Each year, the North Pacific humpback whales make a lengthy migration to Hawaii so as to enjoy the warm tropical waters during the cold winter months of December through March. These underwater snowbirds especially seem to love the coastal waters of Maui, making it one of the best places to view them, and a boating tour outfit like Ultimate Whale Watch & Snorkel is one of the best ways to see them up close and in their natural habitat.
The Ultimate Whale Watch & Snorkel touring group launches their boats out of the Lahaina Loading Dock in West Maui. Now, visitors to Maui have a lot of options when it comes to whale watching, and many of those touring outfits are going to be pretty similar both in cost and the content of what you can expect out of the journey. And it really is hard to have a bad time on any of these tours. That said, the Ultimate Whale Watch & Snorkel group does have some pretty unique aspects that may make them the more ideal group for you and your party to book with (or may make them the outfit that you’d prefer to pass on).
The biggest difference between the Ultimate Whale Watch & Snorkel outfit and others of the same caliber and reputation is that they use smaller ocean rafting boats, and these smaller raft-styled boats equate to a much different whale watching experience.
Smaller boats mean that the group caters to smaller group sizes. Instead of being booked with a huge party, you can have it just be your family or traveling group on the boat. That said, they will commonly combine small groups (if you don’t specifically book a private whale watching or snorkeling tour) up to their boat’s capacity (which is around 25 people including crew) and things can feel pretty tight and crowded.
The boats themselves feel like they have been specifically designed for open ocean tours. They feature large blown-up pontoons along the perimeter which help to reduce the amount of rocking due to waves. This can be a huge boon for those who suffer from light to moderate seasickness (although anyone prone to seasickness should still take medication or wear an anti-nausea bracelet or similar device before departing). Each boat features a simple overhead awning that offers plenty of shade without diminishing from one’s view. So that anywhere you stand on the deck, you can essentially enjoy 360 degrees of ocean vistas. Plus, these pontoons enable those on the deck to be lower to the water, enabling a more eye-level encounter with whales. Finally, all of their vessels feature advanced outboard engines that combine with the small stature of the boats to make them fast and agile, capable of getting out to where the whales are as soon as the first signs of them are sighted.
Ultimate Whale Watch & Snorkel is best known for their whale-watching tours, and they do guarantee a whale sighting (if not, you can get rebooked for free), but their snorkel and whale watch + snorkel combo tours are also outstanding With these tours, you will get to enjoy easy access to some of the best snorkeling spots in Maui’s coastal waters.
-Remember, if you like personal space, then make sure to book a private whale watching and/or snorkeling tour with this outfit, or combine with another family and group whose presence you enjoy, as space on these boats is limited.
-Most of their tours will include some type of food and drink refreshment, from continental breakfast fare to snack foods like chips and cookies. But if you are doing a more active snorkeling tour, you might want to make sure to eat a heartier meal before or bring your own snacks.