike and Packraft. The first outing takes place in Juneau , where you'll paddle a 12-person canoe across Mendenhall Lake to reach the towering glacier. Prepare to be surrounded by the spectacular setting of Tongass National Park, a 400-foot waterfall and an Arctic tern nesting ground. The second excursion, also in Juneau, takes participants on a flight into the Alaska wilderness via floatplane; you'll then paddle across a pristine glacial lake and hike the surface of Norris Glacier. Unforgettable sights along the way include densely forested mountains; the mouth of the Taku Inlet, a waterway that offers access to Juneau Icefield; and plenty of wildlife, including sea lions and bald eagles.

Also new for 2024 is the option to take the Denali Talkeetna Explorer tour after your cruise. (This cruisetour previously only took place prior to the voyage.) The 13-day sea and land package, Denali Talkeetna Explorer – Northbound Cruisetour, is available on three dates in 2024 in combination with a Norwegian Jewel sailing. The package includes a seven-night cruise; a total of six nights in Fairbanks, Denali and Talkeetna; a stop at the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline; a riverboat cruise in Fairbanks; a visit to an Iditarod dog musher's kennel; a deluxe glass-domed Alaska Railroad journey between Fairbanks and Denali; and more. You'll also have free time to book optional shore excursions like whitewater rafting, park tours, helicopter flightseeing and other outdoor adventures.

Insider tip: If you're sailing on Norwegian Bliss or Norwegian Encore, be sure to grab a front-row seat in the Observation Lounge when sailing in Glacier Bay Park & Preserve. This expansive space on Deck 15 at the bow of the ship offers breathtaking panoramic views from the comfort of inside the ship. 

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas at the Hubbard Glacier in Alaska.

Alaska cruise ships: Radiance of the Seas , Quantum of the Seas , Brilliance of the Seas , Ovation of the Seas Departure cities (cruises and cruisetours): Seward, Alaska; Vancouver, British Columbia; Seattle Starting from: $439 per person for seven-night cruise on Radiance of the Seas, Seward to Vancouver on May 24, 2024

Royal Caribbean International offers seven-night cruise-only Alaska options (some featuring the Inside Passage) and extended cruisetours (lasting nine to 13 days) with land portions before or after the voyage. Cruisetours may visit Denali National Park & Preserve, among other highlights. The line also offers select "kids sail free" itineraries, which will appeal to families.

If you want nonstop entertainment while on board, choose one of Royal Caribbean International 's two larger Quantum Class vessels: Quantum of the Seas or Ovation of the Seas. Both megaships accommodate approximately 4,900 passengers. If you prefer a smaller ship, consider booking one of the Radiance Class vessels, which hold a maximum of around 2,500 guests.

Quantum Class ships have multiple outdoor attractions that provide panoramic views of the scenery. For example, the surf simulator, FlowRider, affords views of magnificent snow-capped mountains and glaciers all around the ship. If you're adept at rock climbing, this is another chance for optimal scenic viewing – at 40 feet above the deck. Additional entertainment includes free-fall skydiving at RipCord by iFly, outdoor movie nights, live performances and musical entertainment, bumper cars, an escape room, a sports court and indoor pools for those cool Alaska summer days.

Insider tip: For more awe-inspiring vistas, take a ride on North Star. Exclusive to Royal Caribbean (on Quantum and Ovation of the Seas), the glass-enclosed capsule rises 300 feet above sea level while suspended over the ocean.

norwegian cruise vancouver to hawaii

Tips on Trips and Expert Picks

Travel tips, vacation ideas and more to make your next vacation stellar.

Celebrity Cruises

View from the Magic Carpet on the Celebrity Edge.

Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Alaska cruise ships: Celebrity Summit , Celebrity Edge , Celebrity Solstice Departure cities (cruises and cruisetours): Seward, Alaska; Vancouver, British Columbia; Seattle Starting from: $397 per person for seven-night voyage on Celebrity Summit, Seward to Vancouver on May 17, 2024

Adventure-seeking couples will have many options to choose from during Celebrity Cruises ' 2024 Alaska season. The line's six- and seven-night cruise-only itineraries include up-close views of the Dawes Glacier in the Endicott Arm Fjord and the Hubbard Glacier, the world's longest tidewater glacier at 76 miles long. For an in-depth exploration of Alaska's interior, Celebrity's cruisetours extend the trip to a maximum of 13 nights and feature small-town destinations like Talkeetna, Alaska – the quirky village that inspired the 1990s television show "Northern Exposure." There are also themed tours centered on wildlife viewing and national parks, as well as culinary tours highlighting the flavors of Alaska.

Couples will also find plenty of adult-focused activities and entertainment on board, no matter which vessel they choose. Each ship offers a spa, multiple bars and lounges, and an excellent selection of complimentary and specialty restaurants. Celebrity's three Alaska-bound ships carry between 2,158 guests (Celebrity Summit) and 2,908 passengers (Celebrity Edge). Celebrity Edge, the newest of the ships, offers immersive entertainment and especially beautiful public spaces – like Grand Plaza, a three-story venue at the heart of the vessel.

For extra privacy during your couples' vacation, consider splurging on a suite or villa in The Retreat. This all-inclusive space features luxurious accommodations; a private lounge; a sundeck (unavailable on Celebrity Solstice); and a private restaurant, Luminae at The Retreat. The swanky culinary venue serves dishes curated by renowned French chef Daniel Boulud. In addition, you'll have a team of attendants, butlers and concierges to indulge every whim.

Insider tip: Book your Alaska cruise on Celebrity Edge. The outward-facing design of the ship and expansive outdoor spaces, including the Magic Carpet, offer guests excellent viewing opportunities of Alaska's vast landscapes, calving glaciers and wildlife, including humpback whales in the Inside Passage and around Juneau and Sitka.

Best Luxury: Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Silversea Cruises

Regent seven seas cruises.

Alaska cruise ships: Seven Seas Explorer Departure cities: Vancouver, British Columbia; Seward, Alaska Starting from: $4,699 per person (all-inclusive) for seven-night cruise, Vancouver to Seward on May 1, 2024

Regent's Seven Seas Explorer will spend the 2024 season in Alaska, with the first sailing embarking from Vancouver, British Columbia, on May 1, 2024. The line offers 20 seven-night voyages and two 14-night sailings between May and September. The 746-passenger ship provides an in-depth exploration of Alaska's wilderness, thanks to the vessel's smaller size and all-balcony suites. Regent Seven Seas Cruises ' all-inclusive fares include free unlimited shore excursions (though select tours come with a fee); complimentary fine wines and spirits; dining at specialty restaurants; 24-hour room service; unlimited Wi-Fi access; prepaid gratuities; free valet laundry service; and more. Depending on the suite category, guests may also receive a pre- and post-cruise hotel stay with their voyage.

Complimentary shore excursions are available in a number of Alaska ports. In Ketchikan, sign up for the Tongass Rainforest Expedition, the Great Alaska Lumberjack Show or the Alaskan Lodge Adventure & Seafest. (Note: Some excursions in Ketchikan, such as the Alaska Fishing & Wilderness Dining option, come with an additional fee.) In Juneau, guests can take the complimentary hiking adventure through the Mendenhall Glacier National Recreation Area, home to black bears, mountain goats and other wildlife. Cruisers can also dine on wild Alaska salmon grilled over a fire at the Gold Creek Salmon Bake.

Insider tip: Take advantage of the complimentary shore excursions during your cruise. These are tours you'd normally have to pay for on a ship that's not all-inclusive – and that can add up quickly.

Silversea Cruises

Pool bar on the Silver Nova.

Courtesy of Silversea Cruises

Alaska cruise ships: Silver Nova , Silver Muse , Silver Shadow Departure cities: Seward, Alaska; Vancouver, British Columbia Starting from: $3,450 per person for seven-night cruise, Vancouver to Seward on Silver Muse on Aug. 1, 2024

Debuted in August 2023, Silversea's latest addition, Silver Nova, is the newest luxury vessel sailing Alaska for the 2024 season. Silver Nova features an asymmetrical design and advanced technologies that make it Silversea Cruises ' most environmentally friendly vessel yet. With just 728 guests, spacious suites (some affording 270-degree views) and outdoor spaces showcasing The Great Land's pristine wilderness, Silver Nova is an excellent luxury option for an Alaska adventure. Silversea offers seven-night itineraries on its three Alaska ships, plus longer voyages on Silver Muse and Silver Shadow.

Silversea's all-inclusive fares include pre- and post-cruise hotel stays; complimentary nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages; in-room minibars; gourmet dining; all gratuities; at least one excursion per port; butler service in every suite; and other upscale amenities. Complimentary Alaska excursions include a scenic railway tour aboard the White Pass and Yukon Railway in Skagway, the Sea Otter & Wildlife Quest in Sitka Sound and more. You can also visit the Iditarod dogs' summer camp in Juneau. For an additional cost, Silversea offers more exclusive experiences, like a helicopter ride to Mendenhall Glacier followed by a dogsledding adventure with a team of Alaskan huskies in Juneau, or a remote fly-fishing trip in Sitka.

Insider tip: Spend some time on Deck 10; you'll enjoy unobstructed views of the spectacular scenery from the comfort of the heated pool, thanks to the asymmetrical design of the pool deck.

UnCruise Adventures

Alaska cruise ships: Wilderness Discoverer, Wilderness Legacy, Safari Endeavor, Safari Explorer, Safari Quest Departure cities: Ketchikan, Juneau, Whittier, Dutch Harbor and Sitka, Alaska; Seattle Starting from: $3,600 per person for seven-night cruise, Juneau to Ketchikan (or reverse itinerary) on Wilderness Discoverer; various dates between April and September 2024

UnCruise's expedition-style small ships call on ports and remote areas in Alaska that larger ships can't access, taking guests to locales that the line coins, "UnAlaska." The five ships operating in The Great Land accommodate between 22 passengers (Safari Quest) and 86 guests (Wilderness Legacy), and there are seven-, 12- and 14-night itineraries to choose from. You can also book optional land tours, including a Denali & Talkeetna Wilderness Rail Adventure. Expedition teams take guests on kayaking, skiffing, paddleboarding, bushwhacking, waterfall walks and hiking excursions close to the glaciers and visit secluded areas and waterway passages known for optimal wildlife viewing.

Cruise fares include group transfers to and from the ship; all meals; premium wine, beer and liquor; all nonalcoholic beverages; daily activities; wellness amenities; onboard heritage and expedition guides; and access to guest experts. You'll need to disconnect from your devices in remote areas, as there is no Wi-Fi access on UnCruise vessels.

For a once-in-a-lifetime trip, book the 14-night Alaska's Fjords & Glaciers Bay Adventure Cruise on Wilderness Discoverer, a 76-passenger ship. This voyage includes birding in the South Marble Islands, where you'll see puffins, cormorants, oystercatchers and other bird species. You can also search for brown bears in Corner Bay, bushwhack in old-growth forests, visit the town of Haines to sample local brews and spirits, and more.

UnCruise has introduced a few new cruises for 2024 with a renewed focus on The Great Land. One of these is the Kids in Nature, Wild Woolly & Wow with Glacier Bay cruise. The seven-night, family-focused voyage departs round-trip from Juneau aboard Wilderness Legacy and is available on three dates between June and July. One highlight of the voyage is exploring off-the-grid in Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve's "Outback."

A second new option is the seven-night Prince William Sound Explorer with Cordova cruise. This adventure visits dozens of glaciers; the small fishing village of Cordova; the Harriman and College glacial fjords; the islands of Knight and Montague; and multiple places where you can see orcas, humpback whales, sea otters, seals, sea lions, puffins and other wildlife. The itinerary is offered round-trip from Whittier, Alaska, on Safari Explorer throughout the summer.

Insider tip: Depending on your itinerary, you may be able to hop in a skiff directly off the ship to watch bears along the shore hunt for salmon just 100 feet away. This is an Alaska experience you can only have when sailing on a small ship.

Read: The Top Cruises on Small Ships

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Gwen Pratesi has been an avid cruiser since her early 20s. She has sailed on nearly every type of cruise ship built, including the newest megaships, traditional masted sailing ships, river ships in Europe and a small luxury expedition vessel in Antarctica. She has cruised to Alaska and visited The Great Land in the summer, fall and winter, and journeyed to remote areas by bush plane above the Arctic Circle. Pratesi covers the travel and culinary industries for major publications, including U.S. News & World Report.

You might also be interested in:

  • Alaska Cruise Packing List
  • The Best Time to Cruise to Alaska
  • The Top Things to Do in Alaska
  • The Top Antarctica Cruises
  • The Best Cruise Insurance Plans

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  1. Cruises From Vancouver To Hawaii, Things To Know

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