Lahaina Cruise Ship Port
When cruise ships stop in Lahaina on the island of Maui in Hawaii the ship anchors a short distance from shore and drops its tenders to bring passengers to shore. The ship’s tenders are the lifeboats that are a bit taller than the others. They have double hulls and 2 propellers instead of a v-shaped bottom with just one propeller like rest of the lifeboats.
Royal Caribbean‘s Explorer of the Seas has tender docks that open out of the side of the ship. The tenders tie up to these docks for passengers to board. One of them was located just under our window. It was about half an hour after the time listed before people with excursions started to board from that dock, but if they boarded on time from the one closer to the stern we wouldn’t have seen them. The announcement that tenders were open for the rest of the passengers came an hour ahead of the approximate expected time.
We had a sail and snorkel excursion with Trilogy that took most of our time in port, but after the early tender announcement we went right to the tenders in hopes of beating any possible line that might build up. We got right on a waiting tender and made it to shore with a bit of time to look around. The tenders come in on the same dock as ferries to the island of Lanai, and the Trilogy catamaran left from the same dock as well.
People can always book excursions through the ship or set things up in advance on their own as we did with Trilogy – who also had excursions available through the ship that lasted about a couple hours rather than all day like ours. The booth to get tickets for the Expeditions ferry to Lanai sits right next to the tender pier. If you take the ferry to Lanai, the Expeditions ferry people can arrange tour packages for golf, horseback riding, ATV tours, archery or clay skeet shooting, or a jeep rental. If you go to Lanai without prior plans there’s just a small store and some restrooms at the ferry landing, but it’s a short walk to a nice beach.
You don’t need to take the ferry to Lanai to find something to do though. There’s more options if you stay in Lahaina. There’s a variety of things available right near the pier for anyone who did not pre-arrange an excursion. Along Lahaina’s waterfront by the tender pier all sorts of booths offer everything from parasailing to fishing. Other booths offer things like semi-sub or submarine rides, snorkel trips, or when in season whale watching. Some also offered things like helicopter rides or biking down a mountain. All at reasonable prices so anyone wandering down the waterfront looking for something to do has plenty of choices.
About a block from shore there’s lots of shops. Most are geared toward tourists with things like souvenirs or food.
We saw a few signs near the stores offering lots of things to do.
Just off the waterfront there’s a park that looks like a small forest with lots of trees. It is actually all one banyan tree with many trunks and interconnecting branches.
You can walk under the tree between its many trunks.
We found a small bit of ruins of an old fort near the banyan tree.
There’s another small park-like area across the pathway from all the little booths. It has a restroom, some old cannons, and a picnic area. Whether or not you plan ahead for a port stop in Lahaina it’s not hard to find something to do.
Maui Shore Excursions
Excursions offered through our ship in Maui included sightseeing tours to places like plantations or a volcanic crater. Things to do included golfing, a waterfall hike, Atlantis submarine, snorkeling or sailing while spotting for dolphins, and a helicopter tour.