Hawaii Superferry executives planned to spend last weekend in Alabama, christening the first of two ships slated to offer inter-island ferry service between Oahu and Kauai, Maui and the Big Island.
The company in March cleared a state legislative hurdle and
likely will begin selling tickets for its Oahu-Kauai and Oahu-Maui routes next
month, with operations beginning in July. Travel to the
The ferry service will be one of a kind in
Price will not be the Superferry's selling point. Standard fares for the three-hour excursion will run from $42 to $60 one way, with a $20 upgrade available for passengers wishing to enjoy a panoramic view from the foredeck lounge. Cars and SUVs will cost an additional $55 to $65, while cyclists will pay between $20 and $25 to transport bikes.
The marketing campaign centers instead around the beauty of a sea-based approach and the convenience of arriving with adventure gear already in place.
"This is going to be a new experience," says Terry O'Halloran, director of business development. "A way to get between the islands with a different perspective. The visitor travel market is one we think is going to be important for us."
That market brings logistical considerations the company has yet to resolve. Plans for working with travel wholesalers, agents and rental car companies are in the works, O'Halloran says.
The company still faces some calls for an environmental impact statement.
The first ship completed sea trials from its
Time will determine the success of the service,
"It's an additional product you can put in your marketing quiver," says Rex Johnson, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. "It'll be interesting to see how much people use it."
The Superferry in May will begin taking reservations at 877.HIFERRY or www.hawaiisuperferry.com.