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students and teachers posing in front of cruise ship
Hawaiʻi CC students in front of the Pride of America cruise ship.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America cruise ship served as a floating classroom for 30 Hawaiʻi Community College students who are enrolled in the college’s Hospitality and Tourism (HOST) program.

While the ship was docked in Hilo on November 27, students learned about the facilities and operations of the large passenger vessel. After touring the ship’s public areas, they participated in the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) educational program, “How to Operate a Floating Hotel.” The cruise director and departmental managers from hotel operations, housekeeping, food and beverage and banquets discussed their areas of operations and answered student questions.

“The NCL excursion was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had,” said Isabella Panem, a first-year HOST student. “It’s opened my eyes to different jobs that I never thought I’d like to do before. Our NCL guide made it seem like even though she doesn’t know me or my experience, she knew I could do it if I set my heart to it. I’ve loved being in this major and taking all the classes, but being able to apply my knowledge and see what I’ve been learning about all semester really made it that much better.”

The Pride of America is operated by NCL and, unlike many other cruise ships, is registered (flagged) within the U.S. It travels round trip from Honolulu bringing guests to Hawaiʻi Island, Maui and Kauaʻi. Nearly 1,000 feet long, the ship features 15 restaurants, 12 bars and lounges, can accommodate 2,186 guests and is the only cruise ship that boasts a year-round itinerary.

“What made this excursion so very special was that it provided an opportunity for local industries, governmental authorities and tourism providers to collaborate to support local hospitality education,” said Lynn Erdmann, who recently joined Hawaiʻi CC as the new HOST program coordinator and instructor. “It also offered the students the opportunity to see career possibilities that they may never have before imagined.”

—By Thatcher Moats

group shot inside the cruise ship
The tour group stops for a photo aboard Pride of America.
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