December 31, 2000
In an era when many cruise ports are fighting to increase port calls, Hawaii's recent legislation, designed to ban ships with casinos -- takes an opposite tact. The legislation immediately impacts Norwegian, which recently announced that its Superstar Leo (which will be transferred from Asia-based parent company Star Cruises and renamed Norwegian Leo) will home-port there. Specifically, the proposed legislation prohibits cruise ships with gaming features to begin or end a cruise in Hawaii. The legislation is widely believed to be lobbied for by American Hawaii Cruises, owner of the Independence, which wants to protect its status as the islands' only homeporting cruise ship. In response, however, Norwegian refused to back away and has said it will dismantle the casino facilities on the ship in order to comply with the law.