For the first time in nearly a half-century, the United States again has a U.S.-flagged cruise vessel. Norwegian Cruise Line's formerly Bahamian-flagged Norwegian Sky became Pride of Aloha in a ceremony yesterday on the upper deck of the ship, anchored in San Francisco Bay. Coast Guardsmen and maritimers saluted the new flag.

U.S. flag raised over
NCL’s Pride of Aloha

A U.S. flag was raised yesterday over a modern oceangoing passenger cruise ship for the first time in nearly 50 years.

A ceremony was held in San Francisco for the 2,000-passenger vessel named Pride of Aloha, which is to sail interisland routes in Hawaii. The ship, to be home-ported in Honolulu, was in the Bay Area for a multimillion dollar refurbishment.

Officials from Norwegian Cruise Line, the Maritime Administration and the Coast Guard raised the flag over the ship, the company's first U.S. flag vessel. The ship was built in 1999 as the Norwegian Sky and formerly flew a Bahamian flag.

"Reflagging this ship is far more than symbolic," U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta said. "Raising the Stars and Stripes over more ships raises our maritime strength and raises jobs."

"Today marks a milestone not only in the cruise industry, but also in our nation's maritime history," said Colin Veitch, president and chief executive of NCL America.

Pride of Aloha, which will have a crew of nearly 800 and feature island decor, will begin interisland Hawaiian cruises on July 4.

It will make port calls on four islands, including two night stays on Kauai and Maui. Full-day stops will be made at Kailua-Kona and Hilo on the Big Island.

The ship has six restaurants, 13 bars and lounges, two swimming pools, a spa-fitness center, conference facilities and a Hawaiian cultural center.


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