It has been nearly two years, and cruise ships still have not sailed to Hawaii since the pause in operations in March 2020. However, that period could well be ending now that the State of Hawaii and two cruise lines signed off on the necessary port agreements.
First Port Agreements with Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line
One of the most popular cruise destinations worldwide, Hawaii, is a step closer to allowing cruise ships to its shores. The Hawaiian Department of Transportation announced it had finalized port agreements with Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line.
These Port Agreements are a part of the CDC’s Conditional Sail Order and must be in place for any cruise ship carrying more than 250 people, including an overnight stay in an area.
The agreements outline the medical evacuation and debark of passengers and crew needing medical attention, where crew and passengers will be housed in case quarantine is necessary and cannot be done aboard the vessels, and a detailed look at both local public health response resources and onboard vaccination strategies.
Hawaii Department of Transportation Director Jade Butay: “We appreciate everyone, including the cruise line representatives, coming together to finalize the required agreements to fulfil the CDC Conditional Sailing Order.”
According to the Department of Transportation, both Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line have agreed on sailing fully vaccinated. Although this would make little difference for Norwegian Cruise Line, as the company already has a vaccine mandate onboard, for Carnival Cruise Line it would mean there would be no more space for the vaccine-exemption policy the company has in other areas of the United States.
Besides the vaccine mandates, cruise ships will also need to comply with strict pre-boarding testing and safety, cleaning, and sanitation efforts and Hawaii’s Safe Travels digital platform to upload proof of vaccination and negative test results.
Which Ships are Sailing to Hawaii?
The vessel scheduled to start cruise operations to Hawaii is Carnival Miracle. She will depart on January 9 on a 14-day cruise to the islands from Long Beach, California. After four days at sea, guests will arrive in Honolulu. There are calls scheduled to Kahului, Maui, Kona, and Hilo. After another few relaxing days at sea, guests will have a day in Ensenada, Mexico, before returning to Long Beach.
Those who cannot wait to cruise to Hawaii again on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship will need to wait a little bit longer. Norwegian Cruise line announced Pride of America‘s first voyage after two years of standby time would sail on March 5, 2022.
The only large cruise ship registered in the United States and sails under the US flag will depart from Honolulu, Oahu, and from there, make her way to Kahului, Maui, Hilo, and Kona, and Nāwiliwili, Kaua’i before returning to Honolulu.
Other cruise lines that have cruises scheduled to Hawaii include Princess Cruises and Holland America Line, amongst others. Ruby Princess will be sailing roundtrip from San Francisco, California, on January 15, and will also have four ports of call in the island group. This spring, Holland America Line will have two ships in the region; Koningsdam and Zuiderdam.