Queen Mary 2 gives Harry Potter the royal treatment

TheQueen Mary 2 was transporting an item so precious last week that it was locked in a steamer trunk, guarded by ship security and then, upon arrival in New York, loaded into an armored truck and driven to a secure and undisclosed location. The Crown Jewels, perhaps?

No, merely the first J.K. Rowling-signed U.S. copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, on its way to an awards ceremony for public libraries. Leave it to the wizards to place their trust in an old, romantic style of transatlantic travel -- the broomstick set obviously is less-than-impressed with Muggle aviation.

Meanwhile, the Queen Mary 2s 2006 winter season out of Fort Lauderdale consists of an unusual route south: The Queens speed enables it to reach Barbados and then work up through St. Kitts and St. Thomas.

TC heard San Juan mentioned as a possible fourth port, although Cunard doesnt have it listed. Regardless, one south Florida producer told TC that the itinerary was dynamite -- it would have an exclusive arena with those ports in seven-day roundtrip Fort Lauderdale [offerings]. 

And more cruising: New Yorks Economic Development Corp. may finally be getting around to those promised upgrades to its cruise terminal, but theres already a crisp new Web site, www.nycruiseterminal.com, to supplant the old www.nypst.com.

As for the upgrades, the site has a link to future improvements, which gives some info on the planned changes.

TC wouldnt use the phrase detailed info, however. We learned, for example, that the proposed cruise terminal in Brooklyn will have areas for passenger processing by federal agencies.

Look for British Airways to resume accepting plastic as payment for negotiated corporate fares in the U.K. The carriers decision three years ago not to accept credit cards for those discounted fares overseas led to a dispute with American Express in U.S. district court. The parties ended the court action last year, but negotiations continued.

The latest victim of the corporate restructuring taking place at Air Jamaica is none other than the public relations spokesman and media contact, and TC hears that other corporate types there may soon be looking elsewhere for work. Just how many people does it take to run an airline -- or how few?

With hurricane season back again, TC caught wind (yes, pun intended) of a bizarre plan dreamed up by a scientist at MIT, along with German and Russian weather specialists, to cool the ocean with man-made tropical cyclones that would rob hurricanes of their energy sources. The plan involves offshore barges mounted with jet engines pointed at the sky. The engines create an updraft that reduces the water temperature, which then diminishes a hurricane to a tropical rainstorm.

Sounds weird, but so did space travel.

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