Following the wildfire devastation on Maui in August, Princess Cruises is continuing to change ports of call for Hawaiian sailings even months away.
A substitute port is being provided for the 16-night “Hawaiian Islands” sailing of Crown Princess from San Francisco, though the cruise does not set sail until January 2024.
Itinerary Change for Crown Princess
Princess Cruises has begun reaching out to guests booked on Crown Princess for the ship’s 16-night “Hawaiian Islands” sailing departing on January 7, 2024, to notify them of a port of call change. The ship will still be visiting Hawaii as scheduled, but will not be able to visit Lahaina on the island of Maui.
“Due to the devastating wildfires in Maui the port of Lahaina has suspended cruise operations indefinitely, and Crown Princess will no longer call to Maui (Lahaina),” the notification read.
Instead, Crown Princess will visit Kona on the state’s Big Island at the same day as the visit to Lahaina had been planned – Monday, January 15, 2024. The ship will offer a full day in port from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., giving guests plenty of time to enjoy the tropical destination and discover all that the second-largest settlement on Hawaii (after Hilo) offers.
All pre-booked Princess shore excursions for Lahaina will be cancelled and refunded to guests’ original form of payment, though the exact timing of refunds will vary depending on the policies of each traveler’s financial institution.
Shore excursions for Kona will be available for guests to book within the next two weeks. Popular options in Kona often include visiting the amazing Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, exploring underwater wildlife via a glass-bottomed boat or snorkeling tour, up close whale watching tours, historical explorations, and much more.
Other ports of call on the roundtrip sailing from San Francisco include Nawiliwili on Kauai; Honolulu on Oahu; Hilo on the Big Island; and after leaving Hawaii, a brief stop in Ensenada, Mexico before returning to California.
The 113,561-gross ton Crown Princess is Grand class vessel (occasionally referred to as modified Grand class or Crown class), able to welcome 4,800 guests aboard with an international crew of 1,200 team members to provide superior service.
At the moment, the ship is finishing her Alaska season with cruises from Vancouver, after which she will offer one Hawaiian sailing (which also will not be calling on Lahaina) before repositioning to homeport from San Francisco.
From the Bay Area, Crown Princess will offer California Coast sailings, shorter west coast getaways, and Mexican Riviera itineraries, as well as additional Hawaii cruises.
Reasoning for the Change
This itinerary adjustment is no surprise, given the massive destruction wrought by wildfires one month ago. In just two days, a brutal wildfire burned much of Lahaina to ashes and destroyed approximately 80% of the town with more than 110 confirmed deaths.
“Our thoughts are with the residents of Maui who have experienced tragic loss,” Princess Cruises’ email to guests read.
Even before the fire was fully extinguished, cruise lines immediately responded by cancelling or rescheduling port of call visits. This included rescheduling calls to other parts of Maui to avoid stressing local resources at such a critical time.
While Lahaina has not yet reopened to cruise travel and there is no timeline announced for when the town may be ready to receive visitors again, other parts of Maui are again welcoming tourists in an effort to recoup the tourist revenue that is so critical for the local economy.
With Princess Cruises making this itinerary change so far in advance – more than four months before setting sail – guests can ensure they are prepared for their scheduled ports of call by adjusting any independent tour options as needed, or otherwise choosing the best shore excursions to make the most of their visit to Kona.