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  • 21
  • Nov
  • 2014

Top 5 Things to do During Your Hawaii Cruise

The Big Island of Hawaii, more than twice the size of all the rest of the islands combined, is tailor-made for adventure: there are waterfalls and tropical forests to explore (or soar over by zipline), volcanoes – both active and not – to view from the air or ground, remote coves to snorkel in, manta rays to swim with…the possibilities are endless. Many Hawaii cruises dock in both Hilo and the Kona area of the Big Island, so both are included here.

Here are our picks for the top 5 things to do during your Hawaii cruise:

Happy Traveler Comment
Our cruise was absolutely fantastic, we really loved it! It was our honeymoon and we will always remember! Thank you very much for your service and your patience with my many questions and my bad English! 🙂 [From Germany] — Ingrid K.

Based in Kona, Wild Hawaii Ocean Adventures transports snorkelers to remote locations and secluded coves, depending on surf conditions,on the Ocean Warrior, a onetime Navy assault vessel built for speed, maneuverability and safety. It’s said to be the only boat of its kind now used commercially in the U.S., and being in it has been compared to taking a zipline ride through the ocean. Besides coral and tropical fish, snorkelers may come upon underwater tunnels and archways. En route to snorkeling, you might spot whales, dolphins and sharks. On the return ride, speed is the watchword, complete with high-speed turns and stops. (Honokohau Marina & Small Boat Harbor, Kealakehe Pkwy, about 15 minutes from the town of Kailua Kona.)


Photo Courtesy of Wild Hawaii Ocean Adventures

Keeping to the water, you can join a morning scuba dive or snorkeling expedition with Big Island Divers, a company that operates out of Kona, in hopes of seeing manta rays, dolphins and whales. Big Island Divers offers a two-tank dive every morning (you can rent dive gear if you need it); snorkeling gear is provided. The big attractions are giant manta rays – with 20-foot wing spans, they’re more than three times the length of a typical diver, but are harmless with no stingers. The mantas often swim extremely close to divers and snorkelers but at the last moment veer away and rarely come into actual contact. 74-5467 Kaiwai St., Kailua-Kona; 808-329-6068)

How about riding a bike to a volcano? Family–run Nui Pohaku Adventure Tours runs guided bike tours around the rim of Kilauea, the highly active volcano that has been spewing lava for decades. The tour also includes a walk through a rainforest that leads you through a real lava tube. Twenty-one speed bikes and other equipment are furnished, and intermediate riding skill is required. Allow six hours for the complete tour from Hilo or ten hours from Kona. The company will pick you up at your ship, which can be booked as a shore excursion. Or call 808-937-0644.


Photo Courtesy of Nui Pohaku Adventure Tours

If you’d rather view the volcano action from above, book a flight aboard Safari Helicopters Hawaii, which will whisk you from Hilo airport past 13,000-foot Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes to the world’s most active volcano, Kilauea. Many of the areas viewed are off limits to anyone on land, since red-hot lava has been flowing into the Pacific since 1983! The Volcano Safari Tour chopper rides are 40-45 minutes long and the views are unforgettable – of the flowing lava, lava lakes, black-lava land “reclaimed” from the ocean, and huge craters, often belching steam.  Safari Helicopters are located at the Commuter Terminal at Hilo Airport; 808-969-1259. Seats often fill up so it’s best to book early.

The Umauma Falls and Zipline Experience takes you to the upper falls area of the three–tiered Umauma Falls for a thrilling zipline tour over a secluded area of waterfalls, gardens and palm trees not otherwise open to the public. The Umauma Zipline features nine lines that total nearly two miles in length, with one line that’s 2,200 feet long offering views of waterfalls and a stream as it soars over a gorge and a natural lava tube. Another 1,700-foot line is a tandem line that allows you to race with a friend or family member while enjoying more waterfall views. A third line offers the option of zipping…upside down. You’ll cross a high-up suspension bridge too, and have views of 13,000-foot Mauna Kea. The entire course takes between an hour and a half and three hours, depending on group speed. Drive time from Hilo is about a half hour; cruise ship passengers can take a complimentary shuttle (31-313 Old Mamalahoa Hwy., Hakalau).

zip line

zip line

To book your cruise to Hawaii and take advantage of all the adventures the islands have to offer, call our expert travel advisors today at 1-888-804-CRUIse(2784), visit us at or email us at to find out the best deals for Hawaii. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook or join our Inner Circle for more great offers.

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