The first Polynesians discovered these isolated, volcanic Hawaiian Islands sometime between 300 and 800AD. Over centuries, the lives of Native Hawaiians became essentially linked to the life-giving land, and the spirit of aloha ‘aina—love of the land—is still strong today.
Lush valleys where residents first settled are still inhabited by Hawaiians who continue traditional taro farming and celebrate their culture through old customs and storytelling. This diverse landscape creates an ecosystem of biological riches—Flowering plants, fruit-bearing trees, and banyans provide perches for chattering birds; sunbaked lava rock offers hiding spots for geckos and lizards; and marine life flit along reefs and in the largest marine sanctuary in the world.
It’s true that the island vibe wafts across Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i, Lana‘i, and Maui like the sweet fragrance of plumeria. But these scents and sights are more than paradise; they’re part of tradition and culture for Native Hawaiians. The same plumeria is turned into your welcome lei. The taro plant—grown in patches beneath heart-shaped leaves—pounded into poi. You learn all about this ancient tradition as you “talk story” with the locals. Sunrise on-deck yoga faces volcanic cliffs to the whistling and clicking sounds of humpbacks. It’s just their way of saying ‘aloha.’
Unpack only once, then relax, and explore on an island-hopping adventure cruise. A new aloha awaits!
Hawaiian Island Discoveries
Untouched. Polynesians settled here around 650 AD—it’s one of the islands’ most historic places. Hidden in this lush valley are heiau (temples), towering waterfalls, and palpable mana—life energy and spiritual power.
Humpback National Marine Sanctuary
Unequaled. At 1,200-square nautical miles of warm, shallow water, this sanctuary hosts a party of marine life: Hawaiian monk seals, spinner dolphins, sea turtles, coral reef, reef fish. Plus over 10,000 humpback whales that winter here each year.
Olowalu Coral Gardens & Turtle Cleaning Station
Unscrubbed. A good wash can’t be beat after a hard day’s work and that goes for green sea turtles, too. They line up in coral gardens
along Maui’s Olowalu coast where busy wrasse dart along “cleaning” parasites from their shells and skin.
Pu‘u Pehe – “Sweetheart Rock”
Unrequited. A tragic legend… a Lana‘i warrior fell in love with a beautiful Maui princess, Pehe. Bringing her to Lana‘i, he hid her in a sea cave. But she drowned in a sudden storm. Broken-hearted, the warrior buried her atop the rock, then leapt into the sea.
Unforgotten. The “pathway of the gods” was once a lively community. Alas, it was also the path to Captain Cook’s demise after a fight broke out when he went ashore in the 1770s. As the story goes, heads rolled and he was buried high on the pali (cliffs).
Lava Tube Coast, Big Island
Unwound. Thousand-year-old lava tubes on Hawai‘i’s coast are young geologically, but they’ve been used by Hawaiians for hundreds of years. Having earned a few good tales of their own—you may just find Pele reclining in the red-black rock.
What to See & Do on a Hawaiian Islands Cruise
On Board the Safari Explorer
- Begin the day with a Hawaiian sunrise and mimosa on the Sun Lounge
- “Talk story” with your fellow adventurers in the intimate wine bar and library at day’s end
- Learn about the islands’ fiery creation and the influence of Pele, goddess of fire during an evening talk by your expedition guides
- From the Bow, watch dolphins dance in the spray and keep a lookout for the tell-tale spray of whales
- A well-earned, and complimentary, massage provides soothing relaxation after a day of play kayaking, hiking, and snorkeling
In the Hawaiian Waters
- Snorkel in the glittering cove of Kealakekua Bay among a dazzling array of rainbow-colored tropical fish
- Look for Pele’s visage in the volcanic formations on a cliff-hugging skiff ride
- Kayak through a lava tube or glass-like, aquamarine waters watching yellow tang fish flutter by below
- By day, snorkel alongside green sea turtles and by night, with Giant Pacific Manta rays
- Paddle board from the boat, or maybe you’ll have a chance to paddle a traditional outrigger canoe
- Hike into the lush, ancient Hālawa Valley and enter a celebrated kupuna’s home after a traditional welcome chant
- Walk along a windswept volcanic cliff to an overlook with sweeping Pacific Ocean views
- At a pa‘ina (feast) with Moloka‘i locals, learn to hula during a jam session with local musicians
- Stroll through Kaunakakai—an old paniolo, or cowboy, town—among its shops and open market, including a not-to-miss bakery
- Explore historic Lahaina and take a walk under the shade of Hawaii’s largest banyan tree
Land Animals & Birds
The Hawaiian archipelago is over 2,500 miles from any other landmass. Due in part to this remote location, there are no snakes on the islands and only two native mammals in Hawaii—the hoary bat and the Hawaiian monk seal. More common to see are birds or introduced critters of herptile or mammal variety.
- Nēnē (Hawaiian goose, the official state bird)
- Hawaiian honeycreepers
- Pueo (Hawaiian short-eared owl)
- Myna birds
- Feral pig
- Indian mongoose
- Bullfrogs and tree frogs
Of the world’s 88 species of cetaceans, 24 have been seen in Hawaii. Traveling 3,000 miles in less than two-months, these gentle giants migrate from Alaska to breed and birth in the islands’ warm and shallow waters. Their annual migration occurs December through April, with the peak between January and March.
- Hammerhead sharks
- Spinner, spotted, and bottlenose dolphins
- Humpback, pilot, melon head, and false killer whales
- Green sea turtles
- Giant Pacific Manta rays
- Whale sharks
- Yellow tang, Moorish idols, humuhumunukunukuapaua’a – the state fish, butterflyfish, white-spotted toby, clown fish, wrasse, trumpetfish, needlefish, eels
Flowers & Plants
Sweetly blooming flowers and fruits, especially plumeria give off an incredible fragrance that subtly scents the tropical air. For Native Hawaiians, life was inseparably linked with the natural world, and many plants held medicinal value as well as played roles in legend and tradition.
- Liliko’i (passionfruit)
- Ohi’a lehua
- Blue and red ginger
- Bird of paradise
Nightlife on a Hawaiian Uncruise
Outfitted in snorkeling gear, you’re ready for a little nightlife. Underwater “campfire” lights at the bottom of the ocean face up to attract plankton, which lures Giant Pacific Manta rays—the guys you’re here to party with. Just as you exchange anticipatory looks with your shipmates, a manta ray rises up from the dark, feeding a few feet away. Come daylight, snorkel, kayak, paddle board, or sail past green sea turtles, friendly hammerhead sharks, pink tail triggerfish, the “gentle giant” whale sharks, or spinner dolphins leaping alongside the bow. A marine sanctuary like no other.
Hawaii by Boutique Yacht vs. 5-star Resorts
Mark Twain commented that Hawaii was, to him, “the loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean.”
And there are many options for exploring this beautiful slice of paradise. You might be wondering what, exactly, makes a 7-night cruise aboard a boutique yacht any better than a week in 5-star resorts? We’re confident there’s no better way to experience multiple islands than from aboard a yacht.
To help you see the nuts-and-bolts of why, here’s a helpful dollar-for-dollar, opportunity-to-opportunity, amenity-to-amenity comparison.
|36-guest Safari Explorer
Average $515* per
|Five Star Resort Stays
Average $679* per person/per day
|*Based on 7 nights $3,795/person, value season, plus crew gratuity||*Based on $4,750/person off-peak plus gratuities|
7-night Hawaiian Seascapes Cruise
Cruise between four islands-Moloka’i, Lana’i, Maui, and Hawaii, the Big Island-experience a new Aloha aboard a 36-guest boutique yacht.
Explore remote shoreline, mostly staying on the leeward side of the eastern-most Hawaiian Islands chain. Along the way, view marine species and endangered animals, many native to the Hawaiian Islands. Experience traditional Hawaiian culture, meet the local people, and discover the islands’ natural gifts in a way only accessible on an Un-Cruise Adventure. Immerse yourself in this tropical wonderland to experience the islands from a different perspective.
Sunstone Tours and Cruises can assist you with making your Hawaiian Uncruise Adventure a life memory. Contact us today at 1-888-815-5428.