When you hear the words "shore excursion" what usually comes to your mind? For me, it usually mean long, boring tours. But not every time. Whether you're on a cruise, or doing the islands on your own, Hawaii is a destination that offers more unique and exciting things to do onshore that most places I have been. Whether you choose to hang ten or see a volcano, here are some fun and memorable shore excursions, I mean "things to see and do" while in Hawaii.
On my most recent Hawaii cruise in April, I sailed on the NCL-America ship, Pride of America, with my mother. Like most NCL Hawaiian cruises, we started in Honolulu, the big city of Hawaii, which is a lot like any other city except with a huge beach and lots of cool shopping. Then the ship took us to "The Big Island" (otherwise known as Hawaii) and then to two smaller islands; Maui and Kauai.
Hawaii, "The Big Island"
Most Hawaiian cruises call at the port of Hilo. From there, there are tons of fun things to explore. On my cruise, we took an excursion to Volcanoes National Park. To some people this might sound boring, but wait till you see the view! Steam vents, lava tubes, craters, oh my! Yes, those are only some of the cool things you can see at Volcanoes National Park.
|Burnhole in the lava||As close as I dare to get|
Before you go back to the ship, make sure to stop at Hilo Hattie's, "The Store of Hawaii."
Later in our cruise, we stopped on the other side of The Big Island, in the port of Kona. We dodged the rain and took a ride in a zodiac along the Kona coast. On our way to an underwater state park for snorkeling, we saw some spinner dolphins who were putting on a show for us.
Our two days in Maui were basically a wash-out. The first day, we did a lot of shopping in the cute town of Lahaina, which is a 45-minute bus ride from the port. Lahaina has a lot of unique Hawaiian artists and crafts shops which are cool, but also lots of other shops you'd find at a mall at home.
The next day, we signed up for the Kaanapali Beach Break. Unfortunately, our "beach break" was a cloud break and it rained again. Luckily, right next to the beach is the Whaler's Village where we shopped again.
There are many other excursions to take on Maui (besides shopping). You can go on a zip-lining adventure, scuba dive, go on a rainforest hike, horseback ride, and even catch a wave.
Like Maui, Kauai was a total downpour; which is unusual for Hawaii though. But lucky for us and others whose tours got canceled, the cruise staff set up cool activities for us to do like nut-necklace making, lei making, and hula lessons.
Some fun tours offered in Kauai include: helicopter rides, river rafting, kayaking & snorkeling, Jeep 4x4 tours, and waterfall hikes.
Dull? No way!
Say goodbye to long and boring tours, and Aloha to exciting excursions that you will remember for a long time.
*If your parents are looking for a Hawaiian cruise for the family, be sure to tell them to try NCL's new America division. That way you won't spend any unwanted sea days sailing to foreign ports, and you can spend more time just in the islands.*
Mahalo!Alex Gaynor is a 13-year old contributing writer and co-editor for our teen area, and the daughter of our family cruise editor and advisor, Luisa Frey Gaynor.
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