David's Dozen 

Another victim of September 11 th was lovely lady Independence . As I write this, I can go to my deck and see her elegant lines, now laid-up along San Francisco's waterfront. I remember watching her sail into the Bay in late 2003 and knowing I had to get aboard her, which I did courtesy of various connections and a kindly dockside security officer. There on her bridge was the calendar marking Indpendence's final days as a passenger vessel, still open to September 2001. The Independence was already an ageing beauty when 9/11 put the kibosh on tourism for a while. It seemed hard to recall that she, along with her sister Constitution, were once the pride of the United States afloat. Under her own steam for the last time, she sailed into San Francisco Bay on November 8, 2001. Since then, she's been bought by NCL with hopes of a resurrection and return to service on the Hawaii circuit. There's nothing sadder than a passenger ship tied up with no where to go, except for one at the breakers.

The first time I sailed into Honolulu, Harbor as an officer aboard Crystal Symphony in 1998, there she was: Independence , still lovely ( if a bit "over-dressed" in her lei-motif funnel paint) and as she was meant to be, sailing in warm island waters. Here's hoping she returns soon and I can finally trod her decks while she is underway.

Kronprinzessin Cecilie  
Marqués de Comillas  
Stefan Batory  
United States