Business As Usual For Britain, Despite Terrorism Fears

October 4, 2010
(11 a.m. EDT) -- Japan has today joined the U.S. in issuing warnings to its citizens planning to travel to Europe over possible terrorist attacks. Japanese tourists have not been advised against travel, but simply to be careful and aware on public transport and in tourist sites in Europe.

Yet 'business as usual' seems to be the feeling in Britain, following the Foreign Office's increased terrorism alert warning yesterday.

On the surface, nothing appears to have changed. A spokesman for ABP Port of Southampton told Cruise Critic via email that the port had not been advised to raise its security level from SL1 (the basic level).

The next ships due to depart Southampton are Ventura and Saga Pearl II, both scheduled to sail on October 8 (the day Cunard's new Queen Elizabeth arrives) but none of the lines operating these ships has announced any changes or increased security measures.

"We have not changed any of our procedures as cruise ship security is the industry's highest priority and cruising is a safe holiday," Michele Andjel, a spokeswoman for Carnival UK confirmed to Cruise Critic.

Fred. Olsen, which operates out of U.K. ports, has also not changed any plans, spokeswoman Wendy Jeffreys told us today.

Viking River Cruises, which operates a large fleet of river boats in Europe, is likewise staying the course, according to company spokesperson Sue Lister. In a statement, the line added that, "Across the Viking fleet our staff and crew have been fully briefed on our security and emergency procedures."

The Buckingham Palace Web site still shows the Queen to be due in Southampton on October 11 for the naming of Queen Elizabeth, while The Savoy, perhaps London's most famous hotel, popular for pre- and post-cruise stays in the capital, is still scheduled to reopen on October 10, as planned, after a massive refurbishment.

Meanwhile, Cruise Critic members based in Europe are urging a sense of realism on the message boards when it comes to changing travel plans because of the heightened security. Members Cruisingerman, aka Gunther and Ute, commented: "There is a difference between 'DO NOT TRAVEL' and 'TAKE EXTRA CAUTION'. Here in Europe, we've had an alert in place for travel to the United States ever since September 11, 2001."

William_Dean from Swindon, meanwhile, insisted: "Please treat this as exactly what it is - a non story."

We are still waiting for statements from the Passenger Shipping Association, so will update this story as and when we receive these.

--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor