SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (September 24, 2007) - The welcoming spirit of Hawai'i will be more apparent than ever aboard Princess ships this month, as the line introduces an extensive new onboard program highlighting the traditions and culture of the islands.
Offered in partnership with a variety of local Hawaiian organizations, this multi-faceted cultural program includes demonstrations by local artisans, a hula show from students of one the islands' most respected schools, and guest lecturers who highlight natural history and Hawaiian customs. The new programs are available on all Princess Hawaiian Islands and Hawai'i/Tahiti sailings aboard Diamond Princess and Pacific Princess.
"We wanted to give our passengers an array of opportunities to connect with the rich culture of the islands, whether they're on shore or aboard our ships," said Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of customer service. "We're delighted that after more than 30 years of sailing to Hawai'i, we've created new ways to showcase the special Hawaiian experience, including some elements not found on any other cruise line."
The new Hawaiian cultural program features local artisans demonstrating traditional crafts such as bone carving or the fine art of creating a shell lei from the private island of Ni'ihau; performing arts such as a hula show from the talented keiki (children) of the Halau Hula Olana; and onboard presentations from experts on topics from marine biology to the ancient art of Hawaiian storytelling. Passengers will also enjoy a feast of local dining tastes; while ashore they'll enjoy cultural tour options throughout the islands.
Local Artisans - The "forbidden" island of Ni'ihau is inhabited solely by native Hawaiians and is largely closed to the rest of the world. Although outsiders generally cannot visit there, Princess passengers will have the unique opportunity to share in the island's traditional culture when some of Ni'ihau's skilled artisans come onboard for a unique shell lei making demonstration. Following an ancient art form, the native Hawaiian lei makers use tiny and delicate shells found only on the northern coast of Ni'ihau, creating pieces that are highly prized as fine jewelry. In a presentation exclusive to Princess, passengers are invited to meet the artists and watch as they demonstrate the intricate process and share history of the craft. Although these heirloom-quality pieces are not widely available in stores, those who wish to own one of these stunning leis will also have the opportunity to purchase them from the craftswomen while they are onboard in Kaua'i.
Also unique to Princess, native bone carver Dean Kaahanui comes aboard during Big Island calls to present a workshop on the history of his craft and demonstrate the art of bone carving. During the workshop, he'll also explain the inspiration for his work, which is often based on Hawaiian legends. After the demonstration, passengers will also have an opportunity to purchase some of Kaahanui's fine carvings.
Performing Arts/Educational Presentations - In Honolulu, keiki from the award-winning Halau Hula Olana, one of the islands' most respected hula schools, will perform onboard. These charming young dancers will present an entertaining show that highlights the children's commitment to learning their halau's (school's) unique hula tradition that has been passed down from generations of kumu (teachers), Hawaiian language and the stories of Hawai'i.
And for passengers who want to immerse themselves further in some Hawaiian culture, onboard instructors teach such local skills as orchid lei making and ukulele playing. In addition, a variety of guest lecturers and naturalists provide insight on the wonders of the islands, including such topics as marine biology, whale migration, the islands' unusual endemic species, and storytelling in the Hawaiian culture.
The ship's movie and television program is also offering a variety of Hawaiian topics. Princess has partnered with the National Park Service to produce an exclusive video presentation on Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park to give passengers a preview of this spectacular attraction. Hawaiian-themed films have been added to the ships' selection of recent Hollywood movies, with classics such as "From Here to Eternity" and documentaries such as "Riding Giants," profiling the world's top surfers. In addition, a selection of travel videos and documentaries give passengers a feel for the islands. Among them are a series of National Geographic presentations covering the islands' unique species, Pearl Harbor and Hawaiian culture, as well as a variety of specials on local-interest topics.
Cultural Experiences Ashore - The Hawaiian Islands offer a seemingly endless array of activity options to please everyone from the beachgoer to the adventure seeker. With more than 100 tours offered in Hawai'i, Princess presents passengers with a myriad of ways to spend their days ashore. Some of the more popular options take in the islands' icons such as Pearl Harbor, Kilauea Volcano and Maui's Haleakala Crater.
But for passengers who'd like to steep themselves in the culture of the island, Princess offers some unique ways to share in the history of the people and experience some of the seldom seen parts of Hawai'i. On O'ahu, passengers can explore the Polynesian Cultural Center which preserves the customs and cultures of old Polynesia. On Maui, they can travel along the "forbidden road" around the West Maui Mountains to Kahakuloa Valley - a part of Maui rarely visited by outsiders - to experience a part of ancient Hawai'i.
The "Big Island" offers a number of off the beaten track options - literally in fact in the case of the Waipi'o Valley excursion, in which passengers explore this remote tropical valley by 4WD van to experience the longest valley on the island and the former home to many Hawaiian rulers. In Hilo, the Tsunami Museum documents how tsunamis have reshaped the land and the history of the area. Kahua Ranch, a genuine working cattle ranch operating since 1928, produces some of Hawai'i's finest beef and lamb and hosts visitors on a memorable wagon ride that allows them to try their hand at roping or horseshoes.
And finally, passengers can go "behind the scenes" with a tour on Kaua'i that visits the film sites of movies and television shows such as South Pacific, Blue Hawai'i; Gilligan's Island; Six Days, Seven Nights; Fantasy Island; Lilo & Stitch; Honeymoon in Vegas and many others.
Regional Hawaiian Cuisine - Visitors to Hawai'i always look forward to the islands' bountiful local fare - fresh fruits such as pineapples and mangos, unique fish and seafood, luau staples such as roast pig, and treats like coconut and macadamia nuts. Princess chefs have used this abundance of flavors to create the line's largest ever showcase of regional Hawaiian cuisine with new menu items for the dining room such as pupu starters and entrees such as Lehua Honey BBQ Pork Spareribs, Togarashi Seared Red Snapper or Macadamia and Panko Crusted Mahimahi. A new Hawaiian Island Night is debuting as well, complete with a full buffet feast laden with local taste treats.
For the 2007-08 season, Princess will showcase the Hawaiian Islands on 26 sailings. Diamond Princess offers the popular round-trip Hawai'i cruises from Los Angeles with a popular 15-day voyage that includes Hilo, Kilauea Volcano Scenic Cruising, Kona, Honolulu, Kaua'i (Nawiliwili), and Maui. The ship sails on 15 cruises between September 19, 2007 and April 16, 2008.
Meanwhile, the intimate Pacific Princess will also cruise the tropics with a series of Hawai'i/Tahiti sailings. The 670-passenger vessel will offer six of these 11-day sailings between Honolulu and Papeete, calling at Kaua'i, Maui, Hilo, Christmas Island, Bora Bora, and Moorea, departing between September 21 and December 4, 2007.