Monday, June 3, 2013

Breathtaking Napali Coast Cruise on the Southern Star

For our last night in Kauai, we decided to take Captain Andy's Southern Star cruise up the amazing Napali Coast. The cruise begins from Port Allen near Hanapepe on the southern side of the island so if you're coming from the north end (Princeville or Hanalei) or from the Westin Princeville like me, leave at least one and a half hours to get down to the port area.

There was a nice map of Kauai ("the Garden Island") inside Captain Andy's shop which clearly illustrated where the boat cruise would be headed on the west side of the island. If you have some extra time before your tour, you can shop around for souvenirs at the shop next door.

The Southern Star is a 65' luxury catamaran with a full galley and bar, a shaded cabin seating area, and plenty of cushioned seating around the boat. The kitchen facilities aboard allow for the dinner to be freshly cooked and prepared on board, which might be something to consider if you're looking into other cruises along the coast.

The initial hour or so of the cruise was rather uneventful as to things you'll see on the Kauai coastline. You'll pass by the town of Waimea, the Pacific Missile Test Facility and the Polihale State Park. In the meantime, you might be treated to some viewings of whales or dolphins if you're lucky :)

Having read various TripAdvisor reviews, we were definitely not disappointed by the experience. It was a gorgeous day for sailing and the crew was great company providing plenty of drinks and appetizers all around and providing some great commentary to the passing scenery. As an added note though, the ride up the coast can get quite bumpy so its not recommended for those who are easily prone to seasickness.

Here's a picture of one of the many ridges along the coastline as we headed up.

At this point, the Na Pali Coast State Park came into view with some of the incredible ridged cliffs thousands of feet high that Kauai is so well known for. The distinctive features of this island are on full display on this cruise with breathtaking views aplenty.

One of the small waterfalls I saw while heading up the coast.

Some more amazing views:

And apparently, this archway was where they filmed one of the scenes in Pirates of the Caribbean.

As the weather was being so cooperative, the crew decided to add on a bonus and headed all the way up to Kalalau Valley where we were treated to some amazing views, just like two days earlier from a different angle.

We turned around at this point and the crew turned the engine on low gear. After a very bumpy ride on the way up, even though I didn't get seasick, I was immensely glad we had very smooth sailing all the way back. At this point, they started serving dinner and we were sooooo surprised the food was so awesome! The caesar salad was great and the surf n' turf (steak and shrimp) was delicious!

Chatting with the chef, we found out he had actually apprenticed a few months under three Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten! I asked for plenty of seconds :)

And on the way back, if you're lucky, you'll catch one of these great sunsets on the way back to Port Allen.

What a great way to end a fantastic Kauai trip!

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