See Hawaii’s wild side on a week-long cruise around the islands

 When you’re thinking about an adventure cruise, size does matter.

While there are certainly cruise aficionados who are convinced bigger is better – five shows, 30 restaurants, theatres, waterslides, shopping malls – the mega-ship lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Small ship cruises embody a different way of cruising: one that’s about exploring remote destinations, peace and quiet, and engagement with the water, with the land, with wildlife, with experiencing different cultures and meeting the locals.

Un-Cruise adventures in Hawaii are all about exploring the natural splendour and wildlife of the Hawaiian archipelago. They are known for their play-it-by-ear style of small ship cruising: no two voyages are the same.

On an UnCruise adventure in Hawaii, you’re there to expect the unexpected.

The un of Uncruise comes from wanting to be different from all the other cruise holidays. This is all about how to cruise Hawaii with flexibility. UnCruise small ship cruises have outlines of an itinerary, but they don’t tie themselves to scheduled port calls; the itinerary can be guided by weather, wildlife and whim. If the captain spots a pod of humpbacks, the ship can follow it; if the inclination to explore an intriguing section of coast comes up, the cruise can do it.

This is the essence of an UnCruise Hawaii adventure. The size of the Safari Explorer allows stops in destinations inaccessible to large cruise ships. The captain has the flexibility of navigating towards the wildlife instead of following a strict charted course. Whales will regularly breach around the ship. When the whales are active, encounters can last for quite some time; by law, when a humpback whale is within 100 yards of a boat, the captain can’t engage the engines, even to back away.

UnCruise’s small ship, the Safari Explorer, can best be described as a 145-foot “boutique yacht”. It was designed for both comfort and adventure. The 18 elegant cabins have viewing windows, eco-friendly toiletries, robes, heated bathroom floors and a handy pair of waterproof binoculars and come in varying sizes, and cost.

The Safari Explorer tows two 24-foot skiffs, taking snorkellers close to shore, and is outfitted with loads of water toys: paddleboards, wet suits and kayaks.

The food is superb, with most ingredients locally sourced, but this is a trip designed more for those active travellers who are more interested in experiences with the environment than dressing up for dinner.

Want to know how to cruise Hawaii Uncruise style?

Your packing list should focus on casual dress with jandals, sneakers and comfortable sweaters for breezy evenings being the norm.

Should you choose, you can begin your day with a yoga class as the sun rises over the mountains, continue on with complimentary massages after a day on the water or out exploring and end the evenings listening to experts speaking about the wildlife you’d seen or would see the following day.

UnCruise also has an open-bridge policy. Passengers can wander up at any time and sit with the captain or the officers and learn about where their adventure’s taking them.

small ship cruise

Hawaiian Seascapes – small ship adventure cruising

Cruising the Hawaiian Islands

A weeklong sailing with UnCruise allows loads of time for her 36 passengers to experience Hawaii’s natural environment by both land and sea. The seven-night trip will take you from Molokai to Lanai, Maui and the Big Island, and the ability to see four different islands in seven days while only unpacking once is a true luxury. You’ll get face-to-face with giant turtles, manta rays, humpback whales, pods of dolphins and a dazzling array of fish.

Uncruise Adventures – Moloka’i to Hawaii the Big Island or vice versa

UnCruise Adventures offers its all-inclusive Hawaiian Seascapes itinerary every week November through till April. This is during Hawaii’s wet or “green” season or which brings back humpback whales and the Hawaii state bird, the Nene, more Giant Pacific Manta rays darting about from February through April and dolphin, whale shark, and green sea turtles.

The cruise is seven nights long and can be taken from Molokai to the island of Hawaii, or in reverse.

The highlights of this small ship cruise with UnCruise Adventures

  • Night snorkel with Giant Pacific Manta rays
  • The Humpback National Marine Sanctuary.
  • Evening pa’ina (feast) and Hawaiian jam session with Moloka’i locals.
  • Snorkel among coral gardens and at a sea turtle habitat.
  • Visit Moloka’os ancient Halawa Valley.
  • The Lana’i Culture and Heritage Centre.
  • Snorkelling, kayaking, paddle boarding, and skiff exploration.

Included in your 7-day Hawaiian cruise

  • Exclusive activities and shore excursions, presentations
  • Entry fees to national parks, preserves, and monuments
  • Narration and expertise from expedition and heritage guides.
  • Meet, greet services, transfers and baggage handling (between airport/vessel on embark/disembark days)
  • Onboard meals
  • Spirits, wine and microbrews
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Wellness amenities: hot tub, fitness equipment, and yoga mats.

7-night small ship Hawaiian cruise from: US$5,195* per person share twin.

Please Note: Mandatory Port Fees of US$375 are additional. Our recommendation for gratuities is USD 25.00 to USD 35.00 per person per day.

We recommend you book early for next year’s cruise season. Contact Cathy or Michelle at Bucket List Travel for up-to-date pricing for your Hawaii small ship cruise.
Michelle has been lucky enough to travel to Hawaii and Maui multiple times, so she’d be delighted to help you plan your perfect Hawaiian getaway.