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MIAMI -- June 7, 2004 - For the first time in nearly half a century, a modern, 2000-passenger cruise ship will fly a U.S. Flag. Today, on board the vessel in San Francisco, Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL America and dignitaries from the Maritime Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard raised the Stars and Stripes on Pride of Aloha, the brand's first U.S. Flag vessel.
Formerly Bahamian-flagged Norwegian Sky, Pride of Aloha just completed a multi-million dollar refurbishment in San Francisco. As a U.S.-flagged ship, Pride of Aloha is crewed by nearly 800 seafarers and will offer a truly unique experience for cruise passengers. With its distinctive Hawai'i décor and the gracious, friendly crew, mostly hailing from the Hawai'i Islands, the "Spirit of Aloha" is felt throughout the ship.
"Today marks a milestone not only in the cruise industry, but also in our nation's maritime history," Veitch said. "We are proud to be the first cruise company in recent memory to offer travelers an unparalleled combination of interisland Hawai'i cruising and a modern U.S.-flagged, U.S.-crewed megaship."
"Reflagging this ship is far more than symbolic," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta. "Raising the Stars and Stripes over more ships raises our maritime strength and raises jobs."
"We worked in cooperation with NCL America to ensure that the vessel met all international standards for a passenger ship," said Lieutenant Tony Guild, U.S. Coast Guard. "This entailed a complete inspection of the vessel and its safety and security systems from life jackets, lifeboats, complex firefighting systems, complex automation systems that manage the ships power and propulsion plants, to various security plans and equipment. In addition, the Coast Guard ensured that the ship's crew met all required U.S. standards for Merchant Mariners certification."
Pride of Aloha will complete a series of Pacific Coastal cruises in June before setting sail for her new homeport of Honolulu. Following an inaugural celebration and a christening on July 4th, she will begin her regular seven-day, year-round Hawai'i cruise schedule. Visiting all four main islands and offering passengers up to 96 hours in port, Pride of Aloha features two overnight stays in Kaua`i and Maui while also making full day calls in Kona and Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai`i.
Pride of Aloha features NCL's signature Freestyle Cruising, offering a diverse choice of six restaurants, resort casual dress code and relaxed disembarkation. She also has 13 bars and lounges, two swimming pools, a spa and fitness center and conference facilities among its many amenities. In addition, the ship features a Hawaiian cultural center called the Kumu Cultural Center (Kumu is Hawaiian for source of learning). NCL America also offers spectacular shore excursions, including: Circle of Fire helicopter rides, NCL exclusive Hoku Nui Luau, Maui downhill bicycling, visits to the Polynesian Cultural Center, and Waimea Canyon trips.
The 77,000-ton Pride of Aloha is a 2,000-passenger ship built in 1999 as Norwegian Sky. The ship is projected to annually generate more than $275 million in expenditures, $199 million in direct and indirect wages and salaries, $42 million in federal tax revenues, and nearly 7,000 jobs. Once NCL America's plans are fully implemented, their U.S.-flag ships are expected to generate more than $828 million in U.S. economic activity and 20,400 jobs, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study.
For further information on NCL, agents in the U.S. and Canada may contact NCL at (800) 327-7030.