Project America Delayed

September 4, 2001

American Classic Voyages, the home-grown cruise line that’s building new
ships at a U.S. shipyard -- the first leisure vessels to be crafted on this
soil in nearly 50 years -- is admitting that the construction schedule is
running behind. The first of two 1,900-passenger ships, now being built at
Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, is rumored to be as much as
18 months behind schedule. AMCV President Rod McLeod candidly acknowledges
the lateness but won’t comment on exactly how much past the original January
2003 launch he expects the delay to run.
“We are in active discussions with the shipyard and are hopeful we will come
to an agreement that will insure delivery of Project America,” he said late
last week. He admits there have been challenges. “We predicted there would
be,” he says. “We were aware there would be some surprises as we went
along.” One such challenge for the shipyard has been reorienting itself from
“a focus on military work to commercial work,” McLeod adds, noting that one,
for instance, is getting accustomed to using steel processing that’s thinner
than that required by U.S. naval vessels. “We don’t expect to be hit by
torpedoes so we don’t need big thick steel hulls,” he says. “It might sound
simple...but they’ve found it very difficult.”