NCL suspends Hawaii Island ship calls indefinitely
KAILUA-KONA — It’s more bad news for Hawaii Island.
Norwegian Cruise Line sent out an email Saturday afternoon informing businesses that Hawaii Island has been removed from the itinerary for its ship Pride of America “until further notice.”
“Please be informed that due to the uncertainties associated with the ongoing volcano activity on the Big Island, it has been decided to take Hilo and Kailua-Kona … out of the POA itinerary until the situation is back to normal,” read the email communication signed by Luigi Razeto, senior vice president of marine operations for the company.
The message did not specify what would qualify as a return to “normal,” adding only that those contacted should disregard any and all previous notifications on the matter. Attempts to reach NCL on Saturday were unsucessful as of press time.
Pride of America, which has a 2,186-passenger capacity, has skipped its weekly calls to Kailua-Kona since May 9 despite volcanic activity being focused on the opposite side of the island. The vessel has skipped port in Hilo since early May. NCL has cited concerns about adverse conditions and air quality as reasons for skipping the ports.
The news is a blow to tourism on the island, which already has suffered millions in lost bookings in only one month since the current Kilauea volcanic eruption began May 3.
Last week, Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau Executive Director Ross Birch estimated the potential loss to Kona businesses and activity partners from one canceled Wednesday visit to Kailua-Kona is $175,000. With four canceled visits, including Wednesday’s call, that would equate to a $700,000 hit to the area’s economy.