London on High Alert After Three Nights of Violence; Cruise Pax Unaffected So Far

August 9, 2011
(10 a.m. EDT) -- Suburbs of London are undergoing a massive clean-up operation this morning after rioters went on the rampage last night for a third straight night, setting fire to shops and parked cars. The riots were initially triggered by the shooting of a man by police in the north London suburb of Tottenham last Thursday. Cruise passengers and tourists in general are unlikely to be directly affected by the aftermath of this violence -- none of which took place in the city centre -- although there is a heavy police presence on the streets of London. All tube (subway) stations in the city centre are open, as are all major tourist attractions and shops. Major public gatherings, though, including tomorrow's England v. Holland football match at Wembley Stadium, have been postponed, and the situation remains volatile. At this stage, the U.S. State Department hasn't issued any statements about travel to the U.K., although Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is warning Australians to stay away from demonstrations and protests in Britain and to monitor the media for news. Although August is one of the busiest months of the year for cruising, the ports around Southern England from which passengers would travel into the capital for sightseeing are relatively quiet this week. Regent's Seven Seas Voyager is embarking passengers in Southampton today, while Oceania's Marina will depart Dover tomorrow for a France and Mediterranean cruise, but as both of these are ‘turnaround' days, the lines aren't offering a full program of shore excursions that they would normally feature on a port call. Holland America Line's Maasdam is, however, due to call at Dover tomorrow; we're waiting for a response from the line as to whether excursions to central London will operate as scheduled. --by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor