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Norwegian's Official Travel Blog

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii, is probably the island state's most famous city, renowned for its natural beauty and status as a hub of commerce. From 2023 to 2025, it features not only as a port of call in 12 Norwegian Cruise Line cruises but also as the main point of exploration in three cruisetours, which allow you to enjoy a longer and more immersive period in Hawaii's capital. There are plenty of things to see and do there, so we thought some guidance could be helpful. To that end, here are four of the top things to do when you're in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Ready to start planning? Explore all Honolulu cruises.

Pearl Harbor Memorial
Pearl Harbor Memorial

Visit Pearl Harbor

On Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was the site of a devastating aerial attack that would launch the United States into World War II. Today, it remains an active military base but is also a National Historic Landmark as well as the site of the Pearl Harbor National Memorial.

The Pearl Harbor National Memorial combines the USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, and USS Utah Memorials, which commemorate the lives lost on each of the naval battleships during the attack. Nearby are additional attractions: the USS Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Museum, and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum. Altogether, Pearl Harbor serves as a one-stop education in one of the most important events in American and world history.

According to Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, you should plan to make a whole day of your visit if you want to enjoy the best experience. If you'd like to streamline your visit, consider our Pearl Harbor & Honolulu City, Pearl Harbor & USS Missouri, or Early Bird Pearl Harbor shore excursions.

Take in the North Shore

Lovers of beaches and water sports may want to head to Honolulu's North Shore, an extensive coastal area that comprises 51 beaches. As the North Shore Chamber of Commerce will tell you, this part of Hawaii is renowned for its beaches, bays, and surfing. From October to April, the swells can reach more than 30 feet, making the area an ideal host site for surfing competitions such as the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational.

The North Shore isn't just for surfers, either. Areas such as the Waimea Valley Trail, which leads to the 45-foot Waimea Falls, make it a terrific destination for hikers while the fauna in places such as Laniakea Beach and Shark's Cove means it's an attractive stop for wildlife enthusiasts as well.

If you do decide to visit the North Shore during your day at port, you may be interested to know that we have a shore excursion for that, too.

Bishop Museum exhibition room
Bishop Museum exhibition room

Check Out Bishop Museum

Bishop Museum is considered one of the finest showcases of Polynesian culture. It was founded in 1889 to display Hawaiian artifacts and royal family heirlooms belonging to Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, but the museum's scope would later expand to include other items of cultural significance as well as specimens of natural history.

Within Bishop Museum, you'll find exhibitions such as Hawaiian Hall, a three-story exhibition that centers on subjects such as the Hawaiian gods and key historical events, and the J. Watumull Planetarium, an astronomy facility featuring a 50-foot full-dome theater. The museum also cycles through a variety of temporary exhibitions in areas such as art and interactive play.

Step Into the Past at 'Iolani Palace

'Iolani Palace, which also dates back to the 1880s, is a registered National Historic Landmark and the erstwhile home of Hawaii's last monarchs. As such, it's the only official state royal residence in the United States of America.

You have a wide range of tour options at 'Iolani Palace, including docent-led tours and self-guided audio tours. There are also specialty tours that center on specific themes. For example, the Kalākaua Legacy Tour delves into the life and legacy of Hawaii's last king, and the Fashion Fit for Royalty Tour showcases the wardrobes and jewelry of the royal family. Most of the tours follow a weekly schedule, but the docent-led tours (available on Wednesdays and Thursdays) require reservations.

Ali’iolani Palace, Hawaii
Ali’iolani Palace, Hawaii

14-Day South Pacific From Honolulu to Papeete: Kauai, Maui & Moorea
14-Day South Pacific from Honolulu to Papeete: Bora Bora, Kauai, Kona & Maui
19-Day Hawaii from Vancouver to Honolulu: Ketchikan & Kauai

Plan Your Honolulu Adventure

We hope the recommendations provided here help you appreciate the immensity of Honolulu's natural beauty and the breadth of its cultural offerings. We hope, too, that you look into our Free at Sea deals to advantage of offers such as free excursions, free specialty dining, and open bars. If you'd like, you can sign up for our digital newsletter to get additional deals sent directly to your email.

Couple watching the sunset on board a Norwegian cruise
Couple watching the sunset on board a Norwegian cruise

With Norwegian, your stop in Honolulu is one part of a wider experience. Bask in the sun and water with an island-hopping week in Hawaii or a longer cruise vacation through the South Pacific. Alternatively, incorporate the island state in a broader-ranging journey that takes you from the tropics to the cooler climates of Alaska or Canada. You may also take advantage of our Honolulu cruisetours, allowing you to enjoy three days of immersive exploration in Honolulu before the beginning of your cruise.

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