September 17, 2001
Cruise passengers headed out on voyages in the foreseeable future will experience upgrades in security that go beyond the individual line on which they’re sailing. Some examples: * If you are scheduled for a cruise that either begins or ends in New York your ship will be diverted -- throughout the rest of the fall, at the very least. Primary replacement ports include Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore. Cruise lines generally are arranging bus transfers for those who fly in (or out) of New York; unless you have purchased your air ticket through the cruise line you’ll be asked to pay for the transfer. * Ports where ships dock and harbors where they are tendered are under strict watch; for instance, in Boston, the U.S. Coast Guard is boarding any ship entering the area -- including cruise liners. On Holland America’s Amsterdam, docked in Quebec City, security was extremely tight; even shore excursion groups were asked to gather onboard, rather than on the pier, to prevent people from milling around. * Passengers should be prepared for itinerary changes. You may spend multiple days on the ship in one particular port when calls to others are canceled. * Cruise lines are no longer permitting at-the-dock cruise bookings; nor are they taking any reservations for cruises with less than 7 days lead time. * Due to the airport shutdown, many cruise lines, such as Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, are pushing back departure times (from a few hours to the next day) to allow time for delayed passengers to reach the ship. * Trip delay insurance is more important than ever -- but make sure the insurers you call will cover expenses, should they be incurred, that occur because of last week’s events. * At least for the time being, captains of some ships are attempting to arrive at disembarkation several hours earlier than scheduled to allow passengers with tight flight schedules to arrive at the airport as required. In some cases for international flights passengers are being asked to arrive as much as four hours before their scheduled takeoff.