Here on the southwestern coast of O`ahu, we are blessed. The weather is perfect, the scenery unrivalled. Even with the occasional rain shower, the dark, mysterious Waianae Mountains are the perfect backdrop for our frequent rainbows. But above all, our southwest-facing shores are primed for the most spectacular lightshow in Hawai`i: the evening sunset. All of us at Beach Villas Hawai`i agree the best way to take in this stunning, daily phenomenon is from a sunset Oahu cruise.
The Ocean is Our Happy Place
One of the best sunset cruises available is right here at Ko Olina. Based out of the on-site marina just minutes away from your vacation rental, the Kai `Oli `Oli (“joy on the ocean”) is a state-of-the-art, 61’-catamaran offering daily sunset snorkel and dinner cruises. You and 47 other guests will be treated to a scenic 40-mile voyage past the towering mountains of the western coast, racing playful Hawaiian spinner dolphins and sometimes coming face to face with humpback whales. A one hour stop at “secret” coral gardens offers you the chance to snorkel in paradise. Slip into the warm waters of the Pacific and float with graceful green sea turtles, explore colorful coral formations, and frolic with tropical reef fish. Upon returning to the ship, rejuvenate yourself with a tropical drink, cold beer, or a refreshing iced tea. Then, as the sun sets the ocean ablaze, feast on a sumptuous dinner buffet. This is truly not to be missed (check their website for seasonal availability and prices).
Hawai`i Nautical has a similar itinerary but without the snorkeling. Afternoon departures from Waianae Harbor (near Ko Olina) include transportation from your lodgings.
A Dinner Party at Sunset with a Oahu Cruise
Waikiki has exciting dinner party and sunset Ko Olina cruise options as well. The Star of Honolulu features formal, sit-down dining with lavish gourmet meals and top flight cocktails. Take in a jazz show, a dinner show, or the Friday night fireworks. Every seat on board has amazing panoramic views of Waikiki, Diamond Head, and the inevitable “fireworks” as the Hawaiian sun sinks below the horizon. On a clear evening, you might even see the green flash!
If it is a party you seek, the “booze” cruises departing the sands of Waikiki beach every afternoon are just what you need. Colorful catamarans feature festive, fun-loving crews that keep the party going with great music, a lively atmosphere, and sneakily-strong mai tais, all evening long. Make friends and make plans for the rest of your night in Waikiki, but be sure to watch the Friday sailboat races, “ooh and ahh” at the weekend firework shows, and don’t miss a classic Hawaiian sunset. We prefer the Makani Kai with its open bar, but the Maita`i catamaran and its cash bar is a fun alternative.
The Perfect Nightcap
O`ahu has plenty of tour operators offering fabulous dinner Ko Olina cruises and sunset snails. Whether you want to voyage aboard a pirate ship, feel the wind in your hair aboard a catamaran at 30 mph, or sip cocktails in your finest dinner attire, there is an option for everyone. Which Oahu cruise is right for you? You just might need to try them all. We will provide the sunsets!