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Cruise Diva Goes Ashore in Hawaii
Sights to see & things to do


Roughly translated, "Maui no ka oi" means Maui is the BEST. You'll hear this local phrase and soon find yourself nodding in agreement. Maui has some of Hawaii's most stunning scenery, beautiful palm-fringed beaches, and friendliest residents. Known as the 'Valley Isle,' Maui was created by two now-dormant volcanoes and is the namesake of the demigod Maui.


Cruise ships either dock at Kahului or anchor off Lahaina. Passengers stepping ashore or tendering in are met by excursion buses and vans. Automobile rentals are also available and independent tours can be arranged in advance. Maui is generally thought of in terms of regions—East, West, South, Central, and Upcountry.

East Maui & Upcountry

Two favorite island rituals can only be accomplished if your ship overnights here—viewing the sunrise at Haleakala and driving the infamous the Road to Hana. Set off during the dead of night to the summit of Haleakala (where legend says Maui lassoed the sun to dry his mother's tapa cloths) to see the sun rise through the clouds in a spectacular burst of gold. Coming back down the volcano you'll pass through an area so reminiscent of the surface of the moon that astronauts have trained there.

Heading for Hana also means rising early to beat the traffic on a narrow winding road that contains over 600 curves and fifty one-lane bridges. Aside from the other motorists, which includes not only tourists but tractor-trailer trucks as well, the 52-mile drive through tangled rainforest itself is breathtaking with waterfalls and calm pools dotting the roadside. "Heavenly" Hana is a peaceful oasis exemplifying the aloha spirit of old Hawaii. Don't linger too long as you'll want to be off the road before nightfall and the drive can take three hours in each direction.

If you don't have the time for exploring Haleakala and Hana by car, helicopter sightseeing excursions that provide a glimpse of them are available.

Central Maui

The Iao Valley State Park contains one of Maui's most unusual sights, the Iao Needle rock formation. Nearby in Wailuku is the Bailey House Museum, containing artifacts and objects of Hawaiiana on the main floor and rooms decorated in the missionary-era style upstairs. Also on the grounds is a building housing Duke Kahanamoku's redwood surfboard.

West Maui

Nestled at the base of the West Maui mountains, Lahaina retains very little of her earlier days as an important whaling seaport. Even less remains from pre-nineteenth century times when the alii, or island chiefs, made the area their playground and King Kamehameha established Lahaina as the capital of a unified Hawaii in 1802. When the entire town was named a National Historic Landmark in the 1960's, interest in restoration began to take hold. Baldwin House Museum, Lahaina's oldest dwelling, appears much as it did in missionary days when its owner served as the area's physician. Next door, the Master's Reading Room is the oldest building on Maui and houses the Lahaina Restoration Foundation but is not open to the public.

The historic banyan tree that dominates Courthouse Square was planted as an eight-foot  sapling in 1847 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the arrival of missionaries. The huge banyan now covers more than two-thirds of an acre and is nearly impossible to photograph without a very wide angle or panorama lens.

In its heyday as a whaling center, Lahaina was host to hundreds of ships similar to the restored Carthaginian II, an authentic replica of a nineteenth-century square-rigger. Compare the floating museum's living quarters to modern day cruise ship cabins to see how far ship design has come. For more whaling lore, the Lahaina Whaling Museum exhibits relics from that period.

Take the Lahaina-Kaanapali Railroad, or sugar cane train north from Lahaina to Kaanapali, Hawaii's first planned resort community. There, a life-size metal sculpture of a mother whale and two baby whales and the skeleton of a 40-foot sperm whale greet visitors to Whaler's Village. On the second floor of the shopping mall is the Whale Center of the Pacific with exhibits containing whaling tools, harpoons, and artifacts detailing the whalers' lives at sea. Some of the world's finest examples of Pacific scrimshaw are found here.


Maui is an art lover's paradise and dozens of galleries and gift shops all over the island display the work of local artists. Particularly prized are delicate Niihau shell jewelry.  

Kahului has two main shopping malls, Kaahumanu Center and Maui Mall, where the mix of stores runs the gamut from food to arts and crafts.  

Lahaina Cannery Mall is located in what once was a pineapple cannery and, if you can't find what you're looking for along downtown Front Street, you'll surely find it there or at Lahaina Center.

Whaler's Village in Kaanapali has gone upscale and high fashion. If Prada and Ferragamo aren't on your shopping list, just stop for a locally made Maui ice cream cone after you admire the whale skeleton. 


Golden sand beaches are seldom far from sight along West and South Maui.  Don't worry about the imposing luxury resorts that line the most spectacular beachesall beaches are open to the public and SHORELINE ACCESS signs point the way. For swimming and snorkeling, Kaanapali and Kapalua Beaches are havens of calm crystal clear water inhabited by thousands of colorful tropical fish. The best snorkeling is around Kaanapali's Black Rock where vendors rent snorkels and boogie boards. Take along some frozen peas and you'll be the center of a fish feeding frenzy.  

A favorite beach along the sunny South Maui shore is at Wailea where the waves are a bit more active and Pacific humpback whales can be spotted in season (December through April). Snorkeling here is limited.

Windsurfers head straight for world famous Hookipa Beach just off the Hana Highway near Paia to take advantage of the nearly constant perfect wind and wave conditions. The wind and surf make is less than ideal for swimming and exploring the reef except during periods when the waves are flat. he beach park has full facilities and is the ideal spot to watch the daredevils taking on the wind and sea.

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