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Island Competition for Pride of America?

Perhaps like you, one day we'd like to cruise around the Hawaiian Islands. In our world, it's like cruising in paradise.

Typically, this means booking passage on Norwegian's Pride of America, which for seven years now has been in the rather unique position of being able to navigate a couple of old laws that almost every other ship can't. Because Pride of America is (mostly) built in the U.S., because it's owned by an American company (NCL America) and because its crew members are either Americans or "legal" aliens, it qualifies.

Almost every other cruise ship is registered in another country, and almost every other cruise ship employs international crew members. There are other cruise lines sailing around the islands, but all their cruises begin on the U.S. mainland and make a port stop in another country, usually Mexico.

But now Pride of America is getting some competition.

Or is it?

The Safari Explorer (American Safari Cruises) began inter-island cruising in Hawaii last year and has a full slate of 7-night cruises called Hawaiian Seascapes available from November to April this year and next, between Lanai and the Big Island. Business must be good because in November 2013, American Safari's Wilderness Explorer will start a different itinerary called AdventureBound Hawaii between Oahu and the Big Island.

This would seem to be a winner for cruisers, because competition is always good.


Using the cheapest fare available as a benchmark, a 7-night cruise on Pride of America, round-trip from Honolulu, will cost $1,100 per person. To that, you add taxes, gratuities and shore excursions.

A 7-night cruise on Safari Explorer will cost $5,000, and it includes everything. However, you still have to get to Lanai or the Big Island to board the ship. A 7-night cruise on Wilderness Explorer will cost $2,500, and just about everything seems to be included. Again, you do have to fly to or from the Big Island at the beginning or end of your cruise.

Will this cut into Pride of America's dominance in the market?

What do you think?

Seabourn Odyssey
7 nights
October 20, 2012
Venice, Sibenik, Kotor, Corfu, Argostoli, Pylos, Nauplion, Athens
Balcony: $2,199
Cost per day: $314

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