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Mrs. Daniel K. Inouye christens first U.S. Flagged ship in fleet

HONOLULU -- July 4, 2004 – Today marked a milestone in U.S. maritime history as NCL America christened the first modern U.S.-flagged cruise ship in nearly half a century. The inaugural celebration of Pride of Aloha represents a new beginning for the U.S. Flagged cruise industry that has been dormant since 2001.

On board Pride of Aloha in Honolulu, Star Cruises Chairman Tan Sri KT Lim, NCL America President and CEO Colin Veitch and Godmother of Pride of Aloha, Mrs. Daniel K. Inouye were joined in the celebration by Hawai`i Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Hawai`i Congressman Neil Abercrombie and dignitaries from the Maritime Administration, the Seafarers International Union, and other invited guests.

A leader in the Hawai`i community who embodies the islands’ charm, warmth and character, Mrs. Daniel K. Inouye christened the vessel during the ceremony.

“We are proud to celebrate the inauguration and christening of the first modern U.S.-flagged ship in almost 50 years, the spectacular new Pride of Aloha,” said Star Cruises Chairman Tan Sri KT Lim. “With today’s christening of our first U.S.-flagged ship, travelers cruising in Hawai`i will have an unparalleled experience on a ship that celebrates the best of Hawai`i with a crew hailing mostly from the islands offering the famous ‘Aloha Spirit’ onboard.”

"I am pleased to have sponsored legislation that led to the return of the U.S. flag to passenger cruise ship operations in the United States, and especially in Hawai`i," said U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye. "The Pride of Aloha will be a welcome addition to Hawai`i waters, and the visitor industry and all of Hawai`i will benefit from its activities."

“On this day when Americans celebrate our independence, NCL America is proud to inaugurate a whole new cruise experience -- one that represents all that America and Hawai`i have to offer,” said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL America. “This is truly a proud day for NCL.”

“The state is proud to welcome the Pride of Aloha to Hawai`i,” said Governor Linda Lingle. “This beautiful new NCL America ship will bring more visitors to Hawai`i, increase business for our merchants on the different islands and provide more job opportunities for our residents. The year round porting of this ship in Honolulu demonstrates NCL America’s confidence in Hawai`i as a visitor destination, while supporting our efforts to grow Hawai`i’s tourism market and provide visitors with memories that will last a lifetime.”

Additional festivities at the ceremony included traditional Hawaiian entertainment featuring hula dancers, the Honolulu Boys Choir and the Royal Hawaiian Band.

“The arrival of the Pride of Aloha is a tremendous boon to our state’s economy,” said Hawai`i Congressman Neil Abercrombie. “Having a U.S. flag ship operating among our Islands will have vital long-term economic benefits including the creation of thousands of new jobs.”

Travel agents and the public had the opportunity to have a front row seat at the christening during a live web cast of the ceremony.

“The revival of oceangoing U.S.-flag cruising is great news for the U.S. Merchant Marine,” said Captain William G. Schubert, Administrator of the U.S. Maritime Administration. “NCL America’s planned U.S.-flag expansion, starting with Pride of Aloha, helps grow our U.S.-flag fleet and create thousands of jobs for American seafarers, which is vital to our economic well-being and national security.”

“Pride of Aloha represents a partnership between NCL America, the shipboard workers and their unions,” said Mike Sacco, president of the Seafarers International Union. “We’re all in this together, and I’m 100 percent confident that we’re going to succeed.”

Beginning today, the entirely U.S.-crewed Pride of Aloha will sail seven-day, round-trip Hawai’i itineraries, visiting all four main islands and giving passengers up to 96 hours in port. Ports of call include: Honolulu, O`ahu; an overnight in Nawiliwili, Kaua`i; Hilo, Hawai`i; Kona, Hawai`i; and an overnight in Kahului, Maui.

Pride of Aloha features NCL’s signature Freestyle Cruising, offering a diverse choice of six restaurants without fixed dining times, resort casual dress code and relaxed disembarkation. She also has 13 bars and lounges, two swimming pools, a spa and fitness center and conference facilities among her many amenities. In addition, the ship features a Hawai`i museum called the Kumu Cultural Center (Kumu is Hawaiian for source of learning).

The 77,000-ton Pride of Aloha is a 2,000-passenger ship and is projected to annually generate more than $275 million in expenditures, $199 million in direct and indirect wages and salaries, $42 million in federal tax revenues, and nearly 7,000 jobs. Once NCL America’s plans are fully implemented, its U.S.-flagged ships are expected to generate more than $828 million in U.S. economic activity and 20,400 jobs, according to a recent study by one of the nation’s leading economic consultancies.