Since I live in Hawaii I was very excited that American Safari Cruises was adding a Hawaiian itinerary to their unique yacht adventures. My friend was visiting from Vancouver and since we both love being on the water we decided to take this cruise, our first small-ship experience. We absolutely loved it!
We flew from Honolulu to Kona and were met at the airport by a representative from American Safari Cruises and taken to the Courtyard King Kamehameha Hotel in Kailua-Kona. There they had a large meeting room available for us to store our luggage as we had a few hours to wander around the town and have lunch. At 4pm we were all taken by bus to where the Safari Explorer was docked, about a 40 minute drive. We were greeted by a very friendly crew and escorted to our stateroom on the B deck. Since we were 2 women traveling together, we had requested a room with 2 twin beds. They were a little narrower than a regular twin bed but worked out fine. We unpacked and headed down to the bar for drinks and pupus. At first we were surprised at the age of our fellow passengers which averaged about 60 yrs old. The youngest guest was 45 and the oldest was 80. This being the last cruise of the season (the Safari Explorer is now on its way to Seattle for the Alaska season, but will be back at the end of October), we only had 23 guests and 13 crew. By the end of the week we felt like family!
We were up early every morning around 6:30 and enjoyed coffee and fruit on the deck, followed by yoga at 7am then full breakfast around 8:30am. The first 2 days we spent on the waters off the Kona coast which was amazing. We saw pilot whales, kayaked with dolphins, snorkelled, explored caves and inlets, and did a night snorkel with manta rays. Then we crossed over to Lanai (this was an overnight crossing and was very choppy but luckily we did not get seasick) where we had some fun water play time using the paddleboards, sailboat, kayaks, and snorkel gear. In the afternoon the skiffs took us over to Lanai city for some sightseeing. On Monday we had an amazing snorkelling experience with sea turtles off Maui, then after lunch we docked at Lahaina and went paddling on an outrigger canoe. The last 2 days were spent on Molokai for some more cultural experiences. Activities included visiting a plumeria farm and making leis, macadamia nut farm, some beach time (with an amazing lunch) and a trip to the Kalapaupa lookout. A few of the guests opted to take the mule ride to Kalapaupa that day for a tour of the settlement. Our last day we drove about an hour to Halawa Valley which was gorgeous. About half of our group then hiked to a waterfall where we had lunch.
If you'd like to see my photos I have them posted at https://picasaweb.google.com/vivianthornhill/SafariExplorerCruise?authuser=0&feat=directlink