Cruise ships dock at Kahului, Maui's commercial hub on the east side of the island. Though the pier is in an industrial area, there's not much to see within walking distance. The neighboring town of Wailuku is the county seat.
There are free shuttles at the pier that will take you to the Queen Ka'ahumanu shopping center, which is approximately a 10 minute ride. When you arrive at the shopping center, make a beeline straight through the mall until you reach Macy's. Go through Macy's and out the back door to the city bus stop. Every few minutes one of the local public transportation buses will arrive. Take the #20 bus, which will take you to Lahaina, the bus ride costs $2. A day pass, available from the driver is $4 and will give you priority when at times crowded busses return to Kahului.
Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Holland America and Crystal Cruises all anchor off the historic town of Lahaina. The tenders will go to Front Street, a hub of shops, galleries and restaurants.
Printable map to take along.
Cruise calendar for this port.
Kahului, Maui's deep-water port, is home to nearly a third of the island's resident population and busy with shipping traffic. While commerce keeps the city bustling, it also means that Kahului's waterfront is more ships and sailing-vessels then sand. Beaches east of the city center are certainly nothing to sniff at though, whether you're after a swim or a few hours of sun.
Less than a landing strip away from Maui's main airport in Kahului, the Kana Beach County Park is rated one of the best places to learn how to sailboard in the world and consequently most visitors happily let the sound of the surf drown out the noise of the flights landing behind the trees. The same winds that made the area popular with sail boarders have lured in kite-boarders, though sea-kayakers and tentative surfers also find the regular breeze and gentle swell a good way to get up to speed before venturing on to the house-high breaks Hawaii is famous for.
If you think water sports are better left to the birds, stop in at the Kanaha Pond State Sanctuary, also close to the airport, for views of commercial airlines, migratory waterfowl and the endangered Hawaiian stilt and coot.
Kahului's city center boasts such home-town amenities as shopping malls and the Alexander and Baldwin Sugar Museum.
It pays to compare your cruise line shore excursions here.
It's best to rent a car to see the island's most visited attractions. Public transportation is not a good alternative. All major firms are located here. Make reservations in advance, as they use shuttles to get you to your car.
For more of the historic and less of the air-conditioned mall, head out of town along Route 320 to Wailuku, Maui's county-seat with several historic buildings and a museum that exhibits relics from the missionaries-in-Hawaii era.
Continue up Route 320, the 'Road to 'Iao', for 'Iao Valley State Park. A rock pillar, 'The Needle' rises up out of the foliage to a height of 2,250 feet above sea level. It was once a look-out and also an altar. Exploring the views and verdant greenery in the park on a number of short hikes requires, however, no big sacrifice.
Watch for sugarcane fields on the drive out of Kahului. The city is 20 miles-a 45 minute drive-east of Lahaina around Puu Kukui, at 5,788 feet the highest peak in the West Maui Mountains.
Kahului is 38 miles north of Haleakala National Park and 23 east of Lahaina.
The official U.S. currency is the United States dollar (symbol: $). ATM's everywhere.
Major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are widely used and accepted, even for transactions worth only a few dollars. In fact, in some cases, it may be the only way to make a transaction. Note to overseas visitors: Prices of goods and services always seem lower than they really are, as taxes and gratuities are seldom included.
Most states have a sales tax, ranging from 2.9% to nearly 10% of the retail price; 4-6% is typical. Sales tax is almost never included in posted prices (except for gasoline, and in most states, alcoholic beverages consumed on-premises), but instead will be calculated and added to the total when you pay.
Tipping in America is widely used and expected. While Americans themselves often debate correct levels and exactly who deserves to be tipped, generally accepted standard rates are:
Many local coffee shops and cafes offer Wi-Fi access.
In major metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles, many drugstores and supermarkets are routinely open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, while department stores, shopping centers and most other large retailers are typically open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and often with shorter hours on Sundays - generally 11 a.m. or noon to 5 or 6 p.m. On holidays, the tendency is to remain open (with the exception of the most important holidays like Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day where stores are generally closed)
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