The cruise ship MS Pride of America will not make any stops on the Big Island this week due to “adverse conditions” on the island.
The Pride of America, owned by Norwegian Cruise Line, makes regular trips around the state of Hawaii. With the Big Island port calls cancelled, the ship will instead make an additional stop in Lahaina, Maui.
Ross Birch, executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, said the Pride of America was scheduled to stop twice on the Big Island this week, once in Hilo and once in Kona.
Norwegian Cruise Line also cancelled one of the ship’s Big Island visits last week. Cruise line Royal Caribbean International also cancelled one Big Island visit by the MS Radiance of the Sea last week.
Norwegian Cruise Line cancelled the visits after “closely monitoring the adverse conditions impacting the Big Island of Hawaii,” according to a statement.
“It’s hard to say exactly why they’re avoiding us,” Birch said. “It’s not an air-quality issue, and there’s no direct lava threat.”
The cancellation comes amidst an already struggling tourism industry on the Big Island, with the continuing Kilauea eruption causing widespread cancellations from would-be visitors, despite the fact that a vast majority of the island is safe to visit.
“It’s starting to hit us hard,” Birch said, adding that some hoteliers and activities organizers have had to shut down their businesses.
Birch said summer reservations are already nearly 50 percent less than bookings in previous years. While those bookings are considered separately from cruise ship traffic, Birch pointed out that if each of the 2,500 possible passengers on the Pride of America spent $70 at each port, the cost of the cancellation could be enormous — nearly half a million dollars this week alone.
Birch said Norwegian Cruise Line gave no indication whether the cancellation will continue after this week.
The Pride of America is by far the most frequent cruise ship to visit either port on the Big Island. There are currently 20 visits by cruise ships to Hilo scheduled between May 18 and the end of August; 15 of those visits will be by the Pride of America.
Representatives of the cruise line could not be reached for comment.