by Donald Wood
Last updated: 11:57 AM ET, Fri January 7, 2022
The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) announced it would welcome back cruise ships to the island chain on January 15.
According to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line signed the first port agreements to bring the first passenger voyages back to the state since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Hawaii will once again allow ships to visit the state's approved ports as long as the company's follow specific protocols, including mandatory COVID-19 testing rules and a dedicated medical staff equipped to handle a potential outbreak onboard.
"We appreciate everyone, including the cruise line representatives, coming together to finalize the required agreements to fulfil the CDC Conditional Sailing Order," Hawaii Department of Transportation Director Jade Butay said.
Carnival and Norwegian representatives have agreed to require full vaccinations to board the voyages and a negative coronavirus test from all passengers before boarding. The cruise lines must also adhere to Hawaii's Safe Travels program.
As part of the Safe Travels program, passengers and crew members will be required to upload proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test if arriving in Hawaii from out of state. The rule does not apply to interisland cruises.
The port agreements allow state officials to suspend, rescind or amend the agreement at any time in response to the changing coronavirus situations.
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