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Was anyone here on a cruise during 9/11/2001?


jetboy1
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Just found this post. We were on the "final" cruise of the Norway. It started in Ft.Lauderdale and ended in England. We docked in NYC 2 days before 9/11. I have some great pics of the towers as we sailed into NYC. We were in the North Atlantic when it happened. We had just returned from lunch when the Capt. made the announcement. Communication was bad because of our location so we relied on the internet for video feeds. There was a memorial service held that afternoon. What really brought things in perspective was when we saw members of the crew packing side arms. Emotions were running very high the next couple days at sea. People in a state of shock, one man I saw had a nervous breakdown, others - the French passengers on the ship - could have cared less. There were fights in the lounge where there was a video available - reason- the French wanted to watch a soccer game. Crew members were apologizing for their conduct and said they were "old" French and are not the regular French. Our next ports were Scotland, Ireland and France. Scotland and Ireland really took this to heart, there were memorials everywhere, moments of silence and people coming up to us with condolences. In France it seemed to be business as usual and one shop I went into blamed the US and was afraid they were going to be attacked. (He was of Indian decent).

When we got to England, we were the first flights out since the attacks. It was a mess. Once we got on the plane a woman had to be taken off because she was afraid to get on a plane.

We had a connection in Phil. - it was a ghost town, planes were flying but people weren't ready.

The first days home were like catching up on what happen. Disclaimer: I am not anti French, my wife is French but as it brought out the best of people, it brought out the worst of this group.

All in all I'm kind of glad I was on that cruise as it brought out a whole other element to the entire disaster.

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  • 1 year later...

I know this is a rather old post but I'd like to share with you my story as a person who worked on the Carnival Destiny that fateful day. 

 

At 19, I had a dream job. Prior to, I was working as a Bookkeeper at Winn-Dixie as I worked my way up. A friend of mine who spoke little English and worked in the dairy department mentioned to me about a job opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. His brother worked for this company that dealt with cruise ships and so I was able to secure an interview.
 
This company is responsible for installing those on demand television systems you all use on the cruise ships even today.
 
Nervous about the interview and at only 19 I really wasn’t sure my career path. The person who interviewed me at the time explained to me the scope of the job. I was to travel overseas at ship yards on cruise ships that were being constructed, and our job was to install these systems in each of the cabins. Last thing this manager said to me was “How would you like to go to Germany.” Seeing that no one in my family has ever traveled outside the US I was excited at the opportunity. Naturally, I accepted the position and I was on my way to my first month long project in Papenburg, Germany. I was the youngest in the company and working alongside men in their 40s. So I had a lot to learn and felt a lot to prove as well.
 
Fast forward midway into our time there, my project lead approached me and asked me that I was needed on the Carnival Destiny to relieve one of their current employees who was serving a 9-month contract as a Broadcast/Radio Officer. The Carnival Destiny ports out from San Juan, Puerto Rico and ended up in Aruba for a week long run with other countries along the way. As a newbie there I wanted to show them how dependable I can be to their company so I took the assignment and headed over to Puerto Rico to board the Destiny ship.
 
I had a four-month assignment there and my job there was to maintain all of the on-demand television systems including maintaining our television satellites to which at that time we only received three channels (ABC, NBC and CBS). On Mondays I would switch out those coordinates in exchange for business related channels such as MSNBC, CNN and RAI, which was an Italian based news network for the ship’s Italian crew.
 
At the time, our television satellite was faulty. Overnight the gyroscope would lose its traction and we’d lose signal. We were waiting for a representative from SeaTel to fly in from Miami to come and fix our unit. Until then the only remedy was for me to climb up into the protected white dome you all see on the ship and shut down and restart it manually.
 
On the morning of September 11th, I was asleep, my beeper went off but I couldn’t hear it, then the bridge paged me but inside my cabin you couldn’t hear the announcement. I was then met with security guards who banged on my door. Startled a bit I opened the door and was told that the satellite was down again if I can please get it back up again. They didn’t tell me why.
 
My stateroom was on Deck 2 near the orchestra pit on the forward part of the ship. So a bit groggy I made my way up to Deck 11 Aft to the broadcast center to bring back up our satellites.
I re-plugged the correct coordinates and was happy that I didn’t have to go climbing again outside on deck to manually power cycle the satellite. I looked onto our monitors and started getting a picture. All I can see at that time was a plume of smoke and a helicopter. The monitor had no sound so I couldn’t make out what was happening. I just assumed it was nothing major.
 
As I made my way back to my stateroom I started hearing gasps and screams from the hallway. I didn’t know what to make of it since it was probably folks partying up from the night before.
As I finally made my way down to my room, across from me, my neighbor, was the ship’s backstage manager who had her door open. She appeared to be numb at what she was witnessing on TV. She was usually a tuff girl but I could sense something was wrong. At that moment that’s when she turned around tears running down her face and she told me our country is under attack.
 
In disbelief, I walked into my room turned on the TV and stood frozen at what I now learned what was happening. I just realized as well walking back from the broadcast center to my room the more than 4,000+ passengers and crew were all learning about this at the same time.
 
Something to note about this specific cruise is most often times the majority of the passengers who took this particular cruise were people flying directly from New York. Since airports and sea ports were closed and didn’t allow anyone to dock, we were circling out there in the Caribbean Sea waiting. There were no cell phone service or wi-fi, and the only form of communication was reports from the Captain, the TV and Satellite phone service that costs $9.99 a minute.
 
While we all waiting to see if we can port to our next destination the Captain was able set up a telephone room and allowed passengers to make free phone calls to loved ones back home. Of course since phone circuits were overloaded it was difficult for family to get in touch with anyone back home which made it even more frustrating for them.
 
One of the most emotional interactions I had was with a passenger that I will never forget. A purser called me up about a distressed person in one of the cabins who was threatening to yank his television from his room and throw it over the balcony. As I made my way over to his room, there I met two security guards who spoke little to broken English and they could not get this guy to calm down. That’s when I learned he was a NY Firefighter. You can see the red in his face and the sheer frustration and sadness in his eyes. Honestly, I don’t know what I said to him to calm him down and keep him from throwing that television overboard but I remember walking away from there absorbing that raw emotion he had and that helplessness feeling we all felt since we were stuck out here.
 
I kept monitoring our satellites to make sure they wouldn’t go down, now that over 4,000+ people are glued to the TV trying to make sense of it all. That night, I slept with the television on to ensure it wouldn’t lose signal. When I first moved into my stateroom I noticed a full bottle of champagne that was left there from the previous occupant underneath the bathroom sink. I opened it up and stated to drink away. Half-way into the bottle I heard a report from CNN that two of the hijackers were in Hollywood, Florida two days prior to the attacks. That’s where Mom and Dad lived and where I was staying since I was now traveling. That’s when I felt extremely home sick and that sunken feeling in your stomach you get.
 
I grabbed the phone in my stateroom and tried and see if I can call my Mom and Dad. Surprisingly, the call went through and all I can do was cry. I cried so hard because I no longer wanted to be here. I wanted to go home, I was scared and I didn’t know what to do. We stayed on that phone for 45 minutes. Yup, you guessed it, at $9.99 a minute. My bill the next day was a whopping $450.00. I didn’t care and thankfully the bookkeeper worked down the price with me. I just needed to hear their voice.
 
After the attacks security changed. Anyone who wasn’t a US Citizen wasn’t allowed to step off into any of the US territories until they lifted the ban. In fact, St Thomas, USVI was always the place where all the crew would get off to buy food, clothes and send money back to their county of origin. American employees were amongst the minority on the ship so when it was time to port into St. Thomas you only saw a handful of crew who were US Citizens allowed to disembark into the island while the rest of the crew stayed on the ship. That day was eerie as the island depended on economy and it was almost like a ghost island since few got off.
 
Because of the Anthrax scare that followed after the attacks, we were not longer able to receive our care packages on the ship. We had to disembark and allow security to open all of our packages to ensure safety. I remember one time there was a white powdery pile on the corner floor of the ship and we all had to evacuate so hazmat crews could come in and inspect it to only find out it was laundry detergent.
 
It is definitely a moment in time I will never forget.

 

 

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I appreciate this post being bumped after so many years.  I just found it today.  There are some very moving stories here.  Thank you, all, for sharing them.

 

I didn't start cruising until many years after 9/11, but my story is that I had a trip out of the country that left the Saturday after that Tuesday.  To make a very long story short, it didn't go.  I rescheduled it for six weeks later, in a different world.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great and moving story Willmega82.  You must have felt like things were a bit unreal as you were at sea and somewhat out of touch with the Current events of the times.

 

We were onboard the Norwegian Sun a few days after 9/11 and we had to stay in and near Boston Harbor.  There were at least 5 other ships that had come up to Boston.  The feeling was surreal seeing a bunch of ships that did not belong there.  It seemed that the world had been turned upside down.  There were armed Coast Guard boats patrolling all around the ships  The one thing that was already apparent to us at that time was that travel would never be the same.

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  • 4 years later...

I was on Queen Elizabeth 2 sailing from Southampton, UK to New York when 9/11 happened. On the afternoon of the second day out, I returned to my stateroom and turned on the TV to watch some news. What I saw was image of the Twin Towers burning so I assumed that was a movie and change the channel. Obviously, it wasn’t. All channels were showing the same images. Shortly there after, the captain came on the loudspeaker and said, “I’m sure you all have heard about the tragedies that have befallen, New York and Washington today. As a mark of respect, dancing will be canceled this evening.“ It sounded like a silly announcement, but, really, what else could we do? 2001 was before widespread Internet on ships and the QE2 had one computer room with about 20 computers that would connect to the Internet. Pretty much the entire ship’s  passenger complement waited on line to send messages to loved ones. Time at the computer was rationed to about 10 minutes per person so that everyone would be able to get a chance to use it. Life went on aboard the ship with many folks gathering in the Golden Lion Pub to watch news. We were due to dock in New York on September 16th, but, of course, New York Harbor was closed. We were diverted to Boston’s Black Falcon ship terminal. However, as we approached the port, we were stopped … there had been a bomb threat made against the cruise terminal, and we were made to wait until they sorted that out. Once we finally arrived in Boston, Cunard Line was spectacular. They had buses waiting take take everyone down to New York, and they had bused up stevedores from New York harbor to handle the ships luggage, etc. There were many passengers on board who were sailing to the USA to tour, but once September 11 happened many of them went to the cruise consultant‘s office to see if they could book passage on the return trip. Some were lucky, but an announcement was made shortly thereafter that saying the return cruise had been fully booked.

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