Hawaii: America’s Tropical Paradise
Updated: Jan 4, 2021
Hawaii tourism has had record growth for eight consecutive years, boasting 10,386,673 visitors to the Aloha State in 2019 according to state officials. Indeed, Americans, Japanese and Europeans flock to the islands of Hawaii. And why not? Who hasn’t dreamed of escaping to a tropical island paradise in the Pacific?
Even though the islands of Hawaii are situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, they are actually only a few hours away from the West Coast of North America by air and a delightful cruise voyage away by sea. And, lest we forget, the State of Hawaii is actually several islands, each with it’s own unique features to appreciate.
Weather on all of the Hawaii Islands is very pleasant with only minor changes in temperature throughout the year. Daytime temperatures in the summer months of May through October average 85 F degrees at sea level and in the winter months of November through April average 78 F degrees. Rainfall in the mountains and the valleys creates abundant tropical floral and plant vegetation. There are always sunny locations somewhere on the islands. Trade winds from the north provide a cooling breeze. Severe storms are not a common occurrence.
Water conditions are temperate along the beaches during the summer but storms out in the Pacific during winter drive ocean swells towards the islands creating large breaking waves perfect for serious surfers. Two-thirds of the world’s humpback whales in the Pacific migrate through Hawaiian waters from December through May providing one of the best whale watching observation areas in the world.
Volcanoes are plentiful on the Aloha Islands. Active volcanoes perform nature’s spectacular fireworks. From white sand to lava rock, the beaches are infinite. Rich, dark soil nurtures plentiful crops of sugar cane, coffee, pineapples and other exotic fruits. Rain forests, green valleys, rugged mountain peaks, palm trees and cascading waterfalls can be found on more than one of these islands.
And what of Hawaii’s people, culture and history? As with the variety of nature that blends into a harmonious paradise, the cultural and ethnic variety found on these islands co-exists as a wonderful melting pot. Polynesian sea voyagers from Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand ventured here bringing with them the arts, crafts, music and practices of their own lands. Japanese, including Buddhist monks, influence the foods, legends and architecture of the region. Ancient Hawaii traditions such as the hula dance, luau celebrations, songs and ukuleles, the legacy of the Hawaii monarchy, religion and mythology invite visitors to experience this friendly and beautiful people. Intrinsically tied to this exotic paradise is the all American pride and bravery embodied at Pearl Harbor.
Activities galore await interested visitors. Surfing, scuba diving, fishing, tidal pooling, hiking, mountain climbing, biking, horseback riding, volcano sightseeing and even glacial lake skiing are just a few of the experiences to explore. Perhaps Hawaii’s best kept secret is golf. Totaling eighty courses to choose from, eight of the United States top twenty- five resort golf courses are on the Hawaii Islands.
While the six islands of Hawaii provide ideal locations for relaxing and private tropical getaways, Oahu is home to Honolulu, the eleventh largest city in the U.S. The city offers a wide selection of entertainment, restaurants, shopping, hotels, museums, attractions and educational institutions. Although Honolulu has many of the problems of a big city, it has the lowest crime rate of the twenty largest U.S. cities.
Its no wonder the Aloha State is such a popular vacation destination. Many people choose to arrive in Hawaii by plane and stay on land at one island. Others arrive by plane and hop scotch via plane to more than one island.
More and more visitors are discovering the best way to island hop Hawaii is by sea. The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism states that the number of cruise ship passengers touring the State in 2019 jumped 8.5% over the number of cruise ship passengers in 2018.
Cruise ships provide the convenience and the comfort of a floating resort. You don’t move, your hotel does! You can visit all the Hawaii islands and still unpack once. While on board, a passenger can enjoy spectacular views of Hawaii while relaxing on a veranda. When the ship docks, the guests can avail themselves of pre arranged shore excursions to explore each island. Meals, entertainment and all of the ship’s facilities are included throughout the vacation, leaving only discretionary expenditures for the vacationer to purchase. Many ships cruising the Hawaiian waters will have local experts on staff to enhance your Hawaiian experience. Of particular value is the benefit of viewing active volcanoes from your cruise ship, which can approach the volcanoes with closer proximity than from land or by plane.
There are a number of cruise options available. Seven night Hawaii cruise itineraries make it possible to fit paradise into a week’s vacation. Ten, twelve, fifteen night or longer cruise itineraries allow passengers to cruise from the West Coast of North America to Hawaii. Hawaii is also included in the three or four month world cruise itineraries of some cruise lines.
Of the nineteen cruise line members of the Cruise Line International Association, ten of them sail to Hawaii. Most of them offer 14 night or longer cruises sailing from Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, Ca., Seattle, Wa., Vancouver, B.C. or Ensenada, Mexico before or after the summer Alaska cruise season.
In 2004, Norwegian Cruise Lines founded NCL America as a new U.S. flag brand under which it’s U.S.-flagged and U.S. crewed ship operates. NCL's Pride of America ports year round in Honolulu providing their guests the exclusive benefit of cruising through the Hawaii islands with no required foreign port stops. It is the first ship sailing under the American flag in nearly a half century. A majority of her crew hail from the islands of Hawaii bringing an “Aloha Spirit” on board.
The best of Hawaii…this is America’s paradise. And you’ll want to see it all. The choice is yours.
About the writer:
Nancy Holmes Ploener is a Luxury Cruise Advisor with Suite Dream Cruises, LLC, an affiliate of Gifted Travel Network- a Virtuoso member agency. She works one-on-one with clients who want to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Her specialty is helping her clients see the world from the vantage of luxury cruising.