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Why cruise the Islands of Hawai‘i  

By Annie Mellor.

Recommended by ANNIE MELLOR

A HAWAIIAN CRUISE is an all-time favourite because it offers so much more than idyllic palm fringed beaches, sunshine and outstanding scenery. Steeped in Polynesian culture and history, you can’t help but fall in love with the people and their traditions. It’s also a foodie’s paradise with beautiful plantations loaded with luscious produce along with all-American diners, trendy Poke outlets, hole in the wall breakfasts and sunset cocktails to die for. Hawai‘i is full of the unexpected, from an active volcano visit to the black sand beaches where turtles roam, while the quirky cowboy towns are a cool contrast to the boho surf villages that hug the coastline. You will never be bored and never be far away from a warm welcome by the locals — and their friendly Shaka sign! (Hang loose Hawaiian style).


1 / K AUA` I  
This is a foodie’s paradise. Beautifully maintained coffee and macadamia plantations spread for miles and you can experience the whole process from tree to table, including tastings! A highlight is the Vodka factory where local spring water and sugar cane create the perfect blend.



2 /O`A H U
Recently, while staying in Waikiki before my cruise, I discovered a sprawling 15-block Chinatown close to port. A walking tour lead through bustling stores loaded with Chinese wonders, a fresh food market, hip bars and a Buddhist Temple. Dinner was at ‘Lucky Belly’, with compulsory sunset cocktails. Bliss!


3 / L A N A I 
A highlight was meeting an ancestor of King Kamehameha 1 in the Kaunolu Village, once a fishing village in the 1800s. Greeted with the Hawai‘ian Honi (Hongi) this young Kahuna took me through his sacred coastal land where they retain the elders’ oral history, crafts, rituals and sustainable lifestyle.


4 /MAU I 
I love to head upcountry to the misty mountain cowboy town of Mokowai and wander through the quaint craft stores and out to Ali’i Kula Lavender farm for a scone with luscious lavender jam. I also can’t stay away from Lahaina; a picturesque town with mariner folklore and delicious seafood.


5 / B I G   I S L A N D
The combination of dramatic coastline and volcanic activity makes for a spectacular experience. We stood transfixed at the edge of the Kılauea volcano as the National Park Ranger shared her in-depth knowledge of the region. We also swam at a tiny beach and relaxed in nearby seaside towns.


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