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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Cruise Lines Feel the Impact of September 11 Attacks

Aired September 28, 2001 - 17:53   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: It's not just the airlines stepping up security to stop possible acts of terrorism. Cruise lines are exercising extra caution as well. CNN's Miami bureau chief John Zarrella has been looking into that -- John.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Marty, as with all the entities involved in tourism since September 11, they have all suffered and they have all taken actions to step up, as you mentioned, the security.

Now, the cruise industry, coupled with federal law enforcement, state law enforcement and local law enforcement all over the country has established inter-government agencies in order to deal with and to handle stepped-up security. The whole idea is to make sure that cruise ships are as safe as possible.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZARRELLA (voice-over): The carnival cruise ship Imagination left the port of Miami escorted as never before. Coast Guard cutters and guardsmen in fast Zodiac rafts, enforcing a perimeter around the ship.

CAPT. JIM WATSON, U.S. COAST GUARD: We are looking for anything out of the ordinary. Obviously, the mission is to enforce this exclusionary zone, this 100-yard circle around the cruise ships as they move in and out of the port and during the entire time they are docked in the port of Miami.

ZARRELLA: Coast Guard officials say there's no particular intelligence that indicates a specific terrorist threat to cruise ships. But no one's taking any chances at any of the nation's ports.

Passengers boarding Norwegian Cruise Lines' newest ship in Boston found it operating at what the industry calls level three security, the industry's highest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw bomb dogs. I saw all types of stuff on this cruise. They went through your stuff. They pulled people over randomly, checking them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It makes people on board feel more comfortable. Makes me feel more comfortable knowing there's extra security. ZARRELLA: Even at their international ports, security has increased, and perimeters around the ships are being enforced. Terrorism experts say attacks like the one on the Navy's USS Cole wouldn't make sense.

LARRY JOHNSON, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Where the cruise ships are going, the individuals are not likely to have the kind of infrastructure in place to launch attacks, as they did in Yemen. That would be pretty difficult to do, and to do so without drawing attention to oneself.

ZARRELLA: Since the September 11 events, the number of people sailing is down about 10 percent. In response, some cruise lines are repositioning their ships.

COLIN VEITCH, NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINES CEO: We're determined not to overreact to the current situation. We're watching it very, very closely, making sure that we're bringing some of our ships back closer to home, so the product is there for people to drive up to or take a bus to.

ZARRELLA: The strategy is simple: People jittery about flying can get on a cruise ship without first getting on a plane.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZARRELLA: Some of the cruise lines that are planning to reposition their ships, a lot of what they're doing is pulling ships back that would have been in the Mediterranean, for example, come next year. A lot of the changes are going to take place the 1st of the year.

And Marty, what everybody tells us is that right now, as with anything in the tourist industry, if you can travel, if you feel comfortable traveling, now is the time to do it. You can book cruises for more than 50 percent off. Cruises, for example, to places like Hawaii and cruises to places like Alaska. Next year if you book now, at least 50 percent off. So, great deals -- Marty.

SAVIDGE: All right, John Zarrella, the impact on the cruise industry. The rippling goes on and on. Thank you very much.

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