New York Airports Start to Reopen, Ships Forced to Remain at Sea
By Theresa Norton Masek
October 31, 2012 2:04 PM
Two New York airports—JFK and Newark—opened to limited business Oct. 31, although LaGuardia Airport remained closed until further notice due to damage from Hurricane Sandy. Due to a power outage at Newark, however, the on-airport gas station and all rental car facilities, except for Avis, will remain closed until further notice.
The aviation website FlightAware.com said 2,801 flights have been cancelled on Oct. 31 and 481 for Nov. 1. Since Sunday, more than 19,500 flights have been cancelled. “The availability of mass transit continues to be a factor in cancellations; it will need to be fully operational before airlines can resume full services,” FlightAware said. “We expect the number of flight cancellations for today and tomorrow to rise depending on how quickly airlines can resume service at JFK/EWR and once the timeframe at LGA is understood.” Limited subway and train service in the New York area was expected to resume on a limited basis Nov. 1, according to local media reports.
At sea, cruise ships continued to scramble for ports at which to dock and load provisions. Crystal Cruises said the Crystal Symphony will not call at New York this week as scheduled, but, instead, will sail to its next scheduled port of Charleston, S.C. Crystal Symphony remained in the port of Boston until after the hurricane made landfall and departed the morning of Oct. 30 for Manhattan, where it planned to end a Montréal-New York voyage and begin the next New York-Los Angeles cruise.
The ship is now sailing straight to Charleston, scheduled to arrive at 10 a.m. Nov. 1, one day earlier than previously planned. Guests can disembark on Nov. 1 or 2, depending on individual travel arrangements. The next cruise is scheduled to embark on Nov. 2. Crystal is notifying travel agents and guests of the new plans. The line is providing guests on the current cruise with complimentary Internet access to rearrange travel plans and communicate with loved ones, as well as complimentary airport transfers for all guests in Charleston.
Norwegian Cruise Line said the Norwegian Gem is calling in Boston to take on provisions, fuel and give guests the opportunity to go ashore. The ship will depart Boston the afternoon of Oct. 31 to sail toward New York where the ship will continue to remain at sea until the Port of New York reopens. The company said it anticipates that the port will re-open on Nov. 1 or 2. Guests who were scheduled to sail on Norwegian Gem’s Oct. 29 cruise will be offered an alternate itinerary for a five- or six-day Bermuda cruise. As a result of the shortened itinerary, guests will receive a pro-rated credit for the missed days based on cruise fare paid.
Princess Cruises was advised by the U.S. Coast Guard that the Brooklyn port is closed to all vessels until the weekend, which changes the Caribbean Princess’ plans to leave Boston the evening of Oct. 31 to return to New York. The ship will now remain in Boston for another night. The company said its Los Angeles office was researching other ports but remained hopeful the ship could call at Manhattan on Nov. 2. Passengers can disembark in Boston if they choose.
The port closure impacts the scheduled Oct. 31 departure of the Caribbean Princess’ 10-day “Caribbean Islander” cruise. Princess said it will announce boarding plans as soon as it can clear where the ship will dock. Passengers will receive a per diem for any cruise days missed due to a late embarkation.
With all the changes forced by Sandy, Carnival Cruise Lines has added a two-night cruise-to-nowhere Nov. 2 from Baltimore on the Carnival Pride. Rates start at $99 for an inside stateroom, $129 for an ocean-view and $149 for a balcony.
Across the pond, bad weather is forcing other changes. John Heald, senior cruise director at Carnival, said Venice’s St. Mark’s Square is under 45 inches of water with more to come. The Carnival Breeze cancelled its call in Venice Oct. 31. The ship now will remain at sea Oct. 31 and visit Messina on Nov. 2, Naples on Nov. 3, Civitavecchia on Nov. 4 and return to Barcelona on Nov. 6.