Hawaii Mom Blog: Dolphin Star - Wild Dolphin Watch & BBQ Cruise




June 7, 2017

Dolphin Star - Wild Dolphin Watch & BBQ Cruise

Complimentary tickets were provided for review purposes.

Yesterday morning we took a drive out to the west side of Oahu to experience the Dolphin Star® Wild Dolphin & BBQ Watch cruise. Although I lived on Oahu all of my life, I had never been on a dolphin cruise before. It had also been over 20 years since I've traveled to this side of the island, so I felt very much like a giddy tourist yesterday.

The Dolphin Star® is a 65 foot, 149-passenger catamaran custom built for dolphin watching and snorkeling. It moors at the Waianae Boat Harbor on the west side of Oahu. Transportation from Waikiki via motorcoach service is available for $22 (or Koolina for $14).

The catamaran has two decks, both with panoramic views - the lower deck has bench seating and tables for convenience and comfort.  This is also where they set up the keiki activity and lunch buffet.

The upper deck is where you get the best view.  I was in awe of the view of the coastline before we even departed the boat harbor.

While we were waiting for the boat to depart, we browsed through the itinerary. 

Before the cruise starts, there is a safety briefing from the captain and crew.

Complimentary anti-nausea (i.e. ginger) capsules are available - I did not hesitate to take these (as did many other passengers!).

And then we were off.  

On our way to the first dolphin sighting area, we were treated to breathtaking views of the Makaha coastline.  Unless you're a fisherman, you don't get this viewpoint very often.  

A short time later, we can upon a small pod of bottlenose dolphins. It was so fun to see these dolphins in their natural habitat.

After observing these friends for about 15 minutes, we headed north past Makaha towards Makua Valley.  

Along the way we slowed down to say hi to a sea turtle.

Once we got to Makua Valley, we spotted a couple of pods of spinner dolphins, which are much smaller than bottlenose dolphins and hang out closer to shore.

Shortly after 10:30 am, it was time to eat. The BBQ Package includes a gourmet burger buffet lunch of freshly grilled onboard premium hamburgers (vegan burgers are available upon request), taro or kaiser buns, grilled pineapple, avocado, Kamuela Vine Ripened tomato, purpose onion, Kula lettuce, cheeses, selection of sauces (teri, spicy BBQ, tomato), and an assortment of local-style chips (taro, Maui style, and sweet potato). And for dessert, homemade chocolate brownies!  I love how they source everything locally.  

Premium beef burger

Vegan burger

While we enjoyed our burgers and chips, we headed back to the boat harbor.  Again, the view were just amazing.  We couldn't have asked for better conditions.


A souvenir photo (normally $20) was provided to us as a keepsake for our unforgettable dolphin experience!  

About Dolphin Star®:
The Dolphin Star® is O‘ahu’s largest dolphin watching vessel, designed to take guests on a dolphin journey in amazing comfort. For dolphin viewing, the ship features open-air, wrap-around, multi-level decks. For dining, there’s an onboard BBQ grill, shaded dining area and bar. For snorkeling, there’s easy access to the water, freshwater showers for rinsing off and onboard restrooms. And for the marine life, our motors are eco-friendly with EPA compliant main engines and a hybrid power generator. We operate our vessel in compliance with NOAA guidelines.

About Dolpin Watch & Snorkel Activities:
  • Dolphin Guarantee: Receive a free return "Dolphin Check" until a dolphin is sighted
  • Dolphin activities for all ages: crew of certified Naturalists, narration and Keiki program (including souvenir activity book)
  • Snorkeling cruise includes masks, fins, instruction and guided snorkel tours

Summer Child FREE Special (7/1/17 - 9/30/17): one child (age 3-11), cruise only FREE per paid adult! For child to add snorkel and BBQ is $27; for snorkel, BBQ and transportation from Waikiki, $49.

Kama'aina discounts are available.  Call to book with the Kama'aina rate. Must show proof of residency.

Dolphin Star 
(888) 373-2556

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