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Hawaiian Islands say 'aloha' to big ships, and cruise options grow

By Andrea Zelinski 

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May 07, 2022

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Princess Cruises is slated to have the largest Hawaii presence this year, with five ships visiting the Islands.

Princess Cruises is slated to have the largest Hawaii presence this year, with five ships visiting the Islands. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Princess Cruises

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Hawaii dropped its ban on large cruise ships in January, opening the door for cruise lines to redeploy their vessels back to the Islands.

And while Hawaii has never been a major stand-alone cruise destination, with only one large ship offering interisland options, the increase in U.S. domestic cruise options means more sailings to the Islands from West Coast ports. 

Due to cabotage laws, cruise ships of more than 100 passengers must touch a foreign port before visiting Hawaii; the exception is Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America, which is a U.S.-flagged ship. Most ships that leave ports in California call in Ensenada, Mexico, to comply with the law.

Princess Cruises is slated to have the largest Hawaii presence this year, with five ships visiting the Islands, including the 3,560-guest Royal Princess, the first of the line's Royal Class ships to sail to the state. It will visit three ports: Kona, on the Big Island; Lahaina, on Maui; and Honolulu, where it will spend two days.

Hawaii fans will benefit from the line's redeployment of some capacity from Asia. The Diamond Princess, for example, had been scheduled to sail from Japan this year but will instead be based in San Diego through February, offering itineraries that include the Hawaiian Islands.

Holland America Line will offer eight cruises to Hawaii in 2022-2023 on three ships: the KoningsdamZuiderdam and Volendam. Prior to the pandemic, the line offered six sailings. The increase is part of a strategy to offer longer cruises from domestic ports.

The Pride of America, the only U.S.-flagged large cruise ship that sails round-trip Hawaii cruises, resumed its cruises on April 9, making a slow return to the Islands. It was originally scheduled to relaunch in January but postponed that twice. It is now offering seven-day cruises visiting five ports on four Hawaiian islands.

 

UnCruise Adventures' Safari Explorer. The small ship was among the first to sail in Hawaii when it returned to the Islands in November, and its season sold out.

UnCruise Adventures' Safari Explorer. The small ship was among the first to sail in Hawaii when it returned to the Islands in November, and its season sold out. Photo Credit: Courtesy of UnCruise Adventures

UnCruise Adventures is among the few small-ship operators that offer overnight cruises in Hawaii. Due to the size of its ship, the 36-passenger Safari Explorer, it was one of the first cruise lines to resume Hawaii sailings, offering one-week, inter-island voyages starting last November

The season sold out, and UnCruise expects the same success when it resumes operations this year, said UnCruise spokeswoman Liz Galloway. Sailings are set to run from November to April, and she warned that cabins book fast and that bookings are already strong. 

New excursions from UnCruise

Photo Credit: Courtesy of UnCruise Adventures

New excursions from UnCruise

UnCruise Adventures, which offers a four-island Hawaii itinerary on its 36-passenger Safari Explorer, added new excursions when it relaunched last November.

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UnCruise attributes that to several factors. 

"Hawaii provided a strong booking season upon our return to sailing, and our full itinerary was a hit with our guests," Galloway said. "Many wanted a getaway in remote locations, with small groups, that was still within the U.S." 

Travel advisors agree, saying there is more appetite for Hawaii cruises as clients continue to favor sailings from the U.S. 

Ted Blank of Travel Leaders in Woodbury, Minn., said that interest in Hawaii cruises has increased considerably and that people who might have normally gone to far-flung cruise destinations are interested in the longer cruises to Hawaii from West Coast ports. 

"A lot of cruisers who maybe would have popped over to Europe this summer or gone someplace a little more exotic, a good chunk of them are staying a little closer to home," he said. "And Hawaii is about as exotic as you can get without leaving the United States. And it's warmer than Alaska."

The trend could be a boon to Hawaii's cruise industry, which has always been limited because of the cabotage laws. Aside from the Pride of America, passengers must be willing and able to go on sailings that include the lengthy back-and-forth from the mainland U.S. 

"It's a marquee destination," said Shannon McKee, a contracted cruise consultant for the Hawaii Tourism Authority. "The challenge with Hawaii is its geographical location. It's five days there and it's five days back, no matter where you're sailing from. ... It's a lot to get to Hawaii." 

 

Celebrity Cruises to Deploy Solstice on the West Coast

Apr 21, 2022

California  Cruise  Los Angeles  Mexico  Travel News  

 

Celebrity Cruises to Deploy Solstice on the West Coast

Celebrity Cruises will sail out of California in 2022 and 2023.
Credit: Celebrity Solstice’s schedule will include Mexican Riviera and Pacific Coast cruises.

With the Celebrity Millennium now heading to the Caribbean later in 2022, Celebrity Cruises will deploy the larger and newer Celebrity Solstice in California this year. The ship will sail to the Mexican Riviera and the Pacific Coast from September 2022 to April 2023.

Solstice will embark in Los Angeles for five-, seven- and eight-night departures to visit Mexican ports including Ensenada, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, as well as an occasional overnight at Cabo San Lucas.

RELATED: Cruise Review: Celebrity Apex  

Additionally, there will be a series of five sailings traveling to Catalina Island, San Francisco and Monterey, Calif., plus Ensenada, Mexico, and Vancouver, Canada. 

Meanwhile, on its way to the Caribbean, Millennium will pick up passengers in San Diego, Calif., on a 15-night run through the Panama Canal to Puerto Vallarta; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Oranjestad, Aruba; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Details
Celebrity Cruises 

 

 

 

Carnival Miracle is now sailing from its new homeport of San Francisco

Carnival Miracle sailed into San Francisco on Thursday, as Carnival Cruise Line debuted its first homeport operations from the city. The ship will offer spring and summer 2022 sailings to Baja Mexico and Alaska. (Photo by Carnival Cruise Line)

The cruise industry’s “restart” in 2022 is creating new opportunities including new home ports for some lines. For the first time in its 50-year history, Carnival Cruise Line has set sail from its new home port of San Francisco, CA.

On Thursday, the 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle departed the Port of San Francisco for an initial, four-day Baja Mexico cruise. That ship will offer two types of cruises from San Francisco through this summer’s end – four- and five-day Baja Mexico voyages and also a series of 11 10-day Alaska voyages.

“After years of anticipation, Carnival Cruise Line is thrilled to be sailing out of the Port of San Francisco for the first time,” says Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “We’re proud to join the San Francisco community, support the revival of the tourism economy and open up exciting travel options to beautiful destinations for those living in and visiting the Bay Area.”

Alaska Bound

For its Alaska sailings, Carnival Miracle will offer such port calls as Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway and Icy Strait Point, AK; scenic cruising through Tracy Arm fjord; and calls at Victoria, BC, Canada. Destinations will vary depending on the departure date. The San Francisco home porting will culminate with a 15-day Carnival Journeys cruise to Hawaii, departing September 15, 2022

The new Carnival Miracle sailings are part of what will be Carnival’s largest Alaska deployment in history. In total, three Carnival ships will make 49 departures this season to Alaska from San Francisco and Seattle.

And in just a few days, Carnival Splendor will sail from Seattle to Alaska -- marking the return to service of Carnival’s entire fleet of 23 ships. That will be the first time since early 2020 that all the line's ships are sailing with guests aboard. 

Expanding the Market

Carnival’s new sailings from San Francisco’s J.R. Herman Cruise Terminal at Pier 27 will not only expand the line’s West Coast offerings, but also further strengthen its market position. With an almost 40-year presence on the West Coast, the line currently boards more cruise passengers at California ports than any other cruise line. It’s operated a home port at Long Beach, CA, for two decades.

Elaine Forbes, executive director, Port of San Francisco, said that “Carnival Miracle will set sail on 19 voyages from the Port of San Francisco drawing thousands of passengers and crew to our city helping to drive the economic recovery of the waterfront.”

Forbes noted that each cruise call at the Port of San Francisco supports a network of mostly small and family-owned businesses at Fisherman’s Wharf, the Embarcadero and other areas within the port.

In addition to Carnival Miracle at San Francisco, Carnival Radiance and Carnival Panorama also operate year-round from Long Beach and offer itineraries to the Mexican Riviera.

For more information, visit www.carnival.com.

 

United AirlinesAir TravelAirline InformationEurope

 

United Airlines

(united airlines)

United Airlines will launch or resume 30 transatlantic flights from mid-April through early June. This comprises the addition of nonstop flights to five destinations no other North American airline serves, including AmmanJordanBergenNorwayAzoresPortugalPalma de MallorcaSpain; and Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands. The airline is also launching five nonstop flights to LondonMilanZurichMunich and Nice. The airline is also restarting 14 Atlantic routes, besides adding frequencies in six others.

United’s transatlantic route network is expected to be 25 percent larger than it was in 2019. With this expansion, United says it will serve more transatlantic destinations than every other U.S. carrier combined and will be the largest airline across the Atlantic.

United will launch new capital-to-capital service between Washington, D.C.-Dulles and Amman on May 5. Customers will be able to explore the historical sites in and around Amman, besides Petra, the Dead Sea and the Wadi Rum Desert. The airline will offer three times weekly service on a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.

A third Portuguese destination will be added to United’s global network with the launch of flights between New York/Newark and Ponta Delgada in the Azores starting May 13. This joins the airline’s existing flights between New York/Newark and Porto, and its flights between Washington Dulles, New York/Newark and Lisbon. United will fly a new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

United will launch flights between New York/Newark and Bergen starting May 20. Flights will operate three times weekly on a Boeing 757-200. It will offer three times weekly service between New York/Newark and Palma de Mallorca in the Balearic Islands beginning June 2 on a Boeing 767-300ER. This will add to United’s existing services to Madrid and Barcelona. United’s new flight from New York/Newark to Tenerife will launch on June 9. The airline will offer flights three times a week on a Boeing 757-200 aircraft.

In light of the increased demand for European travel, United is also launching new service to several cities in Europe. New daily flights between Boston and London-Heathrow began on April 14. The service is United’s only trans-oceanic point-to-point flight from Boston. This flight complements its nonstop service to London Heathrow from all seven of United’s hubs.

United launched daily flights between Denver and Munich on April 23. The route joins existing service from Denver to Frankfurt and London. United is the only U.S. airline to offer transatlantic service from Denver.

The airline introduced daily flights between Chicago and Zurich on April 23. United offers more nonstop service between Switzerland and the U.S. than any other U.S. airline; it is the only U.S. airline with nonstop service to Geneva.

United will offer new daily flights between New York/Newark and Nice starting April 29. New daily flights between Chicago and Milan, beginning May 6, will join existing seasonal flights between Chicago and Rome. United will be the only airline to offer nonstop service between Chicago and Milan, adding to its existing service between New York/Newark and Milan.

United is also increasing service to European destinations, including: second daily flights between New York/Newark and Dublin, which began April 23; second daily flights between Denver and London-Heathrow, beginning May 7; second daily flight between New York/Newark and Frankfurt, beginning May 26; and a second flight between New York/Newark and Rome five time a week, beginning May 27.

The airline will be adding a third daily flight between San Francisco and Heathrow, and increasing service between New York/Newark and Heathrow to seven daily flights, beginning May 28. With this additional service, there will be 22 daily nonstop flights from the U.S. to London Heathrow.

As part of this transatlantic expansion, United is also growing its presence in Africa. On May 8, it will increase its service to offer daily flights between Washington-Dulles and AccraGhana. The existing seasonal service to Cape Town will be extended to year-round, with nonstop flights from New York/Newark resuming June 5, subject to government approval.

For more information, visit united.com.

 

Cruise InformationNorwegian Cruise LineHolland America LineNorwegian Bliss

 

Norwegian Bliss sails to Alaska from Seattle in 2022.

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Bliss has restarted cruises. The vessel sails from the Port of Seattle to Alaska. (photo by port of seattle )

Two more ships of major cruise lines restarted service over the weekend. Both are now back sailing with guests after more than two years. 

On April 23, 2022, Norwegian Bliss returned to service, kicking off the 2022 Alaska cruise season from the Port of Seattle. The Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) vessel will operate voyages from Seattle to the “Great Land” through October 2022.

NCL has a long history of cruising from Seattle to Alaska, having pioneered the route in 2001. In conjunction with Port of Seattle, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), NCL’s parent company, recently invested $30 million to upgrade Seattle's Pier 66. Smoothing the cruise embarkation process, the update increased the cruise check-in area by 300 percent and also expanded two new passenger boarding bridges. 

"We have nearly three decades of history cruising Alaska, pioneering voyages to 'The Last Frontier' from Seattle more than 22 years ago,” said Harry Sommer, president and CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line, adding that Norwegian Bliss was christened in Seattle in 2018. Throughout the 2022 season, NCL will operate its most-ever Alaska sailings—five, seven-, nine- and 10-day itineraries on Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian EncoreNorwegian SunNorwegian Spirit and Norwegian Jewel.

"The Port of Seattle is excited to welcome cruise back to our region for the first full season since 2019," said Steve Metruck, the port's executive director. Cruise operations in Seattle provide nearly $900 million in economic benefit supporting 5,500 jobs. 

Norwegian Sun will also restart sailing from Seattle on May 5, 2022, becoming NCL’s 16th ship (in a 17-ship fleet) to return to cruise operations. For more information on Norwegian Cruise Line, visit www.ncl.com

Sailing to Alaska

Separately in South FloridaHolland America Line's Noordam returned to service on April 24, 2022 from Port Everglades (Greater Fort Lauderdale). The ship embarked passengers for a 21-day Panama Canal transit to Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

From Vancouver, Noordam will operate seven-day cruises to Alaska between Vancouver and Whittier, AK, as well as one 14-day “Great Alaska Explorer” itinerary roundtrip from Vancouver in September. The line will have four ships operating from Vancouver throughout the summer, and a fifth making one visit there in September.

To celebrate the ship’s restart of cruises from Port Everglades, Holland America held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the terminal to open embarkation. The ship’s captain and senior officers participated. Flag-waving crew members lined up to greet guests as they boarded the ship.

“We are excited to welcome guests aboard Noordam once again as we continue the pace of having all 11 of our ships back in service by June,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “With each relaunch we are able to bring more of our team members back on board and into the Holland America Line family. They have been waiting for this day to welcome our guests and get back to cruising.”

Since Holland America Line restarted cruising in July 2021, EurodamKoningsdamNieuw AmsterdamNieuw StatendamRotterdamZuiderdam and now Noordam have returned to service. They'll sail to Alaska, the CaribbeanEuropeMexico, the California coast and South Pacific.

Volendam currently is under charter by the government of the Netherlands, accommodating Ukrainian refugees while docked in Rotterdam.For more information on Holland America Line visit www.hollandamerica.com.

 

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