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Hawaii’s aloha spirit might make every visitor feel at home, but no visitors are more special than the whales that visit the islands every winter. And few companies do a better job of sharing the magic of whale watching with tourists than Star of Honolulu Cruises & Events.
The company has been hosting guests for more than 60 years on its cruises, which include whale watching, weddings and private events. This season, Star of Honolulu’s Premier Whale Watch Cruise runs from Dec. 23, 2017, to April 5, 2018, and adults and kids alike can enjoy seeing Hawaii’s favorite ocean residents.
The Star of Honolulu ship features a 60-foot-high observation deck and four walk-around decks — the company claims to have the most outdoor space of any whale-watching vessel. The ship also has three types of stabilizers, which allows for comfortable sailing.
But the biggest draw of an outing with Star of Honolulu is its crew of certified naturalists, who do a great job entertaining guests while educating them about whales. Cruisers also get the chance to engage in a variety of Hawaiian cultural activities while onboard, such as lei-making and hula and ukulele lessons.
“We love welcoming back these majestic whales to the Hawaiian Islands for their annual vacation,” said Wade Matsueda, chief captain for Star of Honolulu. “Watching them in their natural habitat is not only a memorable experience, but it gives visitors a chance to learn more about these endangered mammals and the importance of protecting and conserving our marine and ocean resources.”
Clients who are concerned about not seeing any whales will appreciate the company’s return policy: Guests are guaranteed to see humpback whales during the tour, and if whales are not spotted, a free return “Whale Check” is issued to try again.
The Premier Whale Watch cruise departs from Pier 8 at Oahu’s Aloha Tower Marketplace at 12 p.m. and returns at 2:30 p.m. Prices start at $53 for adults; children ages 3-11 are free with each paying adult. Or, those who want to get an early start on the day can check out the Early Bird Whale Watch cruise, which goes from 8:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
“Travel professionals should book tours for their clients as far in advance as possible, as these popular cruises book quickly,” Matsueda said.