State signs port agreement with Carnival and Norwegian cruise lines

  • JOHN BURNETT/Tribune-Herald Princess Cruises' Emerald Princess eases into Port of Hilo on Feb. 10, 2020.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation Harbors Division announced today the execution of the first port agreements with Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Lines to formalize health and safety protocols for the return of cruise line operations in Hawaii.

Per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Conditional Sail Order set to expire on Jan. 15, cruise lines with capacity to carry more than 250 persons (combined passenger and crew) and itineraries including overnight stays are required to have a formal port agreement with local port and health authorities.

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The port agreement must include:

• Medical agreement outlining evacuation of passengers or crew in need of care;

• Housing agreement should quarantine or isolation of passengers or crew be needed; and

• Acknowledgement of the public health response resources of the local jurisdictions and vaccination strategies implemented by the cruise lines to minimize risk of spread of COVID-19.

The CDC order requires each ship to have on-board testing and medical staff to ensure proper prevention, mitigation, and response protocols and training. Additionally, Carnival and NCL have committed to “full vaccination rates” in addition to pre-boarding testing and onboard safety and cleaning protocols.

In addition to the cruise line and CDC requirements, the state will require participation in Safe Travels digital platform to upload proof of vaccination or negative test results for cruise lines arriving in Hawaii from outside the state. Safe Travels participation will not apply to cruise lines sailing interisland.

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The signed port agreements will apply until superseded by a new agreement regardless of expiration of the CDC order. The agreement also allows the State to suspend, rescind, or amend the document at any time in case of changing situations. Counties may also implement additional restrictions at any time.

Notification of signed port agreements will be made through the HDOT website and social media accounts prior to the first confirmed sailings.

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