It took several years for some people to regain the courage to fly again, but personally I feel like a hero. My partner and I had a cruise scheduled in Europe the following week, and we decided not to let the terrorists beat our hearts and minds. For the September 13, 2001 version of this very newsletter we used the headline "We Choose to Fly!" And as far as I recall, we were among the first journalists anywhere to state that in public.
And so I did fly to New York City from Phoenix on September 17, and we flew from Newark to Europe on September 19. On my way in I flew right over the tip of Manhattan and could still see the burning wreckage of the twin towers from the air, the smoke trailing southeast over Coney Island for miles out to sea. With our public decision not to let the event affect our travel plans I like to think we gave courage to our readers to keep living the good life those terrorists wanted to deny us.
There were many heroes around the 9/11 events; but some you may not hear about were the cruise lines like Princess, NCL, Carnival and Celebrity with ships home-ported in New York City that summer. Those cruise lines had ships full of passengers out to sea when the tragedy occured, and when the New York Port Authority closed the New York harbor these ships were not allowed to return to New York. Adding to the challenge, all of the nation's planes were grounded.
The crew on those ships went far beyond the call of duty those critical days that followed. The cruise lines opened up the ship's phone lines (back when satelite calls were charged at $12/minute) to all people who had relatives in New York City. The staffs comforted the bereaved who knew people in the twin towers, and those people who were unsure of a loved one's whereabouts. They all held prayer vigils in the punlic theaters and kept alive the tradition we all love and respect so much in this cruise industry; caring for people.
For a particularly poignant interview by one cruise director who led one of those New York-based cruises read our Interview with Carnival's Corey Schmidt. His stories are touching and inspiring.
OASIS OF THE SEAS: Innovation, Imagination and You
Beginning September 3rd, you can reserve a cruise on the most imaginative, innovative cruise ship ever launched – Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas. Be one of the first to experience our new accommodations, neighborhoods and innovative activities.
Royal Caribbean: 1-800-Royal Caribbean
The cruise lines made the decision to end the cruises as soon as possible and get their guests home as soon as possible. Most of them landed in Boston and arranged for busses to take New Yorkers home. The airlines remained grounded for days; Amtrak was not coming all the way to Manhattan.
And so, today we celebrate those U.S. and foreign citizens working on those stranded cruise ships of 2001, who did their humble duties for their ships full of American passengers and showed us that in the cruise industry respect for our way of life goes on no matter what.
When it comes to changes in our daily lives, arguably travel has been affected the most; as evidenced by the long security lines at airports. You now need a passport to fly internationally, and you face strict rules on what you can carry about the plane.
But many people do noy know that cruise ships also have stringent security procedures for passengers, because many of them are done behind the scenes. For example, every cruise ship now sends a copy of its passenger manifest to the Dept. of Homeland Security at least a day before it sails. If there are any red flags, the cruise line is notified immediately. So far, there have not been any terrorist incidents, but the lines have captured a few other kinds of felons attempting to flee the country.
After many years of "open wounds," it now seems acceptable to openly discuss 9/11 in the media again. I watched several shows last weekend showing exactly what happened in the air. What has never been fully reported is how the cruise lines dealt with the event, so I want to assure you that there were many heroes in our industry. They may not have risked life and limb, but their compassion and perseverence to comfort and assist their guests, and to get them home, went far beyond the call of duty.
Hidden Costs of Cruising: 2008 Update
A cruise includes your stateroom, meals, itinerary and entertainment, but today there are many new onboard options -- for a price.
Juneau: Alaska Adventure
Our 36-hour stay in Juneau offered enough excitement to qualify as an Alaska adventure on its own.
Misinformation, Myths and Magic
Kuki ruminates on cruise research, rumors and romance.
A Refresher Course for First Time Cruisers
CruiseMates' Cruise Director Kuki revisits his advice on what to expect and how to prepare if you've never sailed before.
NEW YORK TIMES:
"Many sites that offer reviews are selling cruises, which raises questions about impartiality. An exceptions is CruiseMates."
"The Web's best site for articles, advice, or chatting with Cruise People. Self-financed and run independently of the industry, so their opinions are impartial"
Norwegian Jewel NY City to Miami
Oct 28-Nov 9 2008 Ports of call: New York City; Samana; Aruba; Curacao; Belize City; Roatan; Miami and a Halloween Party too!
Celebrity Solstice - Brand New ship
SOLD OUT! Our prices were $400+ under everyone else. From $749 balcony! Celebrity's newest ship, Solstice from Ft. Lauderdale, Fl on November 30, 2008. 7 glorious nights, calling on San Juan, Puerto Rico - St. Kitts, St. Maarten, and returning to Ft. Lauderdale.
John Heald's Blogger Cruise 2
Come and join all of John Heald's friends and the CruiseMates' family. Everyone is welcome on this cruise, and it's going to be a ball.
Ruby Princess Venetian Fantasy
Travel down the canals of Venice to the Inter-coastal Waterways of Ft. Lauderdale! 18 Amazing nights and six glorious 25 hr. sea days on the most stunning Princess ship yet
Kiplinger's Magazine named CruiseMates to its
Top 25 Best Value Travel Sites for 2006
CruiseMates is the most useful cruise-review site. We especially like its advice columns, which are written for people of different ages and interests.
Playboy Jazz Cruise Contest!
Hosted by Marcus Miller
Win a cabin and full entry tickets for two people to the Playboy Jazz Cruise aboard the
Holland America Westerdam. Itinerary: Roundtrip out of Fort Lauderdale. Produced by JazzCruisesLLC.
Enter the Playboy Jazz Cruise Contest