Ultimate Kauai Cruise Port Guide for Pride of America Guests

Kauai Cruise Port Guide for Pride of America Guests
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Kauai Cruise Port Guide for Pride of America Guests

Hey cruisers, Justin here! If you’re planning a cruise on the Pride of America and making a stop in Kauai, you’ve come to the right place. This guide is all about helping you get the most out of your time at the Kauai cruise port your second overnight port stay. From where to dock to the best things to see and do, I’ve got you covered. So, let’s dive in and explore the ultimate guide to Kauai’s cruise port.

Arriving at the Port

Kauai Cruise Port Guide for Pride of America Guests
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When you arrive in Kauai, the Pride of America docks at Nawiliwili Harbor. This is the main port for cruise ships on the island and is located near the town of Lihue.

  • Pride of America Port Address: Nawiliwili Harbor (Kauai), Waapa Rd. Lihue, HI 96766, USA
  • Schedule: Arrives 8 AM
  • Location: Nawiliwili Harbor is located on the southeastern coast of Kauai, just a few miles from Lihue Airport. It’s a short drive from many of the island’s main attractions.
  • Facilities: The harbor area has basic facilities such as restrooms and a small waiting area. There are also a few shuttle services that can take you to rental car locations or into town. See below that there is an airport shuttle for rental cars. I believe Budget and Avis sponsor that shuttle just have your invoice or proof ready on your phone. I have seen them take guests there without it also.
  • Beach Towels and Water: Just like the previous ports you will have a tent setup outside just past the gangway so you can take beach towels for the day.
Kauai airport from the port
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  • Free Shuttles: This is one of the few ports with 2-3 free shuttles running to take you to either Hilo Hattie a large Hawaiian theme store or the other two run to the shops and restaurants near harbor mall. The free shuttles run based on what the operator wants to set as there hours. Normally will be cycling back and forth every 20-30 mintutes.
  • Great place for a HIGH quality tattoo: if you wanted one from Kauai. I had the chance to get work done here and they do REALLY good work for low prices compared to main land. He did a tattoo for a little over an hour and it looked like something that would take 3-6 hours. https://www.facebook.com/HappyYokaiTattooKauai/
Arriving at the Port Kauai
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Getting Around

Once you’ve arrived at the port, you’ll need to figure out how to get around. There are several options available, depending on your plans for the day.

  • Taxis and Ride-Sharing: Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are readily available. These are good options if you prefer not to drive. Later at night this can be very limited. I had to pay $45 to get back from Wal-Mart to the pier once due to only one uber driver and it is less than 10 minutes from port.
  • Expedia offers great prices and deals on rental cars since they all compete for your business on their website. See Rental Car Deals here.
  • Rental Cars: Renting a car is one of the best ways to explore Kauai. It gives you the freedom to go where you want, when you want. Just be sure to book in advance, especially during peak tourist season. You can see one of the street parking areas below, this will fill up fast and most end up parking at the airport and shuttling back.
Things to Do Near the Port
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Things to Do Near the Port

If you’re looking to stay close to the port, there are plenty of things to see and do without venturing too far.

  • Kalapaki Beach: Located just a short walk from the port, Kalapaki Beach is a great place to relax and enjoy the sun. The calm waters make it perfect for swimming and paddleboarding.
  • Ninini Point Lighthouse: A short drive from the port, this historic lighthouse offers stunning views of the coastline and is a great spot for photos.
  • Lihue Town: Explore the nearby town of Lihue, which has shops, restaurants, and a few cultural sites. The Kauai Museum is a good place to learn about the island’s history.
  • Kauai Beach Boys Shack: right by the beach rents chairs, boogie boards, surfboards, paddle boards, and kayaks. Also offer surf lessons.
Dining in Kauai
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Dining in Kauai

Kauai has a fantastic food scene, with options ranging from casual beachside cafes to fine dining restaurants. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Duke’s Kauai: Located at Kalapaki Beach, Duke’s offers great food with a beautiful view of the beach. Try their fresh seafood and famous Hula Pie.
famous Hula Pie
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  • The Beach House: This oceanfront restaurant in Poipu is perfect for a romantic dinner. The views at sunset are incredible.
  • Hamura Saimin: For a local experience, try Hamura Saimin in Lihue. They serve delicious, affordable saimin (Hawaiian noodle soup) in a no-frills setting.
  • Personal Recommendation: I would tell guests early in the week that if you can’t make it to Mama’s Fish house try and make a reservation for Oasis on the Beach. This was a place concierge would only let suite guests know about until I went there myself and started telling a few guests each week. its about 20-25 minutes from the port but worth the food and eating facing the water.

Exploring Kauai

Kauai, also known as the Garden Isle, is famous for its lush landscapes, stunning beaches, and outdoor adventures. Whether you’re interested in hiking, snorkeling, or simply enjoying the scenery, there’s something for everyone.

Beaches

Kauai is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii. Here are a few you won’t want to miss:

  • Kalapaki Beach: Large beach in walking distance of the ship as shown in the maps above. Great place to plan a beach relax day out of the two days in Kauai on the Pride of America cruise.
  • Poipu Beach: Located on the south shore, Poipu Beach is one of Kauai’s most popular beaches. It’s great for swimming, snorkeling, and spotting sea turtles.
  • Hanalei Bay: On the north shore, Hanalei Bay offers a stunning crescent-shaped beach with clear waters and a backdrop of lush mountains. It’s perfect for swimming, paddleboarding, and just soaking in the beauty.
  • Anini Beach: Known for its calm waters and long reef, Anini Beach is ideal for snorkeling and beginner windsurfing.(This beach is about an hour from the port and a great stop to make if your heading to hike near the Na Pali coast.)
Hiking

If you enjoy hiking, Kauai has some fantastic trails to explore. Here are a few options:

  • Kalalau Trail: This famous trail along the Na Pali Coast is challenging but offers breathtaking views of the rugged coastline. Even a short hike on this trail is rewarding. This is about an hour and 20 minute drive but if you have a rental car this is still fun to do!
  • Waimea Canyon: Known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon offers several trails with stunning vistas of the deep canyon and surrounding landscapes.
Sightseeing

Kauai’s landscapes are some of the most dramatic and beautiful in Hawaii. Here are a few must-see sights:

  • Na Pali Coast: This rugged coastline is best viewed from a boat, helicopter, or hiking trail. The towering cliffs and deep valleys are truly awe-inspiring.
  • Waimea Canyon: Drive up to the lookout points for stunning views of the canyon. There are also several trails for those who want to explore further.
  • Wailua Falls: This 80-foot waterfall is easily accessible by car and offers a beautiful view. It’s a great spot for photos.
Cultural Experiences

Kauai has a rich cultural heritage, and there are many ways to experience it during your visit.

  • Luau Kalamaku: This popular luau at the Kilohana Plantation offers a feast of traditional Hawaiian food, music, and hula dancing. This is the Ships Luau!
  • Kauai Museum: Located in Lihue, the museum offers exhibits on the island’s history, culture, and natural environment.
  • Smith Family Garden Luau: Set in a beautiful garden, this luau includes a tour of the gardens, traditional Hawaiian food, and cultural performances. This is a very popular Luau that will also pick up right at the port.
Tours and Excursions

If you prefer guided tours and excursions, there are plenty of options to choose from in Kauai. I will show you some of the NCL offerings and other options. (This can change weekly along with pricing!)

My Three Personal Favorites that I was able to do:

Kauai Backcountry Tubing
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  • Kauai Backcountry Tubing: This is such a cool tour and you will hear a lot about it in the facebook groups! It deserves the high ratings! Book it as soon as you can.
  • Helicopter Tours: See Kauai from above with a helicopter tour. You’ll get an aerial view of the Na Pali Coast, Waimea Canyon, and other stunning landscapes. No helicopter tours are available from NCL here. DO NOT PASS THIS UP!. I had guests hug me for pointing them to setting up a Helicopter tour here last minute. This will 100% be the highlight of your trip and Hawaii. The ship does not go to the Na Pali coast regularly anymore. My top ones are here.

Kauai NCL Excursions: (again prices and tours can change weekly!)

I will go over some personal tips from experience while working on the ship as guest services and shore excursions and manager. First normally there is a Behind the scenes tour offered both (sometimes Monday) Thursday and Friday. My advice is if it is available and you really want to do it try and do it Monday or Friday. You will probably want to be off the ship as much as possible in Kauai. Friday can be good too if you’re still recovering from drinking too much at the Luau.

Kauai NCL Excursions Pricing one
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Kauai NCL Excursions Pricing two
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Shore ex desk drop box. Pride of America NCL
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IMPORTANT!

For the NCL Luau you will have an envelope with your shore excursions tickets in them already in your room if you pre purchased. Make sure to open this and fill out the table seating for the Luau and return it asap to shore excursions. This is the ONLY way they will know what cabins want to sit together. No matter what you told NCL customer service pre cruise or if you purchased at the same time. They will not know that on the ship. Don’t wait in line to hand it in just put it in the drop box under the TV on the left side facing the shore ex counter. Do this before the end of the day Monday!

Kauai NCL Excursions Descriptions one
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Kauai NCL Excursions Descriptions two
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You can see above that You could do either Best of Kauai and see the Canyon and River in one go or split the tour and do the Canyon separate from the river tour. Here you can see Discover Kauai & Luau, This is a tour that I would make sure to go out of my way to explain to guests that they are NOT coming back to the ship before the Luau. You can bring clothes to change a freshen up a bit before the luau in one of the restrooms. It says this is an 11hr tour but it is really around 12 hours when you count the wait time getting back to the ship after the Luau.

Kauai NCL Excursions Descriptions three
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Below you can see the Hidden Valley Falls Kayak, this tour is normally always sold out and only takes a small group each day. (10-12) It is worth booking third party to do it. I did it myself and loved it!

Kauai NCL Excursions Descriptions four
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NOTE: If you’re on the ship remember today you can grab your luggage tags if you do not have them yet. Deck 5 midship off the stand in front of guest services starting normally around 11am-12pm. Luggage needs to be in the hall Before 10pm Friday night. If you can start putting them out around 7-9pm this really helps the crew out on the ship so they get at least a few hours of sleep Friday into Saturday.

Kauai Luggage tag Pride of America
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Kauai Luggage tag Pride of America

Practical Tips for Your Visit

To help you make the most of your time in Kauai, here are a few practical tips:

  • Book Excursions Early: Kauai is a popular destination, and tours and activities can fill up quickly. Be sure to book your excursions in advance to ensure you get a spot. If you really want a tour do NOT wait until you’re on the ship!
  • Pack Sunscreen: The Hawaiian sun can be intense, so be sure to pack plenty of reef safe sunscreen. It’s also a good idea to bring a hat and sunglasses for extra protection.
  • Stay Hydrated: It’s easy to get dehydrated, especially if you’re spending a lot of time outdoors. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Rent a Car: If you plan to do a lot of exploring, renting a car is a great option. It gives you the freedom to go where you want, when you want.
  • Respect the Environment: Hawaii is known for its beautiful natural environment, and it’s important to do your part to protect it. Be sure to follow all guidelines and regulations, and leave no trace when you visit parks and beaches. Do not take sand or rocks! They will catch it at the airport!
Hawaii Cruise Port Virtual Port guide

Kauai is a beautiful island with so much to offer, and I hope this guide helps you make the most of your visit. Whether you’re relaxing on the beach, exploring the island’s natural beauty, or immersing yourself in the local culture, there’s something for everyone in Kauai. This was my most enjoyed port while working on the Pride of America make the best of your last two days of the cruise!

If you have any questions or need more information, feel free to reach out. Mahalo, and happy cruising!