NCL America made U.S. maritime history by christening Pride of Hawai'i, the largest and most expensive U.S.-flagged cruise ship in history. The historic presentation of this new U.S.-flagged, U.S.-crewed passenger ship continues NCL America's dynamic revival of the U.S.-flagged cruise industry that had seemingly been extinguished in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
At the official christening ceremony at the Port of Los Angeles, Star Cruises Chairman Tan Sri KT LIM and NCL Corporation's President and CEO Colin Veitch were joined by the Honorable Daniel K. Inouye, senior United States Senator from Hawai'i, who sponsored and named the vessel at the pier side event. The Senator was joined by six female crewmembers from Pride of Hawai'i, all hailing from Hawai'i, who christened the ship with the traditional bottle of champagne.
Also participating in the ceremony, were Captain Paul Wiedenhoeft, Commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach; the Honorable Julie Nelson, Acting Deputy Administrator and Chief Counsel of the Maritime Administration; and Mike Sacco president of the Seafarers International Union and the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO.
The Pride of Hawai'i crewmembers participating in the ceremony were Jana Anguay, a singer; Shastein Colon and Monica Pratt, both room stewards; Shari An Pontin, a senior officer utility; Janhavi Cleveland, a massage therapist; and Heather Holmes, a dancer.
"Today makes the culmination of our effort. This is the third and largest ship in a planned three ship U.S. flagged fleet," said Star Cruises Chairman Tan Sri KT LIM. "We have invested over $1.2 billion building these three world class mega ships, purpose built for our unique Freestyle Cruising and outfitted to reflect the spirit and Aloha of the Hawai'i Islands."
"NCL has been at the forefront of industry developments for our entire history. We have done it so consistently for 40 years now that we like to think that we have created a tradition out of breaking with tradition. And today we celebrate what is undoubtedly our greatest break with tradition," said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corporation. "I'm very proud to celebrate the completion of a daring project to convert a large part of our business from the traditional model of the international cruise industry to the much more challenging and less developed model of US flag cruising"
Senator Inouye, Pride of Hawai'i's sponsor said, "The christening of Pride of Hawai'i is the capstone of America's return to the passenger cruise industry. In addition to the significant economic benefits to the visitor industry in my state of Hawai'i, Pride of Hawai'i and her sister ships will have a broad economic impact throughout the United States by creating as many as 20,400 direct and indirect jobs, including thousands of U.S. seafarer jobs and nearly $1 billion in annual U.S. economic activity. I am very proud to serve as Pride of Hawai'i's sponsor."
USCG Captain Paul Wiedenhoeft said, "I'm impressed with the cooperation between the US Coast Guard, NCL and NCL America through the entire process that culminates here today. The safety and security of the passengers, crew and M/V Pride of Hawai'i herself have exceeded expectations and bode well for a successful career and future interaction between the ship and the Coast Guard," he continued. "I look forward to hearing about the hundreds of American mariners who now have the opportunity to work aboard such a fine vessel and demonstrate their high degree of professionalism to the cruise industry."
Julie Nelson, Acting Deputy Maritime Administrator and Chief Counsel of the Maritime Administration said, "It is very gratifying to us to see the continued revival of the Hawaiian cruise trade. The addition of this U.S.- flag cruise ship to the fleet adds nearly 4,000 American seafaring jobs. We look forward to thousands of additional jobs as the industry continues to grow."
Pride of Hawai'i is the third in a series of U.S.-flag cruise ships sailing under the NCL America brand and built for the Hawai'i market in furtherance of the "Hawai'i Cruise Ship Initiative," legislation sponsored by Senator Inouye and passed by the United States Congress in February 2003.
At just over 93,500 gross registered tons, carrying more than 2,400 passengers, and costing over half a billion dollars, Pride of Hawai'i is by far the largest and most expensive U.S. flagged passenger ship ever built. It employs a crew of over 1000, bringing the total seagoing workforce of NCL's U.S. flagged fleet to approximately 4000, making NCL America the largest private employer of American seafarers in the world.
Pride of Hawai'i features 10 restaurants, three swimming pools, family- friendly accommodations, a state-of-the-art spa and dynamic public rooms. The ship features a new style of accommodations -- 10 Courtyard Villas -- which along with the ship's two Garden Villas -- make up the largest, grandest, most luxurious, most innovative suite complex in Hawai'i. The suite complex boasts a private courtyard and sundeck and both Courtyard and Garden Villa guests have a concierge lounge available to them.
Additionally, Pride of Hawai'i features "Bar Central," a martini bar, a champagne and wine bar, and a beer and whisky pub all connected, with three distinct personalities, plus nine other bars and lounges for passengers to enjoy.
Pride of Hawai'i will sail seven-day, inter-island itineraries out of Honolulu year round beginning June 5, offering 100 hours in port. Ports of call include Hilo, Hawai'i; an overnight in Kahului, Maui; Kona, Hawai'i; and an overnight Nawiliwili, Kaua'i.