Travel insights from Jenna Buege, senior editor of The Compass
On September 3, 2023, Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) Pride of America cruise ship will make its return to Kahului, Maui. The announcement came in the wake of the devastating Pulehu-Kihei wildfires that burned on Maui from August 8 – 12, 2023. NCL’s decision to resume sailing to Maui was guided by the Maui community, Hawai’i State Governor Josh Green and the Hawai’i Tourism Authority who encouraged the cruise line’s return.
NCL’s Pride of America has offered year-round cruises to the Hawaiian Islands for over 18 years. The cruise line paused its calls to Maui in early August 2023 to avoid stressing local resources due to fires on the island’s west side.
“We have a strong connection with the people and islands of Hawai‘i and long history of bringing guests from all over the world year-round to this paradise in the Pacific,” said David J. Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line. “When we heard of the tragic wildfires, we were quick to mobilize our network to support local recovery efforts in Maui. We temporarily adjusted our itineraries to avoid stressing the destination further, we donated $50,000 to Maui United Way, and together alongside our partners have collected and will be donating over $150,000 in supplies such as food, clothing and mattresses. We look forward to returning to this incredibly special destination soon with the guidance and support of the local community, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and Governor Green.”
Hawai’i State Governor Josh Green commented on NCL’s return to island stating, “We appreciate the continued partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line, and the support it has recently provided to aid the recovery of the residents of Lahaina. While travel to West Maui is restricted to returning residents and emergency responders, we are working with our tourism partners, such as Norwegian Cruise Line, and encouraging them to make a steady return to other areas of the island and throughout the rest of the state.”
While tourism’s return to Maui is certainly exciting, recovery efforts are still underway. And as travelers begin to visit the island, locals ask that they do so respectfully and responsibly. “The damaging effects of the recent wildfires to the Lahaina community has been heartbreaking,” said Kalani Ka‘anā‘anā, chief brand officer of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. “As recovery efforts are underway, the island of Maui is dependent now more than ever on the return of mindful, respectful visitation which keeps our residents employed and businesses open. We are encouraging travelers and visitor industry companies, such as Norwegian Cruise Line, to make a responsible return to the island, visiting the many areas that were not impacted by the fires and are welcoming travelers back.”
To learn more about Maui’s recovery and for ways to help, the Hawai’i Tourism Authority recommends visiting mauistrong.hawaii.gov. For information surrounding areas of Maui that are open and accepting guests check out gohawaii.com/maui.
About the Author
Senior Editor for VAX VacationAccess and world explorer, Jenna loves writing about all things travel. When she’s not busy creating content, she spends her time exploring the great outdoors, cuddling with her two black cats and researching her next big (sometimes strange) adventure.
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