Southeast cruise ships carrying fewer passengers

Posted: Friday, September 21, 2001

KETCHIKAN (AP) -- Cruise ships visiting Southeast Alaska are running far lighter passenger rosters in the wake of last week's terrorist violence on the East Coast.

The Carnival Spirit carried ''a fair amount lower than 80 percent'' of its 2,124-passenger capacity, said Jennifer de la Cruz, spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Lines.

''We are certainly seeing reduced booking activity ... and increased cancellation activity,'' she said. ''However, there is booking activity going on, which is a positive sign.''

Other cruise companies also reported losses.

Celebrity Cruises, whose ships Infinity and Mercury stop in Ketchikan, reported last week's sailings to be about two-thirds full. Only half the usual number of bookings were made in the days immediately following the attacks, said Richard Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., which owns Celebrity.

The Holland America ship Ryndam had only 880 of its 1,266 beds filled when it arrived in Ketchikan Wednesday, and sister ship Statendam which also can accommodate 1,266 will carry about 700 passengers when it arrives on Friday.

However, Holland America's ship Zaandam, had only 55 cancellations for this week's sailings and was expected to arrive in Ketchikan Thursday with 1,199 visitors.

''All in all, I think we're doing OK,'' company spokesman Erik Elvejord told the Ketchikan Daily News.

Major cruise lines took an added financial hit by offering travel vouchers to passengers who canceled sailing because of last week's violence. This week, however, full penalties were back in effect at many lines.

''We're fairly full on (next week's) sailings. ... How we'll end up, I don't know,'' Elvejord said.

Next week is the final week for cruise ships in Ketchikan for the year.

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