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Maui Port Review
By Tom Ogg

Kahului and Lahaina, Maui Port Review
The Island of Lanai Seen From Maui's Kaanapali Beach


West Maui Mountains
Beautiful Maui

Maui is really made up of several islands. Maui, the largest island in Maui county is known for its fabulous beaches, ample sunshine, excellent activities, restaurants, shopping and overall beauty. As the saying goes, Maui No Ka Oi, or Maui is the best. Molokai lies off of Maui's north shore and is also a rather large island, Lanai is one Maui's western shore, Kaho'olawe lies off Maui's southern shore and tiny Molokini sits just off of Wailea on the south western shore. The island of Maui consists of two mountain ranges, the west Maui Mountains that make up the northern part of the island and Haleakala, an extinct volcanoe that makes up the southern part of the island.

Cruise Port Location and Information:

Cruise Ship Docked in in Kahului Maui
Docked in Kahului, Maui

Ships dock in Kahului's cruise terminal in Kahului Harbor. The cruise terminal is only about 10 minutes from the Maui International Airport (OGG) where rental cars can be arranged. Virtually all of the rental car companies will pick you up and deliver you back to the ship. Kahului is Maui's main city and is located on the windward side of the island. Because of this, there is not much to see and do in Kahului itself. There are a couple of large shopping malls with all the the brands found on the mainland, so if you need to stock up on any staples, this is an opportunity to do so. The Maui Marketplace will offer a free shuttle from the port to the shopping center.

Cruise Ship Anchored off Lahaina Maui
Anchored off Lahaina

Some ships will anchor off the coast of Lahaina on the leeward side of Maui and tender into the Lahaina Harbor. This is much more preferable as one can reach Maui's leeward shoreline quite easily from here. The tender wharf is located right at the famous Pioneer Inn and Maui's largest Banyan tree in the heart of Front Street's shopping, dining and entertainment.

Exploring on Your Own:

Sheraton Maui Black Rock Kaanapali Beach
Black Rock, Kaanapali Beach, Maui
One of Maui's Premier Snorkeling Spots

Maui has so much to offer visitors that it would be impossible to even scratch the surface in one or two days. For this reason I am going to describe what I would suggest you do to see as much as possible.

Rent a Car: Maui is best explored in your own vehicle. Renting a car is easy and affordable on Maui and is the way to go without question. Especially if you are staying for two days in Kahului.

On the first day: I would suggest visiting Lahaina, Whaler's Village on Kaanapali Beach and possibly Napili Bay. This will allow everyone to shop, beach it up, lay in the sun, do some more shopping, dine on the beach, snorkel, surf, SUP, sail, pretty much whatever anyone would want to do.

On day two: I would suggest visiting Kihei, Wailea and Big Beach. This would allow for a second day of shopping, sunning, snorkeling, surfing, SUPing, dining and simply enjoying another part of Maui that makes Maui "No Ka Oi".

Parking at the cruise terminal is both easy to do and is also free. Even if the lot gets full you can park on the breakwater right next to the ship.

Also, while Maui does have a public bus system that one could use to get around the island, the frequency is not robust enough to make it viable for the purpose of exploring Maui with limited time.

Shopping Tips:

Hyatt Regency Maui Shopping Arcade
Some Hotel Shops in Maui

Maui offers excellent shopping opportunities in its many malls, resorts, towns and various boutiques, kiosks, shops and stores. Here is a list of just some of Maui's major shopping centers that you may wish to visit during your time in port.


Queen Ka'ahumanu Center: This is the main mall for central Maui and offers a good number of department stores (Macys and Sears) along with a bunch of smaller stores.

Maui Marketplace: This is important to know for Starbucks people. There is a Starbucks here...VBG. Also many local stores that are of little interest to visitors.


Front Street: Lahaina offers block after block of shopping opportunities, as well as restaurants and bars along it quaint Front Street. There are several small malls that make up Lahaina's shopping area and you can find just about anything Hawaiian in this area. Just about everyone that visits Maui spends time walking Front Street and enjoying its ambiance.

Lahaina Cannery Mall: Located towards the northern side of Lahaina just outside of the main part of town, the Lahaina Cannery Mall is a hit with visitors who enjoy the local shops, boutiques and restaurants. Be sure to check their website for when the hula show is taking place. This free show is well worth attending as it is quite a bit more authentic than some of the big resort shows. Currently shows are performed at 7PM Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Kaanapali Beach

Whalers Village: This is an excellent place to spend your day at Kaanapali Beach. First, the mall offers many excellent stores for buying items to take back to the mainland with you. There are several restaurants to enjoy, as well. You can also use the beach in front of Whalers Village or walk along the beachwalk the entire length of Kaanapali beach from the Hyatt Regency Hotel to the Sheraton Maui.

Kaanapali Beach Hotels and Resorts: Each of the hotels and resorts along Kaanapali Beach offer substantial shopping opportunities. The Hyatt, Marriott, Westin, Kaanapali Beach Hotel and Sheraton all have shops selling beach ware, sundries, jewelry, Hawaiian art and crafts and so on.


The Shops at Wailea: If you visit Wailea, a stop at this mall is a must do. It features many designer stores, as well as many local boutiques and boutiques that are all sophisticated and wonderful.

Port Highlights:

Kahului and Lahaina, Maui Port Review by Tom Ogg
Fabulous Kaanapali Beach

Kaanapali Beach is blessed with such perfect weather and perfect ocean conditions to have been voted the "Best Beach in America" and once you spend the day on its warm sand, you will know why. Spending the day on Kaanapali Beach is something everyone should do. It offers great snorkeling (Black Rock at the top of the photo in front of the Sheraton Maui) body boarding, swimming, sun bathing and much more.

Kaanapali Beach Maui
Kaanapali Beach

The beachwalk traverses the entire length of Kaanapali Beach and is great fun to check out all of the hotels and resorts. All beaches in Hawaii are public beaches, so you can settle where ever you would like. There is restaurants, bars, shops, boutiques, beach concessions and much more to enjoy. If you only have one day in Maui, head to Kaanapali beach for the day and you will have a wonderful time.

Kaanapali Beach by Royal Lahaina Resort
Kaanapali Beach North of Black Rock

While the beach walk stops at Black Rock, you can go through the Sheraton Maui and continue up Kaanapali beach for quite a ways. If you would like to enjoy a quiet day on your own private beach, this is where you can find it. Just continue past the Royal Lahaina Resort and you will leave the tourists behind you.

Front Street Lahaina Maui from Tender Wharf
Lahaina's Front Street

Before hitting Whalers Village on Kaanapali Beach you can easily spend an hour or two walking around Lahaina's shops, boutiques, mini malls, restaurants and bars. Front Street is a eclectic collection of old and new Hawaianna



Napili Bay Maui Snorkeling
Napili Bay

If you want to do some serious snorkeling and beaching in a less populated environment, then head to Napili Bay for some of the best snorkeling on Maui. Park at the Napili Kai Beach Club Resort and head for the beach. If you come to Napili Bay be sure to have lunch or pupus at Napili Kai's Sea Housee Restaurant. Located right on the beach the food here is wonderful and the dining experience very memorable.

Big Beach La Peruse Bay Maui
Maui's Big Beach

Located on the leeward side of Haleakala Crater, Big Beach is one of Maui's best beaches. It is always hot and sunny here and the beach is never crowded (there are lifeguards on duty) If you have two days in Maui, do Kaanapali the first day and then visit Kihei, Wailea and Makena the second day and allow plenty of time to enjoy Big Beach. While there are restrooms at Big Beach, there are no snack bars or food concessions. However, there are local lunch trucks that park along the side of the highway that serve local treats like teriyaki, plate lunches and such and most of the are outstanding.

Off the Beaten Path:

Maui Lava Field
Maui's Lava Fields in the Lee of Haleakala

Maui has so much to offer that it would be impossible to focus in on just a few highlights. Many folks rave about the bike ride from the top of Haleakala Crater at dawn. Snorkeling at Molokini is also a favorite with folks looking for some adventure. Molokini is a crater that barely breaks the surface of the ocean a few miles off of Wailea. The crater itself is like a sheltered swimming pool teaming with sea life and offers world class snorkeling. Folks also like taking a sailboat to a remote beach on the island of Lanai for the day. There is surfing, SRPing, body boarding, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, sailing, fishing, hiking and sdo much more to do.

Dining and Drinking Suggestions:

Kahului and Lahaina, Maui Port Review

There are so many great restaurant on Maui that you can't miss. However, you shouldn't come to Maui and not enjoy a bag of Maui Chips. These kettle cooked potato chips are like nothing you have ever tasted before. While you will see "Maui Chips" in every store, there is only one original Maui Chip. Look for the red and yellow bag that is named "Kitchen Cook'd" and only buy these. Make sure to buy them in the morning because the entire island is usually sold out by 2pm until the next morning.

Must Do List:

I would say that exploring Lahaina, spending time on Kaanapali Beach and Big Beach all rise to the "Must Do" level. Also, enjoying a bag of Maui Chips is a "Must Do" also. Enjoy your days in Maui!

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