All luaus in Maui are basically the same: all-you-can-eat buffets, open bars and Hawaiian entertainment. Old Lahaina Luau is more traditional with its entertainment, as it tries for a more meaningful and culturally correct presentation, with no cheesy MC cracking newlywed jokes, but it's not all that different.
The evening starts around sundown as you are escorted to your seats at a communal table seating eight or nine. Get to know your tablemates over drinks brought to you from the open bar while a four-piece band plays Hawaiian music. About an hour after opening, you are escorted to one of the buffet stations for an all-you-can-eat meal. Second visits are encouraged. After an hour for eating, entertainment begins in earnest with performers in colorful costumes explaining the Polynesian migration, Hawaii's discovery and history through song and dance. Three hours after the event starts, it's over and the crowd files out.
The food? It's good. Don't worry if traditional foods like poi, roast pork, ahi poke (a raw salmon dish) and sweet potato aren't your favorites. There's plenty of non-traditional food: salmon (cooked this time!), chicken, mahi mahi and steak, with plenty of salads, rice and fruit to pick from. After you've attacked the buffet, a small tray of desserts is brought to the table. Service throughout is excellent.
However, at the going rate, $80 per person, it really doesn't seem worth it. The evening meal is, after all, just a buffet. People don't drink as much as they used to, so the open bar is not the attraction it may have been years ago. The entertainment, while colorful, does get redundant after awhile. The luau seats about 350 people at tables are arranged in three banked levels - people in the third level don't have a great view. All tables are arranged so that the short end faces the stage. At all levels people at that end have a good view; people at the other end of the table are blocked by their table mates.
People often feel compelled to see a luau in Hawaii. Most people leaving the luau were talking about how great this one was and how much they enjoyed it. We'd have liked it a lot better for $40 each than we did for $80!