Cruise lines besieged with calls about transatlantic crossings

By Johanna Jainchill

Inbound call volume to Cunard's reservation center tripled over the weekend as travelers scrambled to find transportation from Europe to North America, with volcanic ash clouds over Europe crippling air travel.

Cunard said the wait list for the April 22 transatlantic crossing from Southampton currently has a wait list exceeding 1,000 bookings.

The line’s May 21 crossing had very limited availability as of Sunday morning, but sold out before noon.

Cunard spokesman Brian O’Connor said the line is handling new bookings on sailings as cancellations occur, and will know in the next 24 to 48 hours whether there will be significant cancellations on the April 22 sailing.

Silversea Cruises picked up bookings over the weekend for Silver Spirit’s 14-day trip from New York to Southampton from passengers using the Silver Spirit as transportation to Europe.

Seabourn Cruises said it had a couple of inquiries from people trying to get back to Europe, but that its vessels are already there or en route. The line said its ships are fully booked, and anyone trying to use a Seabourn ship as transport would have to be put on a wait list for possible cancellations or no-shows.

Oceania Cruises kept the Insignia in Barcelona for an extra day in order to accommodate people having trouble getting to the Spanish port, and is scheduled to sail Monday evening.

To accommodate this change, the ship will bypass Palma de Mallorca and proceed to Marseille, where it will arrive as scheduled at 8 a.m., on Tuesday. The ship will continue on her published schedule from Marseille onwards.

Oceania said it is continuing to try and reroute and re-accommodate passengers who will not make it to Barcelona to try and get them onboard at ports of call.

Regent Seven Seas said that the Seven Seas Mariner stayed in Venice for two extra days and sailed out today, in order to accommodate late passengers. The ship will bypass Kotor, Montenegro, and proceed to Dubrovnik, Croatia, to accommodate the change.

Both Regent and Oceania are trying to accommodate passengers who disembarked their ships and are having trouble getting home.

In Barcelona, passengers who booked air with Oceania are being provided hotel accommodations courtesy of the line, and stranded passengers who disembarked in Venice and booked air with Regent are also being put in hotels courtesy of Regent.

Seabourn said there were a few cancellations and a few no-shows for the Seabourn Spirit’s seven-day sailing roundtrip from Venice. Its next sailing out of Europe is Wednesday, when the Seabourn Legend arrives in Lisbon from a transatlantic cruise.

Holland America Line delayed the Eurodam’s scheduled departure this morning Civitavecchia, Italy, until tomorrow, when it is slated to leave at 6 p.m. local time. HAL altered the itinerary to accommodate the flight delays of arriving and departing guests.

The Eurodam will call in Dubrovnik on April 22, one day later than originally scheduled. The port call at Corfu, Greece, planned for April 22 was canceled.

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