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Nawiliwili Hawaii Cruise Port: Tips, Attractions and Weather

Nā Pali Coast, Hawaii. Credit: Pixabay Creative Commons license
Nā Pali Coast, Hawaii. Credit: Pixabay Creative Commons license

The Nawiliwili cruise port on the Hawaiian island of Kauai is a popular port for seven-night Hawaiian cruises.

Kauai is the fourth largest Hawaiian island and one that offers quite a bit of natural attractions for cruise visitors. It is about 120 miles northwest of Honolulu.

The island is known for its scenic beauty including sharp mountain peaks, green valleys, waterfalls and tropical rainforests.

Seven-night cruises often embark from Honolulu, travel southeast to Maui and Hilo. From there, they turn around and cruise past Honolulu to spend the final days of the cruise at Nawiliwili and the Na Pali Coast. The Nā Pali Coast includes the picturesque Nā Pali Coast State Park and Hono O Nā Pali State Natural Reserve.

Ships dock by the city of Lihue.

Attractions and Shore Excursions

Walking Around Attractions

Nawiliwili Harbor Cruise Map

Lihue is a small city of about 6,000 people, which means it doesn’t have much to see compared to larger ports. But it does have some attractions worth considering.

Anyone who walks less than a half mile northeast of the cruise pier will reach Kalapaki Beach. Ninini Beach with an automated lighthouse that has been in operation since 1897 is another three fourths of a mile beyond Kalapaki Beach.

Shore Excursions

A somewhat expensive but useful six-hour shore excursion will take cruise visitors to some of the best natural attractions on the island. Highlights of this tour includes Opaeka’a falls, the sacred and historic Poliahu Heiau, Wailua River, Fern Grotto, Kilauea Lighthouse and the Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge.

A shorter and less expensive option is a 4.5-hour Waimea Canyon tour at a cost of about $60 per person. The 2,857-foot deep canyon tour includes a visit to the landing of Captain James Cook during his first visit to the Hawaiian Islands, the pretty Hanapepe Valley and a drive by Fort Elizabeth, a fort erected by Russians in 1817.

It also includes a tour through the site of Hawaii’s first sugar cane plantation and a visit to the Spouting Horn blowhole, which loudly shoots water up to 60 feet in the air.

Another common shore excursion is a cruise along the Wailua river to the Fern Grotto. Some of these cruises also include a Polynesian dinner. Prices start at around $150 per person.

Whale watching season goes from December to May, but the best months are January to early April.

Cruise Weather

The island has average temperatures that range between 69 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Water temperatures usually stay between 71 and 81 degrees. Water activities are more common in the summer.

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 25, 2021

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