I've been following the POA discussions with interest (and some amusement). I have no wish to start another debate, but I did have a thought. How would it be for NCLA to expand its Hawaiian business to include ferry service between the islands?
As a frequent traveller to Hawaii, I've often thought it would be nice to take an overnight hop from one island to another and enjoy a taste of cruising in between. Most flights arrive in Honolulu, but I make a point of spending as little time there as possible and head immediately for one of the outer islands (usually Kauai). It would really be neat to make a sea crossing instead of taking an interisland flight. You could spend a week in one place, catch the boat to the next stop and continue that way as long as you like.
I believe the old Hawaiian-American Line use to offer such service, at least in their early days. It would be a great way to show off the ship and fill any vacancies - not that the POA has that problem. This kind of service is provided on the Alaska state ferry and I think there's a Mediterranean line with a similar arrangement. It would be a way for NCLA to take advantage of its domestic port access and perhaps attract new business as it expands its fleet.
But -and a very big BUT - the State of Hawaii has just invested a great deal of money to introduce high speed catamaran inter-island ferries next year. They might have a problem with NCL America trying to compete with them.
No kidding? I hadn't hear about that. Seems like an odd time to be launching that business. Maybe some of the voters don't like flying. Still, there might be some wiggle room for NCLA - depending on the terms of their charter. I imagine they would charge in the neighborhood of $250/pp-pn. There are various consumption taxes they would generate and an 11.41% HI hotel tax that might be applicable. A catamaran day trip should go for around $100 and attract a different clientelle. The state could profit from both markets.
A catamaran sounds interesting, but not as appealing to me as a cruise ship. You don't save on a night's lodging, food or entertainment. Unlike a Napali catamaran charter, there's not much scenery and the ride is a lot rougher than on a big boat. I'd think it's more likely for a cruise ship to draw the tourist trade. I'll have to check out the new ferry service next time I go, though.
Found a link for the Hawaii Superferry. It sounds like it's designed mainly for transporting cars and cargo, so again, I think it addresses a different market.