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emory2001

Which Cruise Line for Hawaii? Or Why You Chose the One You Did?

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I've done some searching but couldn't find a post on this - which cruise line do you recommend for Hawaii? Or put another way, if you've cruised Hawaii, what do you think was probably special or unique about the cruise line, ship, or itinerary you did, or what made you choose that one (other than brand loyalty)? I've cruised to other places on Princess, Carnival, and mostly Royal Caribbean. I'm open to other lines like Norwegian, Celebrity, etc. Maybe not Holland America because we will probably take our preteen kids.

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I think it really depends on how much time you have and how much you like Sea Days.

 

The only Cruise Line that does a 7-day Hawaiian Islands Cruise is NCL and their Pride of America ship.  All other cruise lines must have at least one port stop in a foreign country.  That means the cruise will most likely start or stop in the US or Canada, potentially with a stop in Mexico.  Then there will be a few Sea Days.  If your schedule can afford a 10-12 day cruise then I think you can choose almost any cruise line.  If it can only afford a 7 day cruise then you will need to go with NCL.

 

I’ve done the NCL cruise once and will be on it again for a second time in A few weeks.

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Posted (edited)

I feel the same way as nlooser but depending upon when sailing an NCL 7-day cruise can cost as much as a Princess 15-day cruise roundtrip from the West Coast.  Checking the NCL website their least expensive cruise is $1199 for 7-days and I recently saw one on Princess for $1149 for the 15-day cruise.  Supply & demand results in higher NCL prices because they have a monopoly on cruising solely within the state of Hawaii.

 

Both are good introductions to Hawaii but it’s a matter of personal preference...I prefer the sea days on Princess with only a drive to the Port of LA; NCL would require roundtrip airfare for me but the itinerary does provide more time in port including some overnight stays.  Coming from Florida flights would take about twice as long as from LA for an NCL cruise.  NCL cruises Hawaii year round but Princess & other cruise lines don’t go there during the summer which can be another factor with preteens school.

 

We’re never bored on sea days and can decide to participate in their Aloha Spirit program or to do other things.

 

https://www.princess.com/learn/cruise-destinations/hawaii-cruises/things-to-do/

 

 

Edited by Astro Flyer

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1 minute ago, Astro Flyer said:

I feel the same way as nlooser but depending upon when sailing an NCL 7-day cruise can cost as much as a Princess 15-day cruise roundtrip from the West Coast.  Checking the NCL website their least expensive cruise is $1199 for 7-days and I recently saw one on Princess for $1149 for the 15-day cruise. 

 

Both are good introductions to Hawaii but it’s a matter of personal preference...I prefer the sea days on Princess with only a drive to the Port of LA; NCL would require roundtrip airfare for me but the itinerary does provide more time in port including some overnight stays.  Coming from Florida flights would take about twice as long as from LA for an NCL cruise.

 

We’re never bored on sea days and can decide to participate in their Aloha Spirit program or to do other things.

 

https://www.princess.com/learn/cruise-destinations/hawaii-cruises/things-to-do/

 

 

Thank you, that's good information. I was leaning toward the NCL, but it looks like I have more exploring to do before deciding. I do have to take into consideration time away from work for both of us, because we are self-employed and work together, so probably max 12 days away.

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3 minutes ago, emory2001 said:

Thank you, that's good information. I was leaning toward the NCL, but it looks like I have more exploring to do before deciding. I do have to take into consideration time away from work for both of us, because we are self-employed and work together, so probably max 12 days away.

You’re welcome...and your preteens school schedule could be another consideration & only NCL sails Hawaii during the summertime.

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28 minutes ago, Astro Flyer said:

You’re welcome...and your preteens school schedule could be another consideration & only NCL sails Hawaii during the summertime.

Yes, I've discovered most lines only cruise Hawaii in April or September, and NCL is the only one that does over Christmas break. That may be the deciding factor, or we go to Hawaii without them and take a family spring break cruise to the Caribbean.

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9 minutes ago, emory2001 said:

Yes, I've discovered most lines only cruise Hawaii in April or September, and NCL is the only one that does over Christmas break. That may be the deciding factor, or we go to Hawaii without them and take a family spring break cruise to the Caribbean.

I just confirmed that Princess cruises to Hawaii between September/October and April including during Christmas break.  NCL’s 7-day is more expensive per day and airfares will also probably be higher then.

 

Good luck in deciding what’s your best option. 😎

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1 minute ago, Astro Flyer said:

I just confirmed that Princess cruises to Hawaii between September/October and April including during Christmas break.  NCL’s 7-day is more expensive per day and airfares will also probably be higher then.

 

Good luck in deciding what’s your best option. 😎

That's good to know. They weren't showing up for December on the online TA I was searching. Maybe they just aren't on that site.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, emory2001 said:

That's good to know. They weren't showing up for December on the online TA I was searching. Maybe they just aren't on that site.

Maybe Princess doesn’t make those highly desirable holiday cruises available to online TAs which I’ve previously experienced.  You might want to check the Princess website for availability & maybe later see if an online TA could get you a lower net price although that probably won’t happen for holiday cruises.

Edited by Astro Flyer

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Posted (edited)

We booked a cruise with NCL for next March.  I would have preferred to cruise out of SF with Princess.  The 15 day cruise was about the same price as NCL's 7 day and i love being on the ship.  Unfortunately my wife was concerned about the possibility of rough seas.  I also liked the fact that with NCL overnight on 2 different islands so you have the ability and time to see and explore more.

Edited by Tutone56

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Price! 😂

 

We decided based on amount of time in HI, islands visited, and total price. We were willing to do a longer cruise if the price was the same or better. We knew we wanted to go to Kauai and not all ships stop there. We booked over President's Day weekend when it seemed like every cruiseline website was having a sale. I priced out regular balcony cabin on Pride of America, a Celebrity ship, and Radiance of the Seas all for the first 2 weeks of May 2020. POA was their usual 7 night route for TWICE the price of Radiance - BUT Radiance was a 10 night sailing from Honolulu to Vancouver. Celebrity was about the same as POA and for 11 nights. With the money we saved on the less expensive cruise on Radiance, we can put some money into a pre-cruise stay at a nice hotel on Oahu, plus excursions. So we got an amazing price on a 10-night TP cruise, and can still afford to stay on Oahu 4-5 nights before the cruise and do fun excursions for the same cost as what just the cruise would have cost on POA.

 

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We've done HAL from San Diego (November) and Princess from LA (January) and doing Princess again in February. HAL was maybe 10 years ago and the first few days were rough seas (relatively speaking), but it was still fabulous. Princess was even better.

 

Never done the NCL because of brutal feedback from friends in the early days. I hear it has improved considerably, but we like the cruise from the West Coast for the journey (days at sea) not Hawaii. Been to Hawaii a zillion times and have lived there so the actual ports stops weren't that important.

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We sailed the POA for the overview.  We took a week before to explore Oahu. 

 

Unlike Caribbean cruises this isn't about the ship at all; the ship is actually underwhelming.  It's transportation & food between islands.  

 

It was a good overview for us.  We also hate sea days so a long voyage from the mainland would have not been a good fit for us.  

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On 6/15/2019 at 2:49 PM, emory2001 said:

Yes, I've discovered most lines only cruise Hawaii in April or September, and NCL is the only one that does over Christmas break. That may be the deciding factor, or we go to Hawaii without them and take a family spring break cruise to the Caribbean.

 

We spent four years in a row when our kids were tweens/teens on the Christmas break cruise to Hawaii on Princess. We love the roundtrip cruises, especially at the holidays. They were always super festive and we had a blast. There are many extended families onboard at that time - lots of kids, tweens and teens. We loved every second and Hawaii was always beautiful for us at that time of year. On Princess, there are many cultural activities onboard during the sea days to enhance the trip - ukulele lessons, lei making, hula dancing, Hawaiian music, etc. It has been a few years now as my kids have graduated and are in college and it makes planning these trips more difficult, but we will definitely do it again one of these years!

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We chose NCL and POA simply because it offered what we wanted.....a tour of more than just Oahu without spending a great amount of time at sea.

Being a Royal Caribbean loyalist, they were the first I checked after my wife said "I sure would like to see Hawaii".( I had been in and out of Pearl Harbor years ago in the US Navy and saw Oahu but that was it). So I told her I'd find a cruise that made port on the other islands.

My first search was RCL..... and the Ensenada, Mexico disembarkation was a huge turn-off. The Vancouver to Hawaii to Vancouver was too much sea time, so that was nixed.

The NCl/POA cruise was just what we wanted. I know it's a cruise "not about the ship". That's great....as long as they have good food and clean sheets I'm good with it. Having a balcony room, I'm planning on us getting some good R&R on this cruise.

We will follow up the Hawaii cruise with a Caribbean Christmas cruise on RCL so we will have a good opportunity to compare the two, which I'm sure we will do. 

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Posted (edited)

Deleted....posted twice?

Edited by rtread
Posted twice??

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1 hour ago, rtread said:

Deleted....posted twice?

 

I think it did post twice because I got the email notification twice. It happens sometimes.

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Posted (edited)

I'm the OP and I appreciate everyone's responses. I think it will end up being NCL for us, because we are likely to go in December, and Princess only offers it as a 15 day cruise in December. And while it would be nice if NCL's 7 day cost less than the 15 day, making Princess the better value (they are close in price, certainly not the difference you'd expect for a half as long cruise), my husband and I are self-employed, have employees and a firm to manage, and can't take that many days plus travel on either end. We also get bored with too many sea days. Happy cruising!

Edited by emory2001

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I have gone on 6 cruises to Hawaii on Princess. Number 7 in December. Originally it was out of LA but now I go out of SF. It is a 15 day cruise with 9 full days at sea. I probably like the sea days better than the ports since I have been there so many times.

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We are going on Celebrity Eclipse 15 nights in Oct-Nov. 5 sea days there and back. We enjoy sea days and Celebrity, the price was right, too. 

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Posted (edited)

We chose the POA to maximize our island time and because we really need to try to keep this trip to 5 days off work for my DH (he works a 9/80 schedule).

 

Hawaii wasn’t on our radar until I got a whopping $2,500 travel voucher for getting off one of United’s planes.😁 We decided a Hawaii cruise would be a great way to celebrate turning 60😳 next year! The POA was expensive, but it saves a whole week of vacation time for my husband and we used my voucher and his miles for first class air. I’m very excited and already have most of my port days planned. 

Edited by Cindy

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Congrats on the good fortune! When is your cruise? We will be on POA the last week in August. Oh yeah....Hook 'em Horns!!

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18 hours ago, rtread said:

Congrats on the good fortune! When is your cruise? We will be on POA the last week in August. Oh yeah....Hook 'em Horns!!

Your post was going so well until the end!😂😉😆

 

Our cruise isn’t until the end of April. That doesn’t mean I don’t have the whole thing planned already!

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On 7/27/2019 at 1:45 PM, Saving Up To Be Eccentric said:

I chose Uncruise, because like POA, it stayed inside Hawai'i for the entire week. It was more expensive, but they include the shore excursions that I wanted to do, anyway, so I considered it a win.

 

Uncruise isn't a cruise. Your clue is right in their name.

 

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