One of our relatives recently had a 16 hour stop over during her Hawaii cruise. Port of stop? Honolulu. If you’re looking for things to do during your stop, this is the perfect post for you!

Depending on the day you arrive to port, there are different activities being held in downtown Honolulu. For example, on Friday nights at 7:45pm, Ala Moana has a firework show. In this case, our aunty arrived on a Tuesday so were not able to include the fireworks in this itinerary. But overall, this is what you can do within a 16 hour stop on Oahu.

*Keep in mind if you have booked activities, you will have to work around those hours.

Port of Honolulu: Pier 2 Cruise Terminal (521 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96813)

Arrival Time: 7:00am Hawaii Time

Departure Time: 11:00pm Hawaii Time

Pick up at the Cruise Terminal


We went to the terminal and there were a lot of taxis outside the terminal. If you don’t have any friends or family during your visit, rent a car from Turo for as little as $25! (Turo is similar to Airbnb but for cars) or you can simply get around town via Taxi, Lyft, Uber, or TheBus.

Have some Breakfast

Either eat breakfast on the cruise ship (which we recommend; it will save you money). Or, eat at a local favorite. Here is a list of breakfast places we recommend:

Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop
Eggs ‘n Things
Liliha Bakery
Koa Pancake House
Pancake & Waffles
The Original Pancake House
Egghead Cafe
Harry’s Cafe
Arvo Cafe

Go on a Hike


Oahu has a lot of places to hike. From nearby town side to the north shore area, there are many hikes throughout the island. We went to Manoa Falls since our guest wanted to see some lush, green forest and a waterfall. Other hikes we’ve done:

Best Kid Friendly Hikes
Ice Ponds
Makapuu Lighthouse
Diamond Head
Ehukai Pillbox
Lanikai Pillbox
Aiea Loop Trail
Maili Pillbox
Koko Head Crater
Hanauma Bay

Grab some Lunch

Depending on where you went hiking, it’s best to grab some lunch around the surrounding area. If you’re heading close to town, where the cruise terminal is nearby, here are some great places to eat lunch:

Nico’s Pier 38
BLT Ritz Carlton

Mai Tai Bar
Island Fine Burgers
The Pig & The Lady
Side Street Inn

Hit the Beach


A beach is a must visit if you are only stopping over in Hawaii and departing for another international destination or U.S. Mainland. The closest beach to the piers would be toward town, Waikiki. If you’d rather head out of town, the North Shore has great beaches but the safest bet would be in the East at a beach called Lanikai Beach or Kailua Beach.

Drive & Explore Around the Island


If your bellies are satisfied, you’re feeling pretty exhausted and you still have 4-5 hours to kill before you need to board; the next best thing to do is to take a drive. Explore the island via any transportation (even bicycle or the popular scooter rentals). You might find some much more magical things if you just be in the present of the beautiful scenery.

Related post: Rainy on Oahu? Click Here for alternative things to do!

Watch the Sunset


The sunset is something you will see. If time permits, head toward Waikiki or Ala Moana beach park and watch the beautiful sunset. We’ve seen it rain or shine and it has never disappointed.

Eat Dinner

After sunset, eat at some delicious restaurants around Waikiki or Honolulu. Some of these restaurants even have a sunset viewing such as the first one on the list!

Hula Grill
Tommy Bahama
Sansei Seafood
Buho Cocina
Livestock Tavern
Smith & Kings
Duke’s Waikiki
Cheesecake Factory

Return to the Cruise Terminal


Don’t be late! Get back on time!

If you’re renting a car, return it right after dinner around 9 pm, you should be able to get back to the terminal by 10 pm.

There you have it! Being on a cruise is its own adventure but being able to properly experience Oahu in a day is completely achievable with these pointers. Good luck on your day on Oahu!


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