It’s only a 10-hour flight away at most from the East Coast of Australia, but cruising to or from Hawaii can have an extraordinary range of benefits unlike those you will find on a regular cruise in Australian waters.
If you’re heading east at the end of the Australian season (around late March or early April), the safe bet is that the ship has had another successful Aussie summer in local waters, provided countless happy memories for cruisers and has a clearly satisfied crew. On these Trans-Pacific voyages, these crew will most likely have more time to get to know you due to a smaller number of guests joining them for their journey back across the Pacific.
Sailing west at the start of the next season (around September or October) bound for Australia, there is excitement and anticipation in the air as the crew are energised and ready to go for the summer ahead. In some cases, the ship will have undergone a refurbishment or a full maintenance, be gleaming in all corners and ready for the fun times ahead.
If you’re contemplating a longer cruise and feel like journeying across the Pacific, here are some of the ships on which you can enjoy the experience.
Explorer of the Seas (Royal Caribbean)
After its maiden season in Australia this past summer, Explorer of the Seas will return to local waters late this year for another turn, having spent the summer cruising from Seattle.
Having spent five days at sea, the Hawaiian capital of Honolulu will be the first stop for this ship during this voyage from the US West Coast as it heads for Sydney. Hawaii will be a focus destination as the ship spends two days and one whole night in Maui to give guests a great opportunity to get to know this small but famous island.
The next week will be spent at sea as the ship crosses the International Date Line on its journey west, with the next stop scheduled for the Fijian capital of Suva. There is plenty to do in this small city, whether wandering shops, heading to the beach or taking a tour to a nearby island. Like Hawaii, Explorer will spend the night here. Further stops in the Vanuatu hotspots of Port Vila and Mystery Island come next, before one final call in Noumea before sailing into Sydney Harbour once again.
Sun Princess (Princess Cruises)
During the cooler months, Princess Cruises’ ships in Australia often set sail on longer voyages and this winter, Sun Princess will be found encircling the Pacific Ocean on a mighty 75-day marathon which actually departs from Sydney on 21 June. Honolulu will feature in the latter stages of the voyage as the ship prepares for its return.
After cruising through Malaysia, China and Japan, the 2,010-passenger ship will cross the Pacific into Alaska before heading down the West Coast of the USA, turning right and heading via Hawaii back to Australia. If 75 days is too long for you to be away, you can join the ship in San Francisco for a shorter 25 days on the return leg.
This segment of the voyage will see the ship call in San Diego, Honolulu, Maui and The Big Island – the latter being a rarity for ships crossing the Pacific. Five days at sea later, the ship will tour Tahiti and Bora Bora (but not Moorea) before crossing the International Date Line and making final stops in Auckland and the Bay of Islands. Two further days at sea later, the extended journey will reach its crescendo when it returns to Sydney.
Celebrity Solstice (Celebrity Cruises)
If you’re a true nautical person where the best parts of cruising are the days at sea, this cruise could be for you, with 11 days at sea over the course of the nearly three-week voyage. After leaving Honolulu in mid-September, the cruise will spend one day in Maui before the first five-day stint at sea begins. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of things to see, do, eat and drink onboard the ship, as this photo tour of the ship can attest. You’ll have plenty of chances to enjoy the dining, such as the crepes at Bistro on Five.
The ship will break up the cruising with three days in the Tahitian islands, visiting Bora Bora, Papeete and Moorea. A second five-day period at sea then follows before then enjoying two stops in New Zealand in Auckland and the Bay of Islands. Solstice will then continue around the north of the country and across the Tasman, ending its voyage in Sydney two days later.
Carnival Legend (Carnival Cruise Line)
Another sea-intensive itinerary can easily be offset through a huge array of things to see and do onboard the sister ship to Carnival Spirit, which was recently loaded up with all of the favourite activities and features loved by its growing Australian fanbase.
After setting sail from the Hawaiian capital, the ship will spend five days at sea before arriving in the Tahiti islands. Different to most itineraries though will see the ship spend nearly 24 straight hours in Papeete, arriving at 9am and leaving at 4am the next morning, which will give guests a chance to delve deep into the Tahitian nightlife until the early hours. A short cruise later and the ship will be in Moorea by the time the sun comes up the same day, with Bora Bora featuring on the schedule after that.
Crossing the International Date Line, Carnival Legend will then find itself a few days later in Suva, Fiji for the day. A day in Noumea will then follow before the ship embarks on the home stretch to its favourite summer home in Sydney.