Hanalei Beach Kauai Hawaii M Swiet Productions
Hanalei Beach Kauai Hawaii M Swiet Productions

Hawaii is a year-round cruise vacation spot recognized for its tropical climate and heat South Pacific waters teeming with sea life, so the perfect time to cruise to Hawaii is usually every time you may get there. However some months are hotter or rainier than others, particular time intervals entice extra crowds and sure seasons are recognized for signature actions similar to whale watching and big-wave browsing.

Just one main cruise line, Norwegian, affords year-round itineraries, however greater than a half dozen others sail 9-to-16-night, one-way or round-trip cruises to Hawaii from ports on the West Coast and in Hawaii throughout particular instances of yr. Which means you’ll have a higher collection of cruise dates and itineraries in sure months, typically October by April.

However when precisely is the perfect time to cruise Hawaii?

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It depends upon what you prioritize. The climate in Hawaii is usually at its most nice in April, Could, September and October, however when you desire it sizzling and dry, the perfect time to cruise Hawaii is from June to August. One of the best instances to see whales are the winter months (January by March), however you’ll doubtless expertise some rain. One of the best instances to cruise for low costs and nice worth are early November and early December.

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It’s value repeating, nevertheless, that there actually isn’t a foul time to set sail in Hawaii.

Right here’s a take a look at what you’ll be able to count on when taking a cruise throughout every seasonal journey interval in Hawaii. Understanding the final climate outlook and what pure phenomena or particular occasions shall be happening might help you choose the fitting time to cruise to your journey group.

Hawaii’s seasons

Greater than 10,000 humpback whales migrate to the waters round Maui in winter. M SWIET PRODUCTIONS/GETTY IMAGES

There are solely two seasons in Hawaii: summer season (Could to October, when the typical daytime temperature is 85 levels) and winter (November to April, when the mercury dips barely to a median of 78-80 levels). Even at evening temperatures not often drop under 65-75 levels.

Like to swim and snorkel? Seawater in Hawaii is usually round 74 levels in winter and 80 levels in summer season — and dolphins frolic in Hawaii’s waters year-round. Hawaii’s latitude near the equator additionally means sundown instances have little variation, occurring between 6 p.m. and seven:15 p.m.

The wildcard is precipitation. Hawaii is thought for its considerable sunshine and plush, tropical vegetation — and the latter wants rain. So sure, you’re more likely to encounter some showers throughout your go to to Hawaii, however extra so in some areas and through particular months. In December and January, the islands obtain virtually 3 inches of rain, whereas the tally is lower than half an inch in June, July and August.

It’s additionally vital to notice that every of the 4 main islands sometimes visited on a cruise — Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the island of Hawaii — have what are referred to as windward and leeward sides. The windward sides, that are lusher and greener, get extra rainfall, whereas the leeward sides are typically sunnier and hotter.

For instance, on the island of Hawaii, many cruises name on each Hilo, positioned on the windward aspect and recognized for its rainforests and waterfalls, and Kona, positioned on the leeward aspect and recognized for its arid local weather and lava landscapes. So, it’s doable in a single day to expertise infinite sunshine on one aspect of an island and intermittent downpours on the opposite. However there’s a silver lining: the Hawaiian Islands are well-known for his or her unbelievable rainbows.

What about main tropical storms? Though hurricane season within the central Pacific runs from June by November, storms making a direct hit on the Hawaiian Islands are fairly uncommon. Simply 5 hurricanes or tropical storms have brought about main injury since 1950 — probably the most notable of which, Hurricane Iniki, devastated the island of Kauai in early September 1992.

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Winter: January to March

Winter is peak season for tourism in Hawaii — despite the fact that it’s also the rainiest interval within the islands — so airfares and lodge room charges are apt to be excessive and widespread points of interest are more likely to be crowded. Nonetheless, an opportunity to flee the chilly blanketing a lot of the mainland U.S. from January to March means it’s among the many most-desired instances to take pleasure in a go to to the Aloha State. You’ll discover probably the most cruise choices throughout these months and by reserving effectively prematurely (a minimum of six months) you’ll be able to doubtless snag a good-value cruise fare.

Climate-wise, daytime temperatures are snug at round 80 levels, with nighttime lows of 65. Rainfall averages slightly below one inch a month in Honolulu, however sure ports usually tend to expertise showers than others. These embody the aforementioned Hilo on the island of Hawaii and Nawiliwili on Kauai, the place month-to-month rainfall averages 4-5 inches in December and January.

Winter can also be the season to expertise two of Hawaii’s most unbelievable phenomena. One is the annual migration of greater than 10,000 humpback whales to the waters round Maui, the place females give beginning to their younger. The opposite is huge wave season (with swells as excessive as 30 ft) on the North Shore of Oahu, the place skilled surfers trip gigantic curls — the Banzai Pipeline being probably the most well-known — throughout annual surf competitions in January and February.

Different occasions that may have an effect on flight availability and crowds throughout this era are the Match of Champions PGA golf match at Kapalua on Maui and the All-Star Hula Bowl Traditional Soccer Recreation on Oahu, each of which occur in January. Spring break in March can also be a well-liked time for household holidays in Hawaii, so crowds may be anticipated.

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Spring: April and Could

Could 1 is a statewide vacation in Hawaii referred to as Lei Day. HIRO PHOTO H/GETTY IMAGES

The spring candy spot, between the winter peak however earlier than the summer season onslaught, is a terrific time to e book a Hawaii cruise, though there are barely fewer sailings throughout these months. Since that is the shoulder season, cruise fares, airfares and lodge charges are typically effectively priced.

The climate can also be greater than more likely to be superb, with simply an inch of rain or much less per thirty days on Oahu, Maui and the island of Hawaii and about two inches on Kauai. Temperatures shall be within the excessive 70s to mid-80s.

Spring additionally marks the tail finish of humpback season; cruisers on April and even early Could sailings could possibly spot a number of of those mammoth creatures hanging round earlier than starting their lengthy journey as much as Alaska. Sea turtles may be noticed on all of the islands in spring, however particularly round Maui and Lanai because the waters heat with the method of summer season.

Historically, Japanese vacationers have visited Hawaii in late April and early Could throughout the so-called “Golden Week” when 4 Japanese holidays happen over a interval of seven days. After three years of COVID-19-related vaccination and testing necessities have been lifted in mid-2022, Hawaii expects to see a surge in Japanese tourism for Golden Week 2023, so plan accordingly to keep away from the crowds. Could 1 can also be a statewide vacation in Hawaii referred to as Lei Day.

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Summer season: June to August

Summer season is definitely Hawaii’s busiest season for the reason that islands are extraordinarily widespread with each households and honeymooners. They’re additionally at their warmest and driest. That’s nice when you like the warmth (daytime highs method 90 levels in July and August) and like to swim in water that’s virtually as heat because the air. Calmer waters on the north shores of Oahu, Maui and Kauai additionally imply that some seashores may be loved by extra than simply surfers. And on land, much less rain means safer path circumstances if climbing is in your Hawaii must-do listing.

However summer season can also be least busy on the subject of cruise ship arrivals, with solely Norwegian and Princess providing sailings from June to August (when most cruise traces transfer their Pacific-based ships to Alaska). Resort occupancy is extraordinarily excessive, so pre-and post-cruise stays may be expensive.

Summer season festivals embody the Ukulele Pageant Hawaii on Oahu (in July), Duke’s OceanFest in Waikiki (in late August) and Koloa Plantation Days on Kauai (in July). Bon season, an obon dance custom handed down by Japanese plantation employees, means bon dance occasions are held all through the islands throughout the summer season months. King Kamehameha Day (June 11) is a well-liked annual vacation in Hawaii.

Turtles are additionally considerable in Hawaii’s heat, calm waters throughout this time because it’s nesting season, whereas dolphins frequent Hawaiian waters year-round. So, whilst you’ll miss the possibility to see wintering humpback whales, there’s nonetheless loads of sea life to identify.

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Early fall: September and October

Early fall is one other shoulder season that gives good climate (as famous above, Hawaii is usually not within the path of storms throughout the central Pacific hurricane season) and fewer crowds. Cruise tourism to Hawaii begins to select up once more as cruise traces reposition ships from Alaska, and it’s doable to seek out good-value fares throughout this time by reserving effectively prematurely and even last-minute. Airfare and lodge charges for pre- or post-cruise stays needs to be decrease, too.

Climate-wise, September’s rainfall is much like that of the summer season interval, with totals underneath half an inch on Maui, an inch on Oahu and the island of Hawaii, and two inches on Kauai. Rainfall is double these quantities in October, however nonetheless lower than in November and December.

Occasions to remember when reserving a cruise in September or October are the Ironman triathlon world championships, held yearly in early October in Kona on the island of Hawaii, and a number of other meals and wine festivals, together with the Hawaii Meals & Wine Pageant, which takes place in late October in Honolulu.

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Late fall: November and December

December is Hawaii’s rainiest month. CAVAN IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

Late fall and early winter in Hawaii carry a serious inflow of vacationers over the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Yr’s breaks. However the weeks in between are each nice instances to snag a deal on a Hawaii crusing — early November for a less-harried atmosphere and early December for decrease cruise fares and airfares. Sure, December is Hawaii’s rainiest month, however it doesn’t rain daily and definitely not all day. (The rain is available in small bursts and largely after darkish.) Temperatures can dip into the 60s at evening on some islands.

As soon as the calendar web page hits mid-December, nevertheless, Christmas and New Yr’s crowds start arriving and cruise, airfare and lodge room costs skyrocket. For those who’re on a good funds or crowds make you loopy, it’s greatest to not e book a vacation cruise.

Occasions to remember embody the annual Kona Espresso Cultural Pageant on the island of Hawaii in early November and the Honolulu Marathon in early December.

If a post-Thanksgiving/pre-Christmas cruise in Hawaii sounds interesting, you’re apt to come across the arrival of the humpbacks throughout the first two weeks of December. The waves on Oahu’s North Shore additionally start to swell, making for dramatic images. And seeing this palm-tree-studded paradise decked out in vacation decorations together with considerable tropical poinsettias in full seasonal bloom makes for a memorable journey expertise.

Backside line

One of the best time to cruise Hawaii is the season or month that most closely fits your schedule, pursuits and/or funds. If considerable sunshine is paramount (and also you don’t thoughts sharing paradise with numerous fellow guests and are OK if temperatures method 90 levels), assume summer season — though you’ll have fewer cruises from which to decide on and lodge charges shall be excessive. For those who’re trying to escape the chilly and wish to see whales, huge waves and tropical Hawaii at its most lush (and don’t thoughts a little bit of rain), go for winter, when most main cruise traces sail the islands. Once more, count on to pay a premium, particularly for a pre- or post-cruise lodge keep.

The 2 shoulder seasons, April-Could and September-October, provide up a contented medium with nice climate and customarily good costs, whereas the lulls throughout early November and early December imply pre-holiday offers on flights and cruise fares are sometimes out there. These final three time intervals are all the perfect instances to cruise for general worth — even when you would possibly miss seeing whales and people ginormous North Shore waves.

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