NCL Corporation (“NCL”) today announced the withdrawal of Pride of Aloha from the Hawai‘i market effective May 11, 2008. The ship is being transferred to Star Cruises and will be re-flagged and deployed in Asia in the summer of 2008.
The remaining year-round ship in Hawai‘i will be the larger and newer Pride of America, introduced in 2005, a vessel specifically designed and built for Hawai’i cruising. The company announced, and put on sale, Pride of America’s sailings through 2010 offering its popular inter-island cruises departing every Saturday from Honolulu.
Since the announcement a year ago of Pride of Hawai‘i’s temporary transfer to NCL's European deployment, renamed as Norwegian Jade, the company has embarked on a major fleet-wide initiative called Freestyle 2.0 featuring significant product and hardware upgrades to its modern fleet, including Pride of America. The Freestyle 2.0 program will further enhance the on-board experience taking Freestyle Cruising to the next level. Enhancements include a major investment in the total dining experience; upgrading the stateroom experience; new wide ranging on-board activities for all guests; additional recognition, service and amenities for balcony, suite and villa guests; and the establishment of casual action-station restaurants taking the place of the “traditional” buffet experience. Freestyle 2.0 will be in place on Pride of America and across NCL’s fleet, now the youngest fleet in the cruise industry, by the middle of May 2008.
“Pride of Aloha pioneered the new inter-island market but, as we move forward with Freestyle 2.0 to take our product to the next level across what is already the youngest fleet in the industry, we cannot justify further investment in this ship,” said Andy Stuart, NCL’s executive vice president of marketing, sales and passenger services. “Withdrawing Pride of Aloha was an extremely difficult but necessary commercial decision; however we see a strong future for the long-term flagship in Hawai‘i, Pride of America. In Pride of America, we have created a commercially successful modern U.S. Flag cruise ship home ported in Hawai‘i - the first time that has ever been achieved. With Pride of America, we are offering a high quality product, on a world class ship sailing one of the most exciting itineraries available in the industry.
“With today’s announcement of Pride of America’s itinerary through 2010, our guests and travel partners can choose a Freestyle Cruising vacation on a big, modern ship visiting all four main islands and featuring more time to explore ashore than any other cruise line sailing in Hawai‘i. In the longer term, as demand continues to grow for this premium experience, we hope to bring back our other modern purpose-built U.S.-flag ship, Pride of Hawai‘i.”