Another cruise ship is seen docked in Honolulu. The Norwegian Jewel arrived Sunday afternoon. The vessel experienced propulsion problems. So the State says passengers will be getting off, only to go to the airport.
The State says in a news release:
“The repairs must be made without passengers on board, which has prompted the change to allow the passengers to disembark. No passengers or crew will disembark on Sunday, March 22, 2020.”
There are about 2-thousand passengers and a thousand crew members on the Norwegian Jewel. The State Transportation Department says the plan is to transport passengers directly from the ship to their chartered planes without contact with the public.
Jay Martinez and his wife Carmen were on their honeymoon and boarded the Norwegian Jewel late February in Sydney, Australia when midway through the Coronavirus pandemic changed everything.
“At the time we left, I can’t speak for other countries, but there were no advisories in place for the islands we were visiting and there was no ban at that time,” said Martinez of Texas.
The state says passengers were last able to disembark in Fiji on March 11th. The cruise ship company says the 23-day Australia and French Polynesia itinerary was modified because of multiple port closures. Martinez is grateful Hawaii has provided refuge.
“I think the primary concern for those of us on board and for Hawaii residents is keeping everyone safe. And though we’ve been quarantined, I do understand the concern and uncertainly and skepticism brought by a cruise ship,” he said.
Transportation Department officials say the ship experienced propulsion problems that require repairs. While the ship has stability and the ability to maneuver, it is slower.
“We took a look at the back of the boat where we usually see two streamlines in the ocean. We only saw one so we kind of figured that of the two propellers thrusting our ship, one of them is out so that caused more concern and anxiety,” said Martinez.
The state says there are no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 on the Norwegian Jewel. Plans are underway to get the passengers back home from Honolulu.
In a statement Norwegian Cruise Line says:
“Charter flights have been arranged for all guests on March 23 and 24, 2020…All guests will remain onboard until three hours prior to their scheduled flight.”
Here’s their full statement:
“We announced a temporary suspension of all voyages embarking between March 13 and April 11, 2020, aimed at contributing to efforts around the globe to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. This measure was taken in an abundance of caution. Please know that we will continue to consult with The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to take action as necessary. Our business also relies on the availability and accessibility of ports around the world. As such, we will continue to monitor the situation and evaluate the feasibility of redeploying our ships as planned on April 12, 2020.
Norwegian Jewel’s 23-day Australia and French Polynesia itinerary was modified due to multiple port closures in the area. The ship arrived to Honolulu on March 22, 2020. Charter flights have been arranged for all guests on March 23 and 24, 2020 from Honolulu to Los Angeles; Sydney; London; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Frankfurt, Germany. All guests will remain onboard until three hours prior to their scheduled flight.
Our team is diligently working to confirm berthing for our fleet during this temporary pause. We have secured berthing for many of our vessels and will provide an update when we have finalized our plans. Our business remains operational and our team is available to offer reassurance to our guests as well as assist them with future travel arrangements.
As we continue to navigate through this evolving situation and as we have additional details, we will provide them as appropriate.”
“We are not going to be allowed to stop at Walmart or Target to buy lei or anything like that. One-stop and that’s direct to the airport,” said Martinez. “To our understanding, these flights will only be occupied by only those on the cruise ships and they’ve been organized in partnership with the cruise line and federal government in which they are returning too.”