I looked at all the messages going back a month because this is when it happened but I saw nothing. To all lovers of wonderful old ships, NCL has just bought the United States!!! The underbidder was a scrap company so the wonderful old lady was saved in the nick of time. NCL also bought the Independence. The two ships will stay US flagged and after extensive repairs and re-fitting (especially for the United States which is in awful condition), they will sail with all American crews on coastal voyages. How cool is that! The United States is scheduled to start service in July 2004. No word on itineraries yet. I will absolutely have to sail a voyage on her. She is one of the greatest liners ever to hit the water.
NCL also bought the unfinished (and in one case, unstarted) Pride of America ships from American Classic Voyages, which also owned the Independence. The two unfinished ships will be completed in Germany, will be re-flagged as US ships and will join the Norwegian Sky, also re-flagged. The three of them will sail exclusively in Hawaii, no need to call at any foreign ports. While NCL said the crew cost will be more expensive the costs will be countered by lower fuel cost.
I was in Boston last week and didn't read the travel section of the NYTimes until I got home yesterday, but that was my source. Way to go NCL!