Hawaii Vacation

Updated on March 14, 2011
B.J. asks from Olathe, KS
14 answers

We are looking at sending my parents to Hawaii for their 35th wedding anniversary, and are kind of clueless as to where to start. At first we thought a cruise so they could see multiple islands, but the cruise from CA seems like a lot of time on a boat, and not much on the islands. Then I'm thinking of just Oahu since there are multiple things that they can do as far as sightseeing goes. I'm just looking for any opinions on anyone who has been as far as resorts go, or your experience with a Hawaiian cruise. I'm looking at the Hilton Hawaiian Village right now in Oahu, seems to be pretty centrally located, and lots of stuff to do on the resort. Any suggestions or experiences would be greatly appreciated, thanks so much in advance!

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answers from St. Louis on

We spent the whole week in Kauai and loved it. Spent one night on Oahu and that was enough. I loved the relaxing atmosphere of Kauai. The cruise would not be very relaxing for me but would let you see lots of different things.

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answers from Dallas on

We love Maui. Our favorite spots to stay are Kapula or Ka'anapoli and then we spend a lot of time in Lahania.

I LOVE the whale watches. It is awesome. You go way out on a little dingy and the whales get OH so close and it is just amazing.

We also enjoyed the luau at Lahania.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I would chose Maui or Kaui over Oahu. www.vbro.com

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answers from Atlanta on

Actually for an older couple -I would send them to Maui. To me, at least, it's prettier and not as built up, but there is A LOT to do and a lot for older people to do. There are many lovely resorts and if they go during whale season, they can see them up close and personal! Driving the Hana Highway is also a great thing to do and taking a tour up to the top of Haleakala to see the sunrise is pretty amazing! I agree with you about the cruise. Cruising is just not my cup of tea. They will need a rental car for just about anywhere you send them.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Maui! Its relaxing, not city like and plenty to do. Check out Lahaina hotels or condos


answers from Houston on

Oahu or Maui would be great for them, they can take a little boat or plane if they want to do both.

I would not do the cruise either to Hawaii.... wasted time in my opinion.

On Oahu, they can go to the Polynesian Cultural Center, which is awesome, go to pineapple fields, the King Kamehameha mountain top, snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, flea markets... I've never been to Mauhi, but I think there are a lot more 'natural' sight seeing such as waterfalls and forests, hiking, it's more low key and the like.

Here is a good comparison:



answers from Springfield on

We stayed in Kauai for a week and it was beautiful but we got bored after a while. Next time I would like to cruise it and see all of the islands. That way you get all of the amenities on board and spend the days on the different islands. We had friends that cruised and loved it.



answers from Allentown on

I have personally only been to Oahu and Kauai, so that's all I can comment on. I did not like Oahu personally. I went with a group of 6 people, no kids and we are all young and active, so my opinion might not even be valid since your parents are obviously in a different stage of life. Oahu beaches (in Honolulu) were not great, it was very overcrowded and I basically felt like I was in a city with a dirty beach. We did see the north shore, which was pretty, but nothing spectacular. Pearl Harbor was one of the only saving graces for us on that island.

Kauai was a totally different experience. Very laid back, beautiful, tons of local places and little towns that were absolutely wonderful. You can hike, kayak, do boat tours, helicopter tours. There are so many things to see on the island, but it's definitely more for the adventurous type. I have heard Maui and the big island are both great for first timers. It truly depends on what type of experience you think your parents will want. We were interested in being truly immersed in the culture that's what we got on Kauai.



answers from Honolulu on

Oahu: is the major 'city' of the Hawaiian Islands. More citified. But nice, many surrounding areas to see. Hilton Hawaiian Hotel is great. Yes, it is centrally located and lots to do there.

Maui: more 'country' less fast paced, relaxing, many natural things to see.

To me, you need to decide, if your parents want a more 'mellow' place to visit or more 'city' like. Oahu is fun/lots to do etc. and so is Maui.
Oahu, has more traffic and highways. It is a major city.
Maui is more mellow. Slower paced.
Both islands, has lots to do. Oahu is better for shopping.
Depending, on what your parents like to do... or how 'adventurous' they are.

Each Island, has a "tourism" website. So Google search that, and view it. It will give you an idea of what each island offers.
Each island is very different.

Oahu, is the Island that Hawaii Five-0 is filmed on.



answers from St. Louis on

We spent the whole week in Kauai and loved it. Spent one night on Oahu and that was enough. I loved the relaxing atmosphere of Kauai. The cruise would not be very relaxing for me but would let you see lots of different things.


answers from Topeka on

My husband and I went to Hawaii for our 25th anniversary. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip - it was AWESOME!! We'd never been there before, so we checked with AAA for information. The itinerary we did: flew out of KCI to Phoenix, then on to Honolulu, stayed over night in Hilton on Waikiki Beach, boarded NCL cruise ship that we stayed on for the nights, but spent our days at ports-of-call when the ship would dock at a different island each day - so much fun! We got to see a lot of Hawaii that way and experienced many different things by taking advantage of the cruise excersions. The last night we were in Hawaii, we attended a luau before going to the airport to leave for home. If we could, we'd do it all over again in a heartbeat!!



answers from St. Louis on

Hi B.,
I'm in agreement with a lot of the folks...Oahu wasn't all that thrilling....kind of a big city by the ocean. We've been to Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island, and it just depends on what your folks like to do as to which island(s) they should go to. When we go, we typically hit 2 islands....because jumping between them isn't too expensive (compared to what it takes to get there). I know there's currently a lot of volcano activity, so if that's something they're interested in, then the Big Island might be cool....a helicopter ride and then driving around Volcano's National Park. Maui is nice too, with the road to Hana, the mountain, etc. Kauai is nice, lots of hiking and laid back. Not sure that helps..but if you want some addt'l info, just send me a message.



answers from San Diego on

What a great gift to give and how lucky to be in the position to give it!! We have been to Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Islang and I love them all. Oahu was my least favorite because it is so built up. Nice for a couple of days maybe to see a couple of highlights (pearl harbor, pineapple fields, you can drive the entire Island in an afternoon see the North Shore waves) We have always done 2 island trips when we visit Oahu unless they are big on Shopping and Nightlife I wouldn't want to spend a full week there. We did Kauai and Maui one year and Kauai is very low key but there are some incredible natural wonders to see, Wayama Canyon (I think they call it the Grand Canyon of the Pacific) is beautiful. The whole Island is so lush and tropical. We stayed in Poipu and golfed then did the Fern Grotto canoe tours and drove up to Princeville and did a couple of 9 hole courses up there. We drove back down the coast at night to get from Princeville back to Poipu in our rented Seabring Convertable and I have never seen stars like that before. We did a helicopter tour and it was incredible. Overall it is the most lush Island we visited. Maui isn't as lush all over but has some incredible lush areas and the road to Hana was a full day trip. We had to drive back in the dark which was a scary trip so I would recommend a night in Hana and drive back the next morning the 7 sacred pools at the end were nice but a little bit of a let down from what I was expecting. We did the morning drive to watch the sun rise on Haleakala an eye opening experience and then you can either bike ride down or hike into the crater. We hiked into the crater and my husband and I still talk about how awesome it was. The last Island we tried was The Big Island and we have gone back to it 3 times since. I don't know why exactly because it doesn't really have that much more to offer but it has one of the best rated kid friendly hotels and I think that was why we started going there every year. It has lush areas and we took a volcano helicopter trip that was great. We did a night time star gazing thing that my Husband and kids loved so much we got our own telescope and it has become a family hobby now. We have done ATV tours on one of the farms up north and have even considered moving there. Overall it offers some of what all the others offer plus has it's own irresitable vibe. Hope this helps and you and your hubby should go with them. Wherever they go they won't be able to help but LOVE it!!



answers from Topeka on

We did a cruise around the islands with NCL & really enjoyed it. We got to see the 4 main islands. We rented a car on each island for around $30/day and did our own thing. There are free shuttles from the ports to the rental car places. Loved Hawaii, best vacation ever!



answers from St. Louis on

We went to Hawaii for 2 weeks for our honeymoon. One week in Maui and one week in Kauai. Our last 12 hours was in Oahu while we had a lay over in planes. Oahu was way too city like for us. We live in St. Louis, MO so we are in the middle of city life. Pearl Harbor was very cool to see, but Waikiki was way TOO packed and not very relaxing for us. Maui and Kauai was very fun and relaxing with still plenty of things to do. Maui, I would say has more. Unfortunately, I don't know much about the cruise thing. sorry! Good luck with the planning.