Cruises to Maui

568 Reviews
Maui (Photo:Artazum/Shutterstock)

About Cruising to Maui

Known the world over as a "trip of a lifetime" destination, sailing to the Hawaiian Islands were settled by the Polynesians more than 1,000 years ago and were "discovered" by explorer Capt. James Cook in 1778. In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th U.S. state, and to this day, it retains a sort-of-outsider status. Hawaii clings to its rich history while accepting newcomers and absorbing their unique traditions. Every Hawaiian island is imbued with a friendly "aloha" spirit, and most travelers fall in love with the destination the moment orchid leis are draped over their shoulders upon arrival.

Maui, the second-largest island of the archipelago, typifies all that is magical about the Sandwich Islands (as Capt. Cook first called the island chain). It's also referred to as the Valley Isle because a verdant, low-lying isthmus connects the two halves of the island. From the air, Maui looks like a butterfly with the 10,000-foot Haleakala volcano on one wing, Pu'u Kukui and the West Maui mountains on the other and the valley in the middle. You'll revel at the stark contrast between the stunning variety of flowering tropical plants and cascading waterfalls and the lunar-like landscape of Haleakala and Maui's other mountain peaks.

With more than 120 miles of coastline, Maui has dozens of beaches for you to discover. Some will be easily accessible, while others will take a bit of elbow grease -- in other words, pull on your hiking boots, or hop in a sea kayak. The ocean is teeming with wildlife and welcomes a large humpback whale population each winter. Maui is also one of the only places on Earth where you can still encounter the endangered Hawaiian monk seal.

While more rain falls on the windward sides of the island (north and east, i.e. Paia and Hana) than the leeward (south and west, Wailea and Lahaina), the temperature is just about always an ideal 85 degrees.

Maui offers a multitude of attractions, but there's one additional reason to visit -- the island's people. With a population of just fewer than 160,000, the community is small enough to retain strong, historic ties but is large enough to create the right type of infrastructure to eagerly welcome tourists from around the world. The Hawaiian people will embrace you with friendship and goodwill -- again, that "spirit of aloha" -- and will make you feel right at home.

  • More about Maui

  • Why Cruise to Maui?

  • Maui Cruise Port Facilities?

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Grand Princess
Grand Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)

16 Night
Hawaii Cruise

1,605 Reviews
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Grand Princess
Grand Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)

33 Night
South Pacific Cruise

1,605 Reviews
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Norwegian Sun
Norwegian Sun

14 Night
South Pacific

2,171 Reviews
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16 Night
Hawaii Cruise

1,976 Reviews
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Nachi Cocom Beach Club

Cruise Critic Favorite

32 Night
South Pacific Cruise

1,021 Reviews
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33 Night
Transpacific Cruise

1,781 Reviews
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17 Night
Circle Hawaii

560 Reviews
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35 Night
Hawaii Tahiti & Marquesas

872 Reviews
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7 Night
Hawaii Hnl Inter Island

2,367 Reviews
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31 Night
Transpacific Cruise

2,242 Reviews
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7 Night
Hawaii Cruise

2,367 Reviews
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54 Night
Australia Cruise

1,229 Reviews
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16 Night
Hawaii Cruise

1,976 Reviews
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Cruise Critic Favorite

32 Night
Transpacific Cruise

1,032 Reviews
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16 Night
Hawaii Cruise

1,976 Reviews
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More about Maui

Why Cruise to Maui?

Pros:

Maui's friendly locals and vast, picturesque coastline embody everything a Hawaiian vacation is expected to be

Cons:

As per its reputation, Hawaii can be quite expensive, so you'll want to save up for the trip

Bottom Line:

Hawaiian vacations are considered once-in-a-lifetime for a reason: The experience is like no other

Maui Cruise Port Facilities?

Kahului Harbor is an industrial terminal, and the city is not a touristy one. A circuitous pedestrian path takes you out of the port, where you can walk across the street to Maui Mall, which houses a Whole Foods, Long's Drugs, movie theater and other shops. With a little scrambling, you can also hoof it to the beach near the port that you can see from the ship (just be careful where you swim because sharks are near).

If you anchor off Lahaina, you'll tender to a pier right in front of Pioneer Inn, one of the oldest accommodations in Maui. From there, you can begin exploring Front Street -- a hub for shops, restaurants and activities/tour providers -- on foot. Call a taxi, rent a car or take a tour if you wish to explore other parts of the island.

Good to Know?

Maui is a very safe place to vacation, and violent crime is rare. However, car break-ins occur regularly. Do not leave anything in your vehicle, especially cameras, shopping bags or other easy-to-grab items.

Getting Around?

Maui offers little in the way of public transportation, and while you may call for a cab, it's not an effective way to tour the island. It's best to rent a car to see the island's most visited attractions; try Discount Hawaii Car Rental for the best rates.

If docking at Kahului, take a complimentary car rental shuttle bus to nearby Kahului Airport (about a five-minute ride) to rent a vehicle from Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National or Thrifty. If your cruise ship overnights there and you'd like to keep your car, there's free parking right across from the tour bus pickup area outside the terminal, but it's small and will be filled up if you get back late. Other options include airport parking for a fee or leaving your car in the Maui Mall parking lot overnight.

Your cruise ship may also offer a shuttle (for a fee) to and from Lahaina (look for tours called "Lahaina on Your Own"), which is convenient if you only want to stay in that area. Free shuttles to the Queen Ka'ahumanu Center (with typical mall stores, free Wi-Fi and a kids' play area) depart from the port; from there, you can catch the Maui Bus to select destinations, including Wailea, Kihei, Lahaina and Paia.

If you plan to rent a car in the Lahaina area, make reservations at one of the agencies at Kapalua's West Maui Airport (JHM) and not the Kahului International Airport (OGG) on the other side of the island. (There's also an Enterprise outlet at the Sheraton on Kaanapali Beach.) Some companies will send a shuttle to the pier for pickups; others require you to take a cab to their office. The Maui Bus also offers service from Lahaina to Kaanapali.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

A variety of bank branches and standalone ATMs are located near both cruise ports: Kahului and Lahaina. In Lahaina, there's a Bank of Hawaii ATM at the Wharf Cinema Center (also public toilets); in Kahului, try the Maui Mall or Long's Drugs. Most banks handle foreign-currency exchanges.

Language?

Everyone speaks English there, but it is fun to learn a few Hawaiian words. "Aloha" can mean many things, but you'll use it most often to denote "hello" and "goodbye," while "mahalo" means "thank you."

Where You're Docked?

Depending on your itinerary, you'll either dock at Kahului Harbor in north Maui or anchor off Lahaina on the island's west side.


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