State signs port agreements with cruise lines; first ship to Kahului Harbor expected Jan. 12

The Maui News

The first cruise ship to Kahului Harbor since the pandemic began is expected to arrive on Jan. 12, after the state finalized port agreements with two companies allowing the restart of cruise travel in Hawaii.

Port agreements with Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Lines require the companies to have on-board testing and medical capabilities, the state Department of Transportation Harbors Division announced Tuesday. The cruise lines have also agreed to abide by additional restrictions if needed.

DOT Harbors Maui District Manager Duane Kim told The Maui News on Tuesday evening that the agreements apply to all ports in the state, and that Kahului Harbor will see its first cruise ship, the Grand Princess, on Jan. 12. Lahaina Harbor will host the cruise ship known as The World on Jan. 15.

According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention order that expires on Jan. 15, cruise lines with capacity to carry more than 250 persons (passengers and crew combined) and itineraries including overnight stays are required to have a formal port agreement with local port and health authorities. The port agreement must include:

• Medical agreement outlining evacuation of passengers or crew in need of care.

• Housing agreement should quarantine or isolation of passengers or crew be needed.

• Acknowledgment of the public health response resources of the local jurisdictions and vaccination strategies implemented by the cruise lines to minimize risk of the spread of COVID-19.

The CDC order requires each ship to have on-board testing and medical staff to ensure proper prevention, mitigation and response protocols and training. Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Lines also have committed to full vaccination rates in addition to preboard testing and onboard safety and cleaning protocols, DOT said in a news release.

In addition to the cruise line and CDC requirements, the state will be requiring participation in the state’s Safe Travels digital platform to upload proof of vaccination or negative test results for cruise lines arriving in Hawaii from outside the state. Safe Travels participation will not apply to cruise lines sailing interisland.

The signed port agreements will apply until superseded by a new agreement regardless of expiration of the CDC order, DOT said. The agreement also allows the state to suspend, rescind or amend the document at any time in case of changing situations. Counties may also implement additional restrictions at any time.

Notification of signed port agreements will be made through the DOT website and social media accounts prior to the first confirmed sailings, the news release said. For more information, visit hidot.hawaii.gov.


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