eenly aware of success stories at the
cruise ports in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral, Fla., a
handful of North American cities are courting cruise suppliers,
hoping to establish their cities as new cruise home ports.
But in the past few months, those campaigns have produced mixed
results, in part because of financial problems at two cruise
Most recently, Philadelphia lost summer Bermuda service when
Commodore Holdings Ltd. filed for bankruptcy in December.
Following a successful trial run in 2000, Commodore had signed
an agreement with leisure travel retailer Apple Vacations to offer
a series of Bermuda cruises from Philadelphia this spring. But
those plans were scuttled when Commodore filed for bankruptcy.
Recently, Apple officials tried to salvage the program by
forging an agreement with creditors to operate Crown Dynasty but
last month announced they were unable to strike a deal.
Crown Dynasty began sailing from Philadelphia last year,
becoming the first cruise ship to use the Philadelphia Naval
Business Center as a base of operations.
Regional tourism officials considered the deployment a key step
in the development of the city's cruise business.
Now, Philadelphia is without a ship, but Doug Brown, director of
cruise marketing for Apple Vacations, said the city's cruise
business would rebound. Apple has chartered Philadelphia-Bermuda
cruises since 1984, said Brown. "We believe that you will see
cruise ships flying the Apple Vacations banner sailing up the
Chesapeake Bay and Delaware River again," he said.
Meanwhile, Houston, which put its port on the cruise map by
attracting two ships last year, is now facing the premature end of
its year-round cruise business. The last regular sailing from
Houston, on Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sea, departed in
December. After pioneering year-round cruising from Houston in 1998
with its "Texaribbean" series, NCL repositioned Norwegian Sea to
Miami last month.
Houston lost Premier Cruise Lines' Big Red Boat III, which
offered seven-day cruises to Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, Mexico,
in September when Premier ceased operations after five of its ships
were seized by creditors. The NCL and Premier vessels were the
anchors for Houston's cruise operation, launched in 1997 when the
city built a $3 million terminal to accommodate cruise-ship