Catamaran boat in ocean at sunset

7 Best Sunset Cruises in Waikiki, Oahu (2023)

Affiliate Disclosure

Are you looking for the best Waikiki sunset cruise?

There’s no better way to enjoy the spectacular landscape off the coast of Oahu than out on a sunset cruise on the Waikiki side. 

The views are enchanting, as the sky glows different pink, gold, and orange hues over a glossy Pacific ocean. If you head to Oahu and don’t get out on the water, you’ll really be missing out!

Depending on your chosen cruise, you’ll have various experiences on the water. 

Want to partake in a booze cruise? Learn about Hawaiian culture? Have a romantic and tranquil evening. There’s a sunset cruise perfect for you.

Plus, it offers a terrific way to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown Honolulu. No matter the occasion, you’ll have one of your most memorable Oahu evenings! 

Watch for wildlife as you sail— you might see turtles and spinner dolphins. During the winter months, keep an eye out for humpback whales!

Sunset cruises can run the gamut. Some come with multiple-course meals, others with just snacks. Some provide alcohol; others are BYOB. 

On my family trip to the Oahu, taking a sunset cruise in Waikiki was one of my best and most memorable experiences! The Honolulu coast is so magical at sunset time!

Need some help deciding? Check out this list of the top 7 best sunset cruises in Waikiki, Oahu. 

Each one has something different to offer. One thing all cruises have in common? High ratings, fantastic crews, and the chance to see spectacular views! 

These cruises are perfect no matter who you’re traveling with— family, friends, or even solo! Let’s get into it. 

My Top 3 Picks: Best Sunset Cruise in Waikiki

#1 Top Pick

Large white dinner cruise ship in the ocean

Star Casual Sunset and Show Cruise
✔️ Cruise Ship, 2 hrs
✔️ Dinner and show

#2 Top Pick

Catamaran boat in ocean at sunset

Waikiki Sunset Cocktail Cruise
✔️ Catamaran boat, 1.5 hrs
✔️ drinks and appetizers

#3 Top Pick

cruise boat in ocean at sunset

BYOB Sunset Cruise off the Waikiki Coast
✔️ Catamaran boat, 1.5 hrs
✔️Great Value for non-drinkers

7 Best Sunset Cruises in Waikiki

The top three cruises on this list are my top recommendations (although it was hard to choose!). All seven options are highly reviewed, and you’re guaranteed a blast.

1. Star Casual Sunset and Show Cruise

Rating: 5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: Cruise Ship |   Group max: 999 people 

Food: dinner, drinks|  ⏳ Tour Length: 2 hours

Book it!

Large white dinner cruise ship in the ocean - Best sunset cruises in Waikiki

One of the top-rated cruise trips out of Waikiki, the Star Casual Sunset and Show Cruise is the perfect combination of a luau and sunset cruise. It’ll give a new meaning to “dinner and a show.”

Be greeted at the pier by traditional Hula dancers, and then step aboard the spacious cruise ship. 

Find your table, sit back, and enjoy the 3-course meal and fantastic Polynesian show. 

What’s for dinner, you ask? You can expect plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, steak, crab, and other meats. Of course, no meal is complete without dessert! The Macadamia Nut Ice Cream is delicious!

While you eat, watch a fantastic show called ’60 Years of Aloha’ and see the gorgeous vistas off the coast of Oahu. You’ll absolutely love the show!

When the show is over, head up to the wrap-around deck and watch the sun descend over the horizon.

Anu’s Pro-Tip – If you go on Friday evening, you’ll get an extra hour on the cruise to observe the fireworks over Waikiki! 

This is a popular cruise, so reserve your spots early! 

The team was very professional and friendly. The show was great! Delicious menu. A must do when traveling to Oahu.

– Jose (See more reviews)

➡ Check rates and availability for the
Star Casual Sunset and Show Cruise

2. Waikiki Sunset Cocktail Cruise (with Drinks and Appetizers)

Catamaran boat in ocean at sunset

Rating: 5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: Catamaran |   Group max: 80 people 

Food: Drinks and Appetizers |  ⏳ Tour Length: 1.5 hours

Book it!

You can’t do much better for a luxury cruise than this Waikiki Sunset Cocktail Cruise

You’ll head out towards Diamond Head. Included in the price are two complimentary cocktails and unlimited non-alcoholic drinks. (You can always purchase more cocktails if you would like!)

While you sail on the glossy ocean and watch the sun paint the sky, glorious oranges, pinks, and reds peruse the provided appetizer spread.

Called “pupus” in Hawaiian, munch on delicious snacks like caramelized onion meatballs, kale pork wontons, and a delectable cheese plate. 

Bring your camera! You’ll get incredible views of Diamond Head, an old volcanic tuff cone. It’s known to Hawaiians as Lēʻahi, which means brow of the tuna.

Keep an eye out for the fleeting green flash on the horizon. Did you miss it? Don’t worry; the skyline of Waikiki glittering in the night sky is sure to please. 

The crew was awesome they made sure we were enjoying every minute we were on the trip. The sliders were very good and the bar was always ready to provide refreshments. The sunset was breathtaking and the crew offered to take pictures of us.

– Sean (See more reviews)

➡ Check rates and availability for the
Waikiki Sunset Cocktail Cruise with Drinks and Appetizers

3. BYOB Sunset Cruise off the Waikiki Coast

Rating: 5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: Catamaran |   Group max: 40 people 

Food: snacks, sodas |  ⏳ Tour Length: 1.5 hours

Book it!

cruise boat in ocean at sunset

This top-rated BYOB Waikiki Sunset cruise is incredibly popular and is the cheapest option on this list. 

Why’s that, you ask? Because it’s a bring-your-own beer cruise!

Not a big drinker? This is the perfect cruise for you— because you don’t have to pay for it. 

Bring your favorite drinks aboard, whether beer or cocktail, and sail along the coast. Soak in the views of Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head Crater, and the gorgeous sunset. 

Big ice coolers are on board, so you can have your drinks chilled. The crew will provide you with yummy snacks to munch on, as well as water and sodas.

Bonus: The boat itself is incredibly comfortable! 

After the sun sets, head back to the harbor and watch the city lights sparkle in the night. 

Anu’s Pro-Tip – This is the best value cruise on the list! Great for families and non-drinkers.

We had such a beautiful night! The weather and sights were perfect! We loved chatting with the awesome crew who were so friendly and knowledgeable! We also enjoyed the other guests and were able to take stunning photos! An all inclusive fee doesn’t make sense for us since my husband doesn’t drink, so we appreciated the BYOB cruise.

– Leslie (See more reviews)

➡ Check rates and availability for the
BYOB Sunset Cruise off the Waikiki Coast

4. Nova Five Star Sunset Dinner and Jazz Cruise

Rating: 5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: Cruise Ship |   Group max: 999 people 

Food: Premium dinner and drinks|  ⏳ Tour Length: 3 hours

Book it!

Large white dinner cruise ship in the ocean

Look no further than this Nova Five Star Sunset Dinner Cruise for a unique, high-end dinner cruise. Sit at your private table and enjoy a delicious five-course dinner while watching the sunset. 

You’ll want to dress up for this cruise – something there are few opportunities for in Hawaii.

When you set aboard, you’ll be welcomed with a delicious Bellini before casting off the southern coast of Oahu. 

While you dine, you’ll hear live Jazz music performed by Oahu’s top artists.

The menu is seasonally inspired. However, you can expect anything from a charcuterie board stater, a fresh salad, a beef or lobster entree, and a sweet treat to finish the night. 

You’ll drift off slowly and get to listen to the smooth sounds of jazz with Waikiki sparkling in the distance. 

Anu’s Pro-Tip: On Fridays, enjoy an extra hour aboard to watch the free fireworks show from the water. Talk about a fabulous experience!

This experience is exquisite and perfect for celebrating a special occasion.

Upscale Experience! This was the best dinner cruise I ever had. I was very impressed how elegant and romantic everything were. From the cocktail hour, entertainment, drinks, serving, meeting and small chat with the Captain, I swear this was a 8 course meal fine dining, at the end all the ladies were giving a rose. The whole setup totally made my Anniversary.

– Martine (See more reviews)

➡ Check rates and availability for the
Nova Five Star Sunset Dinner and Jazz Cruise

5. The Premier Waikiki Sunset Party Cruise with Live DJ and Full Bar

Rating: 5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: Luxury Powerboat |   Group max: 50 people 

Food: drinks |  ⏳ Tour Length: 2 hours

Book it!

If you love to dance and want to party on the water, this is the Waikiki sunset party boat for you! 

Head aboard and take to the water right before sundown. Enjoying the glorious Hawaiian sunset is just the start of a fantastic night. 

You’ll sail past the iconic Diamond Head State Monument during the glorious golden hour. This is a great photo opportunity!

As the sun goes down, the tunes will turn up—party on two separate decks, with a live DJ aboard.

The music is synced with onboard lights for the ultimate party vibe. Plus, you get one drink ticket included with your reservation (you can always purchase more aboard!)

Come ready to twist, tap, and boogie the night away!

Please note: You must be 21 and older to go on this cruise.

We had a blast with the crew, they made the excursion so enjoyable. They were fun and engaging while being professional and delivering the best customer experience. I would highly recommend taking this cruise. The DJ was excellent and played a variety of music to suit everyone’s interests. We would definitely book again when in Hawaii and will make an effort to tell our friends!

– Tina (See more reviews)

➡ Check rates and availability for the
The Premier Waikiki Sunset Party Cruise with Live DJ and Full Bar

6. Polynesian Canoe Sunset Sail

Rating: 5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: Polynesian canoe |   Group max: 6 people 

Food: dinner, snacks |  ⏳ Tour Length: 2 hours

Book it!

Sailboat in ocean at sunset

There’s no better way to explore the ocean around Hawaii than on a traditional Polynesian canoe cruise!

Step aboard a Polynesian wa’a kaulua- an all-wood, double-hulled sailing canoe for the cultural experience of a lifetime. With a maximum of 6 guests, this tour is intimate and relaxed.

Learn all about the beautiful Hawaiian culture while onboard. As you sail along Waikiki’s coastline, you’ll hear myths, legends, and stories of native Hawaii.

In the golden light of the setting sun, enjoy cultural activities. Learn about making food, clothes, and other traditional items.

Calming ukulele music and traditional chants are the soundtrack for this unique adventure.

Plus, you get to learn and participate in a traditional sunset ‘oli ceremony. 

Finish off the evening with a delicious, traditional dinner.

It was a magical night of culture, stories, music and great views. My expectations were exceeded and it was a great way to spend a sunset cruise. The perfect mix of both education and enjoyment.

– Gina (See more reviews)

➡ Check rates and availability for the
Polynesian Canoe Sunset Sail

7. Private Sunset Catamaran Cruise in Waikiki

Rating: 5/5  |  ⚓ Boat: Catamaran |   Group max: 6 people 

Food: water |  ⏳ Tour Length: 2 hours

Book it!

Catamaran boat in ocean with views of Waikiki and Diamond Head

This two-in-one Private sunset cruise with snorkeling is a terrific way to watch for wildlife and see nightfall. 

It’s a private tour (with a maximum group size of 6)- the perfect way to avoid the crowds. Another perk is that you’ll get to customize this tour to your desires.

See Diamond Head State Monument, pass by Waikiki Beach, and cruise up the coast of Waikiki.

With provided snorkeling equipment, you can jump in the water and see gorgeous coral reefs and brilliantly colored tropical fish!

Listen to the crunch of parrotfish eating coral. Fun fact: The white sand in Hawaii is courtesy of parrotfish poop! 

You might even see Hawaiian spinner dolphins, turtles, and whales (during the winter season). 

Plus, your guide has lots of insider local knowledge. Feel free to pepper them with questions! 

Use the Bluetooth sound system to play your favorite jams. Enjoy the complimentary bottled water, or bring your drinks to sip on.

 There’s a cooler on board to keep them cool. Enjoy this intimate and exclusive tour with just your friends and family. 

Cannot recommend this experience enough!! Our guides were fantastic and so friendly. The snorkeling was so much fun and the sunset was absolutely beautiful. If you’re going to Oahu, this is a MUST!!

– Kelly (See more reviews)

➡ Check rates and availability for the
Private Sunset Catamaran Cruise in Waikiki

Ocean water waves caused by cruise boat

FAQs about going on a sunset cruise in Waikiki

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about taking a Waikiki sunset cruise:

What is a sunset cruise in Waikiki, Hawaii?

A sunset cruise in Waikiki takes you on a scenic journey along the iconic Waikiki shoreline. As you sail, you’re treated to the magnificent spectacle of the sun dipping behind the horizon, casting its golden glow over the Pacific. Both tourists and locals treasure this experience.

Is a sunset cruise in Waikiki worth it?

Absolutely. The best views of the Waikiki shoreline are from the water! A sunset cruise in Waikiki offers an unparalleled experience, combining relaxation, scenic views, and the captivating allure of a Hawaiian sunset. It’s a perfect way to immerse yourself in the island’s beauty and make lasting memories.

How long do sunset cruises typically last in Waikiki?

In Waikiki, sunset cruises typically span two to three hours. This ensures you have ample time to savor the sunset and the surrounding scenery of the Waikiki coastline and Diamond Head without feeling hurried.

What can I expect to see during a sunset cruise in Waikiki?

While on a sunset cruise in Waikiki, you’ll be greeted with views of the iconic Waikiki coastline, The Diamond Head Crater, the expansive Pacific Ocean, and the main attraction – the breathtaking sunset. Additionally, keep an eye out for marine life. Dolphins, turtles, and occasionally whales might make an appearance, depending on the season.

Are food and drinks provided on Waikiki sunset cruises?

Most sunset cruises in Waikiki provide complimentary refreshments, which can range from light appetizers to tropical fruits and beverages. Some even offer alcoholic drinks. The Sunset dinner cruises serve dinner on board. It’s always good to check with your chosen tour operator to know exactly what’s on the menu.

Do I need to make a reservation for a Waikiki sunset cruise?

Definitely, reserving your spot in advance is advisable, especially during peak tourist seasons. Sunset cruises are a sought-after experience in Waikiki, and pre-booking ensures you don’t miss out.

What should I wear on a sunset cruise in Waikiki?

Opt for comfort. Layered clothing works best since, with the sea breeze, it might get a bit chilly. While sunscreen and sunglasses are essentials for the daytime sun, bringing a light jacket for the evening is a good idea.

Is it safe to take children on a Waikiki sunset cruise?

Generally, sunset cruises in Waikiki welcome families. It’s wise, though, to confirm with the operator about any age restrictions or guidelines to ensure the cruise is appropriate for younger members of your group. The Polynesian Canoe Sunset Sail, and Private Sunset Catamaran Cruise are great for families.

Can I bring my own food or drinks on board?

Most cruise operators in Waikiki offer onboard refreshments, so bringing outside food or beverages might not be allowed. It’s a good practice to inquire about their policy beforehand.

What is the best time of year to take a sunset cruise in Waikiki?

Waikiki in Honolulu enjoys beautiful sunsets year-round, but the best time to take a sunset cruise might depend on when you are on the island. The weather is generally pleasant, so you can enjoy a cruise at any time of the year. We typically visit Hawaii in the winter months. We took the Waikiki sunset cruise in January. It was a memorable experience, and the weather was great.

More things to do in Waikiki

Now that you have found the perfect sunset cruise from the list above, make sure to check out some of the other unique activities in Waikiki and add them to your Oahu itinerary:

sunset at Waikiki beach
sunset at Waikiki beach
  • Take a helicopter tour in Waikiki and get spectacular aerial views of Waikiki, Diamond Head, and the mountains and valleys of Oahu. I recommend this Royal Crown of Oahu – 60 minute helicopter tour over Oahu to get a complete circle island tour of Oahu.
  • Beach Walk: Stroll the two-mile sandy stretch. Feel the Waikiki vibes, and see the views.
  • Submarine Ride: Dive deep without getting wet! Take a Submarine ride to observe vibrant marine life, explore the remnants of a sunken ship, and marvel at the vast ocean bed’s mysteries. We loved this excursion!
  • Snorkeling Adventures: Dive in with your snorkeling gear or embark on a guided snorkeling tour to Turtle Canyons, known for its abundant turtle population.
  • Surfing: Whether you’re a novice or an expert, Waikiki’s waves beckon. Sign up for private surfing lessons and ride the Pacific waves like a local.
  • Boogie Boarding: Grab a boogie board. It’s easy, it’s fun, and the waves are just right.
  • Parasailing: Elevate your adventure—literally. Try parasailing for breathtaking aerial views of Waikiki and the iconic Diamond Head. Don’t forget the thrilling dip in the ocean at the end!
  • Canoeing & Kayaking: Rent a canoe or kayak. Feel the rhythm of the ocean beneath you.
  • Beach-front dining: Wrap up at a beachside restaurant in Waikiki. Good food, better views. Pure Waikiki.

Where to stay in Waikiki

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Resort
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

Finding the perfect accommodation in Waikiki is crucial for an unforgettable trip to Oahu. Whether you’re looking to indulge in luxury, need something in the mid-range, or are traveling on a budget, there’s something for everyone. Here are my top picks:

Luxury: The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort

Nestled in the heart of Waikiki, The Royal Hawaiian offers an unmatched blend of historical charm and modern luxury. With its iconic pink façade, this resort is often referred to as the “Pink Palace of the Pacific.” You can enjoy stunning ocean views, world-class dining, a serene spa, and unparalleled service. It’s the perfect spot for those who want to experience Waikiki in style.

Mid-Range: Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

Hilton Hawaiian Village is a beachfront resort in the heart of Waikiki, spanning over 22 acres, with five swimming pools, several on-site dining options, and a vast collection of shops. The resort’s lagoon and its beachfront location make it a favorite among families and couples alike. The Friday night fireworks are a signature event here. This is where we stayed during our trip to Oahu and it was perfect.

Mid-Range: OUTRIGGER Waikiki Beachcomber Hotel

Centrally located and just a stone’s throw from the beach, Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger provides a balance of comfort and value. The hotel has modern rooms, a refreshing pool area, and a brewery on-site. Its convenient location makes it easy to explore nearby attractions, shopping, and dining options.

Conclusion: Best Waikiki Sunset Cruises in Oahu

The sunset view from a Waikiki cruise is enchanting and a fantastic way to experience the Pacific Ocean. Plus, with so many unique options, you can craft the Hawaiian vacation of your dreams. 

Learn about Hawaiian culture, dance the night away, or dine elegantly— remember to bring your camera! You’re going to make memories you won’t want to forget. 

Other Hawaiian Islands are also well known for beautiful sunset cruises like Kona sunset cruises in Big Island.

More About Oahu

Check out these other posts about my trip to Oahu!