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.
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.
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.