Update: Port Strike Unlikely to Affect Cruise Ships

December 28, 2012
Update, 1:50 p.m. EST -- Both parties in the labor dispute between dockworkers and management have agreed to a tentative settlement. As part of the agreement, the current contract has been extended by an additional 30 days. If the settlement is not approved by the end of the 30 days, a strike might then occur. (December 27, 2012) -- Despite the looming possibility of a multiport strike from Massachusetts to Texas, cruise lines insist sailings will not be affected.

"We've checked with our port operations department on this and have been told that we do not expect any impact to our operations," Vance Gulliksen, a Carnival Cruise Lines spokesman, told Cruise Critic.

The International Longshoremen's Association, the union for the group of workers threatening to strike at 12:01 a.m. December 30 if a new agreement is not reached, has said via memo it will honor "orders to handle passenger ships."

A similar strike, which occurred several weeks ago at the Long Beach port in Los Angeles, crippled retail freighters but left the cruise industry untouched.

In response to the threatened strike on the East Coast and along Gulf ports, port management companies are counter-threatening a lockout. And that would be very disruptive.

According to The Baltimore Sun, a lockout, which would bar all workers from the docks, "would bring work on cargo ships and cruise ships to a halt."

At least one cruise line told Cruise Critic it will find a way to work around a lockout.

"We expect a normal turnaround this weekend," AnneMarie Mathews, a spokeswoman for Norwegian Cruise Line, said. Norwegian has ships scheduled to depart from four of the ports under fire: New York City, Miami, Tampa, Fla., and New Orleans.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line also told Cruise Critic it has contigency plans in place for Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, but for now is just monitoring the situation.

Other cruise ports that would be affected by a strike are: Boston; Baltimore; Charleston, S.C.; Port Everglades; and Houston.

--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor