September 25, 2001
American Classic Voyages’ pilot program to construct the United States’ first cruise ship in more than 40 years, has ironed out project complications with Northrop Grumman’s Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The issues, which Cruise Critic reported on last month, concerned a delay in delivery dates of the two 1,900 passenger ships -- and an increase in their construction cost. “We predicted it would be a challenge,” American Classic Voyages’ President Rod McLeod said in an interview. “We were aware there would be some surprises as we went along.” In the revised plan, endorsed by the U.S. Maritime Administration, AMCV and the shipyard have agreed that ship delivery dates will be extended one year (Project America Ship 1 is due February 1, 2004; Project America Ship 2 on February 1, 2005). It also specifies that cost, per ship, increases from the original $440 million to $459 million. Both AMCV and Northrop Grumman are committing the extra funds. In the meantime, all parties are getting back-to-work; at present, 1,600 shipyard personnel are currently working full-time. The design is nearly complete. And the first ship is one-third finished.