Dinner & Adventure Cruises on Maui: Fresh Sea Air and Seafood


Maui is synonymous with beaches, romance and beauty; so, while you’re here, enjoy a pampered experience and feast on the total sensory indulgence offered by the many cruises around Maui.

As a popular tourist destination, Maui offers something for almost everyone, so choose from several types of cruises that depart from the island:

  • Sunset cruises: These cruises typically depart in the late afternoon or early evening and offer visitors the chance to watch the sun set over the ocean while enjoying dinner and live entertainment.
  • Snorkeling and diving cruises: These cruises take visitors to some of the best snorkeling and diving spots around Maui, where they can see a variety of tropical fish and other marine life.
  • Whale-watching cruises: During the winter months, humpback whales migrate to the waters around Maui to mate and calve. These cruises take visitors out to see these magnificent creatures up close.
  • Sport fishing cruises: For those who want to try their hand at deep-sea fishing, these cruises and private charters take visitors out to catch a variety of game fish, such as marlin, tuna, and mahi-mahi.
  • Cultural cruises: These cruises focus on the history and culture of Maui and Hawaii, and often include live music and hula performances, as well as information on Hawaiian legends and customs.
  • Luxury cruises: These cruises are operated by large luxury liners and they will take you to other islands in Hawaii and even to other countries. They offer a wide range of amenities, such as spas, casinos, and fine dining.
  • Catamaran cruises: These cruises are operated by large or small catamarans, they are known for their spacious and comfortable decks, and they offer a variety of activities such as snorkeling, whale watching, and sunset cruises.

Not all cruises may be available year-round (whale watching, for example), and the type of cruises will vary depending on the company or operator. Here’s an overview of Maui cruises:

Catamaran snorkeling cruises in Maui
Catamaran snorkeling cruise in Maui on the Calypso, the island’s only triple decker catamaran

Guest-Recommended Cruises from Maui

Snorkeling and diving cruises:

  • Maui Dive Shop’s Molokini & Turtle Arches Snorkel & Dive Trip
  • Pacific Whale Foundation’s Molokini Snorkel and Turtle Town Adventure
  • Calypso

Sunset cruises:

  • Alii Nui Dinner Sail
  • Lahaina Sunset Sail

Whale-watching cruises:

  • Pacific Whale Foundation’s Ultimate Whale Watch
  • Maui Classic Charters’ Whale Watch Adventure

Cultural cruises:

  • Hula Girl Sunset Sail
  • Pride of Maui

Sport fishing cruises:

  • Marlin Magic Sport Fishing
  • Fish Maui Sportfishing

Luxury cruises:

  • Norwegian Cruise Line’s Seven-Day Hawaiian Islands Cruise
  • Holland America Line’s 14-Day Hawaiian Explorer Cruise

Catamaran cruises:

  • Teralani Sailing Adventures
  • Trilogy Excursions
  • Hula Girl
  • Alii Nui

Cruise departure locations from Maui

The departure location for cruises from Maui will vary depending on the type of cruise and the company or operator. Generally, if you are in the south or west Maui region, you will have a cruise or boat launch nearby. Kahului harbor is where the luxury liners dock.

Departure locations for each type of cruise:

  • Sunset cruises: These cruises typically depart from marinas and harbors around Maui, such as Lahaina Harbor, Maalaea Harbor, and Kaanapali Beach.
  • Whale-watching cruises: These cruises typically depart from marinas and harbors around Maui, such as Lahaina Harbor, Maalaea Harbor, and Kaanapali Beach.
  • Cultural cruises: These cruises typically depart from marinas and harbors around Maui, such as Lahaina Harbor, Maalaea Harbor, and Kaanapali Beach.
  • Sport fishing cruises: These cruises typically depart from marinas and harbors around Maui, such as Lahaina Harbor, Maalaea Harbor, and Kihei Boat Ramp.
  • Luxury cruises: These cruises typically depart from Kahului Harbor, which is located on the north coast of Maui.
  • Snorkeling and diving cruises: These cruises typically depart in the morning from the main marinas and harbors around Maui, such as Maalaea Harbor, Lahaina Harbor, and Kihei Boat Ramp.
  • Catamaran cruises: These cruises typically depart from marinas and harbors around Maui, such as Lahaina Harbor, Maalaea Harbor, and Kaanapali Beach.
Most cruises depart from Lahaina in the west, and Maalaea in the south of Maui.

It’s important to double-check the departure location with the company or operator before booking your cruise, as some companies may offer pick-up service from your hotel or other locations. The departure location may vary depending on the season, weather conditions, and other factors, so keep your plans flexible the day-of.

Romantic sunset dinner cruises on Maui

Sunset cruises are typically focused on providing a romantic and intimate setting, with stunning views of the sunset and live music or dancing.

Dinner cruises on Maui typically include buffet-style or a la carte plated offerings, dancing, and breathtaking views of the sunset. If you’re looking for something different, specialty dinner cruises also offer activities such as snorkeling, whale watching, or luau cultural demonstrations.

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Guest suggestions: Don’t do a dinner cruise, but opt for a sunset cocktail cruise. Have a nice meal on the mainland and then go out on the water. Very windy, however, so don’t wear a dress!

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There are several companies that offer sunset dinner cruises on Maui that may be suitable for couples looking for a romantic experience. Some popular options include the Alii Nui Dinner Sail, Hula Girl, and the Pacific Whale Foundation Dinner Cruise (PacWhale Eco-Adventures). These cruises typically depart from Maalaea Harbor or Lahaina Harbor and last for several hours.

Catamaran dinner or cocktail cruises in Maui
Catamaran dinner or cocktail cruises in Maui

Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise – Pacific Whale Foundation: This two-hour cruise departs from Lahaina Harbor and offers amazing views of the Maui coastline. During the trip, guests can enjoy a delicious buffet-style meal, live music, and a chance to spot dolphins, whales, and other marine life. This cruise has received high user ratings for its excellent service and stunning views of the island.

As of this writing in Jan 2023, the price for the cruise is $129.95-$149.95 per person. Guests have rated the cruise highly for its delicious food, stunning views, and friendly staff.

The Pacific Whale Foundation’s Sunset Cocktail Cruise in Maalaea, Hawaii, is a two-hour cruise that offers guests the opportunity to relax, sip on a cocktail and watch the sun go down. The cruise includes a welcome drink, snacks, a tour of the harbor, and a lively commentary about the island’s history and marine life. Guests can also enjoy the sights of the nearby islands and enjoy the sounds of Hawaiian music. The cruise is perfect for a romantic date night or a special occasion.

Pricing: The Sunset Cocktail Cruise prices start at $79.95 per adult and $59.95 per child. More about the cruise here.

Snorkeling breakfast cruises on Maui

Pride of Maui, Maui's only luau on the water
Pride of Maui, Maui’s only luau on the water

Snorkeling cruises include a snorkeling excursion and usually breakfast and lunch as part of the experience. These cruises offer the opportunity to enjoy a delicious meal while exploring the underwater world of Maui’s reefs. Snorkeling catamaran cruises typically depart from Maalaea Harbor or Lahaina Harbor and last for several hours.

Snorkeling equipment is usually provided, but it is a good idea to check with the specific cruise company to confirm what is included. Some cruises may also offer wetsuits or other gear for an additional fee.

snorkeling maui

Prices for snorkeling cruises on Maui can vary, but they generally range from $100 to $200 or more per person. It is a good idea to check with the specific cruise company for more information on pricing, departure times, and other details.

Catamaran dinner cruises from Maui

Catamaran dinner cruises are a type of dinner cruise on Maui that are conducted on a catamaran, a type of sailing vessel. Catamarans are known for their stability and spacious decks, which can make them a comfortable and enjoyable choice for a dinner cruise.

Several snorkeling and cocktail cruises are on catamaran vessels, including Hula girl and the Alii Nui Dinner Sail. Participants rave about the beautiful views, delicious food and drinks, and the overall atmosphere of these types of sails. They often comment on the friendly and professional crew and the live music and entertainment. Many users also mention that the sail is a great way to experience a sunset and great way to do something special and romantic with a partner.

Some guests also mention that the sail is a great way to see the coast of Maui and the neighboring islands from a different perspective, and the opportunity to see whales, dolphins and other marine life.

On the other hand, some guests have said that the cost of the sail can be a bit high, but they think it is worth the cost for the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Overall, guest reviews tend to be very positive and recommend a cocktail catamaran cruise as a must-do activity while visiting Maui.

What is the best sunset dinner cruise on Maui?

Hula Girl a la carte food gets rave reviews from guests.
Hula Girl cruises offer a la carte Chef-made items.

It is difficult to determine the “best” sunset dinner cruise on Maui based on reviews, as different people may have different preferences and expectations. That being said, several sunset dinner cruises on Maui have received positive reviews from past customers, including the Alii Nui Dinner Sail, the Hula Girl cruises (they have great food), and the Pacific Whale Foundation Dinner Cruise.

Hula Girl is the only Maui Dinner Cruise where you pay for food and drinks on board. Because of this, the “admission” price is less than most Luxury Cruises. Despite the extra food costs, guests recommend and rave about the entrees on board, as the food is prepared by a Gourmet Chef and items are reasonably priced.

Before you choose your cruise, peruse reviews (ha) on aggregators like TripAdvisor or Yelp, and compare the different options to find the sunset dinner cruise that best meets your needs and preferences. If you’re having trouble narrowing it down, some considerations when choosing a sunset dinner cruise may include the price, if the sailing is adult only, how accessible the vessel, the type of vessel, the amenities and activities offered, and the duration of the cruise.

It is also a good idea to check with the specific cruise company to ask any questions about cruise before booking.

Cultural dinner cruises from Maui

These cruises often include a focus on Hawaiian culture, with activities such as hula dancing, cultural demonstrations, and traditional Hawaiian music.

Pride of Maui, Maui's only luau on the water
Pride of Maui dinner cruise, Maui’s only luau on the water

Most dinner cruises will incorporate aspects of Hawaiian culture into their program and food offerings, and a few offer specific cultural events like luaus or hula dancing. For example, the Pride of Maui catamaran offers a well-reviewed sunset cruise near the Molokini crater, which includes open bar, a “generous buffet featuring barbecued ribs, honey-glazed chicken, stir fried vegetables, and more. Watch the sun set, take in a live hula show and if you’re lucky, you may even see humpback whales during mating season.”

Multi-day cruises on larger cruise ships from Maui

If you are looking for a longer cruise around the Hawaiian Islands, luxury liners depart Kahului and offer vacations spanning several days.

The Pride of America by Norwegian Cruise Line offers a 7-day cruise around the stunning Hawaiian Islands. Guests get to visit four different islands including Maui, Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island of Hawaii. On board the ship, there are a variety of activities, including live music, karaoke, and a nightclub. There are also a wide range of dining options to choose from. Reviews of the Pride of America are generally positive, with many praising the quality of the food and the friendly staff.

Atlantis Adventures Atlantis Adventures offers a variety of different cruises around the Hawaiian Islands, including a Maui cruise. This cruise takes passengers on a journey to some of the most beautiful and breathtaking sites in Maui, including Molokini Crater, the Pailolo Channel, and the Hulopo’e Bay Marine Reserve. The crew on board the boat are friendly and informative and the scenery and wildlife is said to be stunning. Reviews of the cruise are generally positive, with many praising the crew, the views, and the quality of the food.

Star of Honolulu Star of Honolulu offers a luxurious cruise around the Hawaiian Islands, including Maui. The cruise visits some of the most beautiful sites in the area, including Lahaina Harbor, Molokini Crater, and the Hana Coast. On board the ship, there are a variety of activities, including live music, a dance floor, and a casino. Reviews of the cruise are generally positive, with many praising the quality of the food, the friendly staff, and the stunning views.

Type of food served on Maui cruises

Maui dinner cruises typically offer a wide variety of delicious meals and snacks, from traditional Hawaiian favorites to international cuisine, often buffet-style.

Pride of Maui cruise buffet
Pride of Maui buffet

Sample menus may include fresh island fish, tender steak, succulent seafood, savory pastas, and vegetarian options.

Appetizers, salads and desserts are also usually included.

Drinks, including beer and wine, are often available for purchase separately.

Hula Girl cruises cost of admission do not include food, however they do offer a la carte items that rival or surpass mainland restaurant offerings.

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If your top concern is the food, then hands-down Hula Girl is the best option for a dinner cruise. The food is outstanding; think of it as a floating restaurant a la carte. You order from a menu and pay by item, so the cruise cost is just to gain entrance on the boat. Service is excellent also and the boat is much nicer than the others. You get what you pay for, as it were.

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What to wear to a dinner cruise

The dress code for dinner cruises on Maui can vary depending on the specific cruise and the type of atmosphere, but in general, smart casual attire is usually appropriate. Think of items such as slacks and collared shirts. You may want to skip wearing a dress as sailing can be a windy experience. It is usually not necessary to wear formal attire such as evening gowns or tuxedos, unless the cruise is specifically advertised as a formal event, and will be inside the ship.

Consider the weather and the type of vessel that the cruise will be conducted on. Some dinner cruises may take place on an open-air catamaran, while others may be conducted on a larger vessel with indoor seating. If the cruise will be conducted on an open-air vessel or if the weather is expected to be cooler or at night for a star-gazing cruise, it may be a good idea to bring a jacket or sweater. Layer-up.

As always, if you have specific needs, check with the specific cruise company for more information on the dress code and any other recommendations or requirements.

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