Employees are the ‘Stars’ of the show | Hawaii Jobs

Employees are the ‘Stars’ of the show

Curt Vaughan

By Yu Shing Ting

From whale watching to dolphin encounters and a rockin’ music and dance performance, Stars of Paradise offers its guests lifelong memories of Hawaii.

Founded in 1957 by Ron and Mitzi Howard, the local company started with dinner cruises and has since grown to include Star of Honolulu and Dolphin Star cruises, Royal Star Hawaii transportation services, and the Rock-A-Hula dinner show in Waikiki.

Kitchen helper Dorina Bamba preps vegetables.

The 1,500-passenger Star of Honolulu is docked at Aloha Tower and provides year-round dinner cruises, and whale watching cruises during whale season (January-April). There also is the Dolphin Star in Waianae offering two daily cruises — morning and lunch — with options to snorkel and guaranteed dolphin sightings.

Royal Star is a charter bus service featuring circle island tours, private tours and transportation via its fleet of motorcoaches, mini coaches, vans and SUVs.

QC driver William Kalani welcomes guests onto the Royal Star.

For Rock-a-Hula at Royal Hawaiian Center, guests can enjoy a high energy music and dance show that takes you on a “Hawaiian Journey” from the 1920s to today, including performances by Elvis and Michael Jackson tribute artists, fire knife dancing, hula and more.

There are lots of opportunities for movement (within the company), and the main thing is that we try to create a fun environment. — Curt Vaughan, Stars of Paradise general manager

There also are a variety of dinner and show packages, where you can add to your experience a luau buffet dinner, welcome reception, preferred seating, meet and greet with the cast, souvenir photos and a backstage tour. Stars of Paradise has approximately 500 employees in a multitude of positions, ranging from sales to waitstaff and bartenders, maintenance, drivers, crewmembers, customer service, wardrobe assistance, performers, musicians and more.

Cruise coordinator Noriko Castro assists customers.

“We have so many different positions and types of jobs available from entry level to management,” said Curt Vaughan, Stars of Paradise general manager. “There are lots of opportunities for movement, and the main thing is that we try to create a fun environment. For all of our companies, it’s about having fun while letting our employees learn and grow.”

As for benefits, employees receive 401(k) flex spending, ESOP (employee stock ownership plan), medical, dental, vacation (based on length of employment and number of hours worked), tuition reimbursement and referral incentives.

Stars of Paradise has its “friendly naturalists” on whale watching cruises.

“We’re a great place for people looking for their first job, for them to learn how to be a waiter or bartender without any experience, because we do a lot of our training in house,” added Vaughan. “And we’re a great place for students to work because of the hours.

“To me, the best part (about working at Stars of Paradise) is being able to see people come into our company at an entry level position and really have an opportunity to grow and learn, and work their way up in a local company. Also, being in Hawaii, on a boat or in a showroom in Waikiki, and being able to interact with all the different tourists that come.

The talented entertainers of Stars of Paradise are all smiles.

“We see people every day who write us comment cards or emails that this was the highlight of their trip or a once in a lifetime experience.”

Contact Patrick Klein at pklein@staradvertiser.com if you desire to have your company featured in this section.

THE 411

COMPANY: Stars of Paradise

ADDRESS: 1540 S. King St., Honolulu

PHONE: 983-7827 (STAR)

WEBSITE: starofhonolulu.com, rockahulahawaii.com, dolphin-star.com and royalstarhawaii.com

GENERAL MANAGER: Curt Vaughan

EMPLOYEES: Approximately 500

BENEFITS: Employees may receive 401(k), employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), flex spending, medical, dental, vacation time, tuition reimbursement, referral incentives and more.

NOTEWORTHY: In 2017, Star of Honolulu Cruises and Events received the Cruise Company of the Year award from Luxury Travel Guide.