Cruise Line Suspends Port Calls to Big Island of Hawaii
Norwegian Cruise Line has suspended their port calls to the Big Island indefinitely as volcanic eruptions and the resulting lava flow continues to destroy property.
Norwegian, which has one ship sailing around Hawaii year-round, sent out an email this past weekend to local businesses, informing them that Hawaii Island had been removed from Pride of America’s itinerary.
“Please be informed that due to the uncertainties associated with the ongoing volcano activity on the Big Island, it has been decided to take Hilo and Kailua-Kona… out of the POA itinerary until the situation is back to normal,” Luigi Razeto, senior vice president of marine operations for Norwegian Cruise Line said.
Tourism is a dominant part of the local economy in Hawaii, and this news is just another hit to the largest island in the archipelago that makes up the 50th US state. In the short time since the current Kilauea volcanic eruption began on May 3, the island has already lost millions of dollars worth of travel bookings.
Last week, the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau Executive Director Ross Birch estimated the potential loss to Kona business and partners from one canceled ship visit was $175,000. The ship has canceled every call to Kailua-Kona since May 9, and Hilo since early May as well. Even though the volcanic activity was on the other side of the island, the cruise line cited air quality as a reason for skipping the ports. Add those skipped ports to the visits now being canceled indefinitely, and that’s a major loss for the area’s economy.
Pride of America is the only cruise ship that is allowed to sail around Hawaii without stopping in a foreign port, thanks to being the only major US-flagged cruise ship in the Hawaiian market. It holds 2,186 passengers and has been in service since 2005, sailing from the state’s capital of Honolulu.