Our trip to Hawai`i (2004)–More Maui

Manute`a Cocktail Cruise

The cocktail cruise on the Manute`a, sponsored by the Pacific Whale Foundation, was a last minute decision on our part. By “last minute”, I mean that we hadn’t made our reservations for this before our trip began, as we had with the Old Lahaina Luau, Polynesian Cultural Center, etc. This turned out to be a surprisingly good cruise at the discounted rate of $39.95 through Activity World (regular price is $49.95).

This boat can handle up to 49 passengers, but luckily we only had 16 people, which made for lots of “roaming room”. The food fare was pretty decent, with Teriyaki boneless chicken, hot bbq pork, meat and cheese tray and soft bread rolls being the features.

Onboard entertainment was also featured which provided a nice, relaxed atmosphere for this two hour tour. It was a nice final activity for our final evening in Hawai`i. Rating: 8

Old Lahaina Luau

When we attended this luau in 1996, it was located next door to the Lahaina Shores at 505 Front Street. Since then, the venue has moved to the north end of Front Street across from the Lahaina Cannery Mall. The new site is much larger, allowing for a huge increase in capacity. The “old” and the “new” luaus have virtually nothing in common other than both were a blast to attend. The food is still phenomenal. The show, however, while still top-notch, has been shortened in length to under an hour. We still highly recommend this, but if you do, reserve well in advance of your trip. If you wait until you’re in Hawai`i, it will almost certainly be sold out. We got our tickets four months before our trip, which guaranteed us a table in the very front. Rating: 8

Other Maui Stuff

1. Hilo Hatties in Lahaina seems to have developed a bit of an attitude. When we went there to buy an aloha shirt for our night at the Old Lahaina Luau, and it was time to checkout, we went to the wrong end of the store. Now, I’m not sure if they thought we were going to try to walk out with the shirt, but a very large woman made damn sure we found the cashier’s side; she walked us right over there. Customer service? Whatever happened to a cashier saying “thank you” when the transaction is complete? After all, they benefit from the sale, not you. Not at this place. After getting back the change, the girl stuffed the shirt into a bag and slid it across the checkout counter at me without a word. After waiting a few seconds, I went “uh, thank you”, to which she replied “you’re welcome”. What the bleep??!! Call me overreactive, but I happen to believe in customer service. It would seem that many merchants don’t believe in it in this day and age. Hilo Hattie’s certainly doesn’t appear to, and because of this, we’ll never spend a penny there again. We encourage you to find your Hawai`ian clothing elsewhere where you won’t pay premium prices for substandard service.

2. Since I’m on the customer service rant, let’s talk a minute about Burger King on Front Street in Lahaina. Now, I can either feel sorry for the poor kid for being out there at the counter alone with no help at the start of lunchtime, or I could flame him silly for having a major chip on his shoulder. Oh, and for being basically an idiot who can’t take a simple order without screwing it up. And for having no math comprehension. The guy standing just behind us who was watching our “experience” laughed and said “welcome to Burger King”; he had it exactly right. This place s*cks. If you believe in “fast food”, forgot this place and go elsewhere.

3. Even despite the above rants (yeah, yeah, I know, every place has crummy places like those, but I see it as being my right and responsibility to point those out where I find them), we absolutely love Maui. It has a romantic, nostalgic appeal to us which we’ve not found anywhere else. Oahu has it’s excitement, Kauai has it’s stark beauty and lushness. Maui has our hearts. Simple as that.

West Maui Mountains

Another vantage point of the West Maui Mountains

Honolua Bay

At Kahului Airport waiting to board our plane after a wonderful 21 days in Hawai`i!

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