Take a Dinner Cruise to Suit Your Tastes
A never-to-be-forgotten experience during any visit to the Hawaiian Islands is one of the many Hawaii dinner cruises with romantic sunset sailing offered by local tour operators. Specializing in spectacular sunset vistas over the open ocean, the dinner cruise provides true island “Aloha” to the day. No matter which Hawaiian island you have chosen to visit, there is sure to be a dinner cruise designed especially for your tastes.
Hawaiian dinner cruises are offered on a wide variety of sailing vessels, from state-of-the-art, multi-deck cruisers and large, engine-powered catamarans, to more intimate sailboats and sail-powered catamarans. Some offer a view of the ocean floor, coral reefs, colorful tropical fish and other underwater creatures through glass bottom viewing areas—equally spectacular during the day and when lighted during nighttime hours. Each vessel offers its own unique perspective to cater to every type of sea-going sightseer.
A Hawaii dinner cruise normally ranges from 2 to 4 hours, with check-in at the harbor scheduled slightly before sail time; however, all-day cruises including opportunities to snorkel, swim and explore island beaches, culminating in an evening meal and glorious sunset finale are also a possibility. Flexible timetables and convenient length of tour times allow many dinner cruises to be offered as part of a package, with other activities scheduled before or after departure. Be sure to check out this option with your travel reservationist. Some dinner cruises may have minimum age restrictions, while others are designed with keiki (children) in mind, including special rates per child.
Enjoy Food, Drink and Romance at Sea
If a unique wedding experience is on your agenda, a Hawaiian dinner cruise can be the perfect setting for an intimate and romantic wedding at sea and a perfect lead-in for the Hawaiian honeymoon of a lifetime. An on-board ceremony, dinner, sensational sunset and complete maritime experience will be remembered forever by all involved—whether you choose to limit the participants to the bride and groom or include a complete wedding party, family and guests. Be sure to contact your cruise operator for this option–most will make every effort to accommodate you.
Special anniversary celebrations are also encouraged and provide an unparalleled romantic backdrop for sentimental memories of the past and the opportunity to create new ones for the future. Of course, the sunset dinner cruise sets the offers romance to all—no special event required.
What to Wear on a Hawaii Dinner Cruise
Most Hawaiian dinner cruises call for informal attire, although if you have booked a cruise on a large liner with fine dining and dancing offered, you will want to dress accordingly. No matter which type of cruise is chosen, remember that evening hours can become quite cool quickly, so a light wrap or jacket is always a good idea. Smaller craft may also be subject to sea spray from waves or mist in the air if weather conditions are right. You may also be required to remove your shoes when boarding, and it is a good idea to wear shoes that have a good grip on the pier and deck when boarding and leaving the area.
What to Expect on a Hawaii Dinner Cruise
The spectacular Hawaiian shoreline scenery is always enjoyed as dinner cruises set sail from the harbor and enter the peaceful ocean, away from all land-based hustle and bustle. You are entering another world. Relax with your dinner companion to enjoy a varied offering of menus, depending upon the type of Hawaiian dinner cruise you select. Menus range from a lavish experience with gourmet food and fine wine to a complete Polynesian spread or a very casual Mai Tai Cruise with pupus (appetizers) served buffet style, accompanied by delicious tropical Mai Tai drinks prepared by the crew. Dancing and entertainment may also be offered on board during the cruise, although the ocean, the sky and the coastline scenery are always the prime attractions for any Hawaiian dinner cruise.
Spinner dolphins, flying fish, sea turtles and humpback whales (in season) may be visible in the water as you sail along–silent companions for the complete Hawaiian dinner cruise experience. The sight of a whale breaching out of the water or a mother and calf swimming alongside the boat may add the crowning touch to an unforgettable sunset. The always sociable dolphins are frequent companions to the cruises, performing water acrobatics alongside the boats for all to see and enjoy.
As the afternoon slips away, enjoy the spectacular sunset over the water–nothing can compare with the brilliant colors nature has to offer over the ocean as the sun plays her curtain call over the clouds in the sky. Sunsets over the ocean always have a special glow never seen over land. Then, as daylight fades into darkness, the stars emerge and the glittering lights of shoreline cities and towns sparkle their welcome back into the harbor at the end of another perfect Hawaiian dinner cruise.
Hawaii Dinner Cruises Depart from All Major Islands
MAUI: Many Maui dinner cruises depart from Ka`anapali at Maalea harbor, directly adjacent to the popular resort area many tourists choose for a Maui vacation experience. Access is convenient to many hotels and other Maui tourist attractions, allowing you to make the most of every precious minute on the Valley Isle. Many Maui dinner cruises originating from the Maalaea harbor sail along the south shores,
Many Maui dinner cruises sail from the historic whaling town of Lahaina in West Maui. As Lahaina dinner cruises slip out to sea, voyagers enjoy a view of the West Maui Mountains in the background. The trade winds die down as the afternoon progresses and the ocean is normally calm in the inter-island channel for a totally relaxing sunset experience.
OAHU: Oahu dinner cruises are based out of Honolulu harbor and pass world-famous landmarks including Waikiki Beach, the Kahala Gold Coast, Diamond Head and other lesser-known and beautiful beaches along the Kahala Coast in the background.
BIG ISLAND: Big Island dinner cruises generally set sail from Kailua/Kona and travel along the Kona coastline, with the slopes of 13,679-foot Mauna Loa providing a majestic backdrop on the coastline. Kona means “leeward” in Hawaiian, so the waters here are warm and calm and provide a good base for a relaxing and romantic cruise. The area enjoys nearly 300 days of sunshine a year, so inclement weather is rarely a problem. Count on sunny days on the water and beautiful sunsets when Kona is your launching site.
KAUI: Many Kauai dinner cruises depart from the harbor at Port Allen. The rugged Na Pili coastline on the west side of Kauai offers a unique tapestry of unexpected vistas and colors as the brilliant red slopes pass by on shore. Na Pili actually means “the cliffs” in the native Hawaiian language, and the view from the ocean is of steep bluffs and a shoreline accessible only from the sea.
Other Kauai dinner cruises set sail from Poipu and travel toward Maha`ulepu and Kipu Kai landmarks. Sit back, relax and take it all in.
Since Kauai is the only Hawaiian island with a river that travels through what is the wettest region in all the islands, you might choose a riverboat cruise in addition to an ocean dinner cruise during your stay here. Both offer a diverse and unique perspective of completely opposite Kaui landscapes—from dry and barren vistas to lush, green tropical rain forest. Few locations are able to offer such contrasts—each beautiful in its own way.
The ocean is such an integral part of the Hawaiian lifestyle—come prepared to enjoy it on the water as well as on the beach. No matter which Hawaiian ocean dinner cruise you decide to try, you will enjoy the special Hawaiian Island “aloha spirit” that sets Hawaii and her people above and apart from other vacation locations. There is a deeply felt commitment from Hawaiians of all backgrounds to gracious hospitality and sharing—come to Hawaii ready to experience all the islands have to offer. You will not go away disappointed.
– By Brenda Mathews