Yesterday, my wife, son and I had the opportunity to take the ferry from Maui to Lanai. I couldn’t find a lot of information online and I had so many questions about the journey. I’ve cobbled together the answers and I thought you might find them helpful too if you go! BTW: The only way to travel between Maui and Lanai is either by ferry or plane. The commercial flights are via Honolulu so will take much longer.
There’s only one ferry company that does the transfer between Maui and Lanai: Expeditions Lanai Ferry. It’s for passengers only (there are no car ferries). You can make reservations in advance either online or by calling 808-661-3756. Even though they say to use your confirmation number, they just asked us for a last name at the dock and I didn’t need to show ID. The ticket booth didn’t open until about 45 minutes before departure and they start boarding the ferry 30 minutes prior.
The Maui-to-Lanai ferry schedule is below:
- Lahaina to Manele: Departs at 6:45am, 9:15am, 12:45pm 3:15pm, 5:45pm
- Manele to Lahaina: Departs 8:00am, 10:30am, 2:00pm, 4:30pm, 6:45pm
Prices are $30 each way for adults and $20 for children 2-11. Kids under two ride free.
The Maui-to-Lanai ferry takes between 45 and 50 minutes dock to dock. I asked if the waters would be rough, and the agent told me no, that the ocean was calm, but it could be rough in the channel, which is about 20 minutes of the ride. It was slightly rough.
The ferry uses a hydrofoil boat that goes 20 knots. There’s both indoor and outdoor seating (the indoor section is air-conditioned). The most popular seats are up top in the first few rows where there’s some shade. There aren’t a lot of seats up there so if you want them, you better be first in line. According to the ticket agent, the most stable seats are inside and the furthest back. You can go in and out or up and down during the journey but not during departure and arrival.
My T-Mobile cell service worked the entire time, which surprised me. Keep your eyes peeled for whales and dolphins. I saw one breach off the back deck and snapped the above photo. The boat doesn’t stop for whales and they don’t make any announcements.
There’s a bathroom onboard downstairs. They don’t sell food but they do sell water and soda for $2 (cash only).
Overall, it was a great experience, and although one of the deckhands was not friendly, the other two were.