Humpback whales are making their way back to the Hawaiian Islands,
and hotels are offering new room-and-cruise packages to encourage
guests to see them up close.
Hawaii whale-watching cruises are generally offered from
mid-December through mid-April, but last year’s first whale of the
season was spotted on Oct. 30.
“The warm waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands constitute one
of the world’s most important humpback-whale habitats,” said Naomi
McIntosh, acting director for the National Marine Sanctuary for
Humpback Whales. “Two-thirds of the entire North Pacific humpback
whale population roughly 5,000 of the 7,000 migrate to Hawaii each
Hawaii is the only state in the United States where humpbacks
mate, calve and nurse their young, she said.
On The Big Island, Outrigger Waikoloa Beach Resort’s Celebration
of Whales runs Nov. 1 to April 15. With every stay of four nights
or more, one guest per room gets a free whale-watching cruise.
Additional cruise tickets cost $59 per adult and $39 per child.
From Dec. 16 to April 15, Outrigger Waikoloa guests are guaranteed
a whale sighting or they can return the next day for a
complimentary cruise. The catamaran launches from the beach
fronting the Outrigger.
On a whale-watch cruise, clients can see the giant creatures
slapping their tails, blowing their spouts and leaping out of the
“Hawaiian humpbacks are charismatic mammals,” said Peter Thoene,
Outrigger Waikoloa Beach sales and marketing director.
“Our goal is to provide our guests with an authentic Hawaiian
experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Whale watching does just that.”
Other Celebration of Whales activities planned at the 545-room
Outrigger Waikoloa include exhibits, lectures and observation and
listening stations. Call 800-688-7444.
Maui, one of the state’s most popular islands for viewing
humpbacks, has a number of hotel room-and-cruise packages for whale
The 430-room Kaanapali Beach Hotel is promoting its Kaanapali
Whale Encounter, priced at $1,475 per couple. The package includes
five nights in a partial oceanview room, a compact rental car and a
whale-watching cruise for two people with Trilogy Excursions. Two
guests also receive daily buffet breakfast, tickets to the “Black
Rock Illusions” dinner show, admission to the nearby Maui Ocean
Center and a logo amenity (a lunch bag, a tropical fruit juice and
a disposable camera). Call 800-262-8450.
Sheraton Maui’s three-night Wild About Whales package costs $736
per person. Guests receive deluxe oceanfront accommodations,
stuffed whales and a two-hour whale-watching cruise. Excursions
take place aboard the 53-foot Teralani catamaran, which makes its
home in waters fronting the 510-room Sheraton. The package is valid
on stays from Dec. 15 to March 15. Call 800-782-9488 and ask for
rate code WHALE.
The 191-room Kapalua Bay Hotel & Ocean Villas offers whale
watching as one of its free activity options for guests booking the
Maui Experience package. Clients get one daily activity per person,
per night, stay. Along with seasonal whale watching, activity
options include a snorkel/kayaking excursion, a scuba-diving
adventure, a gourmet sunset sail, a surfing lesson, golf, tennis,
horseback riding, jet skiing, parasailing, a massage, a pineapple
plantation tour, tickets to the Ulalena show or a luau
Good for visits from Jan. 1 to Dec. 21, 2003, the package comes
with a two-night minimum stay. Rates start at $450 per room, per
night. Call 800-367-8000.