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A wary welcome: Return of cruise travel to Maui met with mixed reviews

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 6:38 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2022 at 7:01 PM HST
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KAHULUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui’s first cruise ship in 22 months arrived Wednesday morning as the Grand Princess docked at Kahului Harbor.

Approximately 2,000 passengers and staff are on board and cruise line officials say they are taking safety measures very seriously.

Upcountry residents Nicholas Little and Rose Amico are skeptical.

“It’s pretty irresponsible of the cruise line to have such a high volume of people like that and making us more susceptible to infection,” Little said.

“Growing up here, I know people rely on tourism. But at what cost?” said Amico.

State officials confirm there are passengers currently positive with COVID-19 onboard. Cruise line officials would not say how many.

“That information is provided to the CDC,” said Briana Latter, Media Relations for Princess Cruises.

Isabella Lubary said the crew is doing a good job isolating infected and exposed passengers.

She has first-hand experience.

“I was locked in a room for five days because I was exposed to it. I did test negative on the boat. But it was crazy. It was a crazy process. They took me up, they all had white suits on and everything, and they sprayed us, and my bags and everything. They’re doing a really good job at keeping it sanitary,” Lubary said.

Cruise line officials say extensive safety measures are being followed including fewer passengers, mandatory vaccinations and testing.

“They test us before we get on the ship and then on the ship, they test us again before we got to Hawaii,” said Larry DeGeorge, who is visiting from California.

California resident Molly Murphy was stuck on a cruise ship because of a COVID outbreak when the pandemic first started. She said she is happy to be back.

“I think the safety on this ship was very good. We are carefully watched. We are all wearing our masks and I feel safer here than I do in my retirement home,” Murphy said. “I’m more frightened coming into town here and bringing something back.”

For Judy Cox, she said she is excited to be out again and contributing to Hawaii’s economy.

“I just want to live life and enjoy it,” Cox said.

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