May 20, 2003
In response to intercepted communications that indicate the possibility of threats against the U.S. and beyond, the government has raised the terror alert from elevated (yellow) to high (orange). The alert level had been at the elevated mark since April 16. NBC News is reporting that the raising of the level is due to "communications indicating an imminent al-Qaida threat inside the United States and against U.S. interests abroad." Cruise passengers should anticipate no major changes in procedures as the industry is already working -- and has been consistently since events of September 11 -- at the highest possible levels. "The cruise industry's highest priority has always been to insure the safety and security of our passengers, crew and vessels," says Christine Fischer, a spokesperson for the International Council of Cruise Lines. However, travelers may want to build in extra time when traveling to and from cruise ports.