Aloha and welcome to the Hawaiian Islands. Passage on a cruise ship is a popular way to combine pleasurable traveling with visiting several of the islands. If you want to see as much as possible, a cruise ship might be more convenient for you than landing on each island by plane.
Many cruise ship passengers enjoy exploring the islands with rental cars once their ship has landed at the pier. Car rental gives you great flexibility for individual sight-seeing, and is easy to integrate into your vacation plan. Just register for a car when your cruise schedule gives you some time on an island.
We are pleased to serve cruise ship passengers touring Hawaii. We can easily help you arrange your one-or-two day car rentals to explore our beautiful islands. In our FAQ you will find answers to many questions which cruise ship passengers have asked. Please have a look there for a well-prepared trip.
Please make a separate reservation for each port.
Avoid stress by carefully contemplating whether you should actually get a rental car during a stay on an island.
Don’t rely on the shuttle service, be prepared to take a taxi.
Plan carefully so that you drop-off your rental car with enough time to reach your ship.
Read our FAQ for cruise ship passengers.
Like at the airports, many car rental agencies provide a free shuttle from the pier to their nearby location. So, when you leave the ship it is just a short bus ride to your rental car and the start of your personal tour. Please check our list below for where the shuttle is available.
But knowing that your time on each island is precious, we suggest you consider taking a taxi to the car agency location. That way, you don’t have to worry about whether or not the agency provides a shuttle, when the shuttle starts and leaves, etc. Since most car-renting cruise ship passengers will use the free shuttle, you certainly will have to wait in line when you arrive at the car agency location. But, by taking a taxi, you arrive there before the others and eliminate waiting time.
Additionally, car rental companies sometimes change their rules and procedures about the “free shuttle pick-up at the pier” — without any kind of information for the customer beforehand. And even if they provide free shuttle service, they may restrict that service, such as "only the driver can get a free shuttle, not his or her fellows".
So we recommend saving yourself the hassle by taking a taxi. Pick up your car and get on the road — before everybody else even arrives at the rental agency.
Book a rental car from the airport and take a taxi there to pick it up!
For Honolulu, the downtown agencies in Waikiki provide free shuttle pick-up. Please choose “Honolulu City” to arrange your rental car if you want to get the free shuttle. However, in Waikiki the rental car prices and the waiting time are higher and longer than at the nearby airport which includes a much bigger agency. So, savvy people just book a rental car from the airport-pick-up-location and go there by taxi when their cruise ship arrives at the pier.
Unless there is an urgent reason, abstain from car rental!
There is no free pick-up and drop-off shuttle bus at the Kona Harbor. Since Kona is the only place where the drive from the pier to the agency at the Kona International Airport (KOA) takes more than 30 minutes and the road is often loaded with cars (bumper to bumper), no company wants to take on the responsibility of delivering clients too late back to the ship and then have to pay for accommodation if the ship is already gone. Therefore, we suggest to not rent a car while you are in Kona.
Save time by taking a taxi to your rental car pick-up location!
Most cruise ships dock at Kahului. Rental car pick-up locations are at the Kahului Airport (OGG), only a 5-minute taxi ride away. We recommend taking a taxi to save time as you will arrive for car rental pick-up ahead of all those who are taking the shuttle.
For Lahaina, you need to use the “Maui-Kaanapali” location when you book a rental car. In Lahaina, the free shuttle pick-up is not guaranteed. We suggest you save time by taking a taxi. However, if you want to try to get a “free shuttle”, check our rates with Budget or Avis.
Get your rental car at the nearby airport, Lihue Airport (LIH)
There is only one place to pick up cars in Kauai, and that is at the Lihue Airport (LIH)(about a 5-minute ride). To book the car for Nawiliwili Harbor in Kauai, please use the “Kauai-Lihue” location. If you stay several days, book the car for all the days needed and park it during the nights in a designated area near the pier. Ask the steward or the security agent when you leave the ship where to park the car overnight.
Often there are free shuttle buses shuttling between the Cruise Ship at the pier and the Car Rental agency pick-up point. Most of the pick-up agencies are at the airport near the respective pier you would dock at.
The Lihue and Hilo agencies are located at the respective nearby airport to the pier where you dock.
Our Tip for Honolulu: Book your pick-up and drop-off to happen at the airport agency location and pay for a taxi to transport you between the pier and the airport (and vice versa). Though car rental agencies in Waikiki arrange a free shuttle bus pick-up for Honolulu, all the car rental agencies in Waikiki are much more expensive than the airport ones — so we suggest you pick up the rental car at the airport when you return from your cruise (and vice versa). This will cost you taxi money (about $20) — but you get a cheaper car rental rate at the airport and won’t have to pay the costly “drop-off charges” of $35 on top of the already higher resort rate for a rental car. And you will not have to wait in a crowd in the small Waikiki office with all the clients who are trying to save $20 by riding on the free pick-up shuttle.
Alamo and Enterprise sometimes do, and sometimes do not, serve the pier with free shuttle buses at the Kahului Harbor. Same goes for the Lahaina Harbor. Therefore, either use a taxi to get to the airport (on Maui it’s about a 5-minute ride), or please consider booking the rental cars with our other partners, Thrifty or Dollar.
No. They will not come to the ship until you are on shore. With 3000 people on the ship it will not be possible for you or the rental car company to specify exactly when you will leave the ship or when the bus will arrive. The ship is like a beehive — and shuttle buses are coming and going.
Please Note: You will get a list with the phone numbers for all the local agencies once you’ve booked the cars. Please print this list — and make sure you have it with you on your cruise, together with the confirmation email for each car.
According to feedback of other cruise ship customers we suggest you rent one car for 2 days. There is a designated parking area where you can park the car at the pier or nearby. Ask the steward or the security agent when you leave the ship where to park the car overnight. Some of our customers have reported that someone tried to steal gas out of the car overnight — so if you have a choice to have it parked in a secured parking area for a fee, we recommend doing so.
If you reserve the car for 2 days and you return the car after 1 day, you only pay for the time you had the car.
No problem. You can easily play with plus-or-minus one hour.