Oil Leak Capped: Good News for Cruise Industry?

July 16, 2010
oil-spill-cruise-impact What's the issue?
(5 p.m. EDT) -- A cap designed to stop the flow of oil in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be working. BP continues to test the integrity of a containment cap that was put into place on Thursday, and tests are expected to last until Saturday.

Despite the good news, two still-under-construction relief wells -- one primary, one backup -- are seen as the ultimate way to kill the well, according the Wall Street Journal.

The environmental cleanup from devastated communities will no doubt continue long into the future, and Gulf cruisers continue to ask, "Will my upcoming cruise be impacted?" Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Disney Cruise Line sailings continue to depart as scheduled, but, as always, changing weather patterns and currents could impact how close the oil comes to cruise ports and future departures could be affected.

Which ports and ship could be impacted?
The major Gulf ports include Galveston, Mobile and New Orleans, as well as various ports in Florida. Galveston, Mobile and New Orleans. All have been directly impacted by the spill in one form or another (mostly tar balls washing up on beaches), but have not had issues with cruise travel. The spill has not reached Tampa Bay, the closest Florida cruise port.

What's the cruise impact?
Carnival -- which sails from Mobile, New Orleans, Galveston and Florida ports -- still reports that "ships sailing from New Orleans and Mobile are making slight course alterations as necessary to avoid the most heavily impacted spill areas. There are no impacts to cruises out of Galveston or Florida ports at this point."

NCL, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Disney, which mostly cruise from South Florida ports, have not reported impact to cruises.

What should I do?
Stay tuned.

--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor