KAILUA-KONA — The Pride of America resumes its weekly Wednesday visit to Kailua-Kona today.
The dawn arrival of the Norwegian Cruise Line vessel in Kailua Bay marks the Pride of America’s first visit to Hawaii Island since earlier this month after the company ceased its weekly calling at island ports amid the ongoing Kilauea volcano eruption in lower Puna.
Norwegian Cruise Line said it made the change to its itinerary after “carefully monitoring the geological conditions” on the island for the past couple of weeks. The interisland cruise, for the time being, will depart from Honolulu with stops in Kahului, Maui; Kailua-Kona; and Nawiliwili, Kauai.
The 2,186-passenger ship, however, will continue to forego visiting Hilo, where it last ported May 1, pending “geological conditions.”
“Calls to Hilo will commence as soon as conditions allow,” the company said in a prepared statement. “Our top priority continues to be the safety and security of our guests and crew.”
Between the Pride of America’s last visit to Hilo and today, seven cruise ships canceled Hilo visits. A June 6 visit by Oceania Cruises’ Oceania Insignia already was scrapped.
“We hope that they return to Hilo as soon as possible. We have a lot of businesses that are completely reliant on the cruise ship industry and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park that are really feeling the pressure right now,” said Ross Birch, executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, on Tuesday.
Between May 1 and today, Kailua-Kona lost just two visits by the Pride of America. Calls by Royal Caribbean on May 5, Princess Cruises on May 17 and Crystal Cruises on May 24 went on as planned despite the vessels skipping Hilo.
Through July 18, the weekly Pride of America is the only vessel scheduled to visit Kailua-Kona. On July 24, Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Symphony is on tap to return to Kailua Bay followed by the Pride of America on July 25.
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