Thursday, March 12, 2009

Keeping Us Safe

September 10, 2001 we sailed out of Southampton (London), England on the inaugural voyage of Norwegian Sun. This 17-night cruise was a Trans-Atlantic crossing which followed the Path of the Vikings. The final port of call was to be New York, NY but as you might expect, that was not possible.

On September 11, 2001, the cruise industry, along with every other travel industry, was changed forever by the events that took place in New York city. While safety had always been a cruise line concern, it was never at a higher level than it was when we returned to the United States.

A few days before our scheduled return to the United States, we learned that we would be diverting to Boston instead of New York. NCL would make arrangements for everyone to get home from there. They even opened up the phone lines free of charge so that everyone could call home and let their loved ones know about the change of plans.

These were extraordinary times during the entire cruise. The majority of the passengers were from New York, and you can just imagine the emotions onboard the ship.

It was shortly after dawn as we entered Boston Harbor. We immediately got our first glimpse of how the world had changed. A U.S. Coast Guard gunboat was alongside our ship escorting us into harbor. In fact, there were several of the gunboats alongside our ship. It was an eerie sight to see the boats, however it was also very comforting.

Travel had changed dramatically from the time we left on this cruise until the time we returned home. We had met people in Canada that had helped to shelter passengers that had been stranded when the airplanes were grounded. We got our first experience with the new security checking at Logan Airport.

Fortunately, the travel industry recovered and resumed operations following the devastating events of 9/11. Security is now a fact of life, both at the airports, and at cruise terminals. You'll look out from the upper decks of your ship and you'll always see U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Homeland Security, and other police agencies present while the ship is in harbor. We have witnessed them chase down supsicious boats and turn them away. Thanks to their presence, we can feel safe onboard the ship while we are in harbor.

Thank you to all the members of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Homeland Security and other agencies that keep the cruise passengers safe. Next time you are on a ship, be sure to wave a thank you to the men and women that keep us safe.

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