Hawaii Cruises from San Francisco

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: March 9, 2024

Both Princess and Carnival Cruises offer Hawaii cruises from San Francisco. Each of these adventures include round trip journeys so you will begin and end your trip in SF.

You will also stop at some of the most popular ports of call in Hawaii, including Honolulu and Hilo. Both of these trips also include a stop in Ensenada, Mexico.

Hawaii shoreline with a beautiful beach and lush green trees.

These lovely cruises include plenty of days at sea for you to relax and unwind. But don't worry, you'll also get plenty of time to check out each port city during your stops.

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

Princess Cruises: 16-Day Hawaiian Island Cruise

SF to Hawaii

The 16-Day Hawaiian Island Cruise offers ten full relaxing days at sea. It stops in four ports in Hawaii and one in Mexico.

In Hawaii, you will get the chance to visit Hilo, Honolulu, Kauai, and Maui. On the way back to San Francisco, you will make a stop in Ensenada, Mexico. 

Your trip finishes with one last day at sea until you arrive in San Francisco on the morning of Day 17.

Your trip is aboard the Ruby Princess. This large cruise ship features space for more than 3,000 passengers. In addition, it has several pools, a full-service spa, and a poolside movie theater. You can also entertain yourself in the casino, at a nightclub-style performance, or in one of several lounges.

There are a number of fine dining and casual eating restaurants onboard. In addition to the traditional cruise dining rooms, you can also step inside one of the specialty restaurants that offer Italian cuisine, steaks, or seafood. Or, you can grab something from one of the casual restaurants that offer pizza, burgers, and ice cream. 

If you prefer a night in, the Ruby Princess also offers 24-hour room service. 


This is the usual itinerary for this cruise. It changes around at times, so make sure to check the final itinerary before booking.

Day 1: You will depart San Francisco at 4 pm.

Day 2 - 5: You will spend your first four days at sea as you head west to Hawaii.

(Note that the order of the following four Hawaii ports of call can vary from cruise to cruise, but you will definitely visit these locations between Days 6-9.)

Day 6: Your first stop is Hilo, Hawaii. You will arrive around 8 am and depart at 5 pm. Click here to learn more about what there is to see and do in Hilo.

Day 7: The next morning, you will arrive in Honolulu at 7 am. You will have an entire day to explore this beautiful waterfront city. The ship departs at 11 pm. Click here for tips on what to see and do in Honolulu.

Day 8: You will then arrive at Kauai (Nawiliwili) the next morning at 8 am. You will have until around 5 pm to enjoy your stop. Click here for tips on visiting Kauai.

Day 9: Your final stop in Hawaii is in Maui (Lahaina). You arrive at 7 am. The ship departs at 6 pm. Click here to find out about the top things to do at this port.

Day 10 - 14: After you leave Maui, you then begin your journey back to the mainland. On these five days, you will be at sea. 

Day 15: On the morning of the Day 15, you will arrive in Ensenada, Mexico. You will have from 9 am to 5 pm to visit, taste the local food, and learn more about this historic town.

Day 16: On Day 16, you once again have a relaxing day at sea as you head north to your final stop in San Francisco.

(Day 17:) This day doesn't really count toward the 16-Day cruise because your journey ends with an early 7 am arrival in San Francisco.

Note: This is the typical journey, but itineraries are subject to change at anytime. Make sure to fully check your itinerary before booking.

Upcoming Depature Dates

  • 2024: 4/4, 9/29, 12/2, 12/18
  • 2025: 1/3, 1/30, 2/20, 3/19, 4/4, 10/30, 12/1
  • 2026: 1/2, 1/29, 2/19, 3/18, 4/3

Carnival: 15-Day Hawaiian Cruise 

The 15-Day Hawaiian Cruise with Carnival is similar to the one outlined above. However, it is only offered once a year.

This cruise is aboard the Carnival Miracle, a ship with capacity for just over 2,100 guests. The top deck has pools and waterslides for your fun in the sun.

Onboard the Carnival Miracle, you will find several bars and restaurants for anything you're craving, from sushi to burgers to pizza and steaks. In addition to the comedy club and the theater, there's also a Serenity adult-only retreat area, as well as a year-round summer camp for kids.

You will have plenty to entertain you and your family during your days at sea.


Day 1: You will leave San Francisco at 4 pm on Day 1. 

Days 2 - 5: For the next four days, you will be at sea on your way west to the Hawaiian Islands.

Day 6: On Day 6, you arrive in Kahului, Maui at 10 am. You'll have all day until 11 pm to explore the beaches, volcano, or historic village of Lahaina.

Day 7: The next morning at 9 am you arrive in Honolulu, Oahu. Once again you'll have all day until 11 pm to enjoy this state capital. 

Day 8: Your next stop is in Nawiliwili, Kauai. Your arrival is first thing in the morning at 7:30 am. You will stay here until the ship leaves at 5:30 pm. 

Day 9: Your final stop in Hawaii is on Day 9. You will arrive at Kona at 8 am and this beautiful side of the Big Island until 4 pm. 

Day 10 - 13: On Day 10, you will start your journey back. You will head east and spend the next four days at sea.

Day 14: On the afternoon/evening of Day 14, you will get the chance to spend a few hours in Ensenada, Mexico. You will arrive at 3 pm and depart at 8 pm.

Day 15: You will spend one additional day at sea as you head north to San Francisco.

(Day 16:) On the final day, you will arrive in San Francisco at 8 am.

Upcoming Depature Dates

  • 2024: 9/16
  • 2025: 9/21

Ideas for Ports of Call on this Tour


Hilo is on the big island of Hawaii. This lovely port of call is home to around 40,000 people. During your stop here, you can check out the rich history of this beautiful town during a guided walking tour or on your own. You can also head west and enjoy some adventure, such as hiking, ziplining, or a visit to the summit of Mauna Loa, one of the world's largest volcanoes. 

Click here to find out more about the shore excursions in Hilo.


You will find plenty to do and see in Hawaii's largest city and state capital, Honolulu. You are welcome to explore this gorgeous city on your own or on one of their popular shore excursions. Top options include a tour of the city with a stop at their best attractions, including the Pearl Harbor Museum. You can also learn how to surf, go snorkeling, or head under water on the Atlantis Submarine Adventure. 

Click here to learn more about the shore excursions available in Honolulu.

Kauai (Nawiliwili)

Kauai is another wonderful stop in Hawaii. It's the oldest of the Hawaiian islands and offers lovely beaches and plenty of places to explore. 

The most popular trip here is to Waimea Canyon. During this tour, you will also see Hawaii's first sugar cane plantation and watch as Spouting Horn at Po'ipu South Kauai throws sea water 50 feet into the air.

Click here to learn more about this shore excursion.

Maui (Lahaina)

Lahaina is the perfect place to explore on your own. You can head to one of its gorgeous beaches for the day or explore the city on foot and learn more about its history. It's also a great place to go whale watching or head out to see the Haleakala Crater (a volcano that forms more than 75% of the island of Maui). 

Unfortunately, the historic village of Lahaina was destroyed by a devastating fire in August 2023. Much of this area remains closed, but as things start to reopen, check with your cruise to see what's currently available for this port of call.

Click here to learn more about the Maui shore excursions.


Kaulua-Kona (or just Kona) is located on the western side of the big island. At this port, you will also find a variety of adventure activities as well as plenty of space on the beach to relax. Coffee lovers should also check out the famous coffee grown here. It's also a fun place to enjoy on foot.

Places to Stay in SF Before or After Your Cruise

If you plan to stay in San Francisco either before or after your cruise, I recommend looking at options in the Fisherman's Wharf district. It's the closest district to Pier 27, where the cruises dock, and it is home to Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, and the ferries to Alcatraz. 

Click here to find my list of recommendations in the Fisherman's Wharf area.

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?

I would love for you to join me in my private Facebook group

It's a great place to interact with me and others who know the area well.

You can ask questions, get advice for your upcoming stay, and then share your photos and advice with others when you return home. It's a great community and the fastest way to get answers to those nagging questions about your visit!

Come join the fun here!

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