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na pali explorer vs. captain zodiac in kona


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I would like to hear from anyone who has done one of these raft /snorkel tours. I will be on POAM early December and would like to take one. Can;t afford both. Does the Napali Explorer have a short time on the beach? I saw that Captain Andy's does a Napali raft tour that includes that ( not ship sponsered). BUt I heard that the Kona Captain Zodaic raft tour was great. Any advice?

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I've done both. It's nice seeing Napali coast up close, but the American flagged ships already see the Napali coast. Plus the snorkeling isn't good, while in Kona it is the best. The Napali explorer done for the ship excursions is the big one, which doesn't pull into the beach. (but it is covered, nice plus in the hot sun)


I recommend doing Captain Zodiac.

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I vote for Captain Zodiak too! I felt like I was snorkeling in an aquarium, I kid you not!! Although I did not do the Napali explorer tour, I talked to some folks that did both excursions and they said they much prefered the Captain Zodiak because the water was so much clearer in Kona and the raft ride so much fun.

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It was AWESOME!! The water was so clear- lots of fish-it's fine for a beginner as well.

To get in the water, you just slide off the side of the zodiac. To get back in, you have to climb a short ladder. I am only 5'2" and am of the "fluffy" set and I had no trouble at all. There are others around to help you if you need a "lift" or a "push". It was a great morning. Bring you underwater camera!

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Just got back from our cruise. We did the Captain Zodiac on Oct 25th.

I am a bit of a scaredy cat, and had I realised that you sat on the sides of this raft and not "in" the raft, I would probably have never done it. I was terrified and held on for dear life on the way to the snorkeling site (about an hour) and the next day, I was sore all over from how stiff my muscles were!!!

That being said, I had the bright idea to ask if I could sit on the floor going back and they said yes (thank god) so that made the ride much more enjoyable for me!!

In the end I am glad we went because the scenery was beautiful, and the water was indeed crystal clear.

I would definitely rate this excursion as beginner level though. While there was lots of coral, there were only a few really small fish close to the bottom. The next day we went to Maui and my bf snorkelled right off the beach and saw huge schools of fish, a sting ray and a huge sea turtle swam right past him.

After seeing that for free, he felt the Zodiac tour was a bit of a rip off. Still fun - but you don't see much!!

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We bought the Lonely Planet book for Hawaii before we went (it had tons of great info).

It mentioned that if you drove a little futher past Kaanapali Beach, there was another beach called Kahekili Beach. You turn left and drive through the gates of some beach condos. The parking is free and plentiful, they have really clean bathrooms and showers, and the beach is stunning.

When you walk from the parking to the beach, the snorkelling area is to the right. My bf went in and the water was only about 6 feet deep and he saw all kinds of stuff as mentioned.


We spent the whole day and there were hardly any people. We heard that Kaanapali was packed!!

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