Confessions of a Superferry traveler

Real Estate Agent with Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers HRE# 58089 - RS

When I first heard about the Hawaii Superferry years ago I thought - it will never work.  Remember the Hydrofoil passenger ferry from about 30 years ago?  That was a good thing at the time, but they just couldn't make any money, and ended up going out of business.  Now the Superferry plans on doing interisland trips, but they are going to be very expensive, compared to flying.  We were very negative about the whole thing, especially the traffic impact here in Kahului Maui. inside the Hawaii Superferry


Anyway, a few years went by and here comes the Superferry to Maui, just as planned.  One day the Superferry came to Maui and offered an open house event, which we signed up for.  We made an appointment online, and showed up at our prescribed time and went on board.  We got to wander all over the ship, along with other local people, and oohed and aahed at all the wonderful features.  We thought this would be the only time we would ever go on the boat, as the fares would be too high to make it worth our while.  We took lots of pictures and laughed it over with our friends, who all mocked us for going.  Compared to the BC Ferries up in Canada, the Superferry was a cute little boat, and so new and clean.

Well the next thing you know they offered $5 one way fares at the last minute.  For $30 we could both travel to Oahu and back with our car... such a deal!  Who could refuse an offer like that?  So again we booked online, a trip that left on a Monday and returned the next day.  We could visit an old friend on Oahu, stay in Waikiki and have a mini vacation.  How exciting it would be, to "drive" to Oahu and have our own car with us over there.  We got to the port early, and went right on.  There were only about 200 passengers, and the car decks were not full.  The staff were all very friendly and helpful and we were treated very well.  There was a real buzz of excitement in the air and people were having fun.  Some had even brought their own plate lunches with them, even though we were offered free sandwiches and drinks.  As the ferry passed around the back side on Molokai, we had some great sightseeing and caught a glimpse of Kalaupapa.  Two and a half hours after leaving Maui, we arrived in Honolulu, again with some great views of Diamond Head and Honolulu.  It had been a really good trip over, and everyone on board was stoked and smiling as they headed for the car deck to disembark.

view of Diamond Head from the Superferry

But it turned out that the ship was not allowed to return to Maui the next day, so we were stranded along with the rest of the Maui people who had sailed over.  No big deal, as they offered to reimburse us for any expenses incurred by the inconvenience.  We made the best of it and returned to Maui by air, which wasn't really that much quicker when you factor in the time spent getting to the airport early.

It took about 2 weeks to get my car back, but they were nice enough to rent a car for me in the meantime.  My husband volunteered to go and fetch my car, so he had the pleasure of the return trip from Oahu to Maui.  He said the boat was almost empty that time, as they were only taking Maui people and their cars back, and returning with Oahu people and their cars.  That was the final trip of the Superferry, and it's looking like it won't be able to do business in this state.  It's kind of sad to think about all the employees who had such high hopes for their new positions, only to be left without jobs. 

We're glad we had the opportunity to travel on the Superferry, even though it has been such a controversial issue.  We're happy to say we didn't bump into any whales, and the traffic we experienced was no different than any other day really.  After it's all been said and done, I think it could have been a good service between the islands if done properly.

Aloha from Maui - The Hunter   808 283-0635  -  EMAIL ME  -  Georgina M. Hunter R(S) e-Pro - Jim Sanders Realty Inc. Paia Maui HI 96779


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Andrew Scherer
Approved Mortgage Group - Doylestown, PA
Real Estate Representation At It's Finest
I wish I was in HI right now with the weather shifting!  I was just there about 3 years ago now, and I cannot wait to go back!  I definitely wish that SuperFerry was up and running because I really don't like to take the "puddle jumpers".  Oh well...a price that I will have to pay to visit paradise again!
Oct 12, 2007 07:11 PM #1
Sean Allen
International Financing Solutions - Fort Myers, FL
International Financing Solutions

HHHmmm, I bet that ferry is interesting. I would love to make it out to Hawaii sometime and take the ferry. Always interested in new experiences.

Sean Allen

Oct 12, 2007 07:31 PM #2
Georgie Hunter R(S)
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
Well I think you will both be disappointed because it's looking really bad for the Superferry.  Yesterday they had to furlough most of the employees.  We are still awaiting a final decision.
Oct 12, 2007 07:56 PM #3
Debi Wright - Seattle, WA
What a treat it must have been to have YOUR car on Oahu.  Sorry to read the ferry may not make it... I was looking forward to riding that thing when I return for a vacation next summer.
Oct 13, 2007 03:40 PM #4
Kevin O'Shea
Coldwell Banker - White Plains, NY
White Plains, NY Real Estate

It's sad that a good idea could "Not work out"

If it's still around why don't you recommend they do "private party" trips where the could have catered affairs and a trip to another island.

All the best!

Jun 04, 2008 12:42 PM #5
Connie Tebyani
Platinum Home Staging, Inc. : RESA-Pro - Calabasas, CA
Platinum Home Staging, Los Angeles and Ventura County

So what happened??!? Why did it get shut down so quickly? Didn't it just start a few months back? (I'd don't know how they could make any money on $5 trips, but it sounds like it may be more than that) Just curious 

Jun 04, 2008 04:59 PM #6
Pete Jalbert
The Maui Real Estate Team, Inc. - Paia, HI

Connie-The ferry is up and running although things have been a little rocky. The intial resistance stemmed from environmental concerns and some lifestyle concerns. The more recent questions about the ferry are more concerned with long term viability.

It has been up and running with some operational challenges. The channels between the islands can get a little rough. This is no trip on a placid sound when we have large winter swells or heavy winds. This has lead to wear and tear on the boats and the docking infrastructure. The dock on Maui has been damaged in big surf on more than one occasion. The passengers have also had a tough time on these rougher passages. The big swell days have left the majority of the passengers and the crew sea sick.

There have been positive signs of note lately. The brief shut down of Aloha's cargo division led to a surge in interisland commercial transport. A lot of Maui farmers and merchants were glad to have the ferry as a backup to get goods to Oahu.

It will be interesting to see if it can survive longterm. The increase in fuel costs are only adding to the challenges.

Jun 04, 2008 05:48 PM #7
Georgie Hunter R(S)
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

nwrealty - thanks for dropping in.

Kevin - let's organize an AR get together for about 500 members OK?

Connie - Pete has been nice enought to step in and respond in my absence!  They are still working out the bugs.  I'm looking forward to going again, when the weather is more favorable.

Pete - thanks for the informative comment.

Jun 05, 2008 10:34 PM #8
Georgie Hunter R(S)
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

updated for new group and reblog

Aug 12, 2008 01:24 AM #9
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