Adventure Cruises in Oahu

About O'ahu cruises

O'ahu Cruises perfectly blends nature adventures with exploring one of the Hawaiian archipelago's most cosmopolitan cities. This island is also home to world-class beaches, vibrant culture and nightlife, delicious dining and drinking, and sobering WWII history.

Adventure cruises to O'ahu focus on the island's southern coast, with signature destinations like Honolulu and Waikiki and some of the region's most impressive stretches of powder-white sand.

Top Things to Do in O'ahu

O'ahu cruises focus on the island's scenic southern coast, where pristine nature and modern cities meet. In this one-of-a-kind destination, visitors can explore vast volcanic craters, some of the archipelago's most stunning beaches, and hip urban centers and learn about the island's tragic involvement in World War II.

Stroll Beautiful Waikiki Beach

Located within walking distance of downtown Honolulu, this stretch of honey-colored sand is one of Hawaii's most famous beaches and a must-see attraction in nearly every cruise itinerary.

Beachcombing, sunbathing, and snorkeling are popular pastimes here, with seasonal opportunities for surfing, wildlife watching, and free public luaus. This is also one of Hawaii's most photographed beaches, with a unique contrast between sand, sea, and an ultra-modern skyline. On a clear day, you'll even glimpse the Diamond Head crater rising from the coast!

Catch Waves at a Signature Surf Break

Oahu is home to some of the planet's top surfing spots, with perfectly formed pipelines and crystal-clear water. While the island's remote north shore is home to the biggest waves, there are plenty of fantastic breaks all over the island, including an excellent beginner's spot on Waikiki Beach.

Surfing conditions vary monthly around Oahu, with the biggest waves occurring in November and December. These massive Pacific swells are best left to experienced surfers, with challenging conditions, including strong currents and rip tides.

Discover Honolulu's Wartime History

Just before 8:00 AM on December 7, 1941, the Japanese Navy led a surprise attack on the American base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu. This event changed the war's course and global history, leaving a lasting impression on Hawaii, the United States, and beyond.

No O'ahu adventure cruise is complete without much time spent learning about the island's involvement in WWII. Visitors can tour historic battleships and submarines, walk through somber cemeteries, and take a deeper dive into history at the island's museums dedicated to the shocking events at Pearl Harbor.

Swim and Snorkel in Calm Protected Coves

O'ahu is famous for its supersized swell and ripping surf breaks, but the island is also home to plenty of calm bays perfect for underwater exploration. Small ship cruises head to the leeward coast, where destinations like the Ko Olina lagoons offer relaxed swimming and snorkeling on thriving coral reefs loaded with fish.

Sans Souci near Waikiki is also a fantastic snorkeling destination, with exciting animals like sea turtles and calm currents. Swim out over the sand to glimpse bottom-dwelling species like stingrays, or head to the breakwater where clouds of tropical fish dart in and out of the rocks.

Tour a Massive Volcanic Crater

Diamond Head, known locally as Le'ahi, is a towering tuff cone made of hard-packed volcanic ash and one of the island's most recognizable landmarks. This fascinating natural attraction was discovered by 19th-century British sailors over 300,000 years ago during a single massive volcanic eruption.

Today, touring the crater is one of O'ahu's top adventure activities, with opportunities to hike its ridgeline, explore its base, or even cruise high above in a helicopter. Located halfway between Waikiki and Honolulu, Diamond Head is also an iconic part of the island's skyline, visible from much of the southern coast.

Top Tips for Visiting O'ahu

If you plan to make swimming and snorkeling major highlights during your O'ahu cruise, plan your visit outside the peak surf season in December and January. Even the calmest bays are prone to large swells, rough waves, and potentially powerful currents during these months.

Remember to pack a sweater or jacket when visiting O'ahu's WWII monuments and museums. These indoor attractions are heavily air-conditioned and may be too cold for comfort if you only wear shorts and a T-shirt.

Best time to cruise O'ahu

O'ahu has distinct seasons, and taking the time to plan can help make your adventure cruise a success. Avoid the peak tourist season during December and January unless you like crowds and unswimmable beaches. Instead, visit between mid-April and early June or September and November. These months offer excellent weather and ocean conditions and lower visitor numbers, which is especially important if you plan to visit the island's many museums and monuments.

No matter when you explore O'ahu, you can expect warm, sunny days with high temperatures in the upper 80s and evening lows in the mid-60s.

Where do O'ahu cruises depart from?

Honolulu Harbor is O'ahu's primary seaport and the stopping point for large and small ship cruises. First used as a port over 200 years ago, the anchorage is well connected to the rest of the island, with easy transportation options to nearby attractions, including Waikiki Beach.

Most O'ahu cruises start and end elsewhere in the Hawaiian islands, with multiple stops throughout the archipelago. Be sure to read your cruise itinerary carefully and plan accordingly!

Honolulu is home to Hawaii's largest international airport, with daily connections to the western United States, Japan, New Zealand, Fiji, the Philippines, and beyond. Domestic flights are also offered, making it easy to tour the rest of the archipelago with O'ahu as a base.