From the deck of the Hawaii Superferry,
clients have unobstructed views of the islands.
After a three-month hiatus, the controversial Hawaii Superferry
resumes service between Oahu and Maui on Dec. 13, while Oahu-Kauai
trips remain on hold. The 350-foot high-speed interisland vessel
made its debut in late August, but stopped two days later in
response to protests that the state hadn’t required an
environmental impact study for the service. Governor Linda Lingle
called a special session of the Hawaii Legislature to address the
situation, and in November she signed a law enabling the Superferry
to operate while environmental studies are conducted.
“Hawaii Superferry believes that the operating conditions
outlined by the governor are reasonable and fair under the current
circumstances,” said Hawaii Superferry president John Garibaldi.
“We appreciate the support we’ve received from everyone who shares
the vision of uniting our islands and families by sea. We look
forward to a new beginning as we start our voyages between Oahu and
Maui, a new choice for interisland travel.”
Meanwhile, at press time, Superferry officials had set no date
for the resumption of Oahu-Kauai service. When the ship first
sailed to the Garden Island, protesters concerned about its impact
on the environment blocked its way into Nawiliwili Harbor, forcing
it to return to Oahu.
“We have already begun community outreach efforts on Kauai,”
Garibaldi said. “We are proceeding cautiously, and the
conversations we’ve had have been productive. We will make our
decision about when we commence our Kauai service once that process
For clients from the mainland, officials are promoting the
Superferry as a “uniquely enjoyable and practical mode of
transportation,” allowing visitors to see more than one island at
“Hawaii Superferry is more than just an alternative way to get
from one island to the next,” said Garibaldi. “This new service
offers travelers an opportunity to view the Hawaiian Islands from a
whole new perspective the sea. Clients can drive aboard in a rental
car, with all of their belongings in the trunk. Once on the ship,
they are free to roam, relax in the lounges, eat, drink and talk
story. Upon arrival, passengers drive off, without having to touch
their baggage or hustle for ground transportation.”
Dubbed the Alakai (Hawaiian for Ocean Path), the 866-passenger
ferry boasts a catamaran-style design with a smooth, stable ride in
Hawaii’s ocean conditions. Inside, clients have three dining
options, with menu items ranging from Kona coffee to Asian pupus
along with a mix of sandwiches, salads, soups and entrees. Seating
varies from restaurant-type tables to reclining airplane-style
chairs and tables surrounded by leather sofas. The Manta Cove play
area entertains children, video games await teens and complimentary
newspapers and board games are on hand for all travelers.
The passenger deck provides clients with unobstructed views
through floor-to-ceiling windows and Low-E glass allows light in
while moderating heat, keeping passengers cool and shielding them
from UV rays.
The Alakai’s three main sections are equipped with flat-screen
televisions offering safety videos, entertainment, movies and more.
In addition, clients can rent a DigEplayer and watching the shows
of their choice. For an extra fee, clients can upgrade their ticket
for access to the Hahalua Lounge, where they get a complimentary
welcome-aboard drink, snack and coffee. An onboard gift shop called
the Calabash Store carries Hawaii-made products, magazines,
coloring books, logo-wear, sundries and other merchandise.
Plans call for a second Superferry to enter the market in 2009,
resulting in a second daily Oahu-Maui roundtrip and service between
Hawaii’s Big Island and Oahu.
The interisland ferry, Alakai, is currently offering one daily
roundtrip voyage between Oahu and Maui leaving Honolulu at 6:30
a.m. and arriving in Kahului at 10:15 a.m. For the reverse route,
the vessel departs Kahului at 11:15 a.m. and arrives in Honolulu at
To encourage ridership, Hawaii Superferry is promoting an
introductory one-way fare of $29 per person for all voyages between
Oahu and Maui through Dec. 20. From Dec. 21-March 12, the one-way
rate goes up to $39. Children ages two and younger ride free
through March 12. The inaugural fares are available only on advance
purchases. Clients transporting a vehicle on the Superferry through
March 12 get a break on the rate as well, with cars priced at $55
each way and motorcycles, scooters and mopeds at $35.
Hawaii Superferry has wholesale agreements with All About Travel
and Panda Travel. Additional travel agent incentives will be
announced in the near future.