The Koningsdam operated by Carnival Corp.’s Holland America Line arrived in Honolulu this morning from Santa Catalina, Calif., with 1,477 passengers on board, which is about 50% of its capacity, according to the state Department of Transportation Harbors Division.
The Koningsdam will make four port calls, starting with Honolulu today, DOT said.
The Ruby Princess, Grand Princess, and Carnival Miracle are also scheduled to arrive later this month on Feb. 15, 18 and 25, respectively.
Despite a warning by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that people should avoid cruise travel at this time, Hawaii in early January welcomed back its first cruise ship after a nearly two-year hiatus.
Although daily coronavirus case counts are declining in some areas, CDC has not dropped its Level 4 travel health notice — the highest-level warning — recommending travelers avoid cruise travel at this time, especially those at increased risk of severe illness.
The coronavirus spreads easily between people in close quarters aboard ships, CDC said, and the chance of contracting COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high, even for those who are up-to-date with their vaccines.
CDC guidance for cruise ships, however, became optional on Jan. 15, when its conditional sail order expired.
Currently, CDC has the Koningsdam listed as “orange,” meaning that reported cases of COVID-19 have met the threshold for an investigation.
All passengers and crew members are subject to the state’s Safe Travels program, which requires proof of vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours of arrival to disembark at any Hawaii port of call.
Gov. David Ige announced Tuesday that boosters would not be required of travelers as proof of up-to-date vaccinations, currently defined as the 14th day after completion of COVID-19 vaccines, in order to bypass the state’s mandatory five-day quarantine.
Cruise ships are scheduled to arrive in Honolulu throughout the rest of this year and into next year, mostly from California but also Canada, Mexico, and French Polynesia.
Any cruise ship destined for Hawaii from the mainland must stop in Honolulu first before venturing to any neighbor isles, according to DOT. Only one ship will be allowed to call per port per day.