(3:00 p.m. EST) -- Political unrest in Bangkok has prompted Crystal Cruises to cancel port stops in the Asian city for 2014 through early 2015.
The changes are based on a 60-day state of emergency imposed by the Thai government in late January, caused by protesters seeking regime changes. In recent months, protesters have blocked government offices, taken over major intersections and staged marches across Bangkok, according to the New York Times.
In March, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony will visit Sihanoukville, Cambodia and Koh Samui, and add additional nights in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam instead of Bangkok. A mid-March cruise on Serenity will start its pre-cruise program in Singapore instead of Bangkok.
Southeast Asia cruises scheduled through mid-January 2015 embarking in Bangkok will now depart Singapore instead. New calls include Malacca, Penang and Port Kelang, Malaysia, Phuket, Thailand; Nha Trang, Vietnam plus more time in Semarang, Indonesia and Ho Chi Minh.
Numerous cruise lines have Bangkok on their itineraries, including Royal Caribbean, Azamara, Celebrity, Princess, Regent Seven Seas, P & O Cruises, Seabourn, Holland America, and Cunard. So far, none except Crystal has changed its plans to call on the port.
The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert for Thailand on Jan. 19 in advance of the country's parliamentary elections last Saturday. The advisory is set to expire Feb. 14.
On its website, Crystal says it has made the decision to cancel now so berths can be reserved and passengers advised of the switch before making air and hotel plans.
-- By Chris Gray Faust, Destinations Editor