Because of the terrorist activity in Paris last month, the State Department issued a Worldwide Travel Alert to all traveling U.S. citizens through February 2016. It begs the question.
Are People Still Cruising?
Yes. According to CLIA (Cruise Line International Association), over 14 million Americans cruised in 2014 and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
Cruise expert Stewart Chiron of CruiseGuy.com says, “Government travel warnings don’t currently have tangible impacts on cruise bookings. Cruise lines are continuously monitoring each port they visit and make adjustments accordingly, when situations arise to ensure passenger and ship safety.”
Ben Souza of CruiseFever.net is not thinking twice about his upcoming European cruise and says being cautious is key. “When traveling abroad, always be aware of your surroundings. I try to blend in with the locals and never wear anything that draws attention to myself,” he emphasized.
How Safe Are Cruise Ships?
Like air travel, the cruise lines are very diligent and take security matters very seriously. From the moment you arrive at the pier to crossing the gang way, a lot of behind the scenes security checks and cross checks are done that you don’t even know about.
The presence of explosive sniffing dogs, enhanced backstage screenings before baggage gets loaded on the ship, and running the passenger manifest through law enforcement databases are just some of the procedures that the cruise lines do. On top of that, each cruise line has their own set of security procedures.
Theresa Norton Masek, editor-in-chief of Vacation Agent Magazine says, “I don’t think government alerts impact cruises as much as general travel to certain destinations. Still, travel alerts and the more serious warnings give pause, and if a cruise sailing in or near a destination is perceived to be at risk, there might be some cancellations.”
What You Should Know
The State Department doesn’t give much in the way of guidance for the travel alert except these basic rules.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities. Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
- Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
- Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
- Register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
“People must deal with these things within their own comfort levels, but put things into perspective. I live in Chicago, and some people say they wouldn’t go there due to the number of shootings. But I wouldn’t hesitate to shop on the Magnificent Mile, stay at the amazing hotels, dine in the fabulous restaurants, or go to the theater. And many wouldn’t hesitate to do that today in Paris,” Masek stresses.
If you’re still uneasy about an upcoming cruise, consider purchasing cancel for any reason travel insurance – you will get 100% of your trip refunded with no questions asked.
By not traveling (or cruising), the bad guys win. Stay safe, stay aware, and stay cruising.