Verena and Sophie went with Karen and I to Maui on Sunday. We decided to take the Hawaii Superferry for several reasons. First, the Superferry is somewhat new and an interesting way to travel to another island. Second, it's slightly cheaper than a roundtrip airline ticket right now. Third, it allowed more time on the island than a sameday flight would have.
So, what do I think of the Superferry? Mixed. For example:
- We departed Honolulu at 6:30 AM, but they ask you to be there 90 minutes before your departure. This turned out to be total nonsense, but we didn't know otherwise. If you get there early, you're going to be sitting around for a while. I think 90 minutes makes sense if you are taking your car. We were just walk-on passengers.
- Why do they check ID several times? At airports you get asked by TSA and that's it. The Superferry checked twice in Honolulu and two or three times in Kahului. Sometimes they just wanted to see your boarding pass again, sometimes not. That got annoying.
- The Kahului port sucks. It's a big tent in a parking lot. You arrive at the check-in tent and, well, check-in. They have you sit on some benches for a few minutes, then a shuttle bus shows up and takes you to another tent over by the dock. There are two large tents next to the dock. One is used for passengers waiting for the ferry and the other is used for the passengers coming off the ferry ("deboating"). The reason for this is they have to bus you over to the other tent. You can't just walk because it's where all the cars are coming off the ferry. Sometimes they might feel like moving everyone from one tent to another with no explanation.
- There's no coffee at the ports. If we are leaving at 6:30 AM and you want us there 90 minutes before the departure, have coffee.
- The Kahului port has portable restrooms on the dock. The Honolulu port has a real building and real restrooms. Consistency.
- They use portable worklights on generators to light up the port at night. Why? In Kahului, we were standing under the tent waiting for the ferry and right next to us is this huge generator powering 4 work lights. Exhaust fumes and you can't hear enough to talk to each other.
- It's very cold on the ship, and while a good reason is given on the web site and in the on-ship magazine, I still didn't see any of that until I got there. I solved the problem by purchasing a Hawaii Superferry hoodie from the on-ship gift shop.
- People smoke on the ship despite the fact that they say over and over again that the whole thing is non-smoking, even outside. This should be enforced because when people are coming in and out, smoke blows in.
- The mechanical staircase on the Kahului dock beeps over and over while it's activated. This is very irritating.
We rented a car on Maui and went to Lahaina. Then we went to a beach. Then it was time to leave. Maui, only for a few hours.
There is a big Krispy Kreme free-standing store right after you leave the car rental place on Maui.