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Cruises to Kona (Kailua Bay)

4 Awards
Kona (Photo:Ed-Ni Photo/Shutterstock)

About Kona (Kailua Bay)

While cruise ships call it "Kona," this stop on the western part of the island of Hawaii is actually a region rather than an actual city. Ships anchor in Kailua Bay and tender their guests to the Kailua Pier, which is right in the middle of Kailua Village, the historic heart of Kailua-Kona.

Kona's sunnier and dryer than Hilo to the east -- it almost never rains -- and features the island's best beaches, snorkeling and surfing. (The east coast is more tropical, with waterfalls and mountainous regions closer to the town of Hilo. Believe it or not, the island has 11 climatic zones!)

Coffee grown in the hills above Kailua-Kona (the one place where it rains more in the summer than in the winter) is very delicious and highly prized. Beaches in the area range from black sand to sugar white, with sea turtles, manta rays, dolphins and -- in season, November to May -- humpback whales visible from the surf or the shore.

Whereas Hilo is the business anchor of the Big Island (with a more authentic, local feel), the area just north of Kailua-Kona -- the Kohala Coast -- houses the island's most desirable resorts, with renowned restaurants, spas and golf courses.

  • Why go to Kona (Kailua Bay)?

  • Kona (Kailua Bay) Cruise Port Facilities?

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Pride of America
Pride of America alongside at Kahului on Sunday, April 10, 2022 (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

7 Night
Cruise to Kona (Kailua Bay)Details

2,241 Reviews
Leaving:Honolulu
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Royal Princess
Royal Princess

15 Night
Cruise to Kona (Kailua Bay)Details

Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Zuiderdam
Zuiderdam

128 Night
Cruise to Kona (Kailua Bay)Details

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Jan 3, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Noordam
Noordam

34 Night
Cruise to Kona (Kailua Bay)Details

Leaving:San Diego
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Oct 8, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Virgin Voyages

18 Night
Cruise to Kona (Kailua Bay)Details

Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Apr 8, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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17 Night
Cruise to Kona (Kailua Bay)Details

Leaving:San Diego
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Jan 14, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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15 Night
Cruise to Kona (Kailua Bay)Details

Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Oct 18, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to Kona (Kailua Bay)Details

Leaving:Honolulu
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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51 Night
Cruise to Kona (Kailua Bay)Details

Leaving:Seattle
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Oct 2, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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35 Night
Cruise to Kona (Kailua Bay)Details

Leaving:San Diego
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Feb 18, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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18 Night
Cruise to Kona (Kailua Bay)Details

Leaving:San Diego
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Jan 31, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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15 Night
Cruise to Kona (Kailua Bay)Details

Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Carnival Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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50 Night
Cruise to Kona (Kailua Bay)Details

Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Sep 28, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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15 Night
Cruise to Kona (Kailua Bay)Details

Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

69 Night
Cruise to Kona (Kailua Bay)Details

Leaving:San Diego
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Oct 8, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Why go to Kona (Kailua Bay)?

Pros:

The weather lends Kona its unparalleled water sports and coffee beans

Cons:

As appealing as the ocean is here, conditions change swiftly; practice the utmost water safety

Bottom Line:

Kona is a gorgeous region; leave time to plan an active excursion and also wander Kilauea Village

Kona (Kailua Bay) Cruise Port Facilities?

Just across from the tender pier is the King Kamehameha Hotel, a historic Hawaiian temple and a small beach with water sports rentals. Head right for a quick walk to restaurants and cafes, souvenir shops, the farmers market and a few historic sites; head left and up the hill for more restaurants and shops, as well as the larger stores like Hilo Hattie's and Long's Drugs.

Good to Know?

Ocean safety is a top concern. The water might look calm and peaceful, but conditions can change quickly. Never turn your back on the ocean and obey all signage or official warnings about beach and water use. If you don't see locals in the water, it might be best to stay on dry land, and don't disobey posted regulations just because someone you meet tells you it's no problem to go swimming.

Getting Around?

On Foot: If you're just going to visit Kailua Village, you can easily do it on foot. It's small and compact.

By Bus or Shuttle: Shuttles at the pier will deliver you to Hilo Hattie's, Kmart, Wal-Mart and the Kona International Market. The Keauhou Trolley is a local area shuttle that makes two alternating loops around Kona area attractions for a couple of bucks. It picks up at the pier and does a shorter loop to retail/restaurant areas and a longer one to nearby beaches; service is limited, so make sure you have a copy of the schedule, available from the tourist reps at the pier.

By Car: You can take advantage of the easy accessibility and reasonable prices of Kona's car rental agencies. Just be savvy about which agency you choose; some have in-town branches, while airport locations might not provide courtesy shuttles for cruisers. (If not, you'll need to hire a cab for the seven-mile ride.) It's best to book ahead, if you can, because if the cars sell out, last-minute rentals can increase the price exponentially. Discount Hawaii Car Rental is one great source for discounted rentals and information on pickup service.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Local currency is the U.S. dollar. There are plenty of ATMs around the little city, including at the Courtyard King Kamehameha Hotel, retail stores on Alii Drive and at the Lanihau shopping center. An American Savings Bank is located at the corner of Kuakini Highway and Palani Road. Almost all shops, restaurants, car rental companies and tour companies take credit and debit cards.

Language?

English, but try your hand at any Hawaiian phrases you pick up. Aloha means hello and goodbye, mahalo means thank you, and aloha ahiahi means good night. If you hear Aloha, e komo mai, don't panic. It means "Welcome!"

Where You're Docked?

Tenders arrive in the middle of downtown Kailua Village. Shopping shuttles will pick you up at the pier, as will rental car company shuttles. Local tourist representatives set up a small table with brochures and maps and can answer questions.


Kona (Kailua Bay) Cruise Reviews
Tender process was easy. We didn't rush so waited for the open tender times which probably happened quickly with only 40% passenger capacity. Lots to do close to the pier. Somewhat steep roads so my short legs got wiRead More
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hero78
Met a friend that lives in Kona. Hate tenders, and with corona virus scare, very close quarters.Read More
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mikewehs
We had a great time at Kona. Snorkelling was the highlight of the day and the city had many interesting and historial sites to see.Read More
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VictoriaBC cruiser
Kona is a tender port where guests are dropped off at a pier at the start of Alii drive. There are many shops and restaurants within easy walking distance and a small white sandy beach next to the pier.Read More
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Cruisekarmic

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