Common Mistakes When Cruising Hawaii and What to Do Instead

Common Mistakes When Cruising Hawaii and What to Do Instead

Common Mistakes When Cruising Hawaii and What to Do Instead

Posted on May 24th, 2024.

Cruising Hawaii is an incredible experience filled with breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cultures, and unforgettable adventures. However, many travelers make common mistakes that can detract from their enjoyment. 

In this blog post, we’ll highlight these pitfalls and offer practical tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable Hawaiian cruise.

Common Mistakes When Cruising Hawaii and What to Do Instead

1. Skipping Shore Excursions

While the cruise ship offers many amenities, Hawaii’s true beauty lies on land. Skipping shore excursions means missing out on experiencing the islands’ rich culture and natural wonders.

What to Do Instead:

Book shore excursions in advance. Choose activities that interest you, such as snorkeling in Maui, exploring volcanic landscapes on the Big Island, or visiting historic sites in Oahu. Shore excursions often fill up quickly, so planning ahead ensures you won't miss out on these unique experiences.

2. Not Packing for Variable Weather

Hawaii’s weather can be unpredictable, with sudden rain showers and varying temperatures across different islands. Many cruisers make the mistake of packing only for sunny weather.

What to Do Instead:

Pack layers and bring a light rain jacket. Even if the forecast predicts sunshine, it’s wise to be prepared for all conditions. Comfortable walking shoes, a hat, and sunscreen are also essentials for exploring the islands.

3. Overpacking

With so much to see and do, it’s tempting to bring your entire wardrobe. However, overpacking can lead to crowded cabins and unnecessary stress.

What to Do Instead:

Pack versatile clothing that can be mixed and matched. Focus on comfortable, casual attire for daytime activities and a few dressier options for evening events. Most cruises offer laundry services, so you can pack lighter and still have fresh clothes throughout your trip.

4. Ignoring Time Differences

Hawaii operates on Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time, which is several hours behind mainland U.S. time zones. Failing to adjust to the time difference can result in missed excursions or activities.

What to Do Instead:

Set your watch to local time as soon as you board the ship. Allow yourself a day or two to acclimate to the time difference, and plan activities accordingly. This will help you maximize your time on the islands.

5. Underestimating Jet Lag

Traveling to Hawaii often involves long flights and significant time zone changes. Underestimating jet lag can leave you feeling exhausted at the start of your cruise.

What to Do Instead:

Plan to arrive in Hawaii a day or two before your cruise departure. This gives you time to adjust to the new time zone and recover from any travel fatigue. Use this time to explore the embarkation city and start your vacation feeling refreshed.

6. Not Researching Ports of Call

Each Hawaiian island has its own unique attractions and activities. Failing to research ports of call can result in missed opportunities to explore these diverse destinations.

What to Do Instead:

Research each port of call in advance. Identify must-see attractions and activities on each island, and plan your days accordingly. Consider local transportation options, such as rental cars or public transit, to maximize your time onshore.

7. Forgetting Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is often overlooked but is crucial for protecting your investment and ensuring peace of mind during your cruise.

What to Do Instead:

Purchase comprehensive travel insurance that covers trip cancellations, medical emergencies, and lost luggage. Read the policy carefully to understand what is included and make sure it suits your needs.

8. Not Booking Specialty Dining

While the main dining options on the cruise ship are usually excellent, specialty dining venues offer unique culinary experiences that shouldn’t be missed.

What to Do Instead:

Make reservations for specialty dining restaurants as soon as possible. These venues often book up quickly, especially on popular cruise lines like Norwegian Cruise Line. Trying different cuisines can enhance your cruise experience and provide memorable dining moments.

9. Neglecting Hydration and Sun Protection

The Hawaiian sun can be intense, and it’s easy to get dehydrated when spending long days exploring.

What to Do Instead:

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Always apply sunscreen with a high SPF, wear a hat, and use sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Reapply sunscreen frequently, especially after swimming or sweating.

10. Missing Out on Cultural Experiences

Hawaii’s culture is rich and diverse, with unique traditions, music, and dance. Some cruisers miss out on these experiences by staying on the ship.

What to Do Instead:

Participate in cultural activities both on and off the ship. Attend a luau, learn to hula, or visit local museums and historical sites. Engaging with the local culture can provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of Hawaii.

11. Overlooking the Importance of Early Planning

Last-minute planning can lead to missed opportunities and added stress.

What to Do Instead:

Plan your cruise well in advance. This includes booking excursions, specialty dining, and any other activities you’re interested in. Early planning allows you to take advantage of early booking discounts and ensures you get to do everything you want during your trip.

12. Disregarding Local Wildlife Guidelines

Hawaii is home to unique wildlife, including sea turtles and monk seals. Disregarding guidelines for interacting with these animals can harm them and result in fines.

What to Do Instead:

Follow local guidelines for wildlife interactions. Keep a respectful distance, avoid touching or feeding animals, and follow any posted signs or instructions from guides. Protecting Hawaii’s wildlife ensures it will continue to thrive for future visitors.

13. Choosing the Wrong Cruise Line

Not all cruise lines offer the same experience, and choosing the wrong one can impact your enjoyment of the trip.

What to Do Instead:

Research different cruise lines and their itineraries. Consider what’s important to you, whether it’s onboard activities, dining options, or shore excursions. Norwegian Cruise Line, for example, is known for its excellent service and diverse itineraries in Hawaii.

14. Skipping Pre-Cruise Research

Failing to research your cruise ship and itinerary can lead to missed opportunities and unpreparedness.

What to Do Instead:

Familiarize yourself with your cruise ship and itinerary before departure. Learn about the ship’s amenities, dining options, and daily schedules. Understanding the layout of the ship can also help you navigate more easily once on board.

15. Neglecting Health Precautions

Traveling, especially on a cruise ship, can expose you to various health risks. Neglecting health precautions can lead to illness and disrupt your vacation.

What to Do Instead:

Take health precautions seriously. Wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitizer, and stay hydrated. If you’re prone to seasickness, bring motion sickness medication. Also, check if any vaccinations or health advisories are recommended for travel to Hawaii.

16. Not Budgeting for Extras

While cruises often include many amenities, there are additional costs that can add up quickly if not accounted for.

What to Do Instead:

Create a budget for extras such as shore excursions, specialty dining, gratuities, and souvenirs. Having a clear budget helps manage your spending and ensures you can enjoy all the experiences you’re interested in without financial stress.

17. Ignoring Local Customs and Etiquette

Hawaii has its own customs and etiquette that visitors should respect. Ignoring these can come across as rude and disrespectful.

What to Do Instead:

Learn about Hawaiian customs and etiquette before your trip. Simple gestures, like saying “aloha” and “mahalo,” show respect and appreciation for the local culture. Understanding and respecting local customs can enhance your interactions and overall experience in Hawaii.

Read Cruising with Kids 101 for more valuable information.

Reach out for More Expert Advice

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure a memorable and enjoyable cruise in Hawaii. Plan ahead, respect local customs, and take advantage of all the unique experiences each island has to offer. 

If you have any questions or need assistance planning your Hawaiian cruise, don’t hesitate to contact You Will Travel at 321-376-2802 or [email protected]. Our experts are here to help you create the perfect cruise adventure.

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