Live Report from Pride of Hawaii; 6 A.M. Update

October 16, 2006

Earthquake in Hawaii -- Impact on Cruises Unknown

Pride of Aloha Departure Delayed

Cruise Critic's Senior Editor Melissa Baldwin is onboard Pride of Hawaii, which departed October 9 for a cruise ending tomorrow in Honolulu, and reports from the ship:

(October 16, 6 a.m.) -- "Phew, just made the midnight (local time) cutoff to get my bags tagged and outside the door. I'm taking advantage of the Easy Fly program, which basically involves checking your bags through to your final destination. I won't see them again until Newark, and I already have my boarding pass. I haven't heard anything detrimental about the status of my upcoming flight (yet).

"There's a lighthearted rumor going around (among passengers) that we might end up spending another night onboard tomorrow if we can't catch our flights home. Others (crew), however, are pretty certain that won't be the case. Otherwise, no new news has surfaced regarding the end of our cruise, the start of Pride of Aloha's, or the conditions in Honolulu and on the Big Island. My thoughts are with those affected....

(October 15, 11 p.m.) -- "Our cruise director came on the public address system a little while ago to let us know that the cruise line's headquarters are monitoring the situation and keeping the ship's crew up to date. He told us that we should still expect to dock tomorrow morning in Honolulu as scheduled -- but at Pier 2 rather than 10 and 11, a short distance from the Aloha Tower where we boarded a week ago.

"What I found to be the best news so far is that all shore excursions will operate tomorrow -- I have a tour booked to visit Pearl Habor and the Polynesian Cultural Center before my flight out of Honolulu. I'm supposed to take off for Newark at 9:30 p.m. tomorrow; however, from what I'm hearing on the news no flights are leaving the Honolulu airport right now because there isn't enough electricity to run ticket machines and other equipment.

"We are approaching the beautiful Na Pali coastline for an afternoon of scenic cruising (it is 5 p.m. local time); I'll continue to report live from the ship as new information is announced."

(October 15, 8:21 p.m.) -- "We just departed from Kauai, our final port, right on schedule -- 2 p.m. local time (8 p.m. EST); crewmembers from purser's desk employees to the restaurant manager have told me and other passengers that right now there's no change in our arrival to Honolulu tomorrow morning and the culmination of our trip. They also tell us that all of NCL's ships, and everyone on them, are safe.

"Pride of Aloha, which is turning around in Honolulu today, is disembarking its current passengers, according to a spokeswoman for NCL; this is contrary to an earlier Associated Press report that folks were not allowed to leave their cruise ship. Guests on today's cruise are expected to be able to board today.

"At this point, I haven't heard what, if anything, is being done for folks flying out today who might be held up as Honolulu resumes flights to the mainland -- and whether that ship will set sail for today's cruise as planned or postpone departure and overnight in Honolulu. I'll continue to share information as I learn it, so check back often.

"Meanwhile, CNN is reporting that flight cancellations and changes are being handled on an airline-by-airline basis; mostly, flights are coming in but not yet going out. Therefore, the best way to obtain flight information is to call your airline. If your flight is booked through NCL's air/sea department, you can contact them for information, as we reported earlier today.

"I have to admit that when the 6.6 earthquake rumbled this morning, I did not feel it. In fact, I didn't even hear about it until after I'd already disembarked in Kauai and boarded the tour van for my surfing excursion, which operated normally (the areas we drove through looked fine with power on). However, many of my fellow passengers onboard the ship report feeling a slight shaking at the time of the first tremor.

"Right now, the hubbub of activity is the central Aloha Bar, where CNN is delivering the news on a big flat screen hanging above. The mood onboard is light; guests are having beers and coffee, and mostly relaxed conversation. Today is our second day on Kauai and our final port day; we were on the Big Island Friday (Kona) and on Tuesday (Hilo), and on Maui Wednesday and Thursday.

"We received an e-mail from a reader on the Hilo said of the Big Island, who writes, 'Most of the structural damage occurred on the Kona side of the Big Island. Local reports seem to indicate only widespread power and phone outages on Oahu. I have heard no reports of structural damage over there. I would assume that the cruise terminals, etc. are all OK ... here on the east side of the Big Island, we only lost power for a moment.'"