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.

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

 

Kai Kanani Sailing Tours Maui

As one of four cruises offered throughout the day, the Kai Kanani sunrise trip appeals to the early riser in me. I’m thinking about a cup of hot Maui coffee as I wade knee-deep into the cool water at six fifteen to climb onboard. A catered breakfast by award-winning chef Chris Kulis and wife Tarah Kulis of The Market Maui promises to be a culinary delight on par with our cruise to snorkeling hotspots Molokini Islet and “Turtle Town” on Maui’s southern shore. As the spacious catamaran slices through the surf, Kai Nani’s owners, Maria and David Taylor, and their friendly crew offer guests coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. We fill our plates from a buffet of fresh papaya, Maui pineapple, melons and warm and tender cinnamon rolls. Fifteen minutes later, we are the first boat to arrive at Molokini, the rim of a submerged volcano. We circle the islet and take in the beauty of the red striated crater wall as the boat’s certified marine naturalists describe the sea creatures below. Then the wind gains momentum and Captain Dan Ryan detours to Keone‘ō‘io, better known as La Pérouse Bay. In the galley, mate Mallory Aquine sets up the second buffet course: crunchy Market granola, yogurt and honey alongside sliced strawberries; healthy, honey-wheat bran and poppy-seed muffins, breads, and more hot coffee to take the morning’s chill off. Soon we cruise over to Turtle Town, where Mallory unveils our third course: veggie frittatas with flour tortillas, and condiments like cheese, sour cream and pico de gallo salsa. A generous stack of ham-and-cheddar sandwiches on house-made rolls also tempts our palates. It’s only nine in the morning and I’ve already eaten three times! As we sip mimosas, sailing past Maui’s “Gold Coast,” I comment to Mieko that I won’t have to eat for the rest of the day. Adults $185, children $150, plus tax & gratuity. 879-7218, KaiKanani.com

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