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-   -   Should we do a island cruise or just pick 2-3 islands to see (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/should-we-do-a-island-cruise-or-just-pick-2-3-islands-to-see-926129/)

lifeisanadventure Mar 2nd, 2012 10:00 AM

Should we do a island cruise or just pick 2-3 islands to see
 
We have 2 weeks and we definitely want to stay on Oahu and i was thinking Maui? Is a week to long on both islands? Should we pick Big Island over maui? We are going for the beauty, beach, historical sites, etc. We will probably rent a house on the beach for a few days of relaxing and then have a few days of site seeing etc. We are not big hikers. Any recommendations? We want to cruise but the cruise is so expensive I think we can save money by not doing it.

sassy_cat Mar 2nd, 2012 12:09 PM

I'd definitely recommend staying on the islands rather than cruising.
I love Big Island but due to its size you really need to stay for a minimum of 1 week, preferably more.
Just spent 8 days on Maui and would have loved to stay longer so no, one week isn't too long on either of these islands it's too short IMO!

charnees Mar 2nd, 2012 12:49 PM

The first time our family went to Hawaii we spent a week on Maui and cried when we had to leave!! Really!

Now we spend a minimum of three weeks on the Big Island and still hate having to leave. This time it's FIVE weeks.

When you go on a cruise you see plenty of distant scenery from the ocean, land in the middle of tourist souvenir land, maybe take a quick bus tour to some pretty site, and that's it.

Definitely stay on two islands and take time to enjoy all the things you say you like. Besides, life slows down when you are in Hawaii, and rushing around to see things becomes less important than just being there. Do your week on Oahu and a week on Maui and enjoy.

Rent a condo. See VRBO.com for one, and also Google vacation rentals Oahu or vacation rentals Maui for tons of choices.

Tomsd Mar 2nd, 2012 02:16 PM

Myself - I would do a couple days on Oahu - snorkeling/diving Hanauma Bay, http://www.hawaiiweb.com/hanauma-bay...-preserve.html and maybe driving around the isle (either up to North Shore - an hour - and then another hour plus back down the east side and back to Hono) or continuing on to Kailua from Hanamua Bay and then either back to Hono/Waikik through the Koolau's - or up to the west side to North Shore and back down the middle of the island to Hono.

Then - get thee over to say Maui - for 5 days - and a week on Big Island - or vice versa.

It's really not that hard getting from Island to Island - short flights (usually under half an hour to Maui - 45 minutes to Big Island) and the Inter-Island terminal on Oahu is much smaller/easier to manuver around than in the International terminal, and the outer island terminals are even more compact.

One of us usually gets our luggage (if we checked) while the other goes to get the rental car - and then we are off. :)

Tomsd Mar 2nd, 2012 02:18 PM

And even if you spent say 3 days on Oahu - and say 4 on Maui - and a week on the Big Island - I think you would still find time for kicking back on the beach. For me - I like to see as much as possible the first time and then have a better idea where I want to hang the next time we come back.

BTW - our favorite island is the lush Garden Isle - Kauai - but if you drive out to Hana on Maui - or get to Hilo on the Big Island - you will see some beauitful rain forests.

suze Mar 2nd, 2012 06:37 PM

I would not cruise. I'd do a week each on Oahu and Maui. I think that's a perfect first trip to Hawaii.

kanunu Mar 2nd, 2012 07:52 PM

Oahu and Maui..... that's how we did our first trip, with the next one in10 days, same 2 islands.
Mind you, in the intervening time, we have done the other islands also, but keep going back to Maui, and North Shore Oahu.
But one of these days, I have to get back to Kauai.... and Lanai, and.........
Hey, its hard to go wrong, on any of them!

LVAMY Mar 3rd, 2012 03:16 AM

Hawaii is definitely not a place to stop for a cruise ship destination. If you want to spend 2 weeks spend a week on the north shore of Oahu and a week on either Maui or the big Island depending on your interests. Oahu gets a lot of negative reviews but if you get away from Waikiki it is a fabulous destination!!
We have stayed North shore, Kailua, and Hawaii Kai area just so we could be at Haunama bay 1st thing in morning. Each Island is so beautiful,I change my favorite everytime!!!!

suze Mar 3rd, 2012 08:08 AM

Part of the issue about cruising Hawaii is the specific cruiseline that does that route. It doesn't always get very good comments. So you might want to read some reviews of that specifically, to help make your decision.

lifeisanadventure Mar 6th, 2012 05:48 AM

Okay thanks everyone!

doug_stallings Mar 6th, 2012 07:44 AM

There are other options besides NCL to cruise in Hawaii, but I'd still avoid a cruise if you have 2 weeks. There's just no reason unless you want to visit all the islands and then spend a week on another. If you really want to do that, then definitely take the cruise.

Placename Mar 6th, 2012 08:38 AM

If you think the cruise is expensive, I think you are going to be very disappointed trying to find a "house on the beach" in Oahu and Maui.

Most Hawaii accomodation is by hotel or condo. You can get an idea by looking at www.vrbo.com for condos and www.kayak.com or www.expedia.com to get an idea about hotels. You will also need a rental car on Maui and maybe on Oahu, if you are staying outside of Waikiki.

The NCL cruise is fine for some people. Some people like having the food and accomodation prices taken care of (although alcohol is not included in the price).

doug_stallings Mar 6th, 2012 10:15 AM

Wow ... yes, Placename, you have hit the nail on the head. The cruise is among the cheapest ways of visiting Hawaii. I think these posters are definitely in for some sticker shock. Though they will be able to save a little by cooking meals in.

lifeisanadventure Mar 6th, 2012 10:39 AM

Well the cruise is $4400 then you have to add in tips, drinks etc. Where as staying on land can be cheaper and wont be so rushed. If we stay in say a holiday inn or similar this will save us money. We can also rent a condo for about $250 per night. We have decided to not cruise as this is our first time to the islands and will spend a week on Oahu and a week on Maui. Does anyone have suggestions on areas to stay on these islands. We dont care about shopping or eating. We mainly want to relax on nice beaches away from alot of the hustle and bustle but not to far. We will also do some fun activities:
Here is what i am thinking
Day 1: Sleep in and adjust to time zone relax on the beach etc
Day 2: Go to pearl harbor spend morning there, grab lunch somewhere nearby then explore Honolulu and Waikiki
Day 3: More of a relaxing day spend time at beach maybe do one activity ie helicopter ride or hike diamond head
Day 4: Another fun activity(shark encounter etc) and some site seeing
Day 5: A do nothing do make no plans and do whatever comes our way
Day 6:Another activity or 2 some sight seeing
Day 7 what should we do this day?? take late afternoon evening flight to Maui
Where should we stay in Maui??
Day 8: Activity, beach
Day 9: Road to Hana
Day 10 RELAX
Day 11 sightsee relax activity
Day 12
day 13
day 14

So can anyone give me suggestions of places to stay on or near the beach. Also what sites are we missing that we should see? We dont really have specific sites in mind so suggestiosn are appreciated! What are fun activities to do? We are taking 2 grandsons (17,15) so they will want to do things that we are fine watching. Thanks!

sf7307 Mar 6th, 2012 10:55 AM

On Oahu, if I were not staying at a nice hotel in Waikiki, I would rent a place in Kailua, near Kailua Beach or Lanikai Beach. Another choice would be to rent up on the north shore, near Haleiwa.

Tomsd Mar 6th, 2012 02:51 PM

For $250 a night - I would think you could find a decent 2 BR condo - but google away to be sure. Also check out the Turte Bay Resort - as they have some nice beachfront cottages. And friends of ours rent out their 2BR guest house -right by Waimea Bay on the north shore. Check VRBO for availability.

And we also loved staying over by Lanakai Beach.

The #1 thing I would recommend for the two grandsons would be snorkeling at Hanamua Bay - about 20 minutes south of Waikiki, and also other places you may travel. Recommend you go early - and they have food there but we prefer to take a picnic lunch - and sometimes pick up Sushi at the Hawai Kai shopping center. The local McDonalds also have good Saiman soup.

And if the grandsons don't board surf, they might like to try body suring.

Driving around Oahu is also fun. And you and they might like Sea Life Park if you haven't been to a Sea World type park, and it's about 10 minutes beyond Hanamua Bay: http://www.sealifeparkhawaii.com/

The #2 thing I would recommend on Maui - (after driving to Hana) - would be to get up early - oh dark thirty (be on the road at 4 am) - and drive up to greet the sun god coming up over the rim of the Halakeala Volcano.

Driving around the north end of Maui is also fun (narrows to one lane in a couple of places but incredible views) - and the Iao Needle is worth a visit.

voyager61 Mar 6th, 2012 03:18 PM

Two of the more popular beach areas are Kaanapali and Kihei, and they would be a good fit for teenagers; I would start looking on-line at Costco packages or Expedia and see what you come up with in each area. We usually use VRBO for condos on Maui but we always stay longer than a week and eat in about half the time. For day trips on Maui, Haleakala is a top priority, as would be a snorkel trip to Molokini, which the boys would love, I'm sure.

Kaanapali is more resort oriented, but there are condos available...Kihei is a little more low-key as far as accommodations and you will find a wide variety at different prices. Another difference is that in Kihei, most places to stay are across a main road from the nicest beaches, so you aren't right on the beach usually. More options for staying right on the beach in Kaanapali. There are beautiful beaches in Wailea and Makena, south of Kihei, but this is also where some of the priciest beachfront accommodations in Maui are (there are options away from the beach, but not as much variety...again check VRBO for condo prices in each area). However, both Wailea and Makena are very lovely places to stay, and it's only about 2 miles into Kihei when you want more excitement. I wouldn't choose Lahaina if you want to be away from hustle/bustle. It always seems very busy.

The main thing is be sure to check out the places you are interested in on Google maps/Earth, so you can see exactly where you will be relative to main roads, beaches, the airport, Haleakala, etc. For example, Kaanapali is a good 40 minutes further from the volcano than Kihei, and most snorkel trips leave from Lahaina's harbor.

suze Mar 6th, 2012 04:00 PM

I'd stay somewhere like Outrigger Reef or Waikiki Shores condo next door in Waikiki by Fort de Russy park. On Maui I liked Lahaina Shores another not fancy condo/hotel property, walking distance to town in Lahaina (where there are things to see and do without getting in the car all the time, which I like).

Both these ARE busy, but places I personally enjoy a lot. And convenient for getting out and about to other more removed areas for the sights, beaches, smaller towns, natural wonders, etc. Rent a car both islands to smooth out your getting around.

lifeisanadventure Mar 7th, 2012 08:34 AM

Okay thanks for the suggestions on places to stay we will look at all our options!
How hard is the road to hana drive? What kind of car should we rent? How long does it take?
And would most of you recommend getting up early to see the sunrise over Halakeala Volcano? What time should we get there?
Also would anyone recommend just picking a day and driving around the 2 islands? Could that be fun?
THANKS

suze Mar 7th, 2012 08:48 AM

People have varying opinions about sunrise. For my family, no one wanted to get up in the middle of the night and do the drive in the dark. We waited and went up mid-morning. That worked fine for us. For some people it is worth the extra effort to see the sunrise. Some people like sunSET.


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