U.S., U.K. Warn Travelers Abroad to Take Caution

May 2, 2011

(5:40 a.m.) -- The U.S. Department of State today has issued a rather unusual worldwide travel alert, cautioning Americans traveling abroad to be aware of "the enhanced potential for anti-American violence given recent counter-terrorism activity in Pakistan. Given the uncertainty and volatility of the current situation, U.S. citizens in areas where recent events could cause anti-American violence are strongly urged to limit their travel outside of their homes and hotels and avoid mass gatherings and demonstrations."

The alert is set to expire on August 1.

This alert is in response to yesterday's U.S.-led operation, which resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden, the Al Qaeda mastermind who presided over the attack on America on September 11, 2001. Al Qaeda also was responsible for the 2005 bombings of London's bus and underground systems.

In the U.K., the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is also expressing concern. It has not issued an official alert but has released a statement advising British travelers to be cautious abroad: "We have advised British nationals overseas to monitor local media, remain vigilant and exercise caution."

We reached out to several cruise lines and the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) to inquire if the warnings will have an impact on cruise travel. The lines that have responded do not seem to be urging greater precaution than usual or changing any onboard policies. Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez told us, "We encourage our guests to be aware of their surroundings while visiting familiar sightseeing and tourism locations. This common sense approach and heightened level of awareness will help our guests enjoy a memorable visit to our ports of call." And CLIA spokeswoman Lanie Fagan says, "Our member lines are in regular communications with U.S. and international law enforcement and government agencies on all matters regarding the safety and security of our passengers and crew." Seabourn spokesman Bruce Good added, "The State Department advice is not substantially different from what was contained in the general warning updated January 31." We'll keep you posted on any further developments.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief