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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
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
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
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
Bird of Paradise
Papaya Tree at Maui Tropical Plantation
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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?
Created On 03/14/2019 00:04:33
Updated On 03/23/2019 11:00:19
Scheduled On 03/23/2019 11:00:03
Posted On 03/23/2019 13:00:03
Last Editor Stacy
Location Port of Lahaina, Maui