Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter: September 25, 2001

THE CAPE MAY LIGHT, a vessel of Delta Queen Coastal Voyages, stopped at New York's Chelsea Piers Sept. 23, making the American-flagged ship the first to call on the Big Apple since Sept. 11, according to the company. The ship left the city Monday morning, leaving a wreath in the water near the Statue of Liberty to commemorate those killed in the attacks. The company said the ship will return to New York on Oct. 1, 8 and 18 for a series of weeklong fall foliage cruises.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE became the first major cruise operator to make broad redeployments in the wake of the mayhem of Sept. 11. The Norwegian Sun, slated to cruise the Mediterranean from May to October 2002, instead will spend the summer in the Caribbean. The SuperStar Aries, which was to transfer from NCL's parent, Star Cruises, to Star's Orient Lines brand in 2002, will remain with Star. The ship, to have been renamed the Ocean Voyager, now will transfer to Orient Lines in the spring of 2003. Also NCL's historic Norway, which was to join the Star fleet, will instead return to Miami in December after a dry docking and refurbishment in Europe. Finally, NCL's Norwegian Sky, scheduled to take over Norway's eastern Caribbean route, will instead offer alternating eastern and western Caribbean cruises between January and March of 2002.

PORT CANAVERAL, one of the world's busiest cruise ports, instituted a $2 million plan to "permanently" tighten security in the wake of the terrorist attacks. Among the new measures are around-the-clock boat patrols; security zones in the water 25 feet around docks and 100 feet around ships; badges and criminal background checks for all employees in restricted areas; security zones around all cargo and cruise ship docks and around ships, and restricted-access areas around cruise terminal and fuel- and cargo-storage areas. Cruise-ship passengers also will face longer security checks.

CARNIVAL CORP. will refocus the historic Cunard Line brand as a U.K.-targeted product, Carnival Corp. chairman Micky Arison said. Carnival earlier said it will homeport the 677-passenger Caronia in Southampton, England, beginning in May. The Carnival chief also said preliminary discussions with top European shipyards indicate the yards "would be open to discussions" about delaying the start of work on some ships that are under contract but not yet under construction.

PETER RATCLIFFE, CEO of P&O Princess Cruises, said the terror attacks in the U.S. will cost his company about $3 million to $5 million. The losses, "including the costs of future cruise credits, reduced on-board revenue, and additional hotel and flight costs, are largely covered by insurance," he said, but Princess still will pay "deductibles under the various insurance arrangements."

LUXURY OPERATOR Silversea Cruises is offering vacationers who cancel bookings on any of its cruises on or before Sept. 30 a credit in the amount of their cancellation penalty, which may be applied to a future Silversea cruise. Company officials also said the Silversea will retain its 10% commission on the air portion of air/sea bookings.

IN OTHER NEWS, U.S.-flag operator American Classic Voyages reached an agreement with Northrup Gruman Corp., parent company of Mississippi-based Ingalls Shipbuilding, that will allow work to continue on two 1,900-passenger ships Ingalls is building for ACV. The agreement was endorsed by the U.S. Maritime Administration with the support of DOT Secretary Norman Mineta, according to a joint statement issued by Northrup and ACV. Under the agreement, the vessels' delivery dates were extended by 12 months to Feb. 1, 2004 and Feb. 1, 2005. Also, the project's price tag was increased by $19 million to about $459 million.

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