NCL Debuts New Luau on Kauai

June 14, 2007
If you've packed your grass skirt for NCL's well-known luau in Maui, you'll have to hold onto it for another stop, as their production has recently been moved to the Kilohana Plantation on the island of Kauai. So ... why did NCL make the switch? Now that the luau is on Kauai, passengers won't miss Maui's many late afternoon and evening shore excursions.

The move inspired the cruise line to create a more elaborate production than its predecessor. Whereas the Pacific Paradise Luau offered in Maui only featured a dinner and a show, this new production on Kauai's Kilohana Plantation -- Luau Kalamaku -- includes so much more. Even the accommodations are larger: NCL expanded Kilohana Plantation's 5,000-square-ft. carriage house to 20,000 square ft. in order to accommodate up to 1,000 of NCL's passengers. The renovation encompasses a brand-new pavilion, a state-of-the-art lighting and sound system, a new stage, five satellite stages, arts and crafts houses, and a new imu pit (underground oven for the roasted pig).

The 4.5-hour luau, which costs $95 per person ($65 for kids 12 and under), includes:

Hawaiian games, such as 'ulu maika (rolling stone disks), moa pahe'e-dart sliding, pala'ie-loop and ball game, and konane (Hawaiian checkers)

Arts and crafts lessons, like learning lauhala or coconut frond weaving and handmade tapa items

A hula show

Traditional Hawaiian dishes including lomi lomi salmon, poi, taro bread and kalua pig provided by the island's Gaylord's Restaurant. Gaylord's is a historic home-turned-restaurant that serves unique breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes (they even grow their own herbs and veggies in the Kilohana gardens for their meals).

Theatrical production called Luau Kalamaku featuring an all-Kauai cast; it portrays a family's journey from Tahiti to Kauai.

Train ride on Kauai Plantation Railway or a vintage Clydesdale carriage ride through the plantation's 35-acre estate

The line's new luau premiered on April 5 and will continue on Monday, Thursday and Saturday evenings for NCL's passengers on Pride of America, Pride of Aloha and Pride of Hawaii (that is, until Pride of Hawaii becomes Norwegian Jade and sails through Europe next year). So far, reviews of the luau as a whole have been mixed. Cruise Critic member mdandrh preferred the luau's show over the food and drinks: "The show, which we were told was the first performance of a new edition, was excellent, and we wished that we had seats closer to the center stage."

Member jamespb78 says, "Make sure you book the Luau Kalamaku even if you have been to a luau before. It is by far the absolute best luau offered in Hawaii."

Have you been to the new luau? Tell us about it here.

--by Erica Sapio, Assistant Editor