was the designation for a contract between American Classic Voyages
American Classic Voyages was an American-based cruise ship holding company cruise line, headquartered in Chicago, that operated between 1993 and 2001. The company attempted to take advantage of federal loans and other incentives to build and grow a US-flagged passenger ship industry. The company...
(AMCV) and the Litton Ingalls
Ingalls Shipbuilding is a shipyard located in Pascagoula, Mississippi, USA, originally established in 1938, and is now part of Huntington Ingalls Industries...
Shipyard of Pascagoula, Mississippi
Pascagoula is a city in Jackson County, Mississippi, United States. It is the principal city of the Pascagoula, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area, as a part of the Gulfport–Biloxi–Pascagoula, Mississippi Combined Statistical Area. The population was 26,200 at the 2000 census...
. The contract was to build two cruise ships, with a each, with an option for a third vessel. The contract had the initial potential value of $1.4 billion U.S. dollars
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....
The intention of the project, aside from perceived financial viability, was to revitalize the U.S. passenger cruise shipbuilding industry. These ships were to be the largest cruise ships ever built in the U.S., with the first planned to enter service in early 2003. As points of nostalgia and history, Ingalls
delivered the last American-built large cruise ships, SS Brasil and SS Argentina, in 1958.
Construction began in June, 2000 but the bankruptcy of AMCV
in October, 2001 halted the project and left only the partially completed hull of the first ship, and parts and supplies for the second, to sit idle at the Ingalls
shipyard. If Ingalls
had been able to complete one ship, it would have represented the first U.S. cruise ship construction in more than 40 years.
In late 2002, Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line is a company operating cruise ships, headquartered in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida. It began operations in 1966 under the name Norwegian Caribbean Line. The company is best known for its Freestyle Cruising concept, which means that there are no set times or...
(NCL) contracted with Northrop Grumman Ship Systems
Northrop Grumman Ship Systems was a former sector or division of Northrop Grumman Corporation which was responsible for building small and medium shipping products...
, the owner of Ingalls
, to buy all of the materials, equipment and work performed on the two Project America
vessels. All materials were towed to Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...
and the first ship was completed at Lloyd Werft
Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven GmbH is a dockyard in Bremerhaven, established in 1857 by Norddeutscher Lloyd. The yard employs 500 workers in an area of 260. 000 m². Ships with a draught down to 11,5 m can be accommodated.-External links:* website...
Shipyard in Bremerhaven
Bremerhaven is a city at the seaport of the free city-state of Bremen, a state of the Federal Republic of Germany. It forms an enclave in the state of Lower Saxony and is located at the mouth of the River Weser on its eastern bank, opposite the town of Nordenham...
. The ship was modified to increase its size, now , and exterior and interior changes were made. This ship was named the Pride of America
MS Pride of America is a cruise ship partly built in the United States, now a member of the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet. Inaugurated during the 2005-2006 cruise season, she is the first new U.S...
and entered service in 2005.
The materials for the second Project America
ship were utilized in the construction of the Pride of Hawaii
(now named Norwegian Jade
), at Meyer Werft
The Meyer Werft is one of the remaining large German shipyards, headquartered in Papenburg. Since 1997, it has been part of the Meyer Neptun Group together with Neptun Werft in Rostock.-History:...
Shipyard in Papenburg
Papenburg is a city in the district of Emsland in Lower Saxony, Germany, situated at the river Ems. It is known for its large shipyard, the Meyer-Werft, which specializes in building cruise liners.-Districts:...
. Pride of Hawaii
entered service in 2006 and is approximately larger than Pride of America
. It is considered a Jewel Class ship, which is a different class entirely than that of the Pride of America
Passenger Vessel Services Act
In exchange for its purchase of the Project America
lobbied heavily for an exception to the Passenger Vessel Services Act
The Passenger Vessel Services Act of 1886 is a piece of United States legislation which came into force in 1886 relating to cabotage. Essentially, it says:...
, which prohibits foreign built ships from operating between U.S. ports without making a foreign stop in between. The exception was granted and three ships (the afore mentioned as well as Pride of Aloha
Norwegian Sky is a Sky class cruise ship owned and operated by Norwegian Cruise Line. She was originally ordered by Costa Cruises as Costa Olympia from the Bremer Vulkan shipyard in Germany, but she was completed in 1999 by the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany for the Norwegian Cruise...
), effectively all foreign built, were allowed to fly the U.S. flag. This exception allows NCL
to have an exclusive right to operate Hawaiian itineraries that do not need to touch a foreign port. A caveat of this exception, however, requires NCL
to staff these ships with a crew made up of predominantly U.S. citizens.
was the result of the U.S.-Flag Cruise Ship Pilot Project Statute passed by Congress in 1997, designed to do the following:
- Revitalize the U.S.-flag oceangoing cruise ship fleet
- Create more than 5,000 American jobs
- Help sustain and modernize the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base
- Increase U.S. tax revenues
- Boost Hawaii tourism
- Expand consumers’ leisure travel opportunities
The Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...
and the U.S. Maritime Administration
The United States Maritime Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Transportation that maintains the National Defense Reserve Fleet as a ready source of ships for use during national emergencies, and assists the NDRF in fulfilling its role as the nation's fourth arm of...
(MARAD) strongly supported the U.S.-Flag Ship Pilot Project. The project enjoyed great political support from Mississippi’s U.S. Senators, Thad Cochran
William Thad Cochran is the senior United States Senator from Mississippi and a member of the Republican Party. First elected to the Senate in 1978, he is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and was its chairman and 2005 to 2007.-Early life:He was born in Pontotoc,...
and Trent Lott
Chester Trent Lott, Sr. , is a former United States Senator from Mississippi and has served in numerous leadership positions in the House of Representatives and the Senate....
, as well as U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye
Daniel Ken "Dan" Inouye is the senior United States Senator from Hawaii, a member of the Democratic Party, and the President pro tempore of the United States Senate making him the highest-ranking Asian American politician in American history. Inouye is the chairman of the United States Senate...
Original Ship Plans
The ships were planned to cruise within the Hawaiian Islands and were to represent the state-of-the-art in comfort and luxury. At an estimated 840 feet (256 m) long, each ship was to be approximately . Each vessel was to feature a four-deck-high atrium, a 1,060-seat dining room, an 840-seat theater, a 590-seat cabaret lounge, and a "uniquely Hawaiian" outdoor performance stage.
Plans called for accommodations for 1,900 passengers which included 950 cabins, 77 percent of which were to be "outside cabins," and 64 percent of which were to have private balconies. The ships were to have 85850 square feet (7,975.7 m²) of open deck space, extensive health spa and gymnasium facilities, and 2100 square feet (195.1 m²) of conference space. In addition, the upper three decks of the ships were to be designed to "maximize the sense of spaciousness on board, and provide passengers with panoramic views of the Hawaiian Islands and the surrounding Pacific Ocean".