Cruise Lines React In The Wake Of Terrorism
Cruise ships are operating at
the highest level of security since yesterday's terrorist attack.
"Our passengers come first," said Phil Kleweno, president of
Princess Cruises, "and as always, we will make every possible effort
to ensure their safety as they travel with us."
lines have personnel working around the clock with passengers,
travel agents, and U.S. port authorities to ensure the normal
operations of their fleets.
The 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro
in the Mediterranean proved that cruise ships can be vulnerable to
acts of terrorism. That event completely changed cruise line
security. Now, cruise line security employees are highly trained in
dealing with crime prevention.
Royal Caribbean selects
security officers with experience in security and seafaring. Most of
their security personnel are former British navy or marine officers
with ship experience. Renaissance Cruises also selects security
employees from the British navy, and many are former British Gurkha
Regiment soldiers from Nepal. The Gurkhas are world-renowned
soldiers and each must have a minimum of 15 years of military
experience. In addition, many cruise lines hire contractors at
various ports to provide intelligence and to help devise risk
Passengers Cared For
those Americans away from home, the stress of recent events has been
enormous. Nonetheless, cruise lines are taking great care to comfort
and reassure their American passengers.
Stacey Smith, currently on her honeymoon cruise aboard Renaissance
Cruises' R3 vessel in Tahiti, says the cruise line has been
"amazing" in helping passengers. She says, "Passengers were informed
of the terrorism attacks in the U.S. when the ship's alarms went off
at 6:30 a.m. Tahiti time. We were told which television channel we
could turn to for news. In addition, all of us were allowed to make
phone calls from the ship to our families back home free of charge."
She adds, "The staff has been professional, accommodating, and
concerned about passengers with family members back in the New York
area." She and her husband were supposed to be flying home on the
13th; however, that is not going to happen.
Passengers either ending or starting their cruises
are in limbo given the lack of air service. Cruise lines are closely
monitoring the situation.
Renaissance Cruises' spokesperson
Brad Ball stated, "We will make every effort to help guests make
necessary air connections once this mandate has been lifted." He
adds, "Renaissance Cruises is currently working to make required
arrangements for those guests that are in transition to and from
their cruise for both current and future dates."
with any questions regarding the fate of their travel plans should
contact their travel agent.
According to Lucy Hirleman, CTC, and President of
Berkshire Travel in Newfoundland, NJ, "This catastrophic event is a
gray area for the insurance companies. They are still trying to
figure out what's covered."
Indeed, travel agents note that
cruise lines are not required to refund money if a traveler decides
to cancel—even when the U.S. State Department has issued travel
warnings. As a rule, cruise lines' terms and conditions often state
that operators are not responsible and have no liability for
cancellations arising from wars, riots, or other incidents. The
American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) states that cancellation
policies will vary widely from cruise line. Travelers may be able to
cancel their trips, but it will usually cost a fee to do
For More Information:
American Society of Travel Agents
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