We're interested in doing the Tahiti/Hawaii 13 day cruise on Princess in Dec 2001 but my husband gets seasick and is concerned about the sailing conditions between the Hawaiian islands and Tahiti. Has anyone taken this itinerary and, if so, is it smooth sailing or rough? Thanks.
That time of year is not exactly hurricane season and the equatorial region is not exactly known for rough seas. There's always some chance that the sea can get a bit rough when you are in open ocean, but that certainly is not what you should expect.
The ship on the Hawaii/Tahiti route -- MV Regal Princess -- is reasonably large at 70,000 tons, so she should ride all but the roughest seas very well. She also has dynamic stabilizers that should neutralize most of the wave action.
Thanks Norm. I will show your response to my husband tonight since he's the one who gets seasick. He really wants to do this cruise but I can't blame him for not wanting to spend that kind of money to get sick. Every Hawaii cruise review I've read talks a about rough seas. He won't even consider sailing to Hawaii from Vancouver or California so we await the entry of cruise lines other than American Hawaii into the market hopefully in the next few years. I read awhile ago that the laws were being changed which would allow others to sail within the Hawaiian islands. Hope this is true. Thanks again. Laura
United States Lines is already selling cruises in Hawaii. They purchased Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam and renamed it Patriot for these inter-island cruises.
The line is also building one or two new ships.
What Dawn said about United States lines is accurate -- the reactivated line (which was the original owner of the SS Constitution and the SS Independence, both subsequently acquired by American Hawaii Lines) bought the MS Nieu Amsterdam from Holland America Lines for refurbishment and and service as MS Patriot, offering cruises that operate round trip from Honolulu with ports of call at four other islands of the fiftieth state. United States Lines also ordered two new cruise ships from Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The new vessels are the largest passenger vessels ever built in the United States and the first ocean-going passenger vessels built in the United States in about forty years.
What Dawn did not say is that American Classic Voyages, the parent of both American Hawaii Line and Delta Queen Steamboat Company, bought the rights to the name "United States Lines" for what apparently will be a more upscale operation than the present American Hawaii Line. Thus, it's really operated by the same company.
You should not expect to see any other cruise lines operating seven-day cruises within the Hawaiian islands. There's a serious complication to their doing so. A federal law called the "Jones Act" requires that all vessels transporting passengers from one port within the United States to another must be of U. S. registry -- which also requires U. S. crews whose powerful unions demand prohibitive wages. Thus, most cruise lines register their ships elsewhere to cut costs. Princess's vessels now are of British registry (the home port of MV Crown Princess and MV Grand Princess is Hamilton, Bermuda, and the home port of the rest of the Princess fleet is London, England) and some Holland America vessels may still be registered in the Netherlands Antilles, but most other major cruise lines register their vessels in Liberia, Pamama, or the Bahamas for purely economic reasons.
Anyway, under the Jones Act, vessels of foreign registry cannot legally transport passengers from one port within the U. S. to another unless they stop at a "distant foreign port" (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao and the continent of South America qualify) en route -- which is why the ships leave from Ensenada rather than San Diego when they are going to Honolulu and vice versa. They can return passengers to the original port of embarkation if either (1) they have not called at any other port or (2) they have called at any foreign port en route -- which is why most Caribbean cruises return to the original port of embarkation..
Norm - thanks so much for your in-depth explanation which I plan to show my husband tonight. I have been seeing ads for the United States Line but since my husband gets seasick, he prefers ships over 70,000 tons so I guess we'll have to wait for the new ships they're building. I've read that one will be ready in 2003 and the other in 2004. I must have read an article by a very optimistic cruiser a while back because I thought it said the Jones Act would be amended by 2002 or 2003 to allow others into the Hawaiian market. It would be nice. I have friends who sailed on American Hawaii and hated it and we've been so spoiled by our favorite which is Celebrity.
Again, thanks to both you and Dawn.
Any details you can share - do's and don't's? We sailed to Hawaii for the first time in May on Sea Princess. We loved it so much we want to return. We're considering Crown Princess Tahiti to Hawaii in February 2002, or Celebrity Summmit Ensenada to Honolulu in May 2002. We're from the East Coast too. Your thoughts?