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Whale watch recommendations?

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posts: 62
reviews: 8
Whale watch recommendations?

Aloha! We are headed back to Maui in 32 days (but who is counting...)! ;) We have done numerous whale watch tours over the years--everything from the Pacific Whale Foundation to one of those inflatable-type (Zodiac?) to some random small bucket of bolts type boat that had a wonderful crew and great food. (Unfortunately, we can't remember who that was.) This is likely our last trip without the kids. So, any recommendations for whale watch tour outfits? Although we love to sail, the catamaran type trips have always seemed like a bunch of booze-cruisers and we would rather go with adults who are actually interested in seeing and learning about the whales. We are staying in Kaanapali and will have a rental car.

I just thought I would see if there are any local favorites to try out this time. Mahalo in advance!

Honolulu, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Maui, Hana, Oahu
posts: 30,181
reviews: 2
1. Re: Whale watch recommendations?

I've been on dozens of whale watch tours and none of them have ever been close to a booze cruise. Haven't been on anything other than a catamaran. Look at Trilogy, Paragon, Gemini or Teralani.

Destination Expert
for Oahu
posts: 31,257
reviews: 15
2. Re: Whale watch recommendations?

Trilogy is very highly recommended - and in no way is it a booze cruise. They are extremely responsible and careful.

posts: 113
reviews: 7
3. Re: Whale watch recommendations?

How about a kayak trip? We've done the large and small cat's and have kayaked with these incredible creatures 3 times now. When you are lucky enough to be close to them, there is no comparison. You can feel it when they blow, we were above a male singer last December and it was amazing. I would recommend a kayak trip over anything else! If you look at a few of my previous posts, I'm love Griff at Aloha Kayaks. Have fun!!


Philadelphia, PA
posts: 1,455
reviews: 8
4. Re: Whale watch recommendations?

Kayaks and whales are a great combo if you happen to be where the whales are at the moment. But there's much to be said for experiencing whales in the company of others and with a good naturalist. My recs are Trilogy for the mid-size cat or Kaulana (Hawaii Ocean Project) for a larger platform with good viewing/photography.

posts: 233
reviews: 8
5. Re: Whale watch recommendations?

I'd have to agree with the Trilogy boats out of Lahaina harbor. Professional crews do a great job, no booze cruise. We have been very happy with them

Destination Expert
for Maui
posts: 18,809
reviews: 13
6. Re: Whale watch recommendations?

Take a look at Capt. Steves whale watch raft trip in the morning from Mala harbor. But I have to agree we've never gotten a "booze cruise" vibe from the sunset sails! Are there free drinks? Yes! Does anyone get nutso? No!

posts: 1
reviews: 3
7. Re: Whale watch recommendations?

Ultimate Whale Watch is fabulous to see the whales.

Philadelphia, PA
posts: 1,455
reviews: 8
8. Re: Whale watch recommendations?

Polson... In one of your reviews you said Hawaii Ocean Rafting is the best whale watch company. Wondering why you now recommend Ultimate. Is there a particular reason you feel the OP should go with Ultimate?

posts: 62
reviews: 8
9. Re: Whale watch recommendations?

Thanks, all for your recommendations. My impressions of the catamarans were from a particular trip--we didn't go with them, but were on the beach while they were loading and unloading and it seemed to be a huge bunch of young people, most who seemed to pretty pretty toasted before they even got on, and they were completely obnoxious getting off. Good to know that isn't the norm....maybe it was a group of recent college grads or a bachelor party or something. Thanks so much for the recommendations on the whale watch companies.

And yes, to the kayaking. We did that our last trip, and although we did see a spectacular mom and calf breech, it was from the sand while we were still getting loaded in. Once in the water, we didn't see any nearby. But, we do plan to do another kayak trip again, so will definitely check out the groups you recommend. Mahalo!

Huntley, IL
posts: 82
reviews: 93
10. Re: Whale watch recommendations?

I recommend Triology. We just went with them to the island of Lanii and saw many whales and spinner dolphins. They were very professional and knowledgeable -- and provided lunch and snacks. They seemed to enjoy their jobs and interacting with the passengers. It was a spectacular trip -- but also our first whales so we were awed.