Thursday's Plot Reverberates Onboard

August 14, 2006
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Cruise Critic correspondent Jana Jones, just off a four night cruise aboard Carnival's Paradise during Thursday's most unsettling announcement of an airline-oriented terror plot, reports from the ship.

"There was no formal announcement made on the ship, but most people had heard the news of the new terrorism threat before breakfast. Those who had not seen it on television, on one of the three CNN channels or four broadcast stations available in-cabin, certainly heard the murmurs around the gathering places on board.

"Because it sails from a heavily populated metropolitan area, Paradise attracts primarily local travelers, or those who can drive for less than a day to arrive in Long Beach. The ratio of those who have flown to an airport near the port -- LAX, Long Beach or John Wayne/Orange County, for instance -- is fairly low. Nonetheless, those folks who did fly in are the people onboard who have the biggest problem, mostly because for most of the day, the new TSA screening protocols were not explicitly laid out.

"We met one group who is so worried about getting back to Las Vegas in time to go to work that they have rented a one-way car and are scrapping their return air tickets. Others have returned their onboard duty-free liquor purchases since they now have no way to get them home. Still others, those who purchased Kahlua and tequila in Ensenada, Mexico, have also bought additional suitcases from the onboard logo shop so they'll be able to check the bottles through to their destination.

"'We didn't buy any liquor,' our dining companions, who had flown from northern California, told us, 'so for us, it's just a matter of putting our liquids and toothpaste in our checked luggage.' Some of them had brought only carry-ons, which they now intended to check for the return flight.

"Most of the air passengers had a shell-shocked look about them as they scrambled to get information. 'Can we take our cameras onto the aircraft with us?' they were asking. 'What about our laptops?' British air passengers have been forbidden to bring handbags on their flights, and all belongings that are going onto the aircraft must be in see-through plastic bags. For much of the day it appeared as though those rules might also apply to domestic U.S. flights, but it was difficult to get information while at sea.

"'We tried to make a call and got cut off,'" a passenger told us. 'We wanted our son to see what he could find out for us but our call got disconnected.'

"Paradise's staff printed out the latest TSA information and put it into passenger cabins, a great benefit to those with questions. For the moment it appears as though liquids and gels, including gelcap medications like NyQuil, are prohibited onboard a plane, but electronic devices are not."

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