The recently intensified eruption of the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has disrupted another Hawaiian Island cruise.
Norwegian Cruise Line's Hawaii-based Pride of America on Tuesday skipped a call at the Big Island port of Hilo, which is just 43 miles from the now-mostly-closed national park that encompasses the volcano. The 2,186-passenger ship instead remained at sea.
Norwegian also announced that Pride of America would skip a call at Kailua-Kona on the Big Island scheduled for Thursday. The ship instead will spend an extra day this week in Maui.
The cancellations comes a week after Royal Caribbean dropped a call in Hilo scheduled for its 2,143-passenger Radiance of Seas.
The two ships are among just a handful of cruise vessels scheduled to visit the Big Island this month. While it's a big resort destination, Hawaii is not a major draw for cruise ships relative to such destinations as the Caribbean and Alaska. Norwegian's Pride of America is the only major cruise vessel based in Hawaii year-round.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which encompasses the Kilauea volcano, is one of the biggest attractions on the Big Island for cruisers. It's been mostly closed since Friday due to ongoing seismic activity, summit deflation and worries about a possible steam explosion at the summit of the volcano.
Kilauea has been erupting nearly continuously since 1983 but not always at the level of recent days. A significant eruptive episode that began on May 3 has sent lava pouring through a rural neighborhood about 35 miles from Hilo. Nearly 2,000 people who live in the area have been barred from their homes for more than a week, and at least 36 structures have been destroyed by the lava flows, including 26 homes.
Still, tourism officials have noted that much of the Big Island is unaffected by Kilauea's latest lava flows and that lava flows are a normal occurrence at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. No hotels, restaurants or other attractions on the Big Island have closed as a result of the latest eruption, tourist officials say.
The two cruise lines that have canceled Big Island visits have done so in what they say is an abundance of caution. In a statement explaining the cancellation of today's call, Norwegian Cruise Line said the safety and security of its customers was its top priority.
"We have been closely monitoring the adverse conditions impacting the Big Island of Hawaii and are modifying the itinerary of Pride of America to ensure our guests have the best vacation experience possible," the line said.
By Gene Sloan, USA Today
Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
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