Enjoy Some Great Food, Fun and Hawaiian Culture When You Book a Hawaiian Dinner Cruise

Ryan, Senior Traveler
22 August 2017
It wasn’t long ago that you dreamt about that special destination that would spark a flame to the fire of a long lived memory, but low and behold, the Hawaiian Islands gave you what you were searching for.  A Hawaiian Dinner Cruise creates lasting memories that keep you and your loved ones talking about it for years to come… here’s how.

There are a lot of different types of activities you can book on Hawaii, but none of them can give you a true sense of what Hawaii is all about.  With a dinner cruise, not only do you get a night filled with great food and entertainment, but also beautiful views of the island along with a glimpse into Hawaiian culture.  If you want to have a truly memorable trip that will give you the best possible experience of this beautiful island, you should consider booking a Hawaiian dinner cruise.

Dinner tours are an excellent choice for couples or families who want to experience the “unknown” side of Hawaii. Cruises give another perspective on the islands, which are more approachable from the water than by foot. Hawaii dinner cruises are one of the only activities that will get you closer to some of the most beautiful islands and scenery out there. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy some amazing sightseeing followed by a wonderful dinner, music or even fireworks!

With multiple islands to choose from, dinner cruises come in various shapes and sizes.  Whether it’s cruising the Big Island, heading down the NaPali coast, or basking in the Maui sun, you have lots of options when it comes to dinner cruises. That’s why we researched all of the available tours through and through to find the top tours available today. We analyzed relevant sources across the web for info on pricing, requirements, and features – and we didn’t forget the customer reviews either. More so, we included some of the reviews in the article. So, stay tuned to find out all there is to know about dinner cruises in Hawaii.

Before booking a dinner cruise

There are several things to look for when booking a dinner cruise. First, what kind of experience are you looking for – a romantic dinner cruise, a sunset dinner cruise, or a dinner cruise with fireworks. Defining the type of cruise can be crucial because it sets the requirements, the features and pricing you will get on that particular tour. Most cruises take 2 hours, except the firework dinner cruises, which give you an extra hour of fun!

When you figure out what type of dinner tour suits your needs the best, the next thing to be looking for is what island you want to go on. Since there are so many beautiful islands all across Hawaii, it’s hard just to choose one. To help you out, we’ll break down pricing, what you can expect to see, and our favorite tour on each island.

Oahu – the breathtaking views and scenery of Oahu cannot be grasped from the ground, and it will take you several days to explore this island by foot. Taking an Oahu dinner cruise will allow you to see Diamond Head, Kahala Gold Coast and Waikiki while you sip on a Pina colada. Based on our extensive research, the best tour in Oahu is the Star Sunset Dinner Cruise and Show.

Maui – if you’re looking for a stunning landscape view of Maui, you should try out the Maui Sunset Premium Dinner Cruise. The route will take you all the way around Maui coastline, providing you with a 360 degree view of Mt. Haleakala, Maui’s most beautiful piece of landscape. And if you book a tour in January, February or March, you will get the chance to witness one of nature’s beauties, whales.

Big Island – with its unique volcanic landscape, Big Island is a great place to explore some of the unusual rock formations and sceneries Hawaii has to offer. Taking a Captain Cook historical dinner cruise will give you a full grasp of this beautiful island, travelling along Kealakekua Bay and Kona Coast. The highlight of this tour is a visit to Captain Cook’s monument, which will light a spark of your imagination.

Kauai – the oldest of Hawaiian Islands, Kauai is home to the most incredible valley sceneries you’ve ever seen. Cruising along Na Pali coastline is an unforgettable experience, especially in the afternoon. If you pick Na Pali sunset dinner cruise, you’ll get the opportunity take a “Titanic” inspired photo with those beautiful mountains in the back.

“Food, fun and entertainment is what you can expect on a Hawaiian dinner cruise…oh and the views!”

Food on the Cruise

Whatever tour you decide to go with, it’s always good to know what’s included food wise, since these are in fact dinner cruises. Most dinner tours can be booked for families with infants and toddlers, but usually, there’s no baby food included on the menu. That means you will have to bring your food on board. Some companies are more flexible in menu settings than others, so they encourage passengers to reach out and inform them if you have any special requirements regarding food (for example, if you’re vegetarians or vegans). In other cases, the company may ask you to specify the meal you will have, especially if they offer several menu options.

Dressing the Part

Most Hawaii dinner cruises have a dress code policy, which encourages layered clothes (a light jacket is recommendable if the temperature drops or it’s windy). Some of them, however, don’t support wearing a T-shirt or flip flops for men. If you’re taking a daily cruise, you can bring sunglasses or sunscreen.

Note that hotel pick-ups or drop-offs are usually not a part of the dinner cruise offering, so you’ll have to make sure you book your transportation services.

Can I afford a dinner cruise?

Luckily, there are cruises for a variety of budgets depending on which island you go with.

If you’re on a budget, you should consider booking a Maui dinner cruise. They start at the price of $92, $56 for children, and free for infants.  However, if you want to spice it up a bit, you can get premium seating for only $76-$112, and the same price goes for special holiday dinner tours.

There are some great discounts if you book online so you can get an even lower price on adult tickets for cruising. Book now and save some big bucks!

Romantic Option

If you’re looking for a more romantic option, we suggest going with an Oahu dinner cruise due to the ambiance that’s created.  They’re going to come at a bit of a premium with prices ranging from $149 to $199 per person. In some cases, the pricing can go even higher but includes some great additional features, too. That’s the case with combo tours which include submarine and dinner tours together. The price for an Oahu combo tour ranges from $204-$214 each.

Kid Pricing

If you’re taking a family with you, the pricing on children tickets is going as low as $69 for online bookings for Maui dinner cruises. The highest rate is around $100 per child, which would be the luxury options on Oahu cruises or Kauai dinner cruises. Some companies don’t charge fees for children under the specified age (usually for 6-year-olds and younger). So, if you want to take advantage of that, you ought to check out the Big Island dinner cruise (children under the age of 5 go free of charge).

Pricing includes a buffet dinner, beverage (non-alcoholic and alcoholic, only for passengers with a valid ID), seating, and additional features (like live music show, an entertainment show or dancing). Besides that, the price covers table side service, local taxes, and harbor fees, as well as a fuel surcharge.

great review from one of the hawaiian dinner cruises

Cancellation Policy

The cancellation policy varies by the company, but in most cases, a company doesn’t charge a cancellation fee if the spot is cancelled seven days before booking. Just make sure to check before booking, because it can vary based on the company.

Which cruises are the best?

Now that you know all about what they can offer, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and see why we chose the tours we did.  The first one we’ll take a look at is the Na Pali sunset dinner cruise in Kauai. The tour includes sailing alongside Na Pali coast in the afternoon, just before sunset. This 4-hour guided tour will give you a full insight into this breathtaking island, especially in the magnificent Na Pali coastline.

This rugged coast is what makes an authentic Kauai experience memorable. On this particular tour, you’ll get full access to the dinner buffet, with snacks and appetizers on the deck. There is a good choice of beverages along with the dinner, but a real delight is a champagne toast at the end, just minutes before Kauaian sunset, which puts a storybook ending to this wonderful dinner cruise.

If you’re looking for a romantic dinner tour, you should check out the Star Sunset Dinner Cruise and Show.  One of the most beautiful islands in Hawaii, Oahu has a breathtaking landscape that is second to none. A peaceful view of Waikiki beach or a real wonder of nature – Diamond Head – is what you can expect to see on the cruise. Then, while you’re floating along Kahala Gold Coast at sunset, take some lovely photos together or just sit and enjoy the scenery. Whether you decide to do a sunset dinner cruise or a fireworks dinner cruise, you will get an excellent buffet dinner along with some good company and enjoyable music on board.

When it comes to Big Island, there are far too many reasons why our favorite tour is the Captain Cook historical dinner cruise. Some of the most exciting Hawaiian activities are located right on this tour. If you’re lucky enough, you will get to see whales swimming around while you take in the beautiful coastline. This historical cruise will take you on a trip back in time when ancient Kings ruled.  As you head out to Kealakekua Bay, you’ll see Captain Cook’s monument and be enriched with history as a tour guide points out over 50 different historical points of interest.  It’s suffice to say, if you’re a history buff, this is the tour for you.


Last but not least, we have the Maui Sunset Premium Dinner Cruise off of Lahaina Harbor. You will enjoy some fresh air and delicious freshly grilled entrees as you travel on their eco-friendly vessels. Besides taking a regular sunset dinner cruise, this cruise offers an additional feature – every Friday you will get the chance to enjoy spectacular fireworks from the deck. The captain will take you along the Pali coast, which is home to some of the most beautiful sea creatures you can see. While you’re taking in the sights, get your groove on with live Hawaiian music and then sit back and enjoy some entertaining storytelling.  The best thing about this tour is that all the seating is outdoors, so you’re guaranteed to get the full experience and take in all Maui has to offer.

Don’t forget what Hawaii is all about

There is a chance you’ll be missing out on a lot of Hawaiian experience if you don’t choose a tour from the many Hawaiian dinner cruise offers above. Not only will you have the chance to get a bigger picture of all the Hawaiian beautiful sights and scenery, but you’ll also enjoy a delicious dining experience with friends, family, and/or loved ones. Being on board and watching the sunset is one of the most romantic experiences for all the lovebirds out there. Add some sweet music and fireworks to it – and you’ll be in heaven.

However, they also provide you with the traditional side. Embark on any number of tours, and you’ll feel the genuine spirit of Hawaiian culture and heritage. Throw on top of that getting to see some of the ocean’s most beautiful creatures, and you’ll soon be glad you didn’t pass up this opportunity. So, go ahead and book it, and if you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!

Star Sunset Dinner & Show Oahu

$106starting at
$106starting at
  • 60 Years of Aloha® show
  • 2 Hour Tour
  • Transportation from Waikiki, Kahala, and Koolina
  • All-you-can-eat Crab and Tenderloin of Beef Dinner
  • 1 Free Mai Tai
  • 3 Star or 5 Star Upgrade Available

Maui Sunset Premium Dinner Cruise (Lahaina)

  • Live Hawaiian music and storytelling
  • 2 Hour Tour
  • No Transportation
  • Four-course Dinner Served Tableside
  • 3 Alcoholic Beverages
  • Premium seating available (private table, upper deck)

Captain Cook Historical Dinner Cruise

  • Live Entertainment
  • 3 Hour Tour
  • No Transportation
  • Hawaiian style Buffet
  • 1 Free Drink
  • No Available Upgrade

Napali Sunset Dinner Tour

  • No Entertainment/Dinner Cruise Only
  • 3,5 Hour Tour
  • No Transportation
  • Dinner & Pupu's
  • Mai Tais, Margaritas, Beer, Wine & Soft Drinks
  • Sunset champagne toast
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