"Maui no ka oi" That's Hawaiian for Maui is the best!

Looking out from Kaanapali Beach - Sid Kaplan

This local motto reflects a common sentiment among natives and tourists alike - Maui really is the best part of Hawaii. With its wide beaches, lush rain forests, expansive mountaintop vistas, and humpback whales in the winter, Maui certainly makes an impressive case for itself.

Maui is shaped something like a figure eight turned on its side. The massive volcanic bulk of Haleakala anchors the island in the east, while the West Maui Mountains rise in the west. The two volcanic mountains meet in a narrow saddle-like valley heavily cultivated in sugarcane and pineapples. Because of this, the island also has the nickname "The Valley Isle."

Maui Sunset from Kaanapali Beach

With over three-quarters of its land uninhabited, Maui is like one giant natural park. Humpback whales, who seem to seek out the world’s most beautiful places, make this lovely island their breeding ground. So do spinner dolphins and a multitude of other marine life.

Tour Maui and explore Maui’s interior, from the peak of Mt. Haleakala to the splendid natural beauty of the sacred `Iao Valley, where legend holds that the god Maui and Hina raised their daughter, `Iao. Drive the winding Road to Hana past jungles of ferns, countless waterfalls, underground caves and pristine lagoons. And still there’s more, because the cultural life in Maui is vibrant.

Explore Maui by Private Boat Charter

One of most hassle free and delightful ways to explore Maui is by private boat charters. Your own captain and crew have expert knowledge of not only how to sail the sea, but more importantly how to help you get more out of your Maui adventure.

Your crew wii find the perfect spot to relax and take-in Maui’s scenic coastline. Enjoy your favorite music and feel the spirit of the islands as you cruise along the scenic coast.

Areas of Maui

Central Valley

Maui's Central Valley is home to much of the island's resident population with its two largest towns, and the center of island's agriculture industry, with sugar cane and pineapple fields in the saddle-like valley.

Kahului is the main gateway to Maui, and is the location of both the main airport and the harbor. Kahului is also the undisputed center of commercialism, home to a vast array of shopping centers, strip malls, and big box stores, which make it practically indistinguishable from anywhere on the US mainland.

With few tourist attractions here, most tourists just pass through on their way from the airport to the resorts on the leeward coasts. However, there are some excellent budget accommodations available at motels near the airport, for a good bit cheaper than the prevailing Maui rates.

Wailuku, the county seat and government center, is a quiet former plantation town with an old time Main Street feel. It is the gateway to the Iao Needle, but has few other tourist attractions.

West Maui

West Maui is the main tourist center of the island, home to most of the island's resort destinations.

Lahaina is an old whaling town on Maui's west coast, with a charming (though touristy) feel these days.

Nestled on the majestic western coast of Maui, where some of the islands’ best beaches can be found, Lahaina is the islands’ ancient capital.

It is from this busy port that island girls once swam out to greet the whaling ships. Today, this quaint laid-back town is still a playground -- winding along the coast with museums, restaurants and shops. In the harbor, boats cluster waiting to take visitors on sunset cruises in waters teeming with dolphins and other marine life.

Nearby, four-mile-long K`anapali Beach glitters with grainy gold and bright blue water. Snorkelers and scuba divers will want to head for Black Rock Beach, while upcountry Maui unfolds along the breathtakingly scenic road to Hana.

Nearby are the master-planned resort areas of Kaanapali and Kapalua.

South Maui

South Maui is one of the fastest growing areas on Maui, with high tech industries and a tourist center on the southwest coast.

Kihei is a recent upstart on the south coast. Beyond the omnipresent beaches and resorts, Kihei is home to Maui's small but growing high-tech industries, including a supercomputing center.

Wailea and Makena are master-planned resort areas located just south of Kihei.

East Maui

Sparsely populated East Maui centers around the village of Hana and the winding road that leads to it.

Isolated Hana is located on Maui's eastern tip surrounded by dense rainforests. The Highway to Hana is a tourist attraction in its own right, as it winds for hours through green valleys, past waterfalls, and over one-lane bridges.

Upcountry

Located in the foothills of Haleakala, the area known as Upcountry is a ranching area, and its cooler temperatures also lend itself to specialized agriculture.

Pukalani and Makawao are the two largest communities of Upcountry Maui. Pukalani has a rural residential feel to it, while Makawao is home to larger lots and ranches and a funky town center.

Kula is also home to large ranches, and is home to the only winery on Maui, Tedeschi Vineyards

What to do and see on Maui!

In addition to shore excursions available from your ship you may want to explore:

  • Snorkelling and scuba diving are popular. Many tour boats run out to the spectacular volcanic atoll Molokini a few miles offshore,which has some of the best snorkeling in Maui. There are also plenty of beaches, especially in the west and northwest, where you can simply wade in and get to excellent snorkelling spots just offshore. There are several local shops where you can rent snorkel gear by the day or week.

  • Many different companies lead mountain bike trips down Mt. Haleakala. If you can ride a bicycle, you can do this. It's a 26 mile trip, but you only have to pedal for about a quarter mile. Generally, there are trips that start with watching the sun rise at the top of Haleakala, then trips that start later in the morning.

    Be aware that for the sunrise trips, you'll probably end up leaving your hotel at 2AM, or even earlier if you're staying in the Lahaina or Kapalua area. It takes some time to drive to the top of the mountain, get everyone equipped, etc. Your tour group will probably lend you some type of jacket and gloves, but plan on being cold while you're waiting for nature's show -- the overnight temperature will probably be in the 40s or 30s.

    Many find the 10,000-foot summit's view of the pre-dawn colors and ensuing sunrise breathtaking enough to justify the early start and the cold. Others beg to differ, advising visitors to get a good night's sleep and take the later trip. For those excited about the sunrise, a fair warning: cloud density at the mountaintop can be hard to predict, so you may not see as far as you might like.

  • Hikers are drawn to Haleakala National Park. One good route starts from the visitor center near the top to dormant volcanic cinder cones; the trail head is 8/10 mile past mile marker 7 on highway 340. There's also a fantastic hike called "13 Crossings" which traverses a stream 13 times. On the way, you'll see a bamboo forest and at the end a waterfall.

  • Take the road trip and explore the famous Road to Hana Highway stopping on the road to see waterfalls, lush greenery and beaches. A private aroboretum and botanical garden (with an entrance fee) called "Garden of Eden" around the 10-mile marker has peacocks, bamboo gardens and view of Puohokamoa Falls.

    Road to Hana Waterfalls

    The round-trip will be difficult to complete in one day, so stay over in Hana to break it into two days. Wainapanapa State Park, 2 miles east of Hana, has cabins to offer. There are other private nicer places to stay, also in and around Hana.

Whale Watching in Maui



Maui Whale Watching Humpback whales breed off the coast of Maui from about December to March.Every year from January thriough March the North Pacific Humpback Whales migrate to the warm tropical waters of Hawaii. Whale watching cruises make frequent trips to bring you up close and personal to these magnificent creatures and give you great photo opportunities. Fun for adults and children alike - this is why you came to Maui!



And just a few more things to do....

Haleakala National Park offers alpine wilderness and stunning views of Maui and beyond (from the summit you can see five of the eight main islands, more than are visible from anywhere else in Hawaii).

Wainapanapa State Park has black sand beach, sea arch, sea caves, a small blowhole to see.

Many bars up and down the strip of Kihei that provide for a fun nightlife. Be prepared to head back to the ship or bed early (11 or 12) as not too many places are going much after that!

If you are not staying on a cruise ship - there is a selection of great hotels and resorts to stay at!




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Did You Know?.

CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) 62 cruise line members represent more than 90 percent of global cruise capacity, with 482,000 berths on CLIA Member ships. With more than 22 million people cruising worldwide each year, the cruise industry will invest $25 billion to launch 55 new ships between 2015 and 2020. In 2015, the industry will introduce six new oceangoing cruise ships and 16 new river cruise ships.

Top 2014 Cruise Trends (CLIA)

Rebound in luxury cruising (luxury category ships, onboard upgrades) based on an improving economy and increased consumer confidence

Multigenerational and celebration travel increase for all passenger source markets with larger sized family as well as social/ affinity groups traveling together

Continued development and availability of technology to facilitate and lower the cost of onboard communications as well as to provide more efficient passenger servicing

Expectation of first-time passenger growth driven by the 95 million Millennial generation based on population size and positive experiences cruising with their parents

Cruise lines offering more all-inclusive options and packaging in accommodations, services and amenities for increased ease in booking and ship enjoyment

Cruises increasingly attracting consumers seeking active vacations with extreme excursions, longer stays in ports for sightseeing and high-energy onboard facilities

Seeing the world in comfort and ease, especially exotic locations, will continue to drive new itinerary creation and cruise ship deployment

Hot destinations for 2014 according to CLIA cruise line members include: Trans Pacific, World Cruises, U.S. Rivers, South America, Antarctic, Middle East, Canada/New England, Africa and Exotic Rivers