All About Cruises to Hawaii
Most Hawaii Cruises are between 7 and 14 nights and leave from Honolulu or Los Angeles. You'll normally have to get to the departure city on your own. Many Hawaii Cruises stop at the following Ports of Call: Honolulu on Oahu - Hilo on the Big Island - Kona on the Big Island - Kahului on Maui - Lahaina on Maui - Port Allen (Nawiliwili) on Kauai.
What this means is that you will get on board the cruise ship at the departing city and travel to your first port of call. You can stay on board the ship or get out and travel around the island for a few hours (the cruises usually never stay in one port for more than a day or maybe two) - and then you head of to the next port. The ship itself will have pools and entertainment on board for cruising and port time.
Each cruise is different in many ways - ship sizes and ages vary widely, as do things as simple as staff attitudes and available entertainment. For example, the Hawaii-only Pride of Aloha is very local-friendly with an aloha spirit, while the Norwegian Star is more formal.
Cruises are actually some of the easier vacations to pick and book. The details are always the same so the booking sites do a good job of laying out exactly how much it will cost and what you get. When you get to the ports there are usually plenty of options for tours or transportation (people wanting to help you spend your money) just waiting for you at port.
I recommend the Hawaii Entertainment Book
Hawaii Vacation Info