Azamara Cruise Ship Reportedly Safe After Japanese Quake

March 11, 2011
(10:20 a.m. EST) -- Azamara Quest, which was docked in Nagasaki, was reportedly unaffected by the devastating earthquake and ensuing tsunami that hit Japan earlier today. Bert van Middendorp of Azamara Club Cruises reported on the Cruise Critic boards at 3:37 a.m. EST that he "just spoke with Captain Carl Smith onboard the Quest currently docked in Nagasaki, Japan. The Azamara Quest is not affected by the Earthquake or Tsunami. Due to government restrictions there is currently no internet or phone access." He went on to say that communications would be restored as soon as the ship sailed. Nagasaki is several hundred miles from the earthquake's epicenter, which was off Japan's north coast. Cynthia Martinez, spokeswoman for Royal Caribbean, told Cruise Critic that the ship has now departed the island, noting that "no Royal Caribbean, Celebrity or Azamara ships have been directly affected by the earthquake, or by the subsequent tsunamis. Currently, we have not made any modifications to itineraries that include Japan, but will continue to monitor the situation." She reports that all crew and passengers are "safe and sound." Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 is expected in Nagasaki tomorrow; we're awaiting word to see if there will be an itinerary change. As the impacts of the earthquake may be wide-ranging, if not worldwide, we'll be monitoring the situation to see its effects. The first waves swept through the Hawaiian Islands earlier today. According to the Associated Press, "water rushed ashore in Honolulu, swamping the beach in Waikiki and surging over the break wall in the world-famous resort but stopping short of the area's high-rise hotels." A scientist at the tsunami warning center told the AP that the waves were unlikely to cause major damage.

In Honolulu, all harbors are closed and vessels were being ordered to leave. A statement from NCL said that Pride of America left Nawiliwili, Kauai at approximately 1 a.m. local time and is currently at sea where conditions are safe for the vessel. Once the warning is lifted and the port re-opens, the ship is expected to return to Nawiliwili today. The statement added that Pride of America will return to Honolulu on Saturday, March 12, and the next cruise will sail as scheduled.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that beaches in Southern California have been closed in anticipation of small waves from the quake, which are expected to arrive between 11 and 11:30 a.m. EST. --by John Deiner, Managing Editor