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January 19, 2004

NCL does U.S.-flag ship shuffle

With its newbuild Pride of America still grounded at Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has announced that its Pride of Aloha will take over the Pride of America's published program of seven-day inter-island U.S.-flag Hawaii cruises, commencing July 4th of this year.

Pride of Aloha is currently sailing as Norwegian Sky. It will undergo a multi-million dollar remodeling in May and be reflagged into the U.S. registry to assume Pride of America's itinerary.

On Friday, NCL said that it was still too early to know the new delivery date of Pride of America following the January 14 incident at Lloyd Werft in Germany. However, after two days of investigation it was clear that there would be a substantial delay--months rather than weeks.

"This unfortunate event has certainly challenged us and there is a great deal to be done to ensure our passengers receive the vacation they have planned in spite of what has happened," said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL. "While this is certainly a hurdle in the process, we will not be deterred from launching our U.S.-flag operation this year and ensuring the continued employment of the 1,000 plus U.S. seafarers who have already been hired. Reversing the order of the two ships allows us to do this.

"We have been working closely with Senator Inouye since the incident and have been greatly encouraged by his strong support for this realignment of our plans. We are also grateful to Congressman Abercrombie for his active engagement, as well as to the other members of the Hawaii delegation, Senator Akaka and Congressman Case. And the statement of support from Governor Lingle's office reinforces for us the importance to Hawaii of introducing our U.S. Flag operations on schedule - albeit with a different ship than we had first announced," Veitch added

Guests booked on Pride of America will be rebooked on Pride of Aloha. Full details will be announced next week.

The previously published itinerary of Pride of Aloha will be cancelled and booked passengers will receive an attractive offer to move to the Pride of Aloha's new schedule. When the new delivery date of Pride of America is known, NCL will announce the combined deployment of the two NCL America ships.

Norwegian Sky passengers booked in Alaska will be similarly accommodated.

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