TheBoat, O‘ahu’s newest mode of transportation,
started service last month between Aloha Tower [downtown] and
Kalaeloa [Barber’s Point].
It is not a new idea. Passenger ferry between downtown and
Leeward O‘ahu has actually been tried twice before, each
time with federal subsidies. However, this time the City of
Honolulu has made an effort to link the ferry to parking and
surface transportation at both ends, and provided a single
round-trip fare to cover everything: bus service to the boat
from several leeward locations, including Waianae, Makakilo,
and Kapolei, the ferry ride itself, and bus service from Aloha
Tower into Honolulu.
The whole experience has been made convenient and TheBoat itself
is a comfortable environment for traveling.
Not surprisingly, TheBoat’s interior design is accommodating
towards its passengers. Downstairs in the main deck there is
table seating large enough for more than five people, with
adequate space for doing work on a laptop or finishing up homework.
The main and upper-deck interior-seating areas are air-conditioned
and are lined with cushion seating, carpeted floors, and wood-paneled
The ride to Kaleloa took less than an hour and was smooth,
with little choppiness that may cause any motion sickness.
Sitting inside is pleasant, however the view was limited, even
with the windows open. The outside seating comprises facing
benches with limited aisle space between them, uncovered so
passengers can experience the refreshing ocean breeze and bow
Passengers on the outside deck are also able to stand near
the railing comfortably and take pictures. Compared to popular
dinner cruises, which travel towards Diamond Head, the views
seen from TheBoat allow passengers to see O‘ahu’s
industrial ports in Honolulu harbor, planes arriving and departing
from Honolulu International Airport, Sand Island, and, on reaching
Kaleloa, the Ko Olina Resort.
The crew was helpful and polite. They reviewed safety procedures
and instructions about what to do in case of a “man overboard” event.
Throughout the ride, they mingled to make sure passengers were
safe and secure.
When TheBoat docked in Kaleloa, three buses were waiting to
transport passengers to Kapolei, where passengers traveling
into town parked their cars at the Kapolei theatres, and to
Makakilo and the Waianae Coast.
Coming back on the boat was a different experience. In the
afternoon, sitting outside was beautiful with the sun highlighting
the water and the sails of boats playing along O‘ahu’s
shores. TheBoat crew members warned passengers that the ride
was going to be rough, and that there was a chance the TheBoat
would be “airborne” at times. Their caution was
welcome, as the ride was bumpy and unpredictable, and if you
weren’t aware, the dips would catch you off guard.
If you have two hours to spare and you’re looking for
something to do, TheBoat is the perfect opportunity for a new
perspective on the Leeward coast. The ride is affordable, about
the same as a bus ride.
The morning ride is relaxing, different from the stress of
freeway gridlock. The afternoon ride is a little more appropriate
for thrill seekers. The trips both ways were quick and interesting,
with new views and a new perspective on the island and on travel.
Still, any one who gets seasick might find land transportation
Photos by Angela Sorace
A group of passengers waiting to board on the Melissa Ann.
The ferries dock for five minutes at the end of each trip.
At the beginning of each journey, staff of the TheBoat go through safety procedures