This pocket of the world is famed for being a picturesque paradise, and when you visit the heavenly Hawaiian Islands, it’s not hard to see why. Those brave enough to ride in a tiny propeller plane will be rewarded with a bird’s eye view of the sprawling inlets and lagoons surrounding the island’s coast. Not forgetting the vast, lush landscape and the technicolour rock face of each monolithic mountain that makes up the colossal active volcanoes from which this unique island group was born.
Hop off at Honolulu and you’ll be greeted by hula dancers gracefully swishing their traditional grass-skirts. Your time on shore will be whatever you make of it, whether your dream vacation includes lounging on Waikiki beach, diving in tropical waters or sipping Kona coffee where it grows, you can do it all on a Hawaiian cruise. Look out to sea at the crescendo of waves dotted by tanned surfers on sleek boards; relax on deserted beaches framed by swaying palms, taste delicious fresh pineapple served alongside roast pork at a rocking luau. Whatever you envision when you think of Hawaii, it’s accessible by cruise.
With a population of 850,000, Honolulu is Hawaii’s largest city. It’s also a cosmopolitan hub, at the heart of which is culture, excitement and beauty. With sophisticated boutiques for shopping, the neighbourhood of Waikiki is the go-to district for dining and nightlife, famed for its iconic crescent beach. Surrounded by gently swaying flora and framed by glamourous high-rise hotels, relax with a cocktail and see if you can spot the stunning volcanic Diamond Head in the distance.
Cruises to Hawaii present an unmissable opportunity to visit Moorea, a unique volcanic island surrounded by languid lagoons and both white and black sanded beaches. Check out the bay where Captain Cook first dropped anchor on his way to “discovering” this paradise. Inland, winding hiking trails snake through rainforest on the slopes of Mount Tohivea. For panoramic views of the island’s peaks, visit Belvedere Lookout where you can cast your eyes into the distance and scope out Tahiti and beyond.
The most prominent feature of Maui is Haleakala, the world’s largest dormant volcano. Early risers can witness the spell-binding sunrise across the horizon, an unforgettable experience of what Mother Nature has to offer. The sea offers equal delights, such as shipwrecks and coral reefs that teem with exotic fish and plant species and you can enjoy a spot of whale-watching, when the annual migration of humpback whales returning to their winter feeding grounds.
One of the world’s most exciting and eclectic cities, San Francisco offers visitors a wealth of possibilities – iconic landmarks like Fisherman’s Wharf, Lombard Street, and Alcatraz Island, as well as the Golden Gate Bridge. Known for its hilly landscape, cable cars and colourfully-cladded Victorian houses, the picturesque city will make you want to grab your coat and a handful of glitter, ready to hit the many lively bars and clubs so you can dance until dawn.
Enjoy a day trip into the wilderness by visiting Yosemite National Park, where you’ll be dwarfed by the monumental Redwood trees and inspired by the vast natural beauty. With all of this, San Francisco is a thriving, beautiful place from which to begin your cruise to Hawaii.
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