In a move hailed as a triumph of corporate responsibility and community partnership, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has announced the resumption of its Pride of America ship’s voyages to Kahului, Maui, starting September 3, 2023. The announcement comes on the heels of devastating wildfires in Lahaina, which prompted NCL to temporarily halt its calls to the island to prevent undue stress on local resources.
NCL’s Pride of America is no stranger to Hawaii’s waters, boasting an 18-year history of year-round cruising across the Hawaiian archipelago. However, what sets this return apart is the remarkable collaborative effort between NCL, Hawaii State Governor Josh Green, M.D., and the Hawaii Tourism Authority. According to industry data, NCL contributes approximately $436 million annually to Hawaii’s economy, a figure expected to witness a moderate spike following this announcement.
David J. Herrera, President of Norwegian Cruise Line, expressed the company’s unwavering commitment to Hawaii: “Our strong bond with Hawaii’s people and its mesmerizing islands compelled us to spring into action following the Lahaina wildfires. In addition to revising our itineraries, we donated $50,000 to Maui United Way and mobilized our partners to accumulate over $150,000 worth of vital supplies, including food, clothing, and mattresses.”
Hawaii State Governor Josh Green, M.D., commended NCL’s support during the crisis. “We’re actively collaborating with our tourism partners, including NCL, for a steady, responsible revival of tourism in regions less affected by the fires,” he noted. Hawaii, which welcomed over 10 million tourists in 2019, has seen a noticeable slump due to the pandemic and natural calamities, making NCL’s return a beacon of economic promise.
Kalani Ka‘anā‘anā, Chief Brand Officer of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, spoke on the economic vitality of responsible tourism. “The harrowing impact of the recent wildfires on the Lahaina community underscores the need for conscientious travel. Companies like Norwegian Cruise Line play a pivotal role in maintaining jobs and keeping local businesses afloat,” he said.
As the Maui community gears up for the resumption of the weekly cruise, the rest of the world watches what appears to be a masterclass in corporate stewardship and community resilience. Travellers looking to keep abreast of Maui’s emergency management and recovery status are advised to consult mauistrong.hawaii.gov, while those wishing to discover areas of the island open to visitors can browse gohawaii.com/maui.
With community and corporate solidarity like this, Maui is more than a tourist destination; it’s a lesson in how businesses and governments can and should interact in the face of adversity.