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Love our Aloha state? Stay in touch with Star of Honolulu®! Our travel blog features Star of Honolulu news, specials and holiday offerings as well as fun things to do around Hawaii, our favorite Hawaiian recipes, and interesting features about Hawaiian history and culture!

What to Wear and Pack for Whale Watching

November 25, 2022

 

With whale watching season right around the corner, the Star of Honolulu Early Bird Whale Watch Cruise is a must do in the winter for residents and visitors alike. In fact, Star of Honolulu Chief Captain Wade Matsueda has already spotted whales in the past two weeks! To better prepare for this once in a lifetime experience, it is important to know what you may need for your morning full of fun.

Departing from Aloha Tower Marketplace, Pier 8 at 8:45AM, the two-hour cruise offers snacks and drinks that are available for purchase, ranging from Assorted Bagels & Cream Cheese, Macadamia Nut Cookies, Hawaiian Chips, Kona Blend Coffee, Tea, Juice and more.

We also recommend you dress casual for a comfortable and easy experience. Feel free to pack a small bag of essentials to carry on board with you including:

  • Light Jacket
    Although Hawaii is warm year-round, it can get a little chilly out on the ocean so be sure to pack a light jacket to enjoy and explore Hawaii’s largest vessel comfortably.
  • Binoculars
    In order to see the whales as close as possible, bring binoculars if you have some! A firsthand look will allow you to spot the humpback whales as they come to the surface.
  • Sunglasses
    The Star of Honolulu has four walk-around decks to give you a 360-degree view of the Honolulu coastline and world-famous Diamond Head. These unforgettable panoramic views can’t be missed so pack your favorite pair of sunglasses and take advantage of our 60-foot high observation deck.
  • Sunscreen
    The sun in Hawaii can be strong, be sure to apply sunscreen before sun exposure on your cruise. It is also important to check your sunscreen follows the Hawaii Sunscreen Law, prohibiting the ingredient of oxybenzone and octinoxate.
  • Camera
    You will create amazing memories that you will want to capture forever so don’t forget your camera and share your photos and videos by tagging us at @StarofHonolulu on our Facebook and Instagram accounts.

The Star of Honolulu has three types of stabilizers to offer the most comfortable ride. If you are prone to motion sickness, feel free to ask one of our friendly crew members for a ginger pill at any time.

The Early Bird Whale Watch Cruise offers the most memorable experience in Hawaii for thousands of guests every winter. Come join us for optimal whale encounters from 8:45AM to 10:45AM, January 2 – March 31, 2023. Our Certified Naturalists Crew will share their whale expertise, while whale demonstrations and hands-on displays are available for you and your children to enjoy and learn.

If no whales are sighted, receive a FREE return Whale Check until a whale is sighted. Our whale watch cruise sells out fast, so book today! Families can also receive our Child FREE Special in which one child (age 3-11) cruises FREE per paid adult. Call (808) 983-7730 to receive this two off special as it cannot be booked online.

 

Spot these Humpback Behaviors on Your Next Whale Watch Cruise

January 29, 2022

 

It’s the sea-son for excellent winter whale sightings onboard Star of Honolulu’s Early Bird Whale Watching Cruise! So far this January, the first month of our 2022 whale season, we have been spotting an average of 3.5 humpbacks per whale cruise. Plus, our guests were able to view these majestic creatures on 18 of the 19 whale cruises we operated between January 3 and 27, 2022.

You can still join in on the fun and book your tickets as our Whale Cruise runs through March 31, 2022! This two-hour eco-tour comes with Whale Guarantee, and families can receive our Child FREE Special by calling 808-983-7827 as it cannot be booked online. We also offer optional Waikiki round-trip transportation, and guests can purchase snacks and drinks onboard.

Departing at 8:45AM from Aloha Tower, Hawaii’s largest cruise vessel sails along the south shore of Oahu with scenic views of Diamond Head and other Waikiki landmarks. Guests will enjoy Star of Honolulu’s four open-air decks, offering ample space to photograph and spot humpbacks performing spectacular acrobatic moves, such as these:

  • Breach
    The most breathtaking move associated with humpbacks! A whale launches itself out of the ocean and lands back on the surface with a huge splash.
  • Blow
    Whenever humpbacks go above the surface for air, they exhale a cloud of moist air through their blowholes, creating a spout spray. Adults usually surface to breathe every 7-15 minutes, while calves surface every 3-5 minutes.
  • Spy Hop or Head Rise
    Experts believe humpbacks vertically raise their heads out of the water to scan for activity above the surface.
  • Tail Slap
    With this behavior, whales lift their tail flukes and slap them repeatedly on the water surface.
  • Peduncle Slap
    This behavior is similar to a Tail Slap. But instead of their tails, humpbacks slap the water with their peduncles, which connect their flukes to their bodies.
  • Pec Slap
    Believed to be their way of signaling to other whales, humpbacks simultaneously slap both of their fins on the water.
  • Head Lunge
    To show competitiveness, a whale raises its head out of the water and lunges forward.
  • Fluke Dive Up
    A humpback raises and arches its tail above the surface before going underwater.

If you’re lucky enough to capture any of these behaviors, don’t forget to share your photos and videos by tagging us @StarofHonolulu on our Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Whale Watch Cruises to Set Sail January 2

October 19, 2021

With the first whale sighting of the season reported earlier this October, it’s a sign that Hawaii’s most popular winter activity is just around the corner. If you’ve never been on a whale watch, it’s an awe-inspiring experience you’ll never forget.

Imagine cruising along the Honolulu coastline, as seasoned captains and Naturalists crew share fascinating insights on Humpback whales. For instance, the humpback is Hawaii’s state marine mammal and are known in Hawaiian as koholā. These majestic creatures have a cultural significance in the islands as well. Whale petroglyphs have been discovered on Lanai, Maui and the Big Island, while some Native Hawaiians consider the koholā their ‘aumākua – a deified ancestor who takes the form of an animal and provides spiritual guidance.

With its deep connection to Hawaii’s traditions, we see why humpback whales are revered in the islands. But one must wonder, “What is the long journey to Hawaii like for these whales?” To answer this, let’s begin in the nutrient-rich waters of the Gulf of Alaska and the sub-polar regions, where the whales feed on krill, planktons and small fishes from May to November.

After the summer feeding months, the North Pacific population of humpbacks start their migration to the Hawaiian Islands. With an estimated travel distance of 2,500–3,000 miles, this is considered one of the longest treks of any mammal in the world. In fact, this journey is equivalent to traveling across the Continental United States. Their migration is not yet fully understood, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). But experts believe the whales use temperature, ocean currents and the Earth’s magnetic fields as navigation tools.

The NOAA estimates as many as 12,000 humpback whales migrate to the Aloha State each year. They travel 3–7 miles per hour with few stops, and their journey can be completed in as few as 28 days. Once arriving in Hawaii, humpback whales mate, give birth and nurse their calves between November and May in the protected warm waters of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

During their winter stay, the koholā can be seen blowing, spy hopping, tail slapping, breaching and much more. One of the best places to view these behaviors as well as stunning views of Diamond Head and Waikiki is from onboard the Star of Honolulu’s annual Early Bird Whale Watching Cruises available January 2 through March 31, 2022.

Guests cruise in comfort with 4 floors of open air walk-around decks, the most outdoor deck space per person, high-tech stabilizers and wheelchair accessible facilities. Guests may opt for the Early Bird Whale Watch or the Early Bird Whale Watch & Breakfast with a tasty hot breakfast buffet. The 2-hour cruises depart at 8:45AM and return at 10:45AM from pier 8, Aloha Tower Marketplace, just 15 minutes from Waikiki.

Whale sightings on the STAR’s whale watching adventures are guaranteed, or guests receive a “whale check” to cruise again until a whale is sighted (meal, transportation optional).

This cruise is a must-do eco-adventure for young and old alike traveling to Oahu. It’s entertaining and educational for the whole family with a multitude of whale activities and is incredibly affordable with a Child Free Special, where kids ages 3-11, will cruise free per paying adult.

With less than three months remaining before the start of whale season, we can’t wait to welcome you aboard and show you Hawaii’s beloved koholā! Book online today or call us at 808-983-7730.

May Your Holidays Be Starry and Bright!

December 18, 2020

Mele Kalikimaka and Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou from Star of Honolulu! We celebrate this season by thanking you for your support and wishing you a joyous holiday, filled with hope, happiness and aloha. May the holiday spirit be with you and your ʻohana today and throughout the New Year!

Bringing the Spirit of Aloha from Hawaii to You!

May 15, 2020

We are all united with the Spirit of Aloha! As such, the Stars of Paradise ohana would like to share the sights and sounds of Hawaii through a hula video performance by our Star of Honolulu and Rock-A-Hula entertainers.

The video features the song “Kaimana Hila” composed in 1916. It speaks of the iconic Diamond Head, which is seen during our Star of Honolulu cruises and our Royal Star Hawaii Grand Circle Island & Haleiwa Tour. The famous landmark can also be viewed from Waikiki, which is home to our Rock-A-Hula show.

Our Entertainment Director Rebekah Newbold said the musicians and dancers were ecstatic to make this video. “We wanted to create something that would let our guests feel Hawaii’s Aloha,” she said.

To make the video, the musicians recorded the song. Next, the music track was sent to the dancers, who recorded themselves performing from home. Finally, the dancers submitted their clips to complete the video and shared it with our guests worldwide.

“We’re hoping this video gives all of our extended ohana happiness and joy during this time,” said Newbold. “We’re looking forward to performing for them again soon.”

Kids Cruise FREE Special on STAR’s Whale Watch Cruise

March 9, 2020

From now thru April 5, 2020, enjoy Star of Honolulu’s Whale Watch cruises with a Child Cruise FREE Special and guaranteed whale sightings.

With only one month left of Whale Watch season, there’s no better place to observe Humpback whales in their natural habitat than aboard Star of Honolulu!

From now through April 5, 2020, kids and adults alike can spot these majestic creatures aboard either the Early Bird Whale Watch Cruise or the Premier Whale Watch Cruise. Both feature guaranteed whale sightings, and kids (ages 3-11) can cruise FREE with each paying adult. Guests can also upgrade their packages to include a delicious breakfast buffet or Taste of Hawaii buffet lunch!

The STAR is perfectly designed to allow you to cruise in ultimate comfort. It’s equipped with a spacious, 60-foot high observation deck and the most outdoor space of any vessel to view the whales and panoramic views of Waikiki. Plus, our friendly crew of certified Naturalists are on-site to educate guests about Humpbacks through informative displays and engaging narration.

To book our Whale Watch Child FREE Special, call (808) 983-STAR (7827). For other information, visit www.StarofHonolulu.com.

Easter Sunday Buffet Brunch with Egg Hunt on Star of Honolulu

February 21, 2020

Join us for our Easter Champagne Brunch Cruise with an egg hunt for kids!

There’s no eggs-cuse to not have a fantastic Easter! Celebrate aboard the Star of Honolulu with our Easter Champagne Brunch Cruise, which sets sail from Aloha Tower Marketplace at 12PM on Sunday, April 12, 2020.

What kind of sp-egg-tacular things does the STAR have lined up for the two-hour cruise? Festivities include an egg-citing Easter egg hunt and prize giveaways for kids. The whole ‘ohana can also enjoy a variety of Hawaiian cultural activities, including lei making and hula and ukulele lessons.

Looking to enjoy the Instagrammable view? Explore the STAR’s four floors of panoramic walk-around decks and the 60-foot high observation deck. Plus, embrace the beauty of Oahu’s waters and Waikiki coastline.

During the cruise, the Easter egg-stravaganza will treat guests to the delicious Taste of Hawaii Buffet! It features Alaea Salt Crusted Roast Beef carved onboard, Teriyaki Chicken, Citrus Miso Glazed Whitefish and other local favorites. Guests can also enjoy a dessert and coffee station and “champagne” toast (non-alcoholic option also available). Click here to view the full menu.

We hope that you can hop on board and join the Star of Honolulu for an eggs-tra special Easter Champagne Brunch Cruise! For more information, call (808) 983-STAR (7827) or visit www.StarofHonolulu.com.

Oahu’s Romantic Floating Restaurant for Valentine’s Dinner

February 14, 2020

Valentine’s Day dinner aboard Star of Honolulu is the perfect gift for your loved one!

Wow your sweetheart with an unforgettable evening of love and luxury aboard our Valentine’s Day Sunset and Dinner Cruise! Treat your special someone to a romantic restaurant dinner and spectacular views of the sunset, Honolulu city lights and Waikiki Friday fireworks show.

Whether you’re looking for a tropical experience or a luxurious escape with your special someone, we’ve got you covered. Choose from four Valentine’s Day cruise packages:

  • Star Dinner & Show
    Casual elegance featuring a 3-Course crab and tenderloin of beef dinner. Plus, enjoy a Star Signature Mai Tai and the new “60 Years of Aloha” show.
  • Three Star Dinner & Show
    Festive and exciting ocean voyage complete with a 5-Course whole Maine lobster and tenderloin of beef dinner. Also, celebrate with a “champagne” toast, two premium beverages, live jazz and the new “60 Years of Aloha” show.
  • Romance Dinner & Jazz
    7-Course signature live Maine lobster and prime tenderloin of beef dinner at a private table. Also features sweeping ocean views with a Hawaiian Bellini, three super premium beverages and live jazz in a private lounge.
  • Five Star Dinner & Jazz
    The ultimate in luxury and romance featuring a 7-Course signature live Maine lobster and prime tenderloin of beef dinner at a private table. Plus, savor a Hawaiian Bellini, three super premium beverages with after dinner cart service and live jazz in the elegant Super Nova room.

Make this Valentine’s Day the best one yet when you sail with Star of Honolulu! The cruise departs 5:30PM from Aloha Tower Marketplace on Friday, February 14, 2020.

For more information or to book your cruise today, call (808) 983-STAR (7827) or visit www.StarofHonolulu.com.

Splash into the Whale Watching Season aboard Star of Honolulu!

December 14, 2019

Hawaii’s beloved Humpback whales have made their annual return to Hawaii! From January 2 through April 5, 2020, Star of Honolulu is inviting locals and visitors alike to observe these spectacular marine mammals aboard either the Early Bird Whale Watch Cruise or the Premiere Whale Watch Cruise.

Every winter, Humpback whales travel miles to enjoy Hawaii’s warm ocean where they spend months breeding, giving birth and nursing their young before returning to Alaska. Also known by their Hawaiian name kohola, Humpbacks are widely respected in native Hawaiian culture as many families view them as an ‘aumakua, or spiritual ancestor.

  • Early Bird Whale Watch Cruise
    This morning cruise sets sail from 8:45 to 10:45AM, and guests can engage with certified Naturalists to learn more about Humpback whales through informative displays and engaging narration. Guests can also upgrade to the Early Bird Whale Watch & Breakfast package featuring onboard hot breakfast buffet.
  • Premiere Whale Watch Cruise
    This afternoon cruise departs at 12PM and returns at 2:30PM. It offers guests the chance to participate in a variety of Hawaiian cultural activities, including lei making, hula and ukulele lessons and an interactive keiki (child) program. Guests can also upgrade to the Premier Whale Watch & Lunch package to enjoy the delicious Taste of Hawaii Buffet lunch.

No matter which package you choose, you’re sure to enjoy stunning views of Humpback whales and the Honolulu coastline, guaranteed whale sightings and a Child FREE Special for cruise-only packages. For more information or to book your cruise today, call (808) 983-STAR (7827) or visit www.StarofHonolulu.com.

Count Down to 2020 aboard Star of Honolulu’s New Year’s Eve Midnight Cruise

October 29, 2019

Ring in the New Year in sophistication and style aboard Star of Honolulu’s New Year’s Eve Midnight Cruises! On Tuesday, December 31, 2019 at 10:15PM, the STAR sets sail for a memorable evening of live entertainment, delicious gourmet dinner, “champagne” toast, festive party favors and the best view of the fireworks show.

Guests are invited to choose from three cruise options:

  • Celebration Dinner, Show & Fireworks Cruise: Celebrate the New Year with a 3-Course whole Maine lobster and tenderloin of beef dinner with one premium beverage and the thrilling “60 Years of Aloha” show.
  • Romance Dinner, Jazz & Fireworks Cruise: Treat yourself to an intimate, 5-Course live Maine lobster and prime tenderloin of beef dinner, two super premium beverages and a live jazz show.
  • Admiral’s Dinner, Jazz & Fireworks Cruise: Indulge in the ultimate luxurious experience in the Super Nova Room with a 5-Course signature live Maine lobster and prime tenderloin of beef dinner served to your private table, two super premium beverages with after-dinner cart service and a live jazz show.

For an even more festive experience, upgrade with a private table and a bottle of “champagne” for just $30 per person.

Gather your friends and family and set sail for a New Year’s cruise you’ll never forget! For more information or to book your cruise today, call (808) 983-STAR (7827) or visit www.StarofHonolulu.com.