(11:45 a.m. EDT) -- The Thai capital, Bangkok
, is bracing itself this weekend for what could be the worst flooding in decades.
The floods, which are spreading from the north of the country, have been caused by heavy monsoon rains, and the situation could be worsened this weekend by predicted high tides in the estuary of the Chao Phraya river, which flows through the city center, and further bad weather. Central Bangkok is protected by flood walls but residents of several suburbs have been evacuated.
The peak cruise season in south east Asia doesn't start for a couple of months but a handful of ships are operating in the region. Princess Cruises
' Diamond Princess
, currently sailing in east Asia, is due into Bangkok's port, Laem Chabang, next Sunday, October 23. It's too early for the line to consider itinerary changes but a spokeswoman told Cruise Critic: “We are currently monitoring the situation in Bangkok and the safety of our passengers is our utmost priority.”
--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor