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Friday File: Memories of 9/11

It was 14 years ago today that the world changed forever. The twin towers of New York crumbled into dust and debris, taking down with them close to 3,000 lives. Cruise passengers who've been to New York in succeeding years have been among the visitors who've had a change to watch the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, or the space it occupied. It wasn't a cruise that took us there, it was a cruise press conference about Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas, and we seized the opportunity to walk down to Wall Street and see, though still incomplete at the time, the re-construction and the memories of 9/11…


The Freedom Tower, erected in defiance of freedom lost that sunny September day.

9/11 tree

From the rubble, The Survivor Tree, nurtured back to life and replanted in 2010.


One of the two reflecting pools, for “reflecting absence” and built where each tower stood.


Nearly 3,000 names, plus victims with names to come, carved into the walls around the pools.


The new site is among the millions of places where security is now commonplace.

6-WTC-2-Michael Mahesh
-Photo by Michael Mahesh
Today’s New York skyline, the Freedom Tower reaching far above its neighbours.

In the news…

• Royal Caribbean plans $100-million Miami port for biggest ships by 2018
• Coming on Norwegian Escape: Lacoste and Carolina Herrera boutiques

Today at portsandbows.com: About time to check up on Down Under

Celebrity Silhouette
7 nights
December 6, 2015
Fort Lauderdale (return): San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Kitts
Inside: $596
Cost per day: $85

9/11: For Cruise Passengers in N.Y., a Special Chance to see a Special Place

Freedom Tower and poolsToday, people around the world will pause to remember what life was like before those planes hit the World Trade Center and changed life as we knew it, forever. Today, people in New York will not only remember but many will visit the site that became known as Ground Zero. Today, passengers on cruise ships will remember days when getting on and off the ship was easier and some of them cruising into or out of New York this week will also visit the memorial and see the Freedom Tower that is replacing what used to be.

Yes, today will always be 9/11.

Prior to our cruise on Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas this year, we made our way into Lower Manhattan and spent a sombre couple of hours walking around the perpetualfountains called Reflecting Absence and the miraculous Survivor Tree, taken from the rubble where almost 3,000 human beings perished.

Survivor TreeIf you're unfamiliar with the tree's story, it was found in the debris that September, eight feet long and with blackened roots and lifeless limbs. It was taken to a nursery in The Bronx and given a second lease on life. Today, it's over 30 feet tall.

The museum was due to be completed by now, and then along came Hurricane Sandy, dumping eight feet of water into the structure and delaying its opening. On our visit, it was still closed, now scheduled to be open by next year.

Admission to the site is free. However, the best way to guarantee access is to register online, which costs $2. Tickets available at the site are first-come, first-served and if it's a busy day — which today is certain to be — a wait is likely.

Had we not been able to attend a press briefing about Quantum of the Seas and then board Explorer of the Seas, we might still be waiting to visit Ground Zero, 12 years after it became that. With the growth of cruise ships based in and around New York, it creates an ideal opportunity for people on cruise ships to take an extra day at one end or the other, to remember 9/11 for more than how it impacted security regulations at airports, train stations and cruise ship terminals.

Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas
7 nights
October 20, 2013
Fort Lauderdale (return): Labadee, FalmouthCozumel
Inside: $649
Cost per day: $92


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