ACV's Cape Cod Light debut delayed until 2002

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NEW ORLEANS -- U.S. flag operator American Classic Voyages (ACV) said Cape Cod Light, the second vessel in the company's Delta Queen Coastal Voyages brand, will enter service on April 20, 2002, almost a year behind the ship's originally scheduled premiere.

ACV cited delays at the Atlantic Marine Shipyard in Jacksonville, Fla., where the $42 million, 220-passenger ship is under construction. The line also noted a desire to introduce the ship in the spring, a period of higher demand.

The ship was slated for a July delivery, with the first sailing on Aug. 4, but ACV last month, canceled Cape Cod Light's first dozen sailings in 2001 due to "scheduling challenges" at Atlantic Marine.

At the time, ACV's president Rod McLeod estimated the vessel's new arrival date would be in the third or fourth quarter of 2001. Delta Queen also put a hold on all new bookings to minimize the number of passengers affected by any potential delays. Cape May Light, the first vessel in the Delta Queen Coastal Voyages fleet, debuted earlier this spring.

At a the Cape May Light's christening this spring, McLeod told reporters the construction delays are nothing unusual. "This is the first vessel of this size and this type for Atlantic Marine and the first time our development team has worked with the shipyard," he said, adding that such problems are "not limited to U.S shipyards."

In the meantime, Cape May Light will assume some of Cape Cod Light's itineraries, including six of 12 seven-day cruises in Mexico and Central America this winter.

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