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Lahaina, Maui:  Tour of 4 Hawaiian Islands by Cruise Ship (Part 4)

Lahaina, Maui: Tour of 4 Hawaiian Islands by Cruise Ship (Part 4)


By avatar  Scott
Posted On 03/23/2019 13:00:03
Trip Date 05/04/2010  

Destinations | Cruises | Hawaii | Maui | Lahaina | Mexico | Self-Guided Hawaii Travel | DIY Travel | Maui Road Trip | Maui with Kids | Maui Adventure Travel | DIY Ensenada



As our cruise trip aboard the Golden Princess neared its end, we still had one more great port of call in Hawaii. Our ship docked in Lahaina home to many interesting and historical sights and also a great starting point for a Maui road trip to more cool sites around the island. With so much to see and do on Maui, we split into two groups so everyone had the opportunity to do what they wanted.

If you are planning on cruising around the Hawaiian islands, this final port of our four part series will help you plan DIY travel in Maui. If you are visiting Maui with kids, you'll find some options or if you are more interested in Maui adventure travel, we have you covered as well. The goal of the entire series is how to plan self-guided Hawaii travel for those who want to stick to a budget. As most cruises departing from the U. S. west coast to Hawaii make a stop in Mexico, we'll also share a little about going DIY in Ensenada.

Port of Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

Discount Hawaii Car Rental was again the website of choice for our car rental needs. Since we split into two groups while traveling around Maui, we rented two cars and were able to choose a smaller car for the group of two adventure travelers and a bigger car for the group of four including one child. As in the previous three ports, we were pleased with the convenience for Hawaii cruise ship passengers as well as the great prices offered by the booking agent. Both of our cars were ready and waiting and after checking them out, completing the paperwork and loading up the cars, we were off in our two opposite directions.



Traveling with Children on Maui

As our entire 14 day cruise was a celebration for the 75th birthday of Stacy's Mom, we had two goals in mind for our day on Maui. We wanted Mom to see some of the island's beauty, but we also wanted to find some things that a 2 1/2 year old would enjoy.

Maui Ocean Center

We started our day with a visit to the $20-million Maui Ocean Center which originally opened in 1998. Often referred to as The Hawaiian Aquarium, Maui Ocean Center has a collection of marine life common to the waters surrounding Hawaii. A visit to this amazing facility will also allow you to get a close up view of one of the largest coral collections in the nation. Enjoy playful swimming displays by Hawaii's beloved green sea turtles, awe at close encounters with sharks, rays and more all while learning about Hawaii's natural history and cultural heritage.


Kids Love Maui Ocean Center

Kids Love Maui Ocean Center

Sea Life

Sea Life

Tropical Fish

Tropical Fish

Black Tip Sharks at Maui Ocean Center

Black Tip Sharks at Maui Ocean Center

Iao Valley State Monument

At a cost of only $5.00 for parking, a visit to Iao Valley State Monument allows you to see one of the islands most recognized landmarks. The lovely, deep valley of Iao features the Iao Needle, a natural rock formation which towers over the Iao Stream and is surrounded by the walls of the Pu'u Kukui Crater. Iao Valley is a peaceful lush area with easy hikes, exotic tropical plants and clear, natural pools. The ridge-top lookout offers a fantastic view of the valley and Kahului Harbor.


Maui's Iao Valley State Monument

Maui's Iao Valley State Monument

In addition to the beauty that you'll see during a visit to this monument, you'll also be eyeing a location filled with history. With a goal of uniting the islands, King Kamehameha I defeated the Maui army in the Battle of Kepaniwai in this valley in the year 1790.



Maui Tropical Plantation

Enjoy a narrated tour of Hawaii's most popular fruit and flower crops at the Maui Tropical Plantation. The 45-minute tour aboard the Tropical Express takes passengers around the plantation to see the fields filled with all things Hawaiian including papaya, guava, mango, taro, macadamia nuts, coffee and much more. Along with a variety of field stops perfect for taking some great photographs, watch and learn how to husk a coconut. Following the tour, both children and adults can explore the inner gardens to their hearts content. Plantation-made fresh fruit dishes are available for purchase in the restaurant and you won't want to miss shopping for "made-in-Maui" gifts in the Country Store.


Maui Tropical Plantation

Maui Tropical Plantation

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise

Papaya Tree at Maui Tropical Plantation

Papaya Tree at Maui Tropical Plantation

Demonstration of Coconut Husking

Demonstration of Coconut Husking

Maui for the Adventurous Traveler

In addition to having activities for those with kids, the more adventurous traveler will enjoy a day on the island of Maui as well.



Zipline

My sister and brother-in-law decided to enjoy a ziplining adventure with Skyline EcoAdventures on their final day in Hawaii. They raved about the great time that they had on their Zipline on the Slopes of Haleakala tour. We've loved our previous zipline experiences and can only imagine soaring over gulches and through trees along the slopes of one of the world's largest volcanoes.


Ziplining on the Slopes of  Haleakala

Ziplining on the Slopes of Haleakala

Haleakala National Park

Those who choose to make a visit to Haleakala National Park can decide how much adventure they desire on their trek. Most people drive to the top to enjoy the views (and maybe do some hiking) and then there are others who get their exercise by biking up to the summit. However you choose to reach the peak, the journey up will take you from coastal Maui to a very remote and native world that is part of the national park.



Once at the top, you'll look down upon the clouds - almost like looking at the ocean below you. As you are looking down, you'll also notice that the temperature is much different from when you started your uphill journey - it's cold at the top! Finally, the landscape is different from what you left down below - actually, it's likely quite different from any landscape you've seen before. Between the rare plants growing among the cindercones with native birds flying about, you'll want to hike along some of the trails to see what's around the corner!


Mt. Haleakala on Maui

Mt. Haleakala on Maui

Looking down at the Clouds from Mt. Haleakala

Looking down at the Clouds from Mt. Haleakala

Don't forget to dress in layers or bring along a coat before heading to the summit of Mt. Haleakala.

Port of Lahaina

No matter if you are journeying to Maui's peak or staying closer to ocean level, you'll still need to keep a close watch" on your watch so that you don't return to your ship after it has already pulled away! Although neither of our two groups packed in as many different sights on Maui as compared to the other Hawaiian Islands, each place visited required a longer time commitment. You'll still need to allow enough time to fill your tank with fuel, check-in your car (there may be a line of others on the same schedule) and walk back to the ship.



When deciding what time you want to return to your ship, don't forget to also watch for special performances offered during port visits. We were treated to a great hula show from a local Hawaiian group that came on board before we departed from our last port in Hawaii!


Stacy with Mom enjoying a Hula Performance

Stacy with Mom enjoying a Hula Performance

Ensenada, Mexico

Because of a long standing law, foreign flagged cruise ships must have at least one stop in a "foreign" port. Just like many other ships, the Golden Princess sailed to Ensenada, Mexico before heading back to the United States mainland. We did not plan a shore excursion in Ensenada - other than disembarking the ship to walk around the town and see what was there. There are more restaurants, bars and souvenir shops on Primera Street than we could count! Apparently the drink that we know as a margarita was born in a cantina in Ensenada.


Ensenada, Mexico

Ensenada, Mexico

Hilo, Hawaii

If you have not already seen it, make sure to check out the self-guided shore excursion that we recommend for your port visit to Hilo. In Hilo, Hawaii: Tour of 4 Hawaiian Islands by Cruise Ship (Part 1), you'll find a driving route that will take you to many of the islands best sites that can all be seen during your limited port hours.

Hawaii Cruises

Based on your Hawaii cruise experiences, what has been your favorite cruise ship and itinerary that allowed you to see some of the islands - and what made it the best in your mind?


Lahaina, Maui:  Tour of 4 Hawaiian Islands by Cruise Ship (Part 4)











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