2023 Vancouver-Hawaii Cruise

Hawai’i Cruise aboard ms Koningsdam – 16 days – Oct 7-23, 2023

The Koningsdam anchored offshore with the hotel saltwater swimming area and Kamakanhonu National Historic Monument in Kailua Bay, Big Island of Hawai'i

This cruise departed from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for Hawai’i and returned to the same port 16 days later. This is a very similar route as my cruise last year – 2022 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise (and the same Holland America ship), however we called into Astoria, Oregon a day after departing Vancouver. Crossing the Pacific each direction involved five full days at sea. The Hawaiian Islands are very familiar to me, however I always enjoy my visits, since there is much to see and experience, providing variety every time.

The weather while we were crossing the Pacific Ocean was stormy at times, but we also enjoyed some warm and sunny sea days. The weather in Hawai’i was perfect during our five days in ports. I took full advantage of our overnight in Honolulu, giving me two full days to explore both new sites and familiar ones.

2023 Vancouver to Hawai'i - Koningsdam's route map. Note: an overnight in Honolulu was substituted for the port call to Lahaina
2023 Vancouver to Hawai’i – Koningsdam’s route map. Note: the port call to Lahaina was scrubbed in favour of an overnight in Honolulu.

If you just want to see photos and video, the 2023 Hawai’i Cruise collection covers everything I experienced during this voyage both onboard and ashore. Click on the photos which interest you, or click on the slideshow icon in the top right to blast through all the photos in about 20 minutes.

My full itinerary is listed below. Feel free to click on what interests you, however if you click on the top-most item, there are links at the bottom of each page (just above the Comments section) to take you to the next destination – from beginning to end. This is the best way to explore the whole trip as it happened.


A Last-minute Booking

I have cruised on similar itineraries in both 2017 for my 65th birthday, and again in 2022 to celebrate my 70th birthday. Running away from home to celebrate birthdays seems to appeal to me, so I decided to do it again for my 71st birthday since I had fond memories of my time aboard Eurodam six years ago and Koningsdam last year. I live a couple of hour’s travel time from Vancouver, so this makes connecting with the ship very easy, and allows me to take advantage of last-minute fare offers.

This 16-day cruise on the Koningsdam is my second time on this Pinnacle Class Holland America ship. As with my previous two Hawai’i cruises, sea days were taken up with eating and drinking, and enjoying some enrichment presentations and live performances. Simply enjoying the relaxation that sea days offer can be very sublime, and talking with my fellow passengers is always enjoyable.

How it evolved

I booked a veranda stateroom, since I enjoy having easy access to the outside fresh air and a wonderful view. Two shore excursions worked out well for me: Historical Astoria and a Rainforest Hike in the Manoa Valley on Oahu. As in past years, I reserved a special dinner for my birthday in the Tamarind Asian Fusion restaurant, which is my favourite premium restaurant, but only available on the Signature and Pinnacle-class ships.


Being a solo traveller, the Single Supplement is almost 100% of the fare two people would pay, so it’s an expensive proposition cruising by yourself. My per day cost for everything (airfares, cruise fare, hotel, extras) worked out to CA$640/day (US$460/day). This particular cruise was very popular (especially with my fellow Canadians), so Holland America did not send any upgrade offers other than the HIA.

Holland America sent an attractive offer for their Have It All package (HIA), which I took advantage of for this cruise. HIA includes Internet access, shore excursion credits, premium dining, and drinks (both alcoholic and specialty coffees). So most of the cost of my excursions, as well as the premium dining was covered by my HIA package, offering a modest cost saving. I decided to pre-pay the crew gratuity, which is normally added to your onboard account every day.

I am a 4-star Mariner with Holland America, which includes significant discounts for on-board merchandise and services, priority embarkation and disembarkation, free laundry, complimentary wine tasting, and some other nice perks.

I fly on Pacific Coastal Airways to Vancouver the previous day, and stay overnight in a hotel before boarding the ship. This added about CA$350 to my travel costs for the airfare, but the hotel was no cost since I used my Marriott-Bonvoy® AMEX points for that booking.

Added bonuses

  • Revisiting the Bishop Museum in Honolulu allowed me to appreciate the Hawaiian culture, and put the history of colonization of the Hawaiian people by the USA in clear perspective.
  • I arranged to meet a friend in Kailua-Kona who lives on the Big Island, and spend the day with her.

So was it worth it?

This was another wonderful cruise on Holland America. The cruise line continues to provide the personal touches for its passengers, despite the serious challenges of acquiring and training new staff after the shutdown of cruising during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was spoiled by the wonderful crew while aboard the Koningsdam. The cost of cruising has most certainly gone up, but the costs of other types of travel are also more expensive now. Establishing a travel budget and waiting for good deals can help reduce travel costs for those who take the time.

The highlights of the trip have to be the wonderful meals and drinks aboard the ship served by hard-working staff, the good company of my fellow passengers, the great live performances to be found in the Music Walk showcasing so much talent, and experiencing sublime Hawai’i once again. Also, sailing in and out of Vancouver Harbour is always such a spectacular start to any cruise – never gets old! Adding Astoria to this itinerary provided some welcome variety.

2023 Hawaii Cruise