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Pride of Hawaii
NCL America's Newest Pride & Joy

by Linda Coffman

Part One

Los Angeles, May 2006 — In a city where fantasies are born and dreams come true (onscreen at least), we witnessed the culmination of NCL America's dream of an all-American cruise line. Designed to serve the Hawaiian Islands exclusively, Pride of Hawaii is the last, and largest, in a trio of United States-flagged vessels planned by the cruise line. 

Pier side, the christening ceremony took place at the Port of Los Angeles. As a fireboat saluted Pride of Hawaii with skyward water sprays during the singing of The Star Spangled Banner, a symbolic rainbow appeared. Surely that was a sign of good fortune.

United States Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, who was instrumental in the project's success and "Godfather" to the ship, named Pride of Hawaii and then, to insure continuing good karma, turned the stage over to six NCL America female employees from the state of Hawaii who pulled the gigantic lever that released a bottle of champagne to formally "christen" the ship.

Amid a shower of confetti and fireworks, invited passengers re-boarded Pride of Hawaii to sail on a 2-night preview cruise. We were all anxious to sample the newest NCL America ship and experience its Aloha spirit. Welcome aboard...

Cagney's Steak House

Dining
Ten distinct restaurants serve a variety of regional and international cuisines and offer the flexibility of Freestyle Dining. What would a cruise through the Hawaiian islands be without the best local pupus (appetizers), kupas (soups), nui mea'ai,'ais (main courses), and ono mea'ia momonas (dessert)? Pride of Hawaii has that covered with dishes influenced by Hawaiian cuisine. 

Freestyle Dining also allows passengers to dine open seating-style, when they are hungry or simply feel it's most convenient. It's possible to make a reservation in any of the restaurants, but if you prefer to remain on "island time" and not plan ahead, 17 screens located in passageways and lounges display the availability status of each restaurant, including the estimated waiting time. If you have your heart set on a certain restaurant and it's full, the hostess can quote a wait time and issue a pager to alert you when a table is ready.

  • Grand Pacific Restaurant—One of two main restaurants, with decor inspired by collectible menu covers from the historic Matson Line.

  • Alizar Restaurant—The second main restaurant, which celebrates the artwork of renowned artist Mark Rothko. Watch for a subtle change of hues in the decorative walls.

  • Cagney's Steak House—Angus beef, seared to perfection, just the way you order it (cover charge)

  • Jasmine Garden— Exotic Asian dining in the restaurant, Teppanyaki room, and sushi and sashimi bar (cover charge)

  • Le Bistro— NCL's signature upscale French Mediterranean restaurant features nouvelle and classic French cuisine (cover charge)

  • Papa's Italian Kitchen—A traditional family-style Italian restaurant where pasta, pizza, and crispy salads are specialties and authentic Italian desserts are squisito 

  • Blue Lagoon—The 24-hour restaurant serving breakfast and an "all-day" menu offering comfort food, ranging from meatloaf to fried chicken.

  • Paniolo Tapas & Salsa Restaurant—A contemporary "cowboy" eatery featuring spicy tapas and traditional Tex Mex fare

  • Aloha Nui & Kid's Café—Buffet style indoor/outdoor eatery open around the clock with serving stations and a special kid-sized serving buffet and tables

Aloha Nui Café

Attacks of the munchies can be satisfied at the Bali Hai Bar and Grill, a lively island outpost beach bar overlooking the Waikiki Beach Pool for burgers and snacks. Of course, room service never closes and dining on one's private balcony is a sublime treat.

While there is a charge for some restaurants, no one is pressured to dine in them and, of course, there is never a charge for the main restaurants.

This is Freestyle Cruising and passengers can choose resort casual attire every night or dress up for a special dinner. The only "dress code" caveat is that no jeans, t-shirts, shorts, cut-offs, or tank tops are allowed in any of the restaurants at dinner. Most passengers select an array of "country club casual" outfits, ranging from pant-and-top ensembles to cocktail dresses. Aloha shirts are always appropriate. Pack light and think mix 'n match with various accessories. Without assigned dinner partners, it's unlikely that anyone will notice a "repeated" garment.

For parents who want to share a romantic dinner for two, the Kid's Crew youth program, with supervised dinner and group babysitting solves the problem of child care.


More--> Pride of Hawaii Preview, Part 2
               Pride of Hawaii Preview, Part 3
               Pride of Hawaii Preview, Part 4


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