Adventure Cruises in Maui
Maui adventure cruises focus on the underwater world, with top-notch snorkeling and an opportunity to get up close and personal with large marine mammals like whales and dolphins. The island is also home to 7 species of marine turtles, and sightings are common all year round.
Adventure cruises to Maui also include a bit of time in Lahaina, Maui's most historical and cultural city. This charming seaside destination boasts beautiful beaches, fantastic shopping, and outdoor attractions galore.
Top Things to Do in Maui
Maui adventure cruises tour the island's scenic west coast, famous for fantastic snorkeling and wildlife encounters. Plan to spend nearly all of your time on or in the water here, exploring some of the Hawaiian archipelago's most beautiful beaches and coral reefs.
Visit the Humpback National Marine Sanctuary
Each year, between December and April, the waters between Lana'i, Molokai, and Maui come alive with migrating marine mammals. During these months, endangered North Pacific humpback whales come here to give birth to and nurse their calves and mate before moving on to feed.
Humpbacks are clearly the stars of the show here, putting on dramatic performances with breaching, tail slapping, and spy hopping. But they aren't the only residents. Whale-watching tours also encounter sea turtles, pods of dolphins, giant manta rays, and endangered Hawaiian monk seals.
Take a Seaside Stroll in Lahaina
Between adventure activities, small ship cruises offer time to explore the town of Lahaina. This idyllic oceanside city was once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the center of the whaling boom, with thousands of sailors taking their leave on its shores.
Today, Lahaina is famous for its lovely seaside promenade, Front Street. This walkway is home to dozens of art galleries, shopping venues, and fantastic options for dining and drinking. Lahaina is also home to well-preserved historic landmarks and outdoor attractions, including beautiful beaches and one of the country's largest Banyan trees.
Snorkel With Hundreds of Colorful Fish Species
Maui's western coast boasts a series of sheltered coves and crescent-shaped bays, ideal for swimming and snorkeling. These waters are home to roughly a thousand different fish species, colorful coral gardens and fascinating submerged rock formations. Maui cruise itineraries stop at either Kaanapali or Kapalua, depending on their other planned excursions.
In addition to fish, you're likely to spot a few larger species in this region, including green and hawksbill sea turtles. Sightings are common all year long, with nearly guaranteed encounters between May and October during the nesting and hatching season.
Explore Western Maui's Most Beautiful Beaches
If you're up for beachcombing, sunbathing, or just wandering an endless stretch of golden sand, a Maui cruise won't disappoint. Some of the island's loveliest beaches are easily accessible from Lahaina, with calm, clear water, swaying palm trees, and unforgettable sunset views.
For a different beach experience, head south to Black Rock for cliff diving or north to Honolua Bay Beach for one of the archipelago's best surf breaks. Maui's waves peak from November to April, with some areas best left to experienced surfers.
Top Tips for Visiting Maui
Be sure to bring a bit of extra cash for shopping in Lahaina. Front Street is one of the best places in Hawaii to pick up locally produced art and handicrafts, with countless galleries and artisan collectives to choose from.
Don't forget to pack a pair of binoculars and a high-quality camera for your time in the Humpback National Marine Sanctuary. This is one of the best places in the world for whale watching and a major highlight on Maui cruises!
Best time to cruise Maui
The weather around Maui fluctuates more than elsewhere in Hawaii, with daily temperatures ranging from the low 60s to the upper 80s. This island also sees more rainfall, with a peak in precipitation during December and January.
Many visitors prefer to cruise Maui between April and May or September and November, the shoulder seasons between peak tourist periods. These months offer lower prices and fewer tourists but aren't necessarily ideal for small ship cruises. The best time to visit Maui for whale watching is between December and April, and surfing also peaks during the winter months.
Where do Maui cruises depart from?
The Kahului cruise terminal is Maui's largest seaport, but many adventure cruises skip the area altogether, opting for the smaller anchorage in Lahaina. This town offers close access to many of the island's top attractions and an escape from the tourist crowds associated with larger cruise ships.
Most Maui cruises start and end elsewhere in the archipelago, with itineraries between Big Island and Molokai. So, be sure to plan your travel accordingly!
Maui is home to multiple airports, though few direct flights to the mainland exist. Whether you fly through Kapalua, Kahului, or one of the island's eastern airports, you should plan for domestic travel, connecting through Kamuela, Honolulu, Kailua, or Kaunakakai.