Time is now 8/7/2020, 9:12:37 PM
  • Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
  • Find a Cruise
  • Deals
  • Excursions
  • More

Cruises to Hilo

Hilo (Photo:Joe Belanger/Shutterstock)
Hilo (Photo:Joe Belanger/Shutterstock)

About Hilo

To really experience Hilo, forget first impressions and dive right in to old Hawaii. Unpretentious and just a little bit gritty, this often-overlooked city on the Big Island is abundantly authentic and full of charm.

Why is it overlooked? Hilo is the departure point for shore excursions to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state. And that's too bad because there's much to recommend Hilo itself, defined in part by a history of tsunamis and challenging economics.

Editor's Note: Due to increased and damaging earthquakes, corrosive volcanic ash, and continuing explosions from Halema'uma'u, the summit crater of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains closed.

As one survivor of a devastating 1946 tsunami put it: "We just cleaned up and went on with our lives." That same sentiment prevails today. There's a "pick yourself up, and dust yourself off" attitude and activism that has infused classic downtown Hilo with fresh energy palpable in its restaurants, shops, galleries and museums. There is also a tremendous amount of civic pride. When our docent at the must-see Lyman Museum and Mission House realized we were on a tight schedule, she packed us into her car to observe a few highlights we would otherwise have missed.

Hilo, which rests on the crescent-shaped Hilo Bay, possesses a rich cultural history. It's in Hilo that King Kamehameha is said to have fulfilled a prophecy of uniting the Hawaiian islands by lifting the ancient Naha stone, which now sits in front of the library. Cultural history is still being written. Hilo is the one place in the world to get a college degree in hula. Public school students have also started to take classes in the Hawaiian language. Leslie Lang, author of "Historic Hilo," frames it best when she writes: "It's a town whose cultures continue to hold on tight. But at the same time, it's one that is looking forward."

Find Hilo Cruises

Any
Any
More Filters
Cruise Critic Favorite
DAY 1: Honolulu

18 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Honolulu
Visiting:
Hilo, Tahiti ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes
DAY 1: Honolulu

7 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Honolulu
Visiting:
Maui, Hilo ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes
DAY 1: Honolulu

14 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Honolulu
Visiting:
Maui, Kauai ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes
DAY 1: Honolulu

11 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Honolulu
Visiting:
Maui, Kona ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get tomorrow's price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

164 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Kauai, Honolulu ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

120 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
San Francisco
Visiting:
Honolulu, Maui ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

10 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Vancouver
Visiting:
Victoria, Hilo ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

18 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
San Francisco
Visiting:
Honolulu, Maui ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

10 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Vancouver
Visiting:
Hilo, Kailua ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

11 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Honolulu
Visiting:
Kailua, Hilo ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

11 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Honolulu
Visiting:
Maui, Kailua ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes
Cruise Critic Favorite

11 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Honolulu
Visiting:
Maui, Kailua ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

14 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Tahiti
Visiting:
Bora Bora, Raiatea ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

10 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Honolulu
Visiting:
Maui, Kailua ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

19 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Sydney
Visiting:
Paihia, Auckland ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

13 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Honolulu
Visiting:
Kauai, Kona ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

7 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Honolulu
Visiting:
Maui, Hilo ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

15 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Honolulu, Kauai ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

16 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Seattle
Visiting:
Honolulu, Maui ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

15 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
San Francisco
Visiting:
Hilo, Kauai ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

28 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Hilo, Honolulu ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

16 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Honolulu, Kauai ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

18 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Tahiti
Visiting:
Bora Bora, Rangiroa ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

15 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
San Francisco
Visiting:
Hilo, Maui ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get tomorrow's price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

50 Night
Cruise to Hilo

Leaving:
Vancouver
Visiting:
San Francisco, San Diego ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

Why go to Hilo?

Pros:

Hilo shines with its rich history and authentic culture, which is exemplified in its easily walkable downtown

Cons:

It can get pretty rainy on this part of the island, so make sure you're prepared for wet weather

Bottom Line:

You'll get to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park via Hilo, but the city itself is worth a look

Hilo Cruise Port Facilities?

No permanent services are available at the dock. When cruise ships are in, however, helpful volunteers from the Hilo Information Center are onsite on with maps, brochures and overall guidance.

Good to Know?

On a practical note, Hilo has notoriously wet weather, so pack a travel umbrella. Also, resist any urge to take a souvenir rock from Volcanoes National Park. They are considered to have a spiritual quality, and the park is their home. The Hilo post office receives dozens of packages of returned rocks each year from folks who believe they were the cause of bad luck.

Getting Around?

The walk into town takes about an hour, but it is not especially scenic, and there are no sidewalks. Instead, consider these options:

By Shuttle: On cruise-ship days, a free shuttle transports passengers to the centrally located farmer's market about every 10 or 15 minutes until 11 a.m. Roundtrip complimentary shuttles go to Hilo Hattie, the state's largest retailer of Hawaiian fashions. It's located in a shopping plaza some distance from the port.

By Bus: A city bus departs hourly, 7:10 a.m. to 11:10 a.m., from the Keaukaha Market just outside the port exit with drop-offs at the Hilo Information Center downtown. The last pickup back to the ship is 4 p.m. The bus costs $2, and $1 for seniors. It does not operate on Sundays. It's best to double-check departure times. Local buses often operate on "island" time, so don't plan on taking the last scheduled bus back to port.

By Taxi: There is a taxi stand at the pier. Taxi fare from the port to downtown Hilo is about $12.

By Rental Car: Rental car shuttles collect passengers who have made reservations in advance. Cars are picked up at the airport, a short drive from the pier.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Currency is the U.S. dollar. ATM's are plentiful in downtown Hilo. You will find two ATM's, close by and conveniently located in the S. Hata Building on the 300 block of Kamehameha Ave. by Cafe Pesto. There's also one at Hawaii National Bank next to the Pacific Tsunami Museum at 130 Kamehameha Ave.

Language?

English is the official language, but native Hawaiian routinely shows up in conversation, beginning and ending with aloha, which serves as "hello" and "goodbye." Mahalo means "thank you." As for restrooms, the one marked wahine is for women, and kane is for men.

Where You're Docked?

Ships dock at a large cargo and container facility about two miles from downtown.


Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination

  • 2018 Top-Rated Hawaii Destinations
  • 2017 Top-Rated Hawaii Destinations
  • 2016 Top-Rated Hawaii Destinations
  • 2015 Top-Rated Hawaii Destinations

Hilo Cruise Reviews

Star Princess
Lymuna
Sail Date: Feb 2020
Caught bus from port and walked around Hilo Bought ukulele from amazing music store... Read More
Pride of America
maetoo2
Sail Date: Jun 2019
We again rented our own car in Hilo. Went to see the new black sand beach created at Isaac Hale Park, bought yummy cookies and candies at Big Island Candies, and took in the beautiful Hawaii Tropical Botanical... Read More
Pride of America
brosensteel2019
Sail Date: Oct 2019
Rented a car and visited Volcano National Park, Volcano winery for wine tasting, Hilo coffee mill and Akaka Falls. We'd been to Hilo 36 years ago.... Read More
Golden Princess
SanJoseCruiser
Sail Date: Sep 2019
Had been to the Big Island before, just not Hilo itself, so this worked perfectly for us.... Read More
Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.