Monday, 14 March 2011

Cruise ships stay out of harm’s way in Pacific




Cruise ships stay out of harm’s way in Pacific


By Donna Tunney
The major U.S. cruise lines operating across the Pacific are experiencing virtually no effects from the massive earthquake that struck 80 miles off the coast of Japan March 11 and the tsunami waves that followed.

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 is in Japanese waters, sailing between Osaka and Nagasaki, where it is due to arrive on Saturday, March 12.

A statement from the line said that the ship is 450 miles southwest of the epicenter of the earthquake, "and it is extremely unlikely that the ship will be affected in any way by the earthquake or its aftershocks."

The Queen Mary 2 is operating a 102-night World Voyage, which departed New York on Jan. 13.

Royal Caribbean International said that none of its brands’ ships were affected by the earthquake or tsunami and that no modifications have been made to itineraries that include Japan.

The company, which operates the Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara Club lines, said it was continuing to monitor the situation.

Azamara Club Cruises’ Azamara Quest, departed a port call in Nagasaki, Japan, March 11 as scheduled. The line said that Azamara Quest was hundreds of miles from the epicenter of the earthquake, and the ship as well as all of its guests and crew are safe and sound.

"We are extremely saddened by the destruction in Japan caused by the massive earthquake. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan and their family members," Royal Caribbean said in a statement.

Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity is operating a 14-night sailing from Sydney to Singapore and has completed a scheduled call in Bali, Indonesia. According to the line, the ship now is enroute to Singapore, as planned.

"Earlier this morning the captain reported the seas are smooth, and he doesn't expect any impact on our route. Indonesia has lifted its tsunami warning," said a spokeswoman for Crystal.

In Hawaii, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America left Nawiliwili, on the island of Kauai, at 1 a.m. March 11 and is at sea, where the line said conditions are safe for the vessel. The tsunami warning prompted the closure of Kauai’s port, where the ship was calling, but it is expected to reopen later today. When it does, NCL said, the ship will return to the island.

The Pride of America operates six-night sailings roundtrip from Honolulu. NCL said the ship would return to Honolulu on March 12, and the next cruise is expected to operate as scheduled.

The line’s Norwegian Star is operating a six-night Mexican Riviera cruise roundtrip from Los Angeles, where a tsunami warning also is in place. The ship is at sea today and will arrive as scheduled in Los Angeles Saturday, NCL said.

The line added that it continues to monitor the tsunami advisory for Hawaii and the West Coast.