The Expeditions Ferry to Lanai Operates Between Lanai and Lahaina, Maui, and is one of only two ferry services in Hawaii (the other is the Molokai ferry), since the primary means of transportation for the other islands (Oahu, Maui, Kauai, the Big Island of Hawaii) is an airplane flight.
If you've had enough of flying just to get to Maui, the 45 minute ferry ride can be a nice change of pace to get to Lanai–and if you'll be staying at the Four Seasons Lanai, you're in for a treat. Keep in mind that the ferry is only a passenger ferry, there are no car ferries in Hawaii.
Schedule: Expeditions Ferry Maui to Lanai
The Expeditions Ferry departs Maui at the Lahaina public loading dock in front of the Pioneer Inn:
Schedule: Expeditions Ferry Lanai to Maui
The Expeditions Ferry departs Lanai at the Manele Harbor dock:
Note that the ferry does NOT wait for stragglers, so plan on being a bit early and allow sufficient time to get to the dock, in case of bad traffic.
Expeditions Ferry Cost
A one way ticket for an adult (ages 12 and older) is $30, children (11 and under) are $20, and infants (1 and under) are free of charge. Active military and Hawaii residents (kama'aina; must have Hawaii driver's license) are $25, while Hawaii resident seniors and kids pay $10 each way.
Seating and Amenities
There's plenty of indoor seating on the main deck, in a 3-4-3 configuration. This indoors section is air conditioned, so if you're sensitive to heat, you may want to sit inside.
Near the entrance/exit are some shelves for baggage, and between them, behind the seats, there's a bar area that sells water and soda for $2 each, cash only.
The most popular seats tend to be on the upper deck, especially the ones where there's some shade. There aren't as many seats here, so if you want one, especially in the shade, it's best to be in line early. Note that all seats are on a first come, first served basis, there isn't any reserved seating.
How Smooth or Rough is the Ride?
The boat is a Coast Guard certified catamaran, and often the ocean is calm and the ride fairly smooth. That said, it crosses a channel that can get rough, and apparently the day of our crossing was unusually rough. I was glad to have acupressure wrist bands with me for my son and me, since we get carsick and seasick very easily, and we needed them. Towards the end of the crossing I was worried our son would throw up, as he didn't look well at all. Fortunately, once we were docked and on land, we both started feeling better.
Anyone prone to seasickness should consider taking acupressure wrist bands, or whatever works for you to combat nausea.
While our crossing was apparently much rougher than normal, such that we weren't enjoying the ride at all at the end, on calmer days the Expeditions Lanai ferry is a very reasonably priced alternative to flying, especially vs. the Lanai Air charter.
The only issue is that the car rental companies aren't right by the Lahaina Dock and generally don't do pickups there, so you'll need to get a taxi or car service to the car rental in Lahaina.
In Lanai, if staying at the Four Seasons, the resort will pick you up at Manele Harbor, which is less than a 5 minute drive away.
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