Built as a cruise vessel under yard No 108 by Bremer Vulkan, Vegesack, Germany for Costa Cruises.
16 September 1995 keel laid down.
09 October 1996 floated out as COSTA OLYMPIA.
Tonnage 77,104 grt, 45,407 net, 8.800 dwt, dim. 258.6 x 36.0 x 11.2m. draught 8,01m.
Powered diesel electric by three MAN-B&W 7L58/64 diesel and three MAN-B&W 6L58/64 diesel engines, 50.700 kW, twin screws, speed 20 knots.
Passenger accommodation 2002 maximum 2450, crew 766.
When the vessel for around 40% was completed the builder was declared bankrupt and work on the ship ceased and the COSTA OLYMPIA laid up.
November 1997 sold to Norwegian Cruise Line, Nassau, Bahamas.
08 March 1998 towed to Lloyd Werft, Bremerhaven for completing as a cruise vessel.
17 June 1999 trials.
28 July 1999 delivered to owners. Under Bahamas flag and registry.
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 Line under the name NORWEGIAN SKY. Between 2004 and 2008 she sailed as PRIDE OF ALOHA for NCL America.
The ship that eventually became known as NORWEGIAN SKY was originally ordered in December 1993 by Costa Cruises from the Bremer Vulkan shipyard in Bremen, Germany as the second in a pair of sister ships. The first sister, COSTA VICTORIA, was delivered in July 1996. Construction of the second sister, COSTA OLYMPIA, had started several months before, but by July 1996 Bremer Vulkan was experiencing severe financial difficulties, and work on COSTA OLYMPIA was suspended when only 35% of the ship was completed. On 1996-10-06 the incomplete hull was floated out of drydock and subsequently laid up.
Costa Cruises decided not to purchase the unfinished ship, and COSTA OLYMPIA remained laid up at Bremer Vulkan until December 1997, when Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) purchased her. COSTA OLYMPIA was redesigned as Norwegian Sky by Tillberg Design (who had also been responsible for her original planned design as COSTA OLYMPIA On 1998-03-08 the ship was towed to Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven, Germany where her construction was completed In 1998 NCL ordered two additional ships of Norwegian Sky design. The first of these was delivered in 2001 as NORWEGIAN SUN while the order for the second one was cancelled NORWEGIAN SKY underwent her sea trials on 1999-06-17, and was delivered to NCL on 1999-06-28.
NORWEGIAN SKY entered service for Norwegian Cruise Line on August 9, 1999, with a cruise from Dover, United Kingdom to Norway. The ship's crew acted as her godparents at her christening. After a period of financial difficulties, she was the first new ship to enter service with NCL in six years.
After four years of service NCL announced she would be moved to its new NCL America division as PRIDE OF ALOHA in October 2004. Originally she was planned to be preceded by the purpose-built PRIDE OF AMERICA in NCL America service, but a rogue storm damaged PRIDE OF AMERICA during construction at Lloyd Werft and PRIDE OF ALOHA had to be rushed into service instead. In May 2004, NORWEGIAN SKY entered drydock in San Francisco, re-emerging as PRIDE OF ALOHA on July 4, 2004. PRIDE OF ALOHA was re-christened by Mrs. Margaret Awamura Inouye, the wife of Hawaiian senator Daniel K. Inouye.
Being a U.S.-flagged vessel, PRIDE OF ALOHA required a crew of U.S. citizens. This made for a difficult launch as there was no established labor market to tap into. The first few months of sailings were plagued by poor service, crewmembers quitting and walking off the ship while in port, and an enormous number of customer complaints. NCL initiated a new and aggressive training program to better prepare newly hired employees for life aboard a cruise vessel. Subsequently the training for all employees took place at the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education, a Maritime School in Piney Point, Maryland. Passenger satisfaction improved substantially since the introduction of the new training program.
On February 11, 2008, NCL announced that PRIDE OF ALOHA would be withdrawn from the Hawaiian market as of May 5, 2008. Initially it was reported that she would be transferred to the fleet of Star Cruises. During April 2008 Lloyd's List reported that NCL was looking to sell her to the Spain-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. subsidiary Pullmantur Cruises instead, but Pullmantur Cruises later withdrew their offer. In May 2008 NCL reported that instead of transferring to Star Cruises, the ship would return to Norwegian Cruise Line and be re-flagged to the Bahamas while reverting to her original name NORWEGIAN SKY with the first sailing July 14, 2008.
In January 2009, NORWEGIAN SKY was sold to Ample Avenue, a subsidiary of Genting Hong Kong, and chartered back to NCL on a bareboat charter. In July 2010, the charter agreement was extended. The new agreement included options for NCL to extend the charter period further and an option for NCL to purchase the ship during the charter period. On June 1, 2012, NCL announced the signing of a memorandum of agreement to exercise its option to purchase NORWEGIAN SKY. The purchase price was approximately $260 million, with financing being provided by the seller.
As originally planned, COSTA OLYMPIA would have had an exterior and interior design identical to COSTA VICTORIA. Following the acquisition by Norwegian Cruise Line she was radically redesigned. Design changes included two decks of balcony cabins (opposed to no balcony cabins in the original plans), three additional restaurants, entirely altered decor and moving the bridge down by one deck to accommodate an observation lounge/spa complex on the topmost deck. Both the original and revised plans were the work of Tillberg Design.
Initially NORWEGIAN SKY utilized a standard dining program with set meal seating times for passengers. One year after she entered service, NCL introduced their "Freestyle Cruising" (a 'dine where you want, when you want') program. As a result, the ship had to be retrofitted with additional restaurants.
When the ship was refitted for service as PRIDE OF ALOHA, a Hawaiian theme was adapted for the decorations of all public areas and cabins. At the same time she received hull art consisting of colorful Hawaiian leis.
Prior to being rechristened, the Pride of Aloha was not allowed to have a casino given the fact that it was mainly in US waters. Instead of a casino, the ship had the Kumu Cultural Center. This focused on three main themes - Everyday life in Ancient Hawai`i, the Hawaiian Kingdom and Contemporary Hawai'i.
NORWEGIAN SKY is currently sailing three- and four-night cruises to the Bahamas with stops at Freeport, Great Stirrup Cay, and Nassau.
While doing her inaugural cruise along the Eastern coast of USA and Canada up to Québec City, NORWEGIAN SKY got into trouble. The vessel left Québec, on September 24th 1999 to Halifax, Nova Scotia with 2712 persons on board, including 1923 passengers, and two pilots. Norwegian Cruise Line estimates that there were some 50 different nationalities aboard and that the average age of the passengers was 63 years.
The trip included a cruise of the Saguenay River. On its return to the mouth of the Saguenay, at about 11:30 local time, whales were observed in the St. Lawrence River. To prolong the whale-watching activity, the vessel was turned around but ran aground on the Bancs de l'île Rouge (Rouge Island Banks) before completing its maneuver. The vessel's stern made bottom contact with the shoal. The vessel slowed and the stern came to rest on the Bancs de l'île Rouge. At 1206, the vessel was aground, listing 5.2º to port.
As the vessel was unstable on the reef, the master requested...
13th August 1936 the two Osborne brothers, who had earlier absconded from Britain with the fishing vessel GIRL PAT, were placed in custody by the master of Inanda and transferred to the authorities in London.
21st June 1940 she sailed on the final voyage of Harrison passenger service to West Indies.
27th Aug 1940. On return requisitioned by Admiralty as an Ocean Boarding Vessel. In September she was struck by bombs from German aircraft whilst fitting out in Royal Albert Dock, London.
She was refloated and taken over by UK government and rebuilt as a cargo vessel.
11th Feb 1942 registered under the ownership of the Ministry of War Transport and renamed EMPIRE EXPLORER.
8yh July 1942 torpedoed by German submarine U575 on passage from Demerara to Barbados. Hit by a second torpedo and then the Uboat shelled her until she sank.
Only 3 of the 71 crew were reported missing.