Emissions from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano diminished Wednesday, a day after a plume of ash spewed from the crater in a massive cloud that rose some 12,000 feet. Residents and scientists are keeping a close watch for more violent activity. (May 16) AP
Another cruise ship is skipping a call at Hawaii’s Big Island due to the recently intensified eruptionÂ of the Kilauea volcano.
Princess Cruises on Thursday saidÂ its 2,000-passenger Sea Princess wouldÂ drop a visit to the Big Island port of Hilo scheduled for Friday and instead spend the day at sea.
The cancellation comes just two days after Norwegian Cruise Line’s 2,138-passenger Pride of America skipped a call at Hilo,Â which is just 43 miles from the now-mostly-closed national park that encompasses the volcano.
A third vessel sailing inÂ theÂ Hawaiian Islands this month, Royal Caribbean’s 2,143-passenger Radiance of Seas, dropped a call at Hilo last week.
The threeÂ ships are among just a handful of cruise vessels scheduled to visit the Big Island this month. While it’s a big resort destination, Hawaii is not a major draw for cruise ships relative to such destinations as the Caribbean and Alaska. Norwegian’s Pride of America is the only major cruise vessel based in Hawaii year-round.Â
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which encompasses the Kilauea volcano, is one of the biggest attractions on the Big Island for cruisers. It’s been mostly closed since Friday due to ongoing seismic activityÂ and worries about a possible steam explosion at the summit of the volcano. Â
Kilauea has been erupting nearly continuously since 1983 but not always at the level of recent days. A significant eruptive episode that began on May 3 has sentÂ lava pouring through a rural neighborhood about 35 miles from Hilo. Nearly 2,000 people who live in the area have been barred from their homes for more than a week, and at least 36 structures have been destroyed by the lava flows, including 26 homes.
Still, tourism officials have noted that much of the Big Island is unaffected by Kilauea’s latest lava flows and that lava flows are a normal occurrence at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. No hotels, restaurants or other attractions on the Big Island have closed as a result of the latest eruption, tourist officials say.
The three cruise lines that have canceled Hilo visits have done so in what they say is an abundance of caution.
“The safety of our guests and crew is our highest priority,” Princess said in a statement on the cancelled Hilo call.Â
While Sea Princess is skipping Friday’s call at Hilo, it will go ahead with a call scheduled for today at Kailua-Kona, anotherÂ Big Island port that is farther from the Kilauea volcano.
“The port remains open to ship traffic and is operating normally,” Princess noted in its statement. “Guests will have no disruption to shore excursions in Kona, but those with independent arrangements may find some areas of the island inaccessible. Princess advises all guests to heed all warnings from local authorities and stay out of any restricted areas.”
Sea Princess is in the midst of a 35-day Pacific voyage.Â Â
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