Kauai Cruise Port
The Kauai Cruise Part is located in Nawiliwili, southeast of the main town of Lihue, in the southeastern part of the island. Most major cruises to the Hawaiian Islands make a stop here, usually just for the day, and the cruise ship terminal is within walking distance of souvenir shops, eateries, and Kalapaki Beach.
Ways to visit Kauai Cruise Port
Known as the Garden Isle—it’s the greenest of all the islands—Kauai lies at the northern end of the Hawaiian chain. Shore excursions include film location tours, as well as tours to Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Ships dock in Nawiliwili Harbor on the island’s southeast coast, near the town of Lihue. A rental car is the best way to get around if you aren’t taking an organized tour.
Kauai attracts visitors throughout the year, but it's most crowded when US schools have vacation (notably in summer and the two weeks around Christmas and New Year’s). Rainfall is highest in winter and early spring, so visiting in Apr. or May or in autumn is best for good weather and fewer crowds.
Things to know before you go
- Kauai is known for its flora, but it’s also one of the best islands to visit for those interested in local island culture.
- Most cruise ships are required to depart the port before sunset, so give yourself plenty of time to get back from your excursion.
- The port is wheelchair- and stroller-friendly.
- The beautiful Na Pali Coast is not accessible by road. The best way to visit if you're short on time is by taking a boat or helicopter tour.
How to get to Lihue from the Kauai Cruise Port
If you find yourself at the cruise ship terminal, you’ve likely come in on a cruise ship. If you need to leave the port to go elsewhere on the island, a rental car or tour with transportation is your best bet. Lihue is about a 10-minute drive from the port. While Hanalei, in the northern part of the island, takes about an hour to reach by car from the port.
The Aloha Center, a block from the cruise dock, offers amenities such as ATMs (US dollar is the local currency), restrooms, shops, and rental kiosks. English is the official language, as is Hawaiian, although you may also hear Japanese, Portuguese, and Tagalog.