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How to Travel to Hawaii by Boat

by Robert Morello

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

Use the net to find your way.

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.)

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.

Call to get the most for your cruise dollar.

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.

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.


  • Booking your cruise either far in advance or at the very last minute will provide you with the best rates available for your cruise to Hawaii.
  • Don't always opt for the lowest rate. Sometimes you can find a cruise with additional or more interesting ports of call for just a few dollars more. This can make your journey as enjoyable as your destination.
  • Try not to book a specific cabin. Instead book just a guaranteed room. This way you are sure to have the room category you paid for and you may have the opportunity for a last-minute upgrade, based on availability, when you check-in.
  • When booking the cruise, ask about prepaid beverage packages and insurance. Both may save you big in the long run.


  • If you wish to travel both to and from Hawaii by boat, make sure to check that there is a return cruise available for the date range you are planning to leave. If there is not, you may be forced to fly on the return leg.
  • Pacific Ocean cruises to and from California depart for the most part from mid-Fall to mid-Spring. So remember to factor this into your travel plans.

Items you will need

About the Author

Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.

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