Friday, September 2, 2011

Things to Do: Star of Honolulu Sunset Cruise

Since I surf, I didn't think too much of doing a sunset cruise.  I've seen sunsets while riding waves in the evening and best of all, it was free.  However, I forgot that not everyone has seen the same thing.  Some of my relatives haven't seen a sunset on the ocean.  Since we couldn't go on a fishing trip at the last minute (they love fishing), the next best way to get a boat was to book a cruise.  I was worried not catching fish would not go over well, but (surprisingly) everyone enjoyed the cruise.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone.

The disembarkation point and ticket office is located at Aloha Tower Marketplace.  You can park at Pier 7, 6, or 5.  If you park after 4:00 pm, then it's a flat rate of $4.  Or, if you're with a hotel, they have charter buses to the dock so you don't have to drive.  Boarding starts at 4:45 pm, latest boarding is at 5:15 pm, and the ship gets underway at 5:30 pm.  Don't be late, or you'll miss the boat.  The cruise returns for disembarkation at 7:30 pm.  

The reservation office is located right behind the Hooters bar near Pier 8.  Ticket pickup is at the reservation office, which is conveniently located right by the disembarkation point.  There are several packages to chose from:  the 5-Star Cruise, 3-Star Cruise, Star Sunset Cruise, and Pacific Star Cruise.  The difference in the packages were price, seating, food, and drinks.  The more stars, the more you pay and the more elegant the cruise.  If you want an elegant, formal cruise go for the 5-Star Cruise.  It has the best view with seats on the top deck, a good 7-course meal with 3 drinks included, but not recommended for children and men must wear slacks...and it's expensive.  

I'm looking to impress the relatives, but I don't have time to change into slacks.  Also, for the number in our party, the price of a 5-Star cruise is prohibitive.  But we're on vacation and it's okay to splurge.  The problem is slacks.  We're at Pearl Harbor and I don't have time to stop by the hotel and change.  My other option is going casual with the Pacific Star Cruise which includes a buffet, a drink, and it only costs $79.

Unfortunately, there were no seats available.  And besides, I'm looking to impress.  So I look into the next level up, which is the Pacific Star Cruise.  This includes a 3-course meal with crab and sirloin steak, plus one drink included for $89.50.  As an added bonus, there's an all-you-can-eat crab special going until December 2011.  Not bad.  This cruise is a decent, middle-of-the-road package.  Unfortunately, there were no seats available.  

So the only seats available were on the 3-Star Cruise.  For the 3-Star Cruise you get a table on the 3rd deck (with a great view), a 5-course meal, and two drinks.  Oh yeah, and there's the complimentary champagne to start the meal.  Also, you can go to the top deck for a great view of the water.  For all the packages, there is live entertainment during the cruise.

That's one of the things that makes the trip go well, were the drinks.  We tried a bunch, but remembered the lava flow because of the name and looks.  It tasted pretty good, but I forgot what was in it.  

The other thing that makes a cruise memorable is the food, or the availability of it.  There are tables with fruit, crackers, and cheeses set on the outer aisles.  While getting a small plate of appetizers, I walked around the deck to check out the view.

And what a view.  That's Sand Island State Park to the right, or starboard, side with the sun starting to go dow.  

Looking back, you see the other cruise liner, the Atlantis Navatek Cruises.  The catamaran design of the hull makes it more stable.  More stable means less rocking and less sea-sickness.  Though our ship has a traditional hull, the ocean is calm.  If you do get sea-sick, take dramamine or bonine.  Personally, I'd recommend bonine since it doesn't make you drowsy, but it's harder to find.  

On this trip, we didn't need to take anything.  Looking to starboard (right) side of the ship, you see the calm ocean and clear skies.  

Looking to port (left) you get a panoramic view of Waikiki.  

After pulling out of the harbor, the first course comes out.  It's a salad with Hawaiian greens and passion-fruit tarragon vinaigrette dressing.  Not too bad, the salad was fresh and the dressing tasty.  

And wow!  A 1-pound whole Maine lobster with butter and citrus ponzu sauce.  While I might complain about lobsters not being fresh (I've caught spiny lobsters at night and cooked them the next afternoon), I won't complain about the size of this lobster.  Spiny lobsters don't have the front claws, so with a Maine lobster you get more meat.  I thought this was cool, even though eating was messy.  Fortunately, the wait staff came around with extra napkins and wet wipes.  

After this course, a bell chimes to let people know they can go up to the top deck to see Waikiki at sunset.  The top deck got really crowded from everyone wanting to see the view, but it was still a great view.

There's not too many other places where you can see a sailboat and outrigger canoes at sunset.  

There's also binoculars on the top deck for sightseeing.

Good for checking out the sunset.  Okay, the sunset is not that great now, but give it a little while.  

The cruise will take you along Waikiki, then turns around at Diamond Head.  

On the way back, you see more sailboats and outrigger canoes.  Those guys in the canoe can paddle a long way out.

On the way back is when you really get to see the sunset over the ocean.  Now this is what made it worthwhile for the in-laws.  You could spend all evening up here, but there is dinner to think about.

When you come back, you get the main course, tenderloin steak with sweet madeira wine sauce, yukon and purple okinawan mashed potatoes, and steamed vegetables.  The steak wasn't kobe beef, but it was tender and tasty.  Myself and the relatives are full now, but there is one more course to think about.  

And the dessert.  Hawaiian mango mousse cake with white chocolate garnish.  It's soft and sweet, but without being too sweet.

There's also the onboard entertainment.  Our show lasted a little longer to let the lower decks leave first to prevent a traffic jam of people.  Many last minute ideas don't turn out well, but this one was a great idea.  If you want more information on sunset cruises, check out Star of Honolulu.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review please come the waiter in the picture :)