Seabourn made history on November 6 when the 458-passenger Seabourn Sojourn became the first major cruise ship ever to call on the island of Lanai.  The Sojourn departed from Los Angeles on October 14 on a 32-day cruise to the South Pacific and Hawaii and returned to Los Angeles on November 15.

Pictured (left to right): Captain Jochem Bakker (HAL & Seabourn); Charlie Toguchi (CLIA-NWC); Shannon McKee (Access Cruise); Sherry Duong (Maui Visitors Bureau); Tena Rasmussen (Maui Mayor’s Office); Bradley Bunn (Lanai Chamber of Commerce); and Timothy Littley (Seabourn Cruise Line).

The first call followed a visit to the island of Lanai by Seabourn executive Timothy Littley in May. During the visit, Mr. Littley made a presentation to the community designed to build relationships within the community. The visit included a brief pier inspection, a visit to the Four Seasons Cultural Center, and points of interest in town. 

Participants included Bradley Bunn, Chair of the Lanai Chamber of Commerce, Tena Rasmussen from the Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, Jochem Bakker of Holland America and Seabourn, Shannon McKee of Access Cruise, Sherry Duong of the Maui Visitors Bureau, Randy Baldemor of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Charlie Toguchi of Cruise Line International Association-North West Canada, and Ed Underwood and Paul Sensano of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The next planned visit for a Seabourn vessel to Lanai is scheduled for October 2018. According to local news reports, the passengers as well as local business owners were pleased with this first experience.




Hawaii Island is expecting an increase in cruise ship visitors in 2018 as cruise continues to grow. According to September data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, cruise ship passenger traffic to the Big Island has increased by 20 percent over the same time last year, with nearly 172,000 passengers visiting to date.

Ross Birch, executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, said the latest increase in cruise traffic — 2016 saw a 17 percent boost from the previous year — is in part because the Hilo port is well-suited for large vessels such as cruise ships. While some cruise lines have reduced the number of port calls, altering their routes to use Hilo’s port, new lines have added the Big Island to their routes with other lines adding more seasonal traffic than before.

“The volcanoes are a popular destination for people, so there’s a lot of demand,” Birch said. Approximately 95 percent of all cruise passengers to the state passed through Hilo this year, according to the most recent data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority. In fact, more passengers visited the Big Island this year than visited the entire state in 2016. Birch said the cruise industry is anticipated to continue growing steadily for the next several years, although he noted the industry’s success is primarily tied to customer demand, which can be unpredictable. However, the increase in passengers is a sign of health as the industry gradually recovers from stagnant demand following the global financial recession in 2008. “We’re not quite back at where we were during our boom years in 2005,” said Birch. “But we’re getting there.”

“They’re anticipating a 5 percent increase each year after year, Birch said, referring to the cruise lines that service the state. However, cruise traffic might exceed that estimate in the spring, when cruise lines typically see their highest traffic. Seventy-six ships are expected to stop at Hilo between now and the end of June, nearly 30 more than have visited the state between the start of 2017 and the end of September. Based on the ships’ maximum passenger capacity, up to 30,000 cruise passengers might visit the island each month.  

The MS Pride of America, owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines which carries 2,250 passengers, will account for nearly half of those 76 visits, with an additional 17 visits by three ships owned by Princess Cruises, which carry more than 3,000 passengers. The potential for thousands of tourists each month has obvious benefits for the island. In 2016, cruise passengers spent $67.3 million while visiting Hawaii Island. Obviously, the cruise line industry is critical for Hilo,” Birch said. “So I think we can all look forward to a period of steady, sustainable growth.” From West Hawaii Today, Nov. 17 ,2017


Cruise lines continue to introduce new visitors to Hawaii with nearly half (46.5%) of cruise visitors in 2016 being first-time visitors to the Hawaiian Islands.  In the first three quarters of 2017, there were 86,081 visitors who entered Hawaii aboard 47 out-of-state cruise ships. By comparison, the same period in 2016 saw 37 cruise ships bring 69,863 passengers to Hawaii.

Arrivals by air to embark on Hawaii’s home-ported Pride of America rose sharply (+17.8% to 96,223) in the first nine month of 2017 versus a year earlier. Year-to-date through September 2017, total cruise visitor (arrivals by cruise ships and by air to board the Hawaii home-ported cruise ship) increased (+20.3% to 182,304) compared to a year ago. Visitor highlights are available online here.


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