We are booked on the Carnival Spirit for April 19th to Hawaii. I just found out that they will be substituting Kuhului for Lahaina. We have cruised to Hawaii twice before (even got married in Maui on our second trip) and we always docked in Lahaina. If you have been there before you know how great Lahaina is. Can anyone tell me what Kuhului is like? How long will is take to get to Lahaina? Is there a nice town/shopping in Kuhului? We are actually thinking of changing our plans due to this itinerary change. The coast of Maui is absolutely so beautiful from the ship it makes the whole trip worth while. Please tell me Kuhului is ok. Thanks!
To be honest, we've only gone through Kuhului on our way to Iao needle or over to Lahaina,Kaanapali etc. It does have shopping centers etc but probably most people(tourists) go on to the other side of the Island. Your big problem of course is transportation, there is very little of it compared to Oahu. Best option is to rent a car, shuttle to airport to pick it up, there is no parking at the pier but car rental companies will make arrangements for you to park at airport if you are renting overnite. Time to travel to west side of Maui, about 30 to 40 minutes without whale watch stop. It can take longer in periods of heavy traffic, 7-9 am and 4-6 pm. For the most part it's a2-3 lane road, with no passing.
Too many cruisers are worried way too much about this. Anchoring in Lahaina is the best! But with the increased cruise ship traffic in recent yeras and the number of charter boats and ship tenders all vying for a minimal space at the only loading dock...plus new port security measures, it's not what it used to be. Ships are frequently changing to Kahului where you "walk" off the ship like any place else. Most cruise lines who are better organized, have free buses shuttling passengers to Lahaina anyway, from Kahului. It's about a 45 minute ride.
Get this... amazingly, you'll be bussed to Lahaina from Kahului, and be standing on Front Street shopping, long before you'll get ashore by tender in Lahaina...especially after standing in long lines waiting to get on the next tender.
Cruise lines are getting tired of passenger comlaints about the length of time to get ashore at Lahaina....that's why they are opting to go to Kahului instead. Stay with it and you won't regeret it.
You say you "Docked" in Lahaina???
What were you sailing on - a dinghy?
Lahaina is a nightmare port for every ship that stops there. Heavy swells, injured passengers, delays getting into the pier. Sometimes missing the port entirely.
Here`s the latest: The pier in Lahaina sits on top of a fuel tank that holds 150,000 gallons of gasoline. If you were a terrorist, where would you place your bomb?
Good spot for a security checkpoint, no?
Every shore excursion - except a luau - starts from the port of Kahului. Unless you are buying fudge or Muumuus, Lahaina is a complete waste of time.
The BIG difference is the word DOCKED. You do not dock in Lahaina. You tender in and it can be a nightmare. I have seen the tender platform get caught by the tender in 8 foot swells and throw passengers and crew up in the air. I've seen one hour or more to load each tender. I've seen the ship cancel tendering for two hours causing half the ship to miss booked luau's. Lahaina is of cousr the nicer town. But it is made accessable by shuttle bus. You are much better off docking than putting up with the tender nightmares in Lahaina.
I sailed on the Spirit this past September from Honolulu to Ensenada. When we docked in Kuhului we were suprised to get off the boat and have hardly no cab drivers there to take us anywhere. And the ones that were there wanted to charge us almost $50 each way. We, among alot others, were left with no choice but to rent a car for the day. It actually wound up being a good thing though because we were free to go anywhere at anytime. It is approx. 1/2 hr drive to Lahaina from the port of Kuhului. There isn't much to do in Kuhului other than shop or take the Maui downhill bike ride as we did (very much worth it). If docking in Lahaina and or getting tendered is as bad as everyone is saying than I'm glad we didn't dock there, however keep in mind that you might want to rent a car for something like $24 for the day (not bad) in order to get anywhere.