Thursday, 29 August 2013

Five Star Dinner Cruise on the Alii Nui

Sailing out to the dinner spot
On Tuesday August 27th we experienced one of the best evenings of our trip to Maui.  We went on the Royal Feast Dinner Sail on the Alii Nui.

The Alii Nui is a custom built luxury sailing catamaran.  It is 65 feet long and can hold up to 100 people.  However at the Royal Feast Dinner they allow a maximum of 32 guests which means there is plenty of room for everyone.  They have lots of seating available both inside and out on deck, including two very comfortable couches at the back of the boat.  The washrooms are amazing, not at all what you would expect from a head.  But that is enough about the boat, let me tell you about the evening.

(Click on the photos shown to see larger images)
The large clean bathroom

We were picked up at 5:45 by Lyle in the Alii Nui van and were driven the five minutes to the dock.  For us getting a lift was not needed as we could have walked, however I wanted to experience their complete service so I could let you know how they performed from start to finish.  As the Royal Feast Dinner is all inclusive and the high end alcohol is free flowing, they do not want any guests drinking and driving, so they provide door to door service.  The driver is one of the crew, in our case, Lyle was one of the bartenders and was also the lucky guy who got to jump into the water to help us tie up in the bay when dinner was served.
Their comfortable van

Check in at the dock was fast and friendly.  No long line ups and no confusion with reservations or anything.  Just a simple handing in of the waiver one signs on the way over and then a short walk down the gangway to be aided on board by one of the crew.  Once aboard, you remove your shoes and place them in crates at the front.  I loved this.  It made me feel immediately relaxed and at home.  When we were boarding I had noted a couple of women with high heels and thought they were crazy to be wearing those on board a yacht, so I imagine they too were happy to be able to take them off.

We were presented with individual bowls of fresh cut pineapple upon boarding (consumption of alcohol is not allowed until after we leave the harbour) and shown down to the main cabin where there was an arrary of appetizers, cheese, crackers, fresh fruit, vegetables and dip.  When everyone was on board, the crew gathered to introduce themselves.  We had Captain Morgan (yes that really was his name), Nicole, Kelly, Ron and Lyle.  They were all cheerful, fun individuals with great smiles and an even greater sense of service.  Captain Morgan got us on our way and within a few minutes we were out of the harbour and the champagne was served.
In paradise

Speaking of champagne, as I mentioned earlier, this was open bar, which can sometimes be a concern as the company may provide cheap liquor.  Not on the Alii Nui.  The beer was premium (both local and a couple of american choices), the wine was premium and the scotch, gin and rum's (both dark and light) were excellent.  They had a drinks list, including cocktails, on each table.  Seriously, what other dinner cruise would have that, and it wasn't a simple piece of paper, it was a nicely bound hard cover menu similar to those you would see at the Four Seasons or Fairmont Hotels.

As soon as we were out of the harbour Captain Morgan and his crew raised the sails and we were on our way.  We were screaming along at 11 knots, it was beautiful, all you heard was the sound of the ocean as we raced through it.  The ride was smooth, the breeze was lovely and the view spectacular.  This was truly paradise.  Our drinks were kept filled.  The crew entertained us with stories of the boat, the island and themselves.  I took some time to meet some of the other guests and to find out where they were staying and how they heard of this particular dinner cruise.
With Captain Morgan

Most had heard about it from their hotels (such as the Grand Wailea) or through the Maui Dive Shop.  When asked why they chose this dinner cruise over others advertised, one couple said their hotel had always recommended high end product and so when they recommended this Royal Feast Dinner, they knew they were in good hands.  I would completely agree.  So far everything was excellent and we hadn't even started dinner yet.

As soon as we docked in a little bay (about a forty minute sail from the harbour), the crew began preparing dinner which had been catered by Buzz's Wharf a lovely restaurant overlooking the harbour.  The menu was incredible.

Upcountry Greens with Ranch & Papaya Seed Dressing
Cherry Tomatoes
Sliced Cucumbers
Shredded Carrots
Shredded Cabbage

Vegetable Wrap served with Mango Thai Chili Sauce

Markea Prawns with Cocktail Sauce

California Rolls

Crab Stuffed Mushroom

Teriyaki Chicken

Kalua Pork Open Faced Sliders with Mango Sauce

Stir Fry Vegetables

Scallop Potatoes

Certified Angus Prime Rib Roast

Grilled Fresh Fish with Mai Tai Sauce

A shot of the crew
My personal faves were the prawns, California rolls, crab stuffed mushrooms, Kalua pork and the scallop potatoes.  Everything was delicious, fresh, expertly prepared and in plentiful amounts.  Wade and I had the best spot on the boat, upstairs facing the sunset.  There was nowhere on earth I would rather have been.  During dinner Captain Morgan came and chatted with us.  He is from Alaska which we found quite interesting, and had come to the Alii Nui about three years ago (if I can remember correctly).  You could tell he loved his job and was very good at both the sailing and the social sides of it.  I imagine you'd have to have both skill sets to be Captain of this high end catamaran.

Lovely view from where we sat to eat
After dinner, a delicious desert of fresh fruit, whipped cream and chocolate decedent brownies was served, along with more champagne of course, and we began our slow sail back into the harbour.  I did not want this journey to end.  It had been five star right from the start, the food was spectacular and the amazing scenery was hard to beat.

However, as the saying goes, "all good things come to an end", so it was with sadness that we came into harbour and disembarked the boat.  Nothing could compare to this experience, so when we come back to Maui, we will be sure to do it again.

If you are looking for a special evening, to be treated like royalty (hence the term Royal Feast), and to enjoy the Maui sunset in the best way possible, then don't miss cruising with Alii Nui.  You will not be disappointed.

To Captain Morgan and his crew a huge Thank YOU!  The journey was the highlight of our trip in Maui.

Image courtesy Alii Nui Maui


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