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Kitchen Sink Included
Hawaii Superferry
by Alain Gayot

The Alakai

* Due to a reversal by the State Supreme Court, Superferry operations will cease until further notice. (03/17/09)

Since Polynesians arrived at the Hawaiian Islands during the third century in primitive canoes aided by migrating birds, seagoing commuter travels have been nothing short of failing fiascos. Locals remember horror stories from the Jetfoil service and other failed attempts at sea transport. If cruise ships manage to navigate the sea just fine, and cargo can be moved through the sometimes treacherous channels, why not a ferry? Until now, the only way to hop around the principal islands was to fly, which is fast and effective for people and luggage, but not large items, like cars. Now island-hoppers will be able to bring everything with them—including the kitchen sink. The Alakai has a capacity of 866 people and 282 cars. It makes a daily morning run between Honolulu and Maui, and offers an afternoon roundtrip as well, on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. There is nothing extravagantly new about this sea-going vessel powered by four massive electronically-controlled engines, except that its owners hope to succeed in a notoriously tough arena.

Superferry Passenger Terminal Vehicle Storage Area

This large boat, the Alakai ("ocean path") is the result of years of continued cooperation between the government, private enterprise and consumers. Assembled in Mobile, Alabama, from a suite of international components, it is touted as being environmentally friendly, with specially-designed whale lookout stations and non-toxic bottom paint. Unlike conventional ships, it will not discharge waste water or ballast that could transport invasive species. Three sailing manta rays adorn the ship’s side and double as the company logo, evocating the concept of family.

The Alakai's Galley Passenger Seating Area on the Superferry

Officials expect a load factor of 70 percent Hawaiian residents and 30 percent visitors. A terminal to accommodate passengers was built at Honolulu’s Pier 19, as well as a disembarkation barge. The crew will be comprised of 26 individuals from the command post to the hull. The galley will serve food during the three-hour voyage between Honolulu and Nāwiliwili, Kauai, while a children’s play area, logo shop selling Hawaii-made products, and 34 wall-mounted large screen TVs will help pass the time. Less price-conscious travelers can gain entry to the Hahalua lounge situated at the very front of the ship, featuring oversized leather seats with plenty of room to sprawl out, dining tables and coffee tables, for a $20 upgrade. There is a more subdued lounge in the back and a small open rear deck for those who need to consume fresh air. But this is no Sea Ray runabout, and no one is expected to wakeboard behind it, but rather should stay cocooned in the comfortable belly of this massive (350-foot) catamaran built for speed and stability.

Captain's Chair Passenger Lounge

The Superferry recently announced partnerships with the following rental car companies enabling vehicles to be transported between O‘ahu and Maui: Hertz, Dollar/Thrifty Automotive Group, Alamo/National Rent A Car, Avis Budget Group, U-Haul, Ryder and JN Car and Truck Rental. Shuttle service between rental car locations and Hawaii Superferry ports are available through the car rental company. The Superferry also has plans to expand its fleet. An identical sister ship to Alakai, yet to be named, will provide transportation to Maui. Service is expected to be extended to the Big Island by 2009.


Maui and Kaua'i One-Way Passenger Fares
Tuesday-Thursday
Friday-Monday
14-Day Advance Purchase Web Fare
$44
$54
Base Passenger Fare
$52
$62
Child (2-12 years)
$41
$51
Infant (Under 2 years)
$17
$17
Senior
$41
$51
Retired Military
$41
$51
Lounge Upgrade
$20
$20

Maui and Kaua'i One-Way Vehicle Rates
Tuesday-Thursday
Friday-Monday
Car/SUV
$44
$54
Large Pickup/Van
$52
$62
Motorcycles, Mopeds, Scooters
$41
$51

For the schedule and more information, visit www.hawaiiinterislandsuperferry.com or call 1-877-HI-FERRY.

Going to Hawaii? Check out our guide
The Best Spas in Hawaii
The Best of Hawaii


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(Updated: 07/02/08 DN)

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