The history of the “Pride of America” started when American Classic Voyages Inc. ordered a vessel at the Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding Inc. Pascagoula, Mississippi, in 1999. The project was supported with heavy federal subsidies and intended to improve the competitiveness of American shipyards in performing commercial ship construction, as well as creating the first American-registered cruise ship in decades.
The program collapsed in 2001, when American Classic Voyages Inc., filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in the aftermath of 09/11 following the reduced demand for cruise vacations. In 2002 Norwegian Cruise Line acquired the approximately 40% completed ship and towed it to the Lloyd Yard in northern Germany for completion. In January 2004, the year of the newly planned completion, a major storm hit the yard and caused considerable damage to the vessel. The lower 4 decks were flooded and the ship was grounded. See a picture here. As the ship couldn’t be delivered as expected, the German yard filed for bankruptcy, too, only a few days after the storm.
The $225M salvage, now funded by an insurance company, took several months. The power and propulsion system were heavily damaged, the electrical system had been completely destroyed, the propeller gondolas had to be exchanged, and the engine had to be dismantled and reassembled again. Finally in 2005, with a delay of 2 years, the “Pride of America” started its first sailing. The American registry of the “Pride” with its home port of Honolulu allows Norwegian Cruise Line to cruise between only US ports without a detour to foreign ports – ideal for cruises in the Hawaiian waters.
Against all odds: Watch out for the red, white, and blue stars and stripes and a stylized bald eagle artwork on the hull of the ship. Happy 4th of July and enjoy the cupcakes!