I was on the Carnival Spirit last year around Hawaii and actually renting a car was really the only good way to get around the islands. In Maui we docked on the other side of the island from where everything was that we were going. We docked about a 40 min. drive from Lahaina so once we got off the ship and realized this we really had no choice but to rent a car or pay $50 each way for a cab. The, in Kaui we wanted to do a few different things while we were there and cabs were not easily accessible. Guess we were used to the Caribbean and people practically begging for you to use thier cab. It seemed there was more transportation to and from the WalMarts on each island.
Yes you can. Remember this is Hawaii, the 50th state, not some foriegn country. With cruise ships in town, car rentals can book quickly. You may want to try and book in advance. All the major rental companies are represented, Alamo is the biggest.
The only problem we had with getting a car in Hawaii was getting from where the ship docks to where you pick up the car. So my mom and I stayed at the ship and my brother went and picked up the car each day and just reversed the process when we dropped it off. We got a jeep grand cherokee on each of the island for about $100 but when we figured out what it would have cost us to take a ship sponsored excursion it was much cheaper and much nicer we could go and see anything we wanted and not have to go by anyone elses schedule.
I noticed that there are several different locations for rental cars on most of the islands. Are any of them close to the where the ships dock? We will be sailing on Legend of the Seas in March 04 with stops on Hawaii, Maui, Kauai, and Oahu. Any advice in particular about these islands would be appreciated. Did the rental car agencies have transportation from the dock or did you need to arrange transporation to the car rental location?
My husband and I rented a car through the cruise line for each port, and it worked out really well. I think the rates were comparable to what we would have booked independently (about $30-35 per day), and we didn't have to worry about pick-up at the dock, which was great since good use of time is always a consideration on vacation. I highly recommend the car rental as a method of seeing the islands via cruise ship. We took many of the ship's tours and combined them so that we could see the equivalent of 2-3 excursions per day, AND it was much cheaper that way.
We recently returned from a cruise to Hawaii. We rented cars at each stop by going online to the rental companies. We found Alamo to be the most reasonably priced. The car rental companies provide shuttles, as all of the ental locations are at airports. Some are closer to the docks than others. Be careful on Maui. Our cruise line changed the port city after we bocked our cruise. We had to rebook our car rental and lost the discount by booking early.
I forgot to tell you to be careful on the island of Oahu, specifically in the Honolulu. We forget when we are in paradise that Honolulu is a big city, with all the big city crime problems. Our rental car company told us that 30% of the cars they rent are broken into, and it's a big problem. Some of those surfers don't like to work . . . .
Check online before you go to book cars. Alamo had the best deals for us in every port except Kona and the shuttles are efficeint everwhere except Kona. Check with your cruise line - NCL uses Budget and you could rent on the ship and have the paperwork out of the way before arrival. Kona is a 20-minute drive from the rental offices. We used National there and even after repeated calls it took about an hour for their shuttle to show up (which obviously cut into our plans for the day). If I were to do it again, I would book the best deal everywhere except Kona - there I would book through the ship - we saw 3 or 4 Budget shuttles come and go while we waited on National.