Update: Unrest in Mumbai, Bangkok Impacts Cruises

December 2, 2008
Update: Anti-government protesters will end their blockade of two Bangkok airports on Wednesday, and the first international flights out of the Thai capital (to Rome and Sydney) will leave on Friday. Both airports will be fully operational by Friday.

Last week's tragedies in Mumbai and continued anti-government protests affecting Bangkok's airports have impacted cruise travel to both cities.

In Mumbai, which was just starting its winter cruise season, all cruise lines with plans to call at the Indian city in December have canceled their visits. Among the lines with impacted itineraries are Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, Oceania Cruises and Azamara Cruises.

The next scheduled cruise ship visits occur in late January by P&O's Aurora and Cunard's Queen Mary 2. No announcements have yet been made regarding itinerary deviation. Mumbai's busiest season for welcoming cruise ship travelers occurs March - May, and it's too soon to tell what the impact will be.

In Bangkok, where protestors have overwhelmed the city's airports and halted operations at both, Star Clippers, which operates tall-ship voyages, might be impacted. The line's 170-passenger Star Clipper has just begun a five-month season in Southeast Asia, and the ship relies heavily on Phuket as an embarkation/debarkation port for the sailings. Passengers often fly into Bangkok.

Spokeswoman Julie Ellis tells Cruise Critic that as of now, an in-progress seven-night cruise ending in Phuket this Saturday, and a seven-night cruise departing later that day (Phuket to Singapore), remain on schedule. Ellis could not say how passengers booked on close-in trips were reorganizing air, but because many airlines connect through Bangkok for Phuket it could be an issue. A quick check on Expedia showed that airlines that offer service to Phuket without a Bangkok connection include United Airlines (flights via Seoul), Singapore Airlines (via Singapore), and Continental (via Kuala Lumpur).

Star Clippers passengers who are departing on close-in voyages should work with their own travel agents or airlines to re-route flights to Phuket.

--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor

Editor's Note: Cruise Critic is a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network, an operating company of Expedia, Inc. Expedia, Inc. also owns Expedia.com.