Travel to Maui, Hawaii on a Superferry!
MARCH 2009 UPDATE: Due to a recent Hawaii Supreme Court Ruling, the Superferry will be ceasing operations as of March 19th, 2009. The court ruled that the Superferry should not have been allowed to operate until a review on its environmental impact was completed.
I wrote the following article prior to this occurrence.
Until recently, if you wanted to travel to Maui, Hawaii from Honolulu, your best option was clearly to fly. However, the birth of the Hawaii Superferry has changed all of that!
The 350 foot long Alakai is a catamaran-style boat that can carry up to 800 passengers on its journey between Honolulu, Oahu and Kahului Harbour on Maui. This boat is so big, that it can even accommodate your CAR!
I haven't been on this boat myself, but it looks like an interesting option for travel to Maui, Hawaii.
How long does it take to travel by Superferry?
The journey from Honolulu to Kahului Harbour is approximately 3 hours long - I wondered how passengers on the Superferry could entertain themselves on the journey.
Things to do on the Superferry:
It turns out that the ferry offers 34' widescreen TV's for the grown-ups, a playroom for toddlers, and a video game room for older kids. I wonder if grown-ups can play in the video game room? Maybe I'm too old for this, but I LOVE playing video games! There is also a gift shop where you could spend some time browsing for souvenirs and the like. And last but not least, there is an observation deck where you can enjoy the ocean views.
Ok, if I'm going to be on this ferry for 3 hours, are there comfortable seats if I just want to relax?
The Superferry boasts an assortment of comfortable-sounding seating ranging from leather sofas and reclining armchairs to more traditional restaurant-style seating. If you get hungry, it also offers a couple of dining areas: "The Galley" and the "Surf Break Lanai." I love to eat of course, so I was pleased to find the menus of these eating areas posted on their site - it looks like they have a pretty good assortment of food to choose from, with lots of variety.
If you're a non-smoker, you'll be happy to know that this is smoking is not allowed on the Hawaii Superferry.
What about price?
This is the part that makes me feel iffy about trying the Superferry myself. When I did a price comparison today for 2 adults with checked baggage going one way from Honolulu to Kahului, it was actually a bit cheaper to fly! (My prices included all extra fees for things like checked baggage and fuel surcharges.)
So, I think the deciding factor for most travelers will be whether or not the ocean scenery on the ferry-ride makes it worth the longer travel time (3hrs) compared to a quick flight (approx. 35 minutes) from Honolulu to Kahului.
In my case, any time I travel to Maui, Hawaii, I know I'll get a chance to experience the ocean on various snorkel trips or maybe even a dinner cruise... so for me, it's not worth it to take a 3 hour ferry ride. I like the fact that flying is so much faster! On the other hand, if snorkeling and dinner cruises aren't your thing, then the Superferry may be the perfect way for you to experience the ocean!
I'm moving things around a bit, so you may notice some wonky-looking pages until I'm done! Sorry for the mess!