Maui’s Ali’i Nui Snorkel Sailing to Molokini

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Ali’i Nui in Molokini

While there are many boat operations that will get you safely to Molokini and back to Maui, very few offer the high level of service that you’ll find with Ali’i Nui. They’re the luxury option when it comes to catamaran sailing off Maui.

After hearing good things about Ali’i Nui, we decided to give them a try on our recent visit to Maui. We booked online directly with them to save 10%, which brought our price per person down from $175.00 to $158.20 including taxes and fees. (Note that reduced pricing for children is available.) We booked the Maui Morning Deluxe Snorkel Sail, a six-hour charter, which is supposed to include a visit to Molokini crater and “Turtle Arches” in South Maui. Unfortunately surf conditions didn’t allow us to go to Turtle Arches. Instead, we did some whale watching. (Ali’i Nui also offers a five-hour snorkel trip to Molokini only for $165 adult minus a 10% online booking savings.)

One of the nicer features that Ali’i Nui offers as part of their excursions is they provide transportation from your West or South Maui accommodation right to the dock. That eliminates the hassles of navigating and parking.

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Ali’i Nui van

Once on board, a cooked breakfast was served including thick-cut bacon, scrambled eggs, fresh fruit and breakfast breads. We were able to have breakfast in stable conditions before we ever left the dock to Molokini. After breakfast, snacks and beverages were always available. The ride to Molokini was fairly uneventful except for some brief whale sightings.

All snorkel equipment is provided. The staff will even train you how to snorkel or provide a refresher course.

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Parrot fish at Molokini

We love being at Molokini. The fish sightings and visibility were especially good after the sun reached over the eastern crater wall. We stayed at Molokini through lunch. I suspect we may have lingered there a bit longer due to the rough conditions at our next stop that was not to be on this particular day.

As we slowly made our way back to Maalaea Harbor, we stopped several times for whale sightings. There was one whale that really put on an amazing breaching show for us about 300 yards from the catamaran.

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Much to our delight, this humpback whale breached for us many times. Photo by Mat Siltala.

It was disappointing that we didn’t get to go to Turtle Arches as planned, but we still had a great morning out. We’d love to try again in the hopes that conditions allow a stop at Turtle Arches.

Here are some of the aspects about Ali’i Nui that make their excursions noteworthy:

  • Transportation is provided at no extra charge. It’s really convenient being picked up and dropped off door to door.
  • They have the most spacious and clean marine heads (bathroom) of any Hawaii snorkel boat that we’ve seen and we’ve seen a lot. This marine head was so nice we even snapped a photo of it.
  • SPF 50 sunscreen is provided
  • Towels are provided
  • The staff offer to clean your sunglasses.
  • Small chilled towels are provided.
  • Breakfast, snacks and lunch are provided. See the menu here.

For more opinions about Ali’i Nui, see this link to TripAdvisor reviews.

4 comments
    1. We don’t work for Ali’i Nui. To make a booking, contact them directly. There’s a direct link to their company in the above article.

  1. We are going to Maui the first week of October. If you had a choice between a tour with Trilogy or a tour with Ali’i, which would you recommend for a first time snorkeller? Both sites appear to offer a Molokini/turtle package. The only different appears to be the price. What am I missing? Thanks!

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