The Norwegian Wind was one of a growing number of ships to dock at Aloha Tower last year. Its owner, Norwegian Cruise Line, has come to dominate the Hawaii cruise business.

Cruise industry
is full speed ahead

Norwegian is the dominant player

It took 10 years for the Hawaii cruise-ship passenger market to double but it could easily more than double again in the next two years, a national cruise industry publication says.

And its editor says that Norwegian Cruise Line will single-handedly bring most of that growth.

NCL's concentration of resources in the Hawaii market is based on good marketing sense, said Greg Miller, senior editor of Cruise Industry News.

As a relatively small competitor, with 10 percent of the North American cruise market, NCL has to do something radically different from its competitors to get its brochures on the shelves at travel agencies, Miller said.

Hawaii fits that bill. Reflagging some of its vessels as American just for the Hawaii trade, under special legislation enacted last year, means paying American wages that are higher than those on foreign ships. But making Hawaii its own market is good for NCL's marketing in a variety of ways and it can cut some of its costs by not having to make a call at a foreign port, such as Fanning Island, during its Hawaii cruises, Miller said.

His New York company's newly published Cruise Industry News Annual 2003 says there were 99,000 passengers on nine ships cruising the Hawaiian Islands in 1993. In 2003, schedules call for 211,000 on 16 ships.

In a market report on Hawaii, the publication quoted Norwegian Cruise Line's prediction that by itself it could be carrying 400,000 to 450,000 people a year in Hawaiian waters in 2005.

Other cruise lines are also planning a bigger Hawaii presence, said Miller.

But, for now, NCL clearly dominates the Hawaii cruise market, with 63 percent of the total capacity last year and 65 percent this year.

NCL is expected to bring 136,400 cruise passengers to Hawaii this year, with Celebrity Cruises in a low second place with 19,500.

In mid-2004, NCL will put the 1,900-passenger Pride of America into service in seven-night cruises around the islands from a Honolulu home port. The Norwegian Sky, carrying some 2,000 passengers, will finish renovations and go into Hawaii service next July, offering three- and four-night cruises around the islands.

Pride of Aloha, which like Pride of America was started in America but is being completed in Germany, will offer another 1,900-passenger capacity for seven-night cruises.

The Cruise Industry News Annual said the North American cruise market will grow 8.1 percent this year, carrying 9.2 million passengers for sales revenues of $12.9 billion.


Exponential growth

It took 10 years for the Hawaii cruise-ship passenger market to double, but it could more than double again in the next two years.

Year   # of passengers
1993   99,000
2003   211,000
2005   400,000-450,000*

* The number Norwegian Cruise Line alone expects to carry.
Source: Cruise Industry News


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