Cruises to Hawaii are still off the table until at least 2022, even as the state welcomes tourists back more warmly.

Hawaii has been very hot and cold about allowing tourists back into the state. They’ve opened and closed travel under a fluctuating variety of restrictions – vaccinated, quarantined, tests coming and going.

As of early November, the stance has been a welcoming one to tourists flying in, so long as they can provide proof of vaccination or a negative test. And if you have neither, you can still come, but a two week mandatory quarantine in a designated hotel is an expensive add-on to anyone’s ticket. But while you’re there, bars and restaurants currently have no capacity restrictions just in time for the busy holiday season.

What they still aren’t allowing is cruise ships. Even before the pandemic, cruise ships have been known as floating petri dishes. Cruise ships have historically seen rampant outbreaks of measles, norovirus, and other crowd-spread diseases. People on vacation are less likely to see a doctor about minor symptoms, and on-board buffets and dance venues are perfect super-spreader events. With COVID, cruise ships were early hot-spots of high infection rate.

“Currently, the earliest resumption of cruises to Hawaii would be January of 2022,” Jai Cunningham, the public information officer for the Hawaii Department of Transportation, recently told travel bloggers. “While no firm date is currently set, HDOT, in coordination with the various State, Federal, and Local entities, is focused on the safest possible resumption of cruise.”

Currently, the CDC allows cruise ships in American ports if they comply with special rules for vaccination and testing mandates. They are considered among the highest risk form of tourism and travel. Those mandates are currently extended until mid-January. If the CDC is satisfied at that point, they will become voluntary, but states may still enforce their own mandates.

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