Maui Dinner Cruises + VIDEO

A decade ago, dining on Maui’s tour boats meant chowing down on some pretty plain eats: processed ham and turkey sandwiches with American cheese; a side platter of lettuce, tomatoes and pasta salad, and a bag of chips. It quelled the hunger, but it lacked culinary creativity. Today’s catering chefs have upped the ante, offering signature plated and buffet fare. Add the occasional sighting of a whale’s tail or two during whale season, and you’ve got an unforgettable dinner show.


Story by Becky Speere | Photography by Mieko Horikoshi

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Teralani Sailing Adventures | Pacific Whale Foundation | Kai Kanani Sailing Tours | Four Winds II


Teralani Sailing Adventures

The late-afternoon sun hovers in the sky as we launch from Dig Me Beach, on the ocean side of Whalers Village in Kā‘anapali. Photographer Mieko Horikoshi and I are hungry—and happy to know that award-winning chef Paris Nabavi, owner of Pizza Paradiso, double duties by catering Teralani’s lunch and sunset dinner cruises. Soon after Captain Mark Flatt runs through the safety drill, mate Danielle Schmidt opens the bar, serving mai tais, beers on tap, champagne and wine. Guests from Georgia to Washington State queue for ice-cold libations, fresh tortilla chips, tomato salsa, and crudités with dip, as West Maui’s serrated coastline comes into view.

Suddenly a humpback whale breaks the ocean’s surface with her fifteen-foot-long pectoral fin, slaps the water . . . and just as quickly, she is gone.

Dani interrupts our delighted exclamations to announce that dinner is ready. I select the Meiomi wine, which pairs nicely with the buffet’s offerings: crisp Caesar salad and grilled ono (wahoo) napped in creamy pesto and garnished with sweet, sun-dried tomatoes; and Nabavi’s famous chipotle-citrus rotisserie chicken, ratatouille, and a delicate saffron-scented rice pilaf tossed with spinach and leeks. Dense, bite-sized chocolate brownies with a mixed-berry compote end the meal on a sweet note. And for no extra fee, the sun disappears into a delicious golden sunset over Lāna‘i. Adults $96, 13–20 $85.59, 3–12 $74.55, 2 & under $63.51, plus tax & gratuity. 661-SAIL (7245),



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