(December 29) -- In light of the tragic earthquake and resulting tsunamis that have devastated many parts of south Asia -- including India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, which of the 12 impacted countries are experiencing the most serious death tolls and incidences of rising disease, among other problems -- cruise lines that had planned calls in the region are starting to alter itineraries.
Announced are changes as follows -- and we'll provide updates as necessary:
Hebridean Island Cruises, the ultra-elite U.K.-based two ship cruise line, announces that its 135-passenger Hebridean Spirit, slated to call at Colombo tomorrow, will now avoid Sri Lanka and the Maldives. The ship will head to the Seychelles instead. It will reconfigure its next itinerary, a 14-night cruise, departing January 3 between Cochin (India) and Port Victoria, to avoid all disaster-related areas but details are not yet available.
Malaysia-based Star Cruises is imminently impacted. Its SuperStar Virgo's regular weekly call at Phuket has been replaced -- for the immediate future -- with a stop instead at Langkawi. SuperStar Gemini's three-night cruise to Phuket will substitute calls at Langkawi and Penang.
Among those lines that haven't yet reported itinerary alterations but that do have plans in the next months to sail Indian Ocean itineraries include Holland America, Cunard, Silversea, Radisson Seven Seas and Crystal. In many cases, these lines have planned Indian Ocean calls as part of world cruises -- and typically the high season there runs from late February through March. So announcements about possible itinerary changes on world voyages aren't expected any time soon.
In the meantime, the U.S. Department of State has issued a public announcement that offers a rundown on the most severely affected areas.
As always, we'll keep you posted.
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Follow-Up: More Asia-Related Cruise Changes Likely
December 29, 2004