How to Travel to Hawaii by Boat

by Robert Morello
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maui sunset image by Brett Bouwer from

At one time several boats and ferries made the trip from Los Angeles to the Hawaiian Islands on a regular basis. Since the advent of jet air travel, however, these point-to-point boat transports have been phased out in favor of the quicker, more efficient air travel option. If you still want to take a more leisurely trip from the West Coast to Hawaii, consider going by cruise ship, a modern day alternative to point-to-point transports.

Finding the Right Boat

Step 1

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Search one of the excellent cruise only travel websites, which will provide listings for all the available sailings to and from the ports of your choice, the best rates available and all possible ship and cruise line options. (See Resource 1.)

Step 2

Find the sailing that suits your departure port and travel date requirements by using the advanced search options on the travel website. Weigh the elements of timing, price, amenities and itinerary to decide which is best for you. Shorter cruises tend to cost less than longer cruises, but this is not always so. Go for the best selection of ports rather than the rate paid to ensure a great trip.

Step 3

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Call the cruise broker rather than booking online. Doing so will allow you to ask the representative about possible upgrades, where to stay on the ship, and which ship, if there are more than one that catches your eye, is best for you . Representatives can often also help you to find great accommodations at your destination site.

Step 4

If you plan on making the trip back to your home port by boat as well, make an inquiry now and ask for a discounted round-trip rate. If you are taking the same cruise line both ways you will often be eligible for a discount. Discuss this option with your cruise representative and negotiate.

If you are staying in Hawaii for a time before returning by ship or otherwise, inquire with your cruise line about special partner hotel rates which may be available. Do not automatically book these hotels as many times they will be cheaper to book directly with the hotel itself. Do a comparison and make your decision.

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