Norwegian Cruise Line has cancelled calls at Hawaii's Big Island until further notice due to the recently intensified eruption of the Kilauea volcano.
In a statement sent to USA TODAY, Norwegian said its Hawaii-based, 2,138-passenger Pride of America would replace weekly visits to Kona and Hilo on the Big Island with extra time on the islands of Oahu and Maui. Pride of America operates week-long Hawaii voyages out of Honolulu that begin on Saturdays.
The changes to Pride of America's schedule are significant. New on the itinerary is an overnight stay in Honolulu and a day visit to Lahaina on the island of Maui. Unchanged on the itinerary are overnight stays in Kahului, Maui and Nawiliwili, Kauai.
Norwegian has been offering weekly Hawaii cruises since 2004.
"Hawaii is an incredible destination, and we are proud to have faithfully visited its ports for the last 14 years," Norwegian said in the statement. "We will continue to monitor the situation and hope to return to Hilo and Kona again as soon as possible."
Norwegian has been canceling calls on the Big Island on a week-by-week basis since early May, when a significant eruptive episode at the Kilauea volcano sent lava pouring through a residential neighborhood near Hilo. Other lines that have canceled calls at the Big Island in recent weeks include Oceania Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises.
Pride of America is the only major cruise vessel based in Hawaii year-round, and it accounts for the majority of cruise visits to the Big Island. The other lines canceling calls at the Big Island in recent weeks only send ships there sporadically. While Hawaii is a big resort destination, it's not a major draw for cruise ships relative to such destinations as the Caribbean and Alaska.
One of the biggest attractions on the Big Island for cruisers, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, has been mostly closed since early May due to ongoing seismic activity and lava flows.
Kilauea has been erupting nearly continuously since 1983 but not always at the level of recent weeks.
By Gene Sloan, USA Today
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