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Pride of America
NCL America

June 2005
Inaugural Preview

by Linda Coffman

Show Us Your Red, White & Blue—PRIDE OF AMERICA

Nothing can keep America down and the same spirit applies to NCL America's PRIDE OF AMERICA. The largest US-flagged passenger ship to fly Old Glory in over fifty years, her future looked grim in 2001 when the former American Classic Voyages declared bankruptcy. The partially finished ship languished at Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi until purchased by NCL America and towed to Germany for completion. Then disaster struck at her fitting-out pier when a winter storm caused the ship to take on water up to the third deck. Refloated, her introduction was delayed a year, but she's everything we hoped for and more.

Pride IN America

From bow to stern, Pride of America celebrates her homeland. According to NCL America President & CEO Colin Veitch, her broader theme is the best of America. Public rooms are decorated to suggest regions and cities across the United States and each of three stairwells features a vertical slice of Americana. Huge photographic murals in the stair tower landings depict the beauties of natural America, man-made America, and Pride of America's cruising region--Hawaii. The beauty doesn't stop there, though. Veitch points to her all-American crew as the heart and spirit of the vessel. We found them to be enthusiastic and eager to please.

Eight distinct restaurants serve a variety of regional and international cuisines and offer open seating and 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 America has that covered with signature dishes created by seven of Hawaii's most celebrated chefs. One is featured each night in the main restaurants along with a menu of traditional fare.

  • Skyline Restaurant—One of two main restaurants with a cosmopolitan decor inspired by the skyscrapers of New York City
  • Liberty Restaurant—The second main restaurant, which celebrates important moments in American history in a colonial-era setting
  • Lazy J Steakhouse—Angus beef, seared to perfection, just the way you like it in a Texas atmosphere (cover charge)
  • East Meets West—Exotic Asian dining featuring Japanese cuisine, a Teppanyaki room, and a sushi and sashimi bar (cover charge & a la carte pricing for the Teppanyaki room and sushi dishes)
  • Jefferson's Bistro—Boasting an exquisite representation of Thomas Jefferson's library at Monticello, NCL's signature upscale French Mediterranean restaurant features nouvelle and classic French cuisine (cover charge)
  • Little Italy—A traditional Italian restaurant where pasta, pizza, and crispy salads are specialties and authentic Italian desserts are squisito
  • Aloha Café/Kid's Café—Buffet style indoor/outdoor eatery open around the clock with special kid-sized serving buffet and tables
  • Cadillac Diner—Diner-style eatery offering snacks and fast-food around the clock and even has outdoor seating on Promenade Deck

For attacks of the munchies, head for Key West Bar and Grill, the lively Key West-style beach bar overlooking the South Beach Pool for burgers and snacks. Of course, room service never closes and dining on one's private balcony is a sublime treat. 

~ Skyline Restaurant ~

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. As Colin Veitch has stressed in the past, dining fees in the specialty restaurants are levied for capacity control, not exclusivity.

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, 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 program and group babysitting solves the problem of child care.

So many categories, how do you select the right one? Although there are over two dozen fare categories listed in the brochure, Pride of America's accommodations range from standard inside and oceanview staterooms to oceanview staterooms with balconies and a variety of spacious suites, including accommodations that are particularly family-friendly. (Accommodations are illustrated in the Photo Tour, Part 2).

Oceanview with Balcony #10594

All staterooms have gleaming wood cabinetry and paneling accents, a small refrigerator, personal safe for valuables, telephone with voice mail, and in-cabin coffee service. A professional style hairdryer with real power is mounted over each dressing table. Bathroom amenities include shampoo and soap dispensers.

At 144 square feet, the standard oceanview staterooms are somewhat compact but nicely laid out for efficiency. Although you can't overcome their 132 square foot size, even inside staterooms are cheery and the use of colorful Hawaiian inspired prints and strategically placed mirrors achieves an open feeling.

One of the most desirable of all stateroom amenities is a balcony and there are a whopping 660 of them on Pride of America. Standard balcony cabins measure 178 square feet.

Stepping up the level of luxurious amenities and available space, deluxe penthouses, owner's suites, and the grand suite are some of the chicest digs at sea. Who wouldn't want their very own hot tub on the veranda?

For large families, family penthouses and family suites, plus many interconnecting standard staterooms and suites are ideal quarters offering space and privacy for all. Passengers with disabilities haven't been overlooked either—cabins of various types have been designed for their special needs.

Continued --> Pride of America (Part 2)

Pride of America Photo Tour, Part 1
Public Areas
Pride of America Photo Tour, Part 2

Photos © Author's Collection & Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

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