|Update: NCL spokeswoman Susan Robison tells us that Pride of Hawaii will be re-flagged for its move to Europe; the ship will be registered to the Bahamas. "We will work with the the appropriate U.S. government officials when the time comes to return her to the U.S.," she says.|
Norwegian Cruise Line, which gambled and now has apparently lost in its bid for a supreme presence in Hawaii, announces today that it will transfer Pride of Hawaii, its newest addition there, to Europe. The move is effective as of February 2008.
While it's no big surprise that NCL America's ambitious plan for American-crewed ships in Hawaii has been floundering, the announcement is dramatic.
According to NCL's statement, "Substantial 2006 losses, reported in February of this year, have been caused by downward pricing pressure in the Hawaii market following the addition of Pride of Hawaii to the fleet last summer, and the steep increase in the amount of foreign-flagged competition entering the Hawaii market from the West Coast."
NCL president and CEO Colin Veitch is quoted in the release as saying that "We take this action with regret, but sure in the knowledge that a temporary retrenchment is the right thing to do for the good of the business and the good of Hawaii in the long run. We remain committed to building a strong U.S.-flag cruise business homeported in Hawaii, and we need to make sure that our other two ships, Pride of Aloha and Pride of America, are able to achieve acceptable profitability before we can confidently re-introduce Pride of Hawaii."
For passengers who have booked cabins on Pride of Hawaii in February 2008 and beyond, NCL is offering a $50 onboard credit per stateroom; the credit applies for those who rebook by May 1, 2007, on Pride of America, Pride of Aloha or any ship in the NCL fleet. Guests choosing to cancel will receive a full refund.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor