Crystal is introducing its first-ever inter-island Hawaii cruises. The 10-day voyages, available in January and February aboard Crystal Harmony, will sail roundtrip from Honolulu and include stops at Kauai and Maui. What’s really different in this case is that Crystal, which must toe-touch a foreign port-of-call due to U.S. restrictions on foreign flagged cruise lines, will call at Kiribati on Fanning Island. That’s the island that basically was plucked from cruise port obscurity by Norwegian Cruise Line, which has been using Kiribati as the foreign call on its otherwise all-Hawaii voyages.
A spokeswoman from Crystal, who noted that the ship might otherwise have traveled to Christmas Island, gave a nod to NCL for developing Kiribati’s tourist infrastructure. Indeed, according to NCL president Colin Veitch, “Crystal approached us and asked if they could call at our private facility on Fanning Island and we told them they are welcome." Among the infrastructure-related developments made by NCL included building docks and creating beaches. NCL has also honed other Fanning Island-related procedures; a company spokeswoman says that, on calls to Kiribati, ship staffers bring “everything with us for the day – we host a barbecue while we’re there – and take it all away when we’re done so we don’t leave any trash on the island.”