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Things to see on Hawaiin Island Cruise

We will be going on a 7 day cruise of the Hawaii islands in early October which includes 2 days in Maui, 2 days on the big Island with stops at Hilo, and Kona, and 2 days in Kauai, then afterward stay 3 additional days on Oahu. I'd love ideas of things to do, places to eat and excursions that are not too expensive (like the ones offered by the cruise line) We love nature, are both about 60 so can hike moderately rated trails. I'd love to know the best of those places to snorkel, attend a luau, relax on a beach, and see beautiful scenery including waterfalls. Thanks in advance for your help.

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Zodiac boat tour of Na Pali coast in Kauai. Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay on Oahu. Not sure what you can see of Volcanoes National Park right now. Waimea Canyon on Kauai. Can you tell that Kauai is my favorite?

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Even though we have been to Hawaii umpteen times on our own, the 7-day cruise was magical! There is just something about seeing the beauty of the islands from the water - especially the Honolulu city lights, the lush green mountains, Kauai's NaPali coast, and the red hot lava hitting the ocean (glowing in the dark) as you sail between Hilo and Kona on the Big Island. (This last bit may no longer be possible if the cruise ships have changed their routing due to a recent accident with a small tour boat.)

Roberts Hawaii does excellent shore excursions at less than the price of the ship's tours:

Here's another great resource for first-time visitors to the islands:

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5775 posts

Big Island Hilo town:

Hilo Farmers Market

BIG MARKET DAYS (Wed & Sat) - Over 200 local farmers, artisans,
crafters, retailers, food vendors. If your visiting for the first
time, we recommend coming on these days.

OTHER DAYS - 10 to 30 farmers, retailers, crafters.

Cafe 100 Loco Moco

The original Loco Moco™ is a meal in a bowl...a helping of rice with a
hamburger patty and Hilo-style brown gravy topped with an egg. It’s a
simple, tasty and inexpensive breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack.

Shave Ice

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I am SO appreciative for the suggestions I have received so far. You’re giving us some great tips. I’d love to know also of your favorite beaches on these islands as some days we’ll probably just enjoy the beach.
Would also love more restaurant suggestions too.

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5775 posts

20 must try eats when visiting Hawaii:

20 Hawaii dishes you must try when traveling to the Islands

Foods across the Islands you and your friends need to get your hands

[Page down to #20 on the list]


Highway Inn Kaka'ako
680 Ala Moana Blvd #105 Honlulu
no-frills spot dishing up an all-day menu of traditional Hawaiian fare.

Nico's Pier 38
1129 N Nimitz Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96817
fresh local seafood Hawaiian style

Leonard's Bakery
933 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu
Portugese fried dough balls

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5775 posts


Hanauma Bay Oahu. Use to be a favorite place to snorkel but it's gotton too popular. If you want to park (a car), plan on a very early start. Parking would not be a problem if you do the tour group thing with transportation to Hanauma Bay. Then you just need to be one of the herd.

At it’s peak, years ago, Hanauma Bay had up to 10,000 visitors a day.
Today only about 3,000 visitors are allowed in daily to help minimize
the impact on the ecosystem.

Maui Maʻalaea Harbor. I like the Pacific Whale Foundation snorkling trip. The Whale Foundation boat is not as bag (number of passengers) as the Molokini tour boats. The Whale Foundation tours have naturalist who talk a good talk. Molokini crater is a popular distination.

As our most popular Maui snorkel tour, the Molokini & Turtle Arches
Snorkel lets you explore the Island’s world-famous Molokini crater
including a second snorkel spot along a reef known for green sea
turtle sightings and underwater lava arches.

Molokini, Maui’s iconic crescent-shaped islet, is a beautiful reef
known for its crystal clear waters, abundant coral, colorful fish, and
resting seabirds. A protected marine conservation area, this volcanic
crater is only accessible by boat with a certified tour operator.
Turtle Arches offers a bonus snorkel site with its underwater lava
formations and frequent turtle sightings. Continental breakfast is
included and a delicious BBQ lunch is prepared onboard.

Pacific Whale Foundation is a 501(c)(3) IRS tax-exempt charitable
organization dedicated to protecting our oceans through science and