The most cosmopolitan of the Hawaiian islands and the archipelago’s capital, Honolulu is home to a dizzying array of amenities for every kind of visitor. There are the high-end shops and haute restaurants, breezy beach bars and favorite food trucks, plus top spots for hiking and kayaking. The cruise terminal is at the center of many offerings, and others are an easy cab ride away.
What We Love
Royal Family: Hawaii is the only state in the union to have been ruled by kings and queens. Tour the restored Iolani Palace for a glimpse of the daily lives of the former ruling monarchy. The rolling grounds are particularly picturesque.
Cuisine: Honolulu is known for shave ice, Puka dogs, and Spam, but the city’s physical position also makes it the hub for Pan-Pacific cuisine. One of the best places to sample this blend of Asian and local influences is at Alan Wong’s eponymous eatery.
Best Known For
Surf’s Up: Take a class with any number of outfitters set up at Waikiki Beach or rent a board and paddle out on your own. For some of the most epic sets in the world, head to the North Shore. Beginners beware — these waves are best left to the pros.
Diamond Head: A hike on this volcanic cone is an absolute must-do for any Hawaii newbie. The trek is doable for any fitness level and rewards climbers with awesome beach, mountain, and ocean views.
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Who It's Best For
Everyone: If you can’t find something to pique your interest in this city, you must have been sleeping. Gorgeous natural scenery, amazing eats, modern and ancient history, shopping at every price point, and endless soft adventure activities are all located within minutes of your ship’s docking point.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Slow Down: Island life is a little — OK, a lot — more relaxed than the go-go pace at home. Be prepared for slower service and longer wait times than you’re used to.
Jenna Mahoney is a Brooklyn-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Allure.