Golden Princess Maui snorkel tour

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#1
We live on a small lake in rural Nebr.
7,395 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Even though we almost never do ship tours, we are considering the snorkel tour in Maui because of timing. It goes to the Molokini crater and turtle area.

Has anyone done this tour? How was it for fish, water quality and roughness (of course I know this varies)? We've done quite a bit of snorkeling and are good swimmers. Was the boat crowded?

I understand that it can be difficult to get tendered into shore on time to do private morning snorkel tours here, which is why we might do the ship tour.

Thanks for any advice or reports on the tour.
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SciFi
#2
Petaluma, Ca. 94954
29,486 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
There are many mentions about this particular tour on this board. Molokini is a very popular snorkeling area, and so-so. Turtle City is also pretty popular, but a pretty good snorkel area.

As far as roughness, can't predict. Avoid an after noon excursion, though.

The boat will go out as close to full as they can make it, so if that is crowded, in your definition, then, yes.
#3
We live on a small lake in rural Nebr.
7,395 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Thanks. I would have done a search, but the 'search' feature was entirely missing last night. I see it is back this morning.

Why in the heck would the search bar be gone?
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SciFi
#4
Petaluma, Ca. 94954
29,486 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by Nebr.cruiser
Thanks. I would have done a search, but the 'search' feature was entirely missing last night. I see it is back this morning.

Why in the heck would the search bar be gone?
They have been having some "issues" with the boards, and they, as usual, seem to revolve around the search feature.
#5
Tucson, AZ
957 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
I was also considering this tour. However, I can't swim. Many years ago we went to Hawaii and went out on a small boat (we were lucky and were the only ones who signed up for that particular tour - we weren't on a cruise) and the guy convinced me that I could go in the water with just a life jacket and it held me up. Do you think I could possibly do this? Even if I couldn't go in the water I think I'd enjoy the boat ride as long as there was room to sit outside. What do you think?????
#6
Petaluma, Ca. 94954
29,486 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Most snorkel operations require some sort of life vest or flotation device. So that will be there.

People go frequently without getting in the water. Each sailing will have something to do, while not entering the water.
#7
We live on a small lake in rural Nebr.
7,395 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Agree. They always have life vests available and some operators make you wear them, which is very annoying for us as we are good swimmers. Often they are the inflatable kind.

I've often seen people who are on a snorkel tour who either don't get off the boat or try it and quit right away.

There are times when currents or waves make a life vest a necessity.
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SciFi
#9
Tulsa, OK
355 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Originally posted by Nebr.cruiser
Even though we almost never do ship tours, we are considering the snorkel tour in Maui because of timing. It goes to the Molokini crater and turtle area.

Has anyone done this tour? How was it for fish, water quality and roughness (of course I know this varies)? We've done quite a bit of snorkeling and are good swimmers. Was the boat crowded?

I understand that it can be difficult to get tendered into shore on time to do private morning snorkel tours here, which is why we might do the ship tour.

Thanks for any advice or reports on the tour.
I did this ship's snorkelling tour (Sapphire Princess) in early March 2011, and enjoyed it thoroughly. It was not too crowded, although full. The water was not rough where we snorkelled offshore, but the crew thought it was too rough to go out to Molokini.... very disappointing. The water was lovely and clear, plenty of fish, and my thrill was seeing two huge - seemed like each was six feet across - manta rays slowly gliding along on the bottom beneath me (they are harmless).... magical!!
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#10
Tulsa, OK
355 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Originally posted by Ferndale Girl
I was also considering this tour. However, I can't swim. Many years ago we went to Hawaii and went out on a small boat (we were lucky and were the only ones who signed up for that particular tour - we weren't on a cruise) and the guy convinced me that I could go in the water with just a life jacket and it held me up. Do you think I could possibly do this? Even if I couldn't go in the water I think I'd enjoy the boat ride as long as there was room to sit outside. What do you think?????
Go for it! It is a nice boat ride, if nothing else. But you could always try the life jacket and slipping off the steps at the back end of the boat.... I bet the crew would let you hang onto a line.... until you felt comfortable enough just to bob around right where the boat was. They would keep a close eye on you, I bet. Just an idea.... enjoy it!
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Holland America-Oosterdam - Mexican Riviera Feb 2006
MSC - Lirica - Eastern Caribbean Mar 2007
RC - Navigator of the Seas Ft.Laud. to Barcelona Apr 2009
Grand Princess - Ft Laud. to Southampton Apr2010
Sapphire Princess - Hawaii Mar 2011
Island Princess - Panama Canal Oct 2011
Crown Princess - Ft Laud. to Rome Apr 2012


Sapphire Princess Hawaii Feb 2013
Carribean Princess - Canada NewEngland Sep'13
Celebrity Silhouette - Ft.Laud. to Rome Apr 2014
Ruby Princess - Mexican Riviera Dec 2016
Island Princess - Panama Canal transit Feb 2017
#12
California
217 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Anytime late morning and on into afternoon will be rough. We spend three months each year in a condo looking directly out to the path all snorkle excursion boats take from the harbor to Molokini. Guaranteed rough water noon on. Pick morning if you can.
#13
Tucson, AZ
957 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Originally posted by fairsky1984
Anytime late morning and on into afternoon will be rough. We spend three months each year in a condo looking directly out to the path all snorkle excursion boats take from the harbor to Molokini. Guaranteed rough water noon on. Pick morning if you can.
The one we are on leaves at 8:00 a.m. so hopefully not too rough....we'll just wait and see what happens - I'll at least enjoy the boat ride.
#14
Pennsylvania
449 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Below is something I wrote describing our recent visit to Hawaii. It may be helpful. As explained, we were on the Pride of America docked 30 min from Maalaea. Our snorkeling and catamaran trip was one of 10 activities that I commented on. I found the snorkeling disappointing, but if it fits your schedule, it may be perfect for you. For more context on my comments you may choose to read the entire string at "Our Top 10 activities/ attractions / excursions.

# 7 on our countdown is the catamaran sailing and snorkel trip we took out of Maalaea harbor on Maui.

This was Day 2 of our stay in Maui as part of our NCL Pride of America cruise. Amid lots of grumbling, we were off the POA by 6:30am in order to catch a taxi (very easy) and drive across the island to Maalaea. At a cost of $40 (incl tip) each way the taxi took about 30 min to traverse the narrow throat of the island. This left plenty of time to locate the slip where our catamaran was located and get checked in by 7:15am. Many sailing/diving tours leave from Maalaea each day. Some of my comments will apply across the board to any excursion in this area, others will be focused on our particular sail aboard the Paragon II.

As advertised, a continental breakfast is provided on the boat. We were pleasantly surprised by the array of pastries, juices and coffee provided. It’s definitely enough to get you going in the morning. The captain (male) and his two gorgeous crew (female) seem to be “livin’ the dream.” They are friendly, attentive and totally competent. All are willing to engage in conversation and provide information about the boat and what we could/would see throughout the day. Most particularly, they were vigilant in whale spotting. Since this was mid-January, we expected to see whales. To our delight, there were many to be enjoyed.

As most are probably aware, Molokini is an old volcanic crater that flooded when a section of the rim collapsed. The allure for us (and others, I’m sure), was the idea of snorkeling within this flooded crater…how cool is that!

The trip out to Molokini takes about an hour. If you haven’t had problems in a boat before, you are unlikely to have them aboard Paragon II. The catamaran is stable and comfortable. Initial winds allowed the captain to kill the engine and run under full sail. As the wind died, we proceeded to Molokini under engine power.

Once we reached Molokini, the crew secured the boat, got everyone squared away with snorkels, masks and fins, and prepared us to get into the water. Entering the water is pretty easy. There is a ladder / stairway that drops down from the trampoline in the front of the boat. Just step down the stairs and get wet! Two members of my group are essentially non-swimmers. No problem! Styrofoam “noodles” are provided. Place the noodle across your chest and under your armpits and you will be ready to go. Even if you can swim, don’t be bashful about taking a noodle. Frankly, it makes easing around the crater easier and more relaxing.

If you have not snorkeled before, you will likely be awed. The flip side is that if you have snorkeled before, you may be disappointed. All 7 of my group enjoyed being in the water. The 3 (including the 2 non-swimmers) who had not previously snorkeled thought it was fantastic. The other 4 have snorkeled and dived at several spots in the Caribbean. To be honest, we were underwhelmed. While we saw plenty of fish, the variety was lacking. More striking was the lack of color or more accurately the muted colors that could be seen. Rather than brilliant blues, reds, oranges, purples and yellows, we saw a lot of grey, dusty, ashy, dull marine flora. Sure, it was fun and we enjoyed pointing things out to each other, but I can’t say it was the best snorkeling we have ever done.

After about an hour swimming in the crater, it was time to head back to Maalaea. While we were playing the crew were putting out a really nice buffet lunch. Cold sandwiches, chips, salads and desserts were plentiful. Oh, by the way, beer and wine are provided in addition to a range of soft drinks…not bad!

During the sail back to harbor, the captain directed our attention to lots of whales. No, we didn’t get close enough to pet them, but we had no problem spotting them throughout the sail. By 1:00pm we were back in the slip in Maalaea and ready for the rest of our day.

If you want to enjoy a nice sail on a comfortable catamaran, Paragon II (and others) will do the trick. The captain and crew of Paragon II were excellent…no complaints at all. If you want to spot whales, any boat out of Maalaea should suffice during the appropriate season. If you want truly beautiful diving or snorkeling, you might want to keep looking. Having put all our eggs in this basket, I can’t compare it to other sites around Hawaii. I simply find it hard to believe that this is as good as it gets. Overall, it was a good trip for us and it worked well with our schedule. Beyond that, I would search for a better dive site and not be seduced by the allure of the crater.
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#15
California
217 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Originally posted by Ferndale Girl
The one we are on leaves at 8:00 a.m. so hopefully not too rough....we'll just wait and see what happens - I'll at least enjoy the boat ride.
Just remember please that sometimes there can be winds (rougher seas) at any time. But generally, and what we witness during our extended time on Maui, the later in the morning or afternoon will be rougher, and mornings are the best. Enjoy!
#16
Tucson, AZ
957 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Just thought that I'd report back on this.....we took the Princess Snorkel excursion from Lahaina on May 2nd. It was a beautiful calm day so no problem getting to either of the stops. I wore my swimsuit just in case I was brave enough to go in the water but because I can't swim I was happy to just go for the boat ride. After everyone got in the water at the first stop I was hot and asked if I could just go in with the float thing around my waist and splash around. The captain was VERY nice. I got in and then he talked me into using a mask. I didn't venture too far from the boat but I'm really glad I did it. Getting up the steps back into the boat wasn't hard at all. I got in the water again at the second stop that had the turtles. However, the turtles were farther from the boat than I felt comfortable going to. Just looking down at the pretty bottom was enough for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the day - even spotted some whales. If we ever go back I would definitely take this excursion again.
#17
Davis, CA
1,201 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Those that have done the Princess snorkel excursion on Maui, did the boat have snorkel masks with magnification? I wear glasses and standard masks make everything too fuzzy. On an excursion on the Big Island, the company we used (Fairwind) had masks in various prescription strengths. It was amazing to actually see fish.

Thanks, Jackie
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Future: Grand Princess, winter. 2018, Mexican Riviera
Completed: Coastal California, Oct. 2016, Caribbean Princess Western Caribbean, Dec. 2015, Golden Princess Alaska, Aug. 2014, Star Princess Alaska, June 2014, Sapphire Princess Hawaii, Nov. 2013 , Golden Princess 3 night coastal getaway, Oct. 2013, Sapphire Princess Calif Coastal, April 6, 2013, Sapphire Princess Mexican Riviera Jan 2, 2010, Star Princess diverted Mexican Riviera (Coastal California) April 27, 2009, Dawn Princess Alaska July 2007, Seabourn Legend Caribbean March 2007, Island Princess Hawaii February 2006,Windstar Barbados to Costa Rica November 2005, Regal Princess Alaska June 5 2004, Windstar Tahiti 2003/4, Sea Princess Mexico 2001, Nieuw Amsterdam HAL Alaska 1997, Crown Dynasty Panama Canal 1994, Vistafjord Cunard Mediterranean 1987, SS Azure Seas Mexico 1983, Sun something or other in the 1960's Bahamas

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