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 didn’t go on to 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 Norwegian Cruise Line on Saturday were unsuccessful 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 May 1. NCL has cited concerns over adverse conditions and air quality as reasons for skipping the ports.
The news is a blow to tourism across the island, which has already 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. Four canceled visits, including this Wednesday’s call, equates to a $700,000 hit to the area’s economy.