When Destination Trouble Brews, Cruise Ships Just Go Elsewhere
Cruise Week

In what seems like a banner year for civil unrest, cruise ships are shifting itineraries to avoid trouble spots. That’s one of the advantages of these mobile resorts.

In Athens, several cruise lines cancelled calls in Piraeus recently due to another general strike. And in Thailand, following two months of violent political unrest in Bangkok, Seabourn has opted to go elsewhere for planned July port calls.

Jamaica’s troubles have topped headlines this week, but cruise execs say there’s no need to change itineraries, despite a state department travel advisory for parts of the country. “The disturbances in

Jamaica and associated state of emergency are focused in Kingston,” explains Carnival Corp. V.P. Tim Gallagher. “Carnival’s ships visit Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, both of which are located on the opposite side of the country and are not experiencing any issues. Visits to these ports currently remain as scheduled. Nonetheless, we are monitoring the situation closely.”

Kingston is actually so far off the cruise radar in Jamaica that Carnival Cruise Line doesn’t even have to cancel any shore excursions. As CCL’s Jennifer de la Cruz points out, even in the calmest of days, no shore excursions going to Kingston or the Kingston vicinity are scheduled out of Ocho Rios or Montego Bay.

In Greece, the most recent general strike on May 20th impacted port calls, but didn’t cause any major turnarounds. “It’s kind of moot for us, since all of our Athens turns are on Saturday, and who’s gonna strike on Saturday?” says Seabourn’s Bruce Good. “Aside from the Greek ferries and a couple of ships that have Greek crews, I haven’t heard that the Port of Piraeus has been that affected.”

However, Seabourn is also monitoring the Greek situation. “Depending on what we hear from those on the ground, we are prepared to move hotel arrangements to Cape Sounion or elsewhere aside from downtown,” says Good.

The best news for cruise lines calling in Greece is that the most recent general strike in Athens was both far smaller and far more peaceful than the first on May 5th that drew more than 100,000, and resulted in three deaths. Air service continued without interruption on May 20th.

Although Bangkok is quieter this week, Seabourn is altering calls following last week’s deadly street violence in Bangkok. “On our two July departures embarking/disembarking at BKK (both on July 7th), we have changed to Singapore,” reports Good. “We will watch the situation and decide about fall cruises later.”

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