NCL Cancels Pride of Aloha Voyage; "Crew Exhausted"

June 18, 2004

In what's a relatively unprecedented reason for canceling a cruise, Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that Pride of Aloha will forgo a two-day weekend voyage that was slated to begin Saturday -- because its crew members are, according to company spokeswoman Susan Robison, "exhausted."

Pride of America just launched in June. What's different about the crew on this ship results from the fact that the vessel flies an American flag, which gives NCL a lot of benefits over the big-ship competition -- it can offer cruising's only seven-night roundtrip itineraries from Honolulu, avoiding calls at foreign ports. However, the cruise must also toe-the-line on strict U.S. regulations, one of which is that the majority of crewmembers must come from the United States -- and the U.S., unlike many other countries, has not had a long tradition of cruise crew service. As such, NCL has faced challenges in training a whole new generation of onboard crew in preparation for the ship's preliminary cruises and its inaugural sailing, which departs from Honolulu on July 4.

"This is a complete switch from an international crew and management to a U.S. crew and management almost literally overnight," Robison said. "Our U.S. crew has done a great job but they are simply exhausted, and the situation is in danger of developing into burn-out if we do not allow everyone to wind down for a couple of days."

NCL has also canceled a one-night party cruise in Hawaii on July 2. NCL has not, however, kiboshed the upcoming trans-Pacific repositioning, a 12-night voyage that is slated to arrive in Honolulu on July 2.

Since Pride of Aloha, until now known as NCL's Norwegian Sky, emerged from its transformative dry dock on June 7, the ship has sailed two revenue cruises. Pride of Aloha is the first modern passenger ship to carry the U.S. flag in almost 50 years.