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The Ultimate Oahu Family Guide

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Atlantis Submarine

The Atlantis Submarine is a unique experience for tourists to Waikiki and a fun outing for residents of Oahu.

The submarine's dock is accessible from the beach outside of the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The Hilton's address is 2005 Kalia Rd., Honolulu. After booking the submarine trip, Atlantis offers a complimentary shuttle to the dock from your hotel in Waikiki or Honolulu.

There are multiple tours every day of the week, some are narrated in Japanese, so if you don't understand that language you would need to wear headphones for translation. Also, there are two kids of tours. One boat has smaller viewing windows, holds 48 passengers and is less expensive at $89 for adults and $40 for children ages 2-12. The other boat, called the premium submarine tour, holds 64 passengers and costs $103 for adults and children are $47.  The whole experience, between taking a boat to get to the submarine and then the submarine tour itself and then getting back takes about an hour and a half. There are drinks and snacks for sale on the larger boat but not on the submarine. Also, children need to be at least 36" tall to ride.

We took a 2 pm Premium Submarine Tour. While we waited for the boat that would take us to the submarine site, we were handed a dive tour guide pamphlet. Inside, it showed pictures of all of the fish we were likely to see. We eagerly awaited the boat and then boarded once it got there. The boat had an upper deck so we decided to go upstairs to see the view.  I also made sure to have the kids go to the bathroom because there is no bathroom on the submarine! We had to walk down a tiny staircase single file into the submarine but once inside I wasn't as claustrophobic as I feared I might be.

We got seats and then started off on the journey. The narrator was friendly, knowledgeable and tried to be funny too. We gradually went down, eventually reaching 100 feet below sea level. The University of Hawaii collaborated with Atlantis to create a pyramid sculpture at the bottom of the sea to attract reef fish and sea turtles. There were also salvaged Pan-American planes and boats that were sunk at the site specially for Atlantis, again to attract fish. There were numerous sea turtles sleeping on these structures as well as black and white striped pennantfish, rainbow-colored parrotfish, yellow milletseed butterflyfish and a few moray eels. We stayed down at the bottom for maybe 15 or 20 minutes just marvelling at what it was like down there. Surprisingly it was quite bright, and we could see pretty well out of the windows. The kids loved it and had no idea just how far deep we were. I loved how my whole family was doing something together for the first time and just the thought of being so far below sea level was exciting. The sub rode around all of these sunken artifacts and the guide was great about point everything out and making sure we were having a good time.

We eventually came back up, boarded the boat that would take us back to the dock and enjoyed the view of the water and hotels on the shore. Once we got back, my son and husband made a keepsake penny with a picture of the Atlantis on it to commemorate the occasion. We had a fantastic time and I highly recommend the Atlantis.