Warm weather throughout the year, a steady flow of tourists, and easy access to the ocean make the Island of Hawaii – a.k.a. Hawaii Island and the Big Island – an excellent place for dining cruises, which take the form of both lunch and dinner cruises. However, like similar cruises on Oahu, the dining cruises on the Island of Hawaii are a bit difficult to make sense of. They aren’t exactly hard to find, but it is hard to figure out exactly who offers what, in large part because a lot of information about cruises is duplicated and spread across multiple websites. Thus, in the following guide we identify (and link to) the actual companies that offer the dining cruises (as opposed to third-party vendors), and we also provide a couple of helpful notes on booking dining cruises on the Big Island.
From what we have gathered, there are three main providers of dining cruises on the Island of Hawaii, all of which are quite distinct. We’ll begin with Body Glove, the only company that offers dining options during the day (the lunch cruise) and in the evening (the dinner cruise). Both the lunch and dinner cruises are three hours long and historically oriented. The company employs a local historian who points out historical sites as you cruise along the Kona Coast from Kailua Pier to Kealakekua Bay, where Captain Cook’s monument is located. On the lunch cruise, you are served a meal along the way, and on the dinner cruise you eat once you arrive in Kealakekua Bay. For dinner, the adult ticket is $118.00 and the youth tickets (for ages 6-17) is $88.00. For lunch, the adult ticket is $98.00 and the youth ticket is $78.00. On both cruises, kids five and under ride free.
The cruises offered by the other two companies, BlueSea Cruises and Ocean Sports, are fairly similar. Both are scheduled around the sunset, so they last for around two hours or so in the evening, concluding when the sun has been extinguished by the western rim of the globe, and both feature a buffet dinner with an open bar. Adult tickets for both cruises are comparable – $117.88 for BlueSea and $129 for Ocean Sport – although children’s tickets diverge a bit. BlueSea’s are $95.37 and Ocean Sport’s are $64.50, and it is also worth noting that children under eight are not permitted on BlueSea’s dinner cruises. The main difference between the two companies is the ships they operate. BlueSea’s Spirit of Kona is a double-decker vessel that is (according to the company) the “largest tour boat.” The bottom deck also features a glass bottom so that you can see the marine life that swims beneath the ship. The ships operated by Ocean Sport – a power catamaran and a sail boat – are quite a bit smaller. They don’t have all the features of the Spirit of Kona, but overall they probably provide a more intimate dining experience. There are almost certainly smaller companies that offer something like dining cruises from Hawaii Island – if nothing else, you can charter a ship and create your own lunch or dinner cruise – but the three companies listed above seem to be the main providers.
As for booking these cruises, this can be done online through each company’s website. It is also possible to book with a third-party seller, but it isn’t really worth doing this unless they are offered at a discounted price. This is certainly possible, but it is by no means a guarantee, and in fact these independent sellers will often charge more because fees are calculated into their price. For this reason, we always recommend checking the company’s official price first and then use this to judge all other offers. So, if you decide to move forward on booking a dining cruise from the Island of Hawaii, you should first click around the sites linked to above to see which one you like the best. After noting its price, you can do a little searching to see if you can find a cheaper price, and if not just book directly though the company offering the cruise.