The Best Way To Take A Ferry From Maui to Lanai 
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Lanai is one of the islands in Hawaii. Its beautiful landscape and tranquility make it a perfect gateway from the hustles and bustles of other Hawaiian islands.
Lanai is closer to Maui island, so it can be a perfect day trip from Maui, or you can stay overnight to truly enjoy what Lanai has to offer. The fun fact about Lanai is that the Oracle company guy Larry Ellison privately owns most of the land. While the island has grown over the years with tourism, it’s still not as crazy busy as Maui or other main Hawaiian islands. This makes Lanai special in its own way, and getting there via the ferry from Maui is half the fun that I’ll detail in this post, including things to do and lodging options on Lanai island.
A direct ferry between Maui and Lanai leaves 4 times a day, subject to availability and weather. The ferry is operated by the company Expeditions. See more below for schedules and fares.
Ferry Departure Harbor in Maui
The ferry departure point in Maui is Lahaina Harbor. The easiest way to find it is to locate the Best Western Pioneer Inn in the GPS because the ferry ticket sales booth and departure point are right in front of the hotel.
Expeditions Ferry Ticket Booth in front of Best Western Pioneer Inn
Ferry Departure Harbor in Lanai
The ferry departure point in Lanai is at the Manele Small Boat Harbor. Here’s the address to put in your GPS: 12 Manele Rd, Lanai City
How Long Does It Take?
The ferry crossing time between Maui and Lanai is about 45 minutes, and it could be more if the ocean is rough as the boat needs to go slower.
Rough water is very common on this route due to weather, especially on the return leg. If you are prone to motion sickness, I highly recommend you take non-drowsy Dramamine an hour before departure.
Ferry to Lanai From Maui/Lahaina Schedule
The Expeditions, the main ferry operator between Lahaina and Lanai, runs 4 times daily and takes around 45 minutes one-way, depending on the weather.
Below are the schedules:
Lahaina Harbor (Maui) Departures to Lanai:
Lanai Habor Departures to Lahaina (Maui):
Getting the most current ferry schedule information:
Should You Purchase The Ferry Ticket Online Or In Person?
There’s no need to purchase a ferry ticket in advance. However, be on the lookout, as limited seats can sell out on the date and time you want to go. Use the Expeditions ferry website to help you plan.
I suggest purchasing tickets online to ensure the date and time work into your schedule. Online tickets come with a 24 hours before departure free cancellation policy, and there’s no cost-saving whether you buy online or in person.
Please note that online tickets are still required to exchange for paper tickets at the Expeditions tickets sale booth in Lahaina. You can do that any day of the week in Maui; it doesn’t have to be the sailing day.
As mentioned, you can purchase ferry tickets online and change/cancel up to 24 hours before departure. This is retrieved from the Expeditions ferry website:
Reservation changes and/or cancellations must be made prior to reserved departure time, and MUST be done by calling 800-695-2624 or 808-661-3756. Web reservations CANNOT be changed/cancelled online. The full amount will be refunded to any reserved or ticketed passenger who provides notice of cancellation, at above phone number(s) at least 24 hours in advance of already reserved departure.
Where To Sit On The Ferry?
The Expeditions ferry between Maui and Lanai is small, with an upper and lower deck. The upper deck has indoor and outdoor seats in the back of the boat, while the lower deck does not have outdoor seats.
On a nice sailing, calm day, sitting outside on the upper deck can be nice. On the other hand, on a rough sea day, sitting outside on the upper deck may get you wet and uncomfortable.
Expeditions Ferry Upper & Lower Deck
Can You Bring The Lugguage On The Ferry?
Yes, absolutely! It is very common for overnight passengers traveling between Maui and Lanai. There are two safe luggage racks on the boat’s lower deck to store your luggage. See the picture below.
Luggage Storage Aboard Expeditions Ferry
It’s free to bring the luggage on the ferry. Here’s from the Expeditions ferry website regarding the luggage/bags policy:
Each passenger is allowed two (2) bags and one (1) carry on, no charge. Excess bags, packages, and items will be charged a fee and can be added.
NOTE: Bicycles, Surfboards over 7 feet long, Sailboards (with bag and mast) and kayaks will be charged a fee as well but need to be requested directly to reservations after completing the booking.
Sea Motion Sickness
Please note that rough sea water due to weather can be expected when crossing between Maui and Lanai via the ferry. Sea motion sickness is common, and I strongly recommend you take any motion sickness medications such as Dramamine.
The water was rough on our way back from Lanai to Lahaina on the 11AM ferry. The captain advised us to sit still, and any outside seaters may need to go inside because the chances of getting wet were high, and a couple passengers were sick and threw up. It was a long ferry ride!
Ferry from Maui to Lanai With Car
No ferry between Maui and Lanai currently allows you to take the vehicle with you. The ferry mentioned in this article is a passenger ferry only. If you know any, please comment and let us know.
Lanai Snorkeling Tour From Lahaina
If a DIY trip between Lahaina/Maui and Lanai is not something you are comfortable with, there’s a snorkeling tour where you could join others to set sail to Lanai from Lahaina as a day trip. The tour is provided by Sail Trilogy and costs $279 per adult, $245 per youth, and $185 per child between 3 and 12 years old.
This tour is for snorkeling, but you can also enjoy dolphin and whale sightings while sailing to Lanai, depending on the migration seasons. The tour does not drive or take you around Lanai island.
Please check the Trilogy website for the latest Lanai tour information and price.
Is Day Trip to Lanai Doable?
The short distance between Maui and Lanai makes it possible for a day trip while visiting Maui.
A sample itinerary is to go to Lanai on the ferry in the morning, enjoy snorkeling and beach by the Four Seasons resort and explore the Hulopoe Beach area with tidepools, hiking trail, and rock formations such as the Sweetheart Rock, and then dine at the resort before returning to Maui in the evening if you do not have a rental car on Lanai. All of these activities are within walking distance of Lanai harbor.
Hulopoe Beach is Within Walking Distance of Lanai Harbor
Tide Pools at Hulopoe Beach Area
If you have a vehicle, take the ferry to Lanai in the morning and drive around the island in a four-wheel drive to check out Lanai highlights such as Garden of the Gods, Shipwreck Beach, Lopa Beach (my favorite), etc. Take a look at the things to do below.
Things To Do on Lanai Island
Suggested things to do and see on Lanai island:
Manele Small Boat Harbor
Lanai Cat Sanctuary
Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods)
Ka Lanakila Church
Lopa Beach (You may have the beach all to yourself!)
Arch Rock at Hulopoe Beach Hiking Trail
Old Abandoned Wooden Ka Lanakila Church
Getting to Lanai From Honolulu Oahu
For those on other islands besides Maui, such as Oahu or Honolulu, your only option to get to Lanai island is to fly.
Because this is a credit card points blog, American Express Platinum Card members can book the Four Seasons resorts, part of the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, to use the Amex $200 Hotel Statement Credits each year. The Amex FHR reservation also qualifies you for a complimentary plane ride between Honolulu and Lanai, and they’ll also pick you up on arrival and departure. Four Seasons Resort offers this promotion, so check if they still offer it for your stay date.
Four Seasons Lanai Plan Ride Promotion
There are two Four Seasons Resorts on Lanai island: beachfront Four Seasons Resort Lanai and adults-only Sensei Lanai. The beach one is always expensive, and the Sensei has two nights minimum required; keep that in mind.
Lanai Transportation Shuttle
Lanai has limited public transportation. If you need one from the harbor to Lanai City, a hotel, a resort, or a specific destination, you must arrange one. The shuttle service knows when the ferry arrives from Maui, and thus they hold a shuttle service sign at the Lanai harbor, and you could get in one. It’s a group shuttle, so waiting for people is inevitable. When you want to get back to Lanai harbor to get on the ferry back to Maui, you must pre-arrange one by contacting the following providers:
Lanai Turo – I’ll explain more about this service below.
Book far in advance as demand is high and supplies are limited, and please note that the Jeep rental places may not offer to pick up and drop off the vehicle at the Lanai harbor. Contact them to arrange or use the shuttle service mentioned above in the Lanai Transportation Shuttle section. Conversely, Turo can be arranged for pick up and drop off with additional fees.
If you are unfamiliar with Turo rental car service, it is a mobile app platform similar to Airbnb, where local residents rent their vehicles out instead of their homes. Turo has some car rentals, paved and off-road, on Lanai that you can pick and choose based on your preferences. The nice thing about Turo rental car is the price can be more competitive than the rental car company, and you can pay extra to have the owner drops off the vehicle for you at the Lanai harbor.
The downside of renting Turo is the insurance. Most credit card issuers and vehicle insurance companies do not cover Turo rental services. You can contact your insurance to be sure; otherwise, consider purchasing liability insurance through Turo when you reserve the vehicle on Lanai for a day.
I booked our four wheels drive vehicle through Turo because the Jeep rental places were sold out, and I loved the convenience of having the car dropped off at the Lanai harbor upon arriving and dropping it off upon leaving Lanai through Turo. I also purchased the liability insurance through Turo the day before the rental’s start date for peace of mind. Everything went fine, and we had a blast exploring Lanai.
Editor’s Note: Check Amex Offers. You can sometimes get a $30 statement credit back when you spend $150 that can help you save more money while renting with Turo.
Where To Stay On Lanai
Lanai is less developed than Maui, and therefore, only a few accommodations to choose from. There are two Four Seasons Resorts and a boutique Hotel Lanai on the island:
Hotel Lanai – Boutique hotel located in Lanai City and more affordable (review here).
Both Four Seasons Resorts are also bookable through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, allowing cardmember of the American Express Platinum Card to use the Amex $200 Hotel Statement Credits. The Sensei Lanai has a two-night minimum requirement, and the nightly rate at the Four Seasons Resort is always expensive. Moreover, check out the promotional offers on their websites, such as a complimentary plane ride between Honolulu and Lanai, and the Amex FHR reservation qualifies for that promotion.
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