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Cruise ships returning to Hawaii beginning Jan. 15

By Matthew Nuttle

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    HONOLULU (KITV) — The first port agreements have been signed bringing cruise ships back to the Hawaiian Islands in mid-January, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) announced on Tuesday.

The agreements with Carnival Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Lines would bring the first passenger cruise back to Hawaii for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Beginning Jan. 15, cruise ships can return to Hawaii if they have on-board COVID testing and medical staff to handle an outbreak. Both Carnival and Norwegian have also agreed to have full vaccination as well as pre-board testing before setting sail.

In addition to the CDC requirements, cruise lines must also adhere to Hawaii’s Safe Travels program. This means passengers and crew will have to upload proof of vaccination or have a negative COVID test if arriving to Hawaii from out of state. Interisland cruises will not apply, officials said.

“We appreciate everyone, including the cruise line representatives, coming together to finalize the required agreements to fulfil the CDC Conditional Sailing Order,” said Hawaii Department of Transportation Director Jade Butay.

The new port agreement will apply unless superseded by a new agreement. It also allows the state to suspend, rescind, or amend the agreement at any time in response to changing situations. Counties may implement additional restrictions at any time as well.

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