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Honolulu Cruise Port: Tips, Attractions and Weather

Pearl Harbor memorial
Pearl Harbor memorial

The Honolulu cruise port is an important part of Hawaii’s largest city and the islands’ capital city.

Honolulu also is one of two starting points for Hawaiian cruises. Hawaiin cruises are unusual in that they begin either in Honolulu or on the California coast.

If they begin in Honolulu, they usually last six days and seven nights. If they begin in California, they last 14 days and 15 nights with about half of the trip spent going to and from the islands.

Some cruisers may fly into Hawaii to combine time on the islands and time on a cruise. If they start their cruise right away, they usually fly into Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. From there, they travel to the Pier 2 cruise terminal at 521 Ala Moana Boulevard, which is about five miles from the airport. Ships often dock at Piers 10 and 11.

Attractions and Shore Excursions

Walking Around Attractions

Honolulu Cruise Port Map

The 10-story Aloha Tower at Pier 9 on the Honolulu waterfront is hard to miss. This shopping, dining and residential complex on the campus of Hawaii Pacific University is a quick walk from the terminal. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. The top floor has an observation deck with expansive views of Honolulu.

Kaka’ako Waterfront Park is another quick walk to the south of the cruise terminal at Pier 2. It’s a quiet park for a picnic or time to relax before the start of a cruise.

Shore Excursions

The location of the infamous Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that led to America’s involvement in World War II is a popular shore excursion.

Various types of tours are available according to budgets and time. One example from a cruise line combines the Pearl Harbor memorial with a city tour for $80 a person. The guided excursion includes a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial, a stop at Waikiki and drive throughs of Chinatown, the Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery, Iolani Palace, the Hawaii State Capitol and historic Kawaiahao Church.

Another common shore excursion is a trip to Sea Life Park, which is 17 miles west of the cruise terminal. The park has a variety of programs that offer visitors a chance to swim with dolphins and interact with sea lions. Prices vary widely depending on the program, but expect to pay more than $100 per person.

An example of an excursion to the famous Waikiki Beach, which is about three miles from the cruise terminal, seemed a bit expensive at $100 per person including discounts for children. The excursion includes transportation, beach chair and umbrella.

Cruise Weather

The Honolulu cruise port has a dry season and a mild rainy season. The dry season goes from April through September when rainfall averages less than one inch a month.

The rainy season goes from October through March with an average rainfall of two to three inches a month.

Daytime temperatures range from about 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 27 Celsius in the winter to the high 80s Fahrenheit or low 30s Celsius in the summer.

Water temperatures may feel chilly at times in the winter because of low air temperatures at night. Nighttime temperatures in the winter drop into the high 60s Fahrenheit.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
October 11, 2021

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