Oahu Sunset Cruise

On Oahu you can see amazing sunrises and sunsets every day. But if your passions include watching the sun set over the ocean, there can be no doubt: a sunset cruise is for you.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

10 min read

Oahu Sunset Cruise

Oahu | ©Ben Stiefel

You don't have to be in love to enjoy the sunset. If you go to an island like Oahu, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, to enjoy the waves and the sun, the sunset is part of it.

But what if instead of being static in one place you enjoy the splendor of the sunset on a cruise? There is no doubt that there are many things to see and do in Oahu, but this is one that you should not miss.

Many people who visit Hawaii agree that the most incredible thing about this archipelago is the sun. When it sets in the late afternoon, it's a big reddish orange circle that makes anyone fall in love. Aren't you going to fall in love too? Keep reading to see the best options you have for cruises.

1. Tour from Waikiki with drink: the sun looks better with a cocktail in hand

Sunset on the Waikiki cruise ship| ©LeAna
Sunset on the Waikiki cruise ship| ©LeAna

When you start looking for and booking boat rides around Oahu to watch the sunset, there is one thing that comes up again and again: being on a cruise or catamaran while sipping cocktails.

Let's be honest: isn't this a phenomenal plan? So, are you going to miss it? It's the ultimate fulfillment, because you'll simply be on a boat, with a delicious cocktail and watching the sky turn orange.

Generally, these cruises depart from Waikiki in Honolulu about an hour before sunset and last around 90 minutes, but there's a little bit of everything. Keep in mind that these cocktail cruise packages are usually the cheapest and there are several reasons for that.

The main one is that they usually only include one cocktail, so you'll probably have to pay for all the others. But it's also that their tours are short and they don't travel to many other parts of the island.

That doesn't have to stop you from being able to enjoy the sunset. Just imagine it: you can hold in your hand a phenomenally prepared cocktail with Hawaiian fruits like pineapple and be on a boat, watching a majestic sun set behind the sea.

Whether you go alone, as a couple or as a family, the view alone from a cruise ship is far superior and the cocktail in your hand will make you feel great.

Finally, you should know that there may be several rules that you should consult in advance. If you are looking for what to do in Oahu with children, you should ask if they are accepted on this type of cruises, as well as if the arrival is at the same point of departure, and also what type of boat it is.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 70 to 100 €, although it depends on how many people are going.
  • Duration: about 90 minutes
  • Transportation: usually included with a shuttle to the port or pier.
  • What's included: access to the cruise and a cocktail
  • Advantages of this option: better price and lots of bargains to buy.
  • Disadvantages of this option: amount of drinks included and little travel on the island.

Book a sunset cruise on Oahu

2. Dinner cruise: how about saying goodbye to the day with a meal?

Oahu Night Cruise| ©Ken O'Toole
Oahu Night Cruise| ©Ken O'Toole

A cocktail is not enough for you? How about a dinner in style while watching the sun say goodbye to the Hawaiian day? This plan will fascinate you if you go as a couple or family, because it is much quieter than a disco on the sea and will allow you to contemplate the beauty of the sunset accompanied by a magnificent meal.

The operation of dinner cruises on Oahu is quite similar, although their duration may be a little longer. If you arrive at bays such as Kailua or Waikiki, you will be able to see these boats depart, which are usually underway for about two hours.

When you enter, and before starting the tour, the waiters serve dinner. This can be a traditional Hawaiian meal, such as an authentic poke, or a more common American or international meal.

This can even be included in a gastronomic tour of the island. But are you worried that it will be all about the food? Not so fast, because these trips are designed for both: eating while watching the sunset.

That is the intention of the tour, which is why the small tables for eating are usually located towards the side where the sun will set.

If you choose this option, you should know that it is a little more expensive, because it includes dinner and also lasts a little longer. In spite of that, it is a much better plan if you go with your family or on a romantic date. Some companies offer packages for couples or families, so you will surely be able to combine a delicious dinner with a paradisiacal sunset.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 90 to 150 €, although it varies depending on the meal.
  • Duration: 90 to 120 minutes
  • Means of transportation: shuttles to the parking lots are common.
  • What's included: a fantastic dinner and a cruise tour
  • Advantages of this option: dinner and a much more relaxed trip.
  • Disadvantages of this option: not much of a party and can be much more expensive.

Book a dinner cruise on Oahu

3. Going fast? A short catamaran to see the sky

Oahu Night| ©Jason Jacobs
Oahu Night| ©Jason Jacobs

Do you have an early flight, do you have to sleep, do you already have plans to enjoy the night in Oahu? Well, that's no problem, because the sunset isn't going anywhere and you can enjoy it, even if it's just for a little while.

If an hour and a half cruise is too much for you, then you can arrange a more economical package that lasts about half an hour and is specifically from the time the sun sets.

Although there are many options, the best boats for these short trips are the catamarans, because they have a very well thought out external part to lean out and be able to see the sun. That's about all you'll be doing, probably with the company of a chair and perhaps a drink.

The only purpose of these short half-hour tours is contemplation, relaxation and, why not, documentation, because you won't be able to resist the urge to take as many pictures as you can of the beautiful orange sun in the Hawaiian paradise.

These trips are even less frequent and almost always depart from Waikiki, so if you know you will have little time, the best thing to do is to take a look the days before and check which shipping companies are offering this tour package.

In addition, it is possible that, although it is a cheaper trip, your costs may not go down as much, since the demand for these short cruises is much lower.

Interesting details

  • Price: from 50 to 100 €.
  • Duration: about 30 minutes
  • Means of transportation: not usually offered to get to the dock
  • What's included: only a beautiful view of the sunset
  • Advantages of this option: it is done in much shorter time
  • Disadvantages of this option: it does not usually bring anything extra apart from the tour

4. Cruise with open bar, without forgetting the sunset

Cruise in Oahu| ©Daniel Ramirez
Cruise in Oahu| ©Daniel Ramirez

If your problem is that you think a single cocktail while watching one of **Hawaii'**s stunning red sunsets is totally insufficient, fine. But none of that stops you from hopping on a cruise on Oahu in the late afternoon.

Even less reason not to if that cruise is an open bar. It's just that this is your perfect opportunity to make all kinds of friends, because with a drink in your hand, there's so much more to share.

It is common for these cruises to depart from Waikiki and circulate the entire south coast of Oahu for about an hour or an hour and a half. In this case, there is no better infrastructure to watch the sunset, because it is something combined: the idea is to have a drink, talk with friends and acquaintances and have the bar in the background.

The tours are usually not so long and the cruise or catamaran usually sets off towards the sun, so you are likely to see the sunset from the front. Occasionally, you will be able to enjoy a Hawaiian show.

Without a doubt, the best thing about this trip is that you will have an open bar. You will be able to drink as much as you want during the trip, without worrying about extra expenses. This, of course, does not include food and if you are going to want something to eat, you will have to pay for it and verify that they sell it first, because many times these catamarans only bring bars.

It is also important to know that the atmosphere of these cruises is much more festive than others, such as dinner cruises. For that reason, if you want to dance and have fun while you have a drink and watch the sunset, you can't doubt that this is the best option.

Details of interest

  • Price: approximately 80 €.
  • Duration: about 90 minutes
  • Means of transportation: parking is provided at a hotel in Waikiki
  • What's included: open bar during the whole trip
  • Advantages of this option: no drinks to pay for
  • Disadvantages of this option: does not include food and you are always standing still

Traveller Tip

Remember that if you drink, you will not be able to drive. For this reason, you should plan in advance who will drive or whether you will return to the hotel by cab or bus.

5. From south to north and vice versa: a fast boat to see the sun at its best

View from the Diamond Head cruise ship| ©Yeison
View from the Diamond Head cruise ship| ©Yeison

Most sunset cruises on Oahu are catamarans that take a brief tour near Waikiki. I understand if this isn't your thing: Oahu has a lot more to offer than just a few miles of shoreline.

That's why there are great cruises that take a longer tour, so you can see the Waianae Mountains and other elevations to the east, while to the west you'll have the majestic sun.

Like all the others, these excursions usually depart from Waikiki or from a bay further east in Honolulu. The idea is to see the sunset, from start to finish, along the entire west coast of Oahu, one of the least visited parts of the island.

If you are looking for things to do on the north shore of Oahu, this tour is perfect, because it passes by beaches such as Nanakuli, Kahe, Maili, Ulehawa, Makaha, Makua and at the end, the sublime Yokohama Beach.

This is a journey of contemplation. Some companies offer dinner along with the trip, but it is generally not a party or drinking tour. It is not too often encountered, but it is a service that you can book in advance and is usually fascinating to many photographers and those looking for family plans.

As it is a slightly longer tour, the cruise organizers can also act as tour guides and explain which are the best beaches on the island in this area and where they are passing through.

That way you will have a wonderful and direct view of the setting sun and also a new look at the island of Oahu that will stay with you forever.

Details of interest

  • Price: around 100 €.
  • Duration: between 90 and 120 minutes
  • Means of transportation: paid parking at a hotel in Honolulu.
  • What it includes: a tour of the west coast of the island of Oahu.
  • Advantages of this option: you can get to know a little visited part of the island.
  • Disadvantages of this option: food and beverages are not usually included, although they can be purchased.

Book your snorkeling excursion in Oahu

How to get to and from the cruise departure points?

Tourist bus in Oahu| ©boaski
Tourist bus in Oahu| ©boaski

Waikiki is the center of all the tourist activity in Honolulu and all of Oahu. That's why most of the cruises and catamarans depart from there to see the sunset.

But public transportation on Oahu is not the best and even less so at night, so what to do? Although getting around Oahu may seem like a challenge, the cruise lines that organize these cruises offer shuttle services, parking or both. You can even see if it is possible to combine it with the itinerary of a tourist bus.

Shuttle services work by picking people up at a stop and taking them to the pier where they board the ship. This saves fuel, is in keeping with sustainable Hawaiian tourism and makes the transfer easier.

If the cruise you want has this option, you should check if it also includes parking or not, because if not you will have to look for it on your own or arrive and depart by public transportation. The final option is a cab or a car sharing app, but if you are going to use them for the first time, it can be a bit cumbersome.

On the other hand, most of the shipping companies usually have contracts with hotels that allow them to leave cars. This is a great advantage of the island of Oahu over its neighboring islands, with less infrastructure.

That is why these parking services are very convenient as they save a lot of money and are very close to the Waikiki docks from where the cruise ships depart. Before going out to see the sunset, plan how you are going to get there and leave with or without your car following these tips.

  • Cocktails
  • Cost: from 70 to 100 €.
  • Duration: about 1 hour and a half
  • Hawaiian dinner
  • Cost: from 90 to 150
  • Duration: from 1 hour and a half to 2 hours
  • Short trip
  • Cost: from 50 to 100
  • Duration: approximately 30 minutes
  • Open bar
  • Cost: about 80 €.
  • Duration: about 1 hour and a half
  • From south to north
  • Cost: about 100
  • Duration: from 1 hour and a half to 2 hours