Yaling and I had the pleasure of joining the Star of Honolulu for their 7-Course French Style Dining experience this week. Let me start off by saying that this dinner cruise is by no means for the traveler on a budget. We would like to recommend this cruise to those looking for a high end dining experience while in Waikiki, because this French style dinner runs $189 per person, which is really as expensive as it gets here in Honolulu. Alan Wong’s and Chef Munro have comparable prices to Star of Honolulu, and so I was really curious to see what type of ambiance and flavors they were offering. And wow… what a night.
With a revamped menu and atmosphere, this vessel has created a floating 5-star dining experience that overlooks Waikiki. While they offer a variety of different cruises, we chose the French Style dinner one, in order to give a thorough gamut of dining recommendations to our clients. And if we’re going to be recommending this to people, I wanted to be sure the food was good and the service up to par. Yaling and I were both swept away.
When we arrived, we were greeted by the staff and treated like real VIP’s. We thought maybe they were giving us special attention because we were from the travel company, but then quickly realized this was the caliber of service they were giving each and every guest. For anyone joining the staff of Star of Honolulu, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that you truly are VIP to them.
The evening started off on the top deck with hor d oeuvres and champagne. It was a great way to begin the night because the top deck offers sweeping views of Waikiki and Diamond Head, a wonderful view for vacationers. We mingled with other guests over a variety of spring canapés during this cocktail hour, including Cajun shrimp with fire roasted peppers and Boursin dill aioli, prosciutto, baked brie and papaya salsa on English cucumber and cream cheese mousse with raspberry and balsamic reduction on Lavosh. This part of the evening only lasted about 10 minutes, and wasn’t the best aspect of the experience, but nevertheless it was nice and the pupus were tasty.
Next, we were escorted to the main dining room, where we were immediately impressed with the fine dishware, napkins and cutlery. Everything about the setting of the table was sophisticated. And like any traditional fine dining restaurant, our waiter wore white gloves and was available to help make every part of our experience enjoyable.
I was happy to find out that dinner included free drinks throughout the entire evening. Furthermore, each cocktail was poured with top shelf liquor and the bartenders were equipped to mix up anything you could possibly want. They also had a drink menu with tropical signature cocktails that definitely boasted Hawaiian themes, and the pours were generous. Meaning, the drinks didn’t seem like the bartenders were sparing.
After the first course of spring canapés, next was zucchini soup. This decadent broth was mixed with Crème Fraiche and cilantro and was a tasty warm-up, especially with the freshly baked French bread to accompany it.
Next course was the salad, which consisted of fresh greens and pickled vegetables, tossed in an herb vinaigrette. This spring garden salad was light, crisp and the perfect introduction to one of the main courses. Air-flown live Maine lobster was the dish of the evening, meaning it was my favorite course of the meal. Served with a spinach and Ali‘i mushroom purse (which was my second favorite flavor), pea puree, homard sauce and Tsar Nicolai caviar, this dish was delicious.
Afterwards, we enjoyed an intermezzo of pineapple Pinot Grigio sorbet to cleanse our palate and prepare for the next course. We were then served the highest-grade prime tenderloin of beef with carrot and potato cloud, spring vegetable medley and two sauces, Chimichurri and Bordelaise Demi.
The last course was of course dessert. White wine poached pear Napoleon with Tahitian vanilla bean gelato, anglaise sauce and raspberry coulis. Accompanying this extravagant sweet was freshly brewed STAR’s original coffee and organic teas. It was the perfect way to finish off the meal.
After dinner, Yaling and I enjoyed live jazz entertainment and watched as couples took to the dance floor. Another great part of the evening was that throughout and in between courses, we could get up and explore the decks of the boat. Since this is a sunset cruise, the boat moseys around Waikiki and cruises the coastline for incredible sunset views. It was a beautifully smooth ride and we both agreed Star of Honolulu is the perfect place for romance. From the boat cruise to the sunset scenery to the 5 star dining, delicious dishes, jazz music and dancing, it was really a great evening.
The boat itself is nicely appointed and feels like you’re on a big cruise liner ship. While the experience was on par with pretty much any high-end restaurant in Waikiki, what made this evening unique was the fact that it all takes place on the boat. Star of Honolulu also throws in some really nice touches like the drink inclusions, jazz music, professional photography and to top it all off, a fresh red rose for your wife at the end of the night. It’s these small details that really set this experience apart from the others, and we thoroughly enjoyed our night onboard the Star of Honolulu. We loved every single course of the meal and will definitely be recommending this night to anyone wanting a beautiful night atop the waters of Waikiki.
And for those lucky enough to live here in Hawaii, Star of Honolulu will soon be offering a 2-for-1 kamaina rate. Treat yourself and a loved one to a French Style evening cruising Waikiki with top notch service, the highest quality food and drinks, music and dancing for an unforgettable experience.