Cruise enthusiasts keen to board a cruise around the Hawaiian islands have been dealt a blow this week, as it has emerged that they will have to wait until next year at the earliest to be able to do so. Whilst most of the cruise industry has returned to a semblance of normality following a shut-down of operations due to the spread of Covid-19, cruises have been absent from Hawaii, as the state’s government prioritizes safety during the pandemic.
Unfortunately for many cruise lines and passengers, many itineraries had been updated recently to include cruises in Hawaii in the assumption that the situation would be resolved, leaving them in a last-dash scramble to change their schedules. Here’s everything you need to know about the decision to suspend cruises to Hawaii for longer, including which cruise lines are the worst affected.
No Hawaii Cruises – What Travelers Should Know
It’s easy to see why Hawaii is such a popular destination with cruise lines and cruise-goers alike. The state is blessed with rugged, mountainous landscapes, an abundance of jaw-dropping islands lined with white sand and crystal clear waters, and warm, friendly locals that make any excursion complete. A bucket-list destination for many travelers, access to Hawaii hasn’t been easy during the pandemic, and at least for cruise lines, it isn’t about to get any easier.
In a recent announcement by the public information officer for the Hawaii Department of Transportation, Jai Cunningham, it was revealed that January 2022 was the earliest date that cruises would be able to visit Hawaii. It’s important to note that January 2022 is by no means set in stone, with the reality of the situation being that it could be even longer until we see cruise ships sailing around the islands.
Speaking about the decision, Cunningham said:
“Currently, the earliest resumption of cruises to Hawaii would be January of 2022. While no firm date is currently set, HDOT, in coordination with the various State, Federal, and Local entities, is focused on the safest possible resumption of cruises.”
Cunningham added that no local port agreements with the necessary CDC health and safety protocols had been signed yet.
Highlighting the complexity of the situation, Cunningham also added that the Hawaii Safe Travels program would need to be expanded to include those arriving by cruise ship. The Safe Travels program is a website where international visitors create accounts online prior to their arrival in the state. On the website, travelers fill in details of their trip, as well as a health form, and they can also upload negative test results in order to avoid quarantine.
For some travelers, the news comes as an immediate blow, with cruise lines that had previously been selling tickets to Hawaii, forced to take action. Viking Cruises have been forced to cancel two of their sailings to Hawaii this December, replacing them with trips to Mexico instead. Those who had booked on the Hawaii cruises were offered on-board credit, the option to change to an alternative cruise, or a full refund.
Addressing the situation, the executive vice president of Viking, Richard Marnell, said:
“While restrictions have been eased in most destinations around the world, the impacts of the pandemic continue to make cruise travel particularly complicated in some specific locations. When we developed our Hawaiian Island Sojourn voyage, travel to Hawaii was possible.”
UnCruise, another cruise line, is also among those affected by this latest update.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com