HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Shipping out! Hawaii loses another cruise ship. First, it was the Pride of Hawaii, and now the Pride of Aloha bids 'aloha' to the islands.
One ship gone last week, then on Monday, Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) announced it's pulling another cruise liner out of Hawaii waters.
NCL says competition from foreign-flagged ships has hurt the company's pocketbook. Starting this May, all the water traffic at Honolulu Harbor will no longer include the Pride of Aloha. NCL will re-flag and deploy the ship to Asia this summer.
From three, two, and now down to one.
After May 11, Pride of America will be the only U.S.-flagged cruise ship left in Hawaii. Sinking profits forced NCL to shrink its Hawaii fleet.
"I'm in total shock. The Pride of Hawaii, I can understand but Aloha leaving?" said Bob Dolan, a Pride of America employee.
Company execs say it has been tough staying afloat amid the increasing competition from foreign-flagged cruise liners which are cheaper to run unlike U.S.-flagged ships they have an international crew and are not subject to the same wage labor and tax laws.
"All we ask is level the playing field we're not asking for just that we want the total Hawaii market," said Alan Yamamoto, the NCL Hawaii Operations Vice President.
NCL reports that since 2004, it has invested $1.4 billion on its fleet, with a chunk of that going to Hawaii. In that time frame the company has suffered $300 million in lawsuits.
"The loss of business here on Oahu is going to be tremendous number one, number two the employees on board? What's going to happen to them?"