Super LoungeNot sure if you noticed, but the July 20 Maui News story "County, state and federal agents would aid in Superferry law enforcement" contains a booze-filled bombshell. Buried under 17 paragraphs are the following nine words: "The ferry expects to be licensed to serve liquor."
Let's think about this. When it starts running in early September, the Hawaii Superferry Alakai—a ship designed to carry hundreds of automobiles that passengers drive on and drive off—will include a lounge. And a really nice lounge, at that.
"A simple, economical upgrade to your ticket allows you to enjoy the deluxe Halalua Lounge, where you will be greeted by a welcome-aboard drink, a pupu, complimentary coffee and the lounge's dedicated crew," states Hawaiisuperferry.com. "Oversized leather seats, special lounge tables and eight LCD flat-screen televisions enhance the environment… So sit back with a cold draft beer, wine, or mai tai, buy a delicious sandwich, and admire the stunning forward views."
For the LC and the Maui Police Department—both of which have pushed very public campaigns against drunk driving—this should be raising bright red flags. Yet the reactions from the two departments are apparently pretty mild.
According to the story, Maui PD Sergeant Stephen Orikasa said "Maui police have no plans for an enforcement effort specifically on drivers leaving the Superferry."
The Maui LC also doesn't seem too concerned about the Superferry. At the Aug. 8 Liquor Commission hearing, LC Director Franklyn Silva told the commission that Hawaii Superferry just obtained a Class 8 license–similar to those issued to cruise ships–from Kauai County. That license allows the company to sell alcohol to passengers while the vessel is in transit–the journey from Oahu to Maui is estimated to take three hours–as well as the time the Alakai spends in port.
At the hearing, the biggest Superferry issue seemed to be liquor fees–as in, which county would get them. According to Silva, the Superferry would distribute fees to the various counties depending on where sales took place.