New York Airports Remain Closed, Another Cruise Ship Delayed
By Theresa Norton Masek
October 30, 2012 12:55 PM
The day after Sandy slammed the Northeast, New York area airports remained closed and at least one more cruise ship delayed a departure due to the storm, now officially a post-tropical cyclone or “Superstorm,” as the media has dubbed it. At midday Oct. 30, Sandy was moving over Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with sustained winds of 45 mph. Wind gusts of up to 90 mph had been reported in the New York area on Monday night.
The aviation website www.FlightAware.com said more than 15,700 flights had been cancelled since Sunday and that virtually all airlines are offering fee-free changes. The site said no reopen time has been set yet for New York area airports. The Philadelphia airport is severely impacted with 1,529 flights cancelled Oct. 29 and 1,085 cancelled Oct. 30. New York airports have nearly 1,000 cancellations each. “We expect more cancellations to happen, especially in NYC, soon,” FlightAware said. So far, only 635 cancellations are scheduled for Oct. 31, but FlightAware expects this number to rise once damage can be assessed and re-open times are communicated.
Meanwhile, Princess Cruises said the Caribbean Princess tentatively plans to sail from Boston to New York at 5 p.m. Oct. 30. “The sea conditions will require the vessel to operate at significantly reduced speeds and will impact their arrival into New York,” Princess said. “We currently expect to be delayed by at least one day and arriving no earlier than Thursday morning. These have been unprecedented weather conditions and difficult to forecast and according to the latest information from New York, the Brooklyn pier is not yet operational. Once the ship is underway and more is known about the exact arrival time in New York, we will provide additional updates.”
Passengers are being allowed to disembark in Boston. “We are currently rebooking air travel for those passengers who purchased air through Princess, and are offering complimentary phone and Internet services for those passengers who need to make changes to their independent travel plans,” Princess said. As a gesture of goodwill, Princess is offering compensation to passengers in the form of a future cruise credit. Details will be communicated to passengers onboard once the full impact on the voyage is known.
For those on the next cruise, a 10-day Caribbean voyage, passengers will receive a per diem for any cruise days missed due to late embarkation. Passengers who have Princess air and/or transfers will be contacted regarding their travel plans.
Most other cruise lines have not changed itineraries since the last updates on Oct. 29. Royal Caribbean International said it has not altered the boarding time or itinerary of any ship that departs from Baltimore or Cape Liberty in New Jersey on Nov. 1-4. The line did urge guests sailing on Brilliance of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas to monitor www.RoyalCaribbean.com for additional updates. Brilliance of the Seas remained in port at St. John, New Brunswick, until Oct. 30, while Enchantment of the Seas remained at sea after cancelling plans to visit Bermuda.
Also, the evening of Oct. 29, Norwegian Cruise Line posted Facebook updates from the masters of two ships at sea. Norwegian Gem Capt. Roger Gustavsen wrote: “Hurricane Sandy has started to impact the east coast, but we remain safely at sea, out of the storm’s path, 400 nautical miles off the southeast coast of New York City. The Port of New York remains closed due to safety; therefore, we will hold our current position until we receive word that it safe to sail back into port. The latest forecast shows us being able to dock tomorrow evening and until then we will keep everyone on board safe, comfortable and entertained.”
Meanwhile, other mid-Atlantic and Northeast airports were already open or expecting to open shortly. Boston was operational with minim post-hurricane disruption, according to FlightAware. Philadelphia also was open and expecting flights from Delta and Lufthansa. Washington-Dulles was open and expecting flights from Delta and foreign carriers. Baltimore was expecting some scheduled flights.
The Westchester County-White Plains Airport planned to reopen late morning while Atlantic City International was planning to reopen at 2 p.m. Oct. 30.