by Dan Dennison
(KHNL) Passengers on this initial voyage of the Pride of Hawaii have been struck by the amount of security around the ship when it sails into port. It's all part of the post-9/11 world we now live in.
In Hilo, Coast Guard rapid response boats constantly sweep the waters of the harbor. The presence of these armored patrol boats is not unusual and is commonplace whenever passenger cruise ships sail in and dock.
"What you saw is typically how we handle each cruise line when available" said Bosun's Mate William Huffman of the U.S. Coast Guard.
As the Pride of Hawaii nears Maui's Kahului Harbor, two Coast Guard rapid response boats are joined by a helicopter, making 360 degree perimeter sweeps.
"We have a unique way of providing security both on the water and onboard the vessel, as well as on shore. We do anything from providing a security zone that keeps vessels away from them to keeping people off the piers wherever they are."
This visible and constant security presence actually makes some passengers a touch edgy.
"I was surprised when we got to Hilo to find the Coast Guard was armed. We don't see that in Montreal. We don't see anybody with guns or anything." said one passenger.
Others find it comforting.
"I know some of the passengers feel a little bit nervous; some of the ones that I talked too. But all and all I think we are pretty well safe" said Mike Ally of Kona.
It is another aspect of ocean cruising, and the show on the water and in the air does give passengers something else to talk about.