Honolulu and its main beach resort region, Waikiki, are great places to find boat tours out onto the Pacific Ocean. Dinner and sunset cruises in particular offer travelers a completely different perspective of Oahu, with a chance to try local cuisine and raise a toast with a complimentary beverage or three, as the land is bathed in warm golden hour light. And occasionally some of the native marine life makes an appearance to add to the natural splendor.
Catamarans, power boats and sail boats all ply the ocean on these dinner and sunset cruises, the majority of which set sail from Waikiki. Of the many options available, we have filtered out the top five available from the Honolulu area. We took various factors into consideration in compiling this list, including the value for money, tour group size, health and safety provisions, and the quality of the food and drinks on your dinner cruise, with which you will be liberally plied (hopefully).
FROM $97/per person
Hawaii is a special place in the daytime, but during the golden hour around sunset it enters a whole new dimension. This 53-foot catamaran cruise heads south from Waikiki off the shore of Diamond Head volcanic crater, whose rumpled sides are especially beautiful in the low light. As the sun dips beneath the waves, look out for the bizarre light phenomenon known as the green flash (not a super hero), while sipping one of the two free drinks provided from the bar during your 90-minute trip. You can also try the “pupus”, Hawaiian style finger food made with meat and seafood.
From $99/ per person
For a more substantial feast aboard a bigger boat, the Pacific Star sunset dinner cruise is as much about what’s available on board the ship as it is the natural show outside. Take a seat at your private table then head up to the all-you-can-eat buffet of dishes from around Hawaii and beyond. This option also includes live entertainment, making it ideal for those who wish to be part of a larger cruise. The larger ship also has a higher observation deck, ideal for great views back towards shore come sunset.
From $99/ per person
Traditional Hawaiian music, a little light boozing, sunset and one of the most beautiful places on Earth, all elements that go to making this an excellent way to spent 2.5 hours. This luxury powerboat cruise heads towards the Diamond State monument. The trip out there is a great opportunity to scan the surf looking for marine life that occasionally swims close by, such as turtles and dolphins. A local chef prepares a Hawaiian dinner at this point, followed by live music and hula dancing to cap the evening off as you head back towards shore.
From $115/ per person
Hawaiian hula dancers greet you at the pier, setting the tone for this two-hour dinner cruise. Once on board this fine ship, there’s a three-course crab and steak dinner followed by a live show to while away the evening as the sun sets. Sip a complimentary Mai Tai at the bar, or take it up to the top deck for a better view of the coastline as you sail. Please note that as with the other cruises on this list the Friday tours are slightly pricier due to the fact that there is a weekly firework show also included, which makes the tour a little longer.
From $552/ per group
For those traveling in a group and looking for a private sunset cruise experience, there’s no better, and more Hawaiian than this one. With a set price for up to six people, this option could also work out better value if there are five or six in your group. On board the Kamoauli – a traditional, wooden, Polynesian canoe – you will have a cultural and educational experience as the sun sets. The topics in this classroom on the sea? Making traditional clothing, food and tools using native materials, history of the island as it’s reflected through the land and sea, and traditional music. Hawaiian food and drinks are also included in this unique tour.