Top 3 things to see in Honolulu on a Hawaiian cruise

Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii
Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii

Booking a Hawaiian cruise will put you in the middle of the premier Pacific retreat. In particular, you'll want to visit the capital city of Honolulu on the island of Oahu, a bustling urban center that combines the features of a modern cityscape with the laid back appeal that the state has become so famous for. That's not to mention the amazing cultural and historical attractions detailing native Hawaiian life along with other monumental events that have shaped the islands. Here are three things you must see before departing Honolulu in search of other adventures.

Pearl Harbor & USS Arizona Memorial
If you're a big fan of American history, you may want to take a moment to visit the historic Pearl Harbor & USS Arizona Memorial just outside of Honolulu in the harbor, where you can pay your respect to the fallen heroes of World War II. One of America's greatest tragedies occurred here on December 7, 1941, when Japan launched a sneak attack on the Pacific Fleet stationed in Pearl Harbor. Caught unaware, a large chunk of the U.S. Navy was lost within a matter of hours, suddenly forcing the U.S. into the midst of World War II.

While many ships sank during the attack on Pearl Harbor, you can visit the USS Arizona Memorial, a floating structure situated directly above the remains of the sunken battleship. The site was completed in 1962 and serves as a reminder of the terrible tragedy that occurred more than 70 years ago in this beautiful port city.

'Iolani Palace
You might be surprised to learn that Hawaii has a monarchy just like Great Britain, and the royal residence is located at the stunning 'Iolani Palace. After the island nation was first introduced to Western influences in the 18th century, the Hawaiian royal family began making efforts to boost its influence and appeal to other nations. Nearly a century later, these efforts resulted in the construction of a modern palace in 1879. Completed three years later in 1882, 'Iolani Palace - 'Iolani being the "bird of heaven" in Hawaiian - became the official home of King Kalakaua. The royal family's original residence was Hale Ali'i - meaning House of the Chief - but a new name was adopted for the modern palace by King Kamehameha V later on to honor his late brother as well as 'Io - the Hawaiian hawk.

Pali Lookout
There's no excuse for visiting Hawaii without taking in all the incredible oceanside cliffs and beaches, and there's no better place to get a bird's-eye view of Honolulu and the surrounding shores than at Pali Lookout. This favorite tourist destination on Oahu features fast winds and 985-foot cliffs that drop straight into the Pacific Ocean. You'll also be able to enjoy panoramic views of the city below, Oahu and off into the distance of the rest of the islands. And with the incredible Hawaiian weather, this can make an enjoyable day trip to explore the forested areas outside of metropolitan Honolulu.

Find out more about the amazing attractions and destinations that Hawaii has to offer you and your family.