PASSENGERS returning to the U.S. from
Mexico, Caribbean, Canada or Bermuda via a cruise will not be
required to show a passport until June 1, 2009, thanks to a
provision inserted into a Homeland Security Department
appropriations bill that extended the implementation of portions of
the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. The rule to require
passports for passengers was scheduled to take effect in January
2007. According to Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ted Stevens
(R-Alaska), the co-sponsors of the amendment, the legislation will
allow more time to perfect a system that will also make PASS cards
an available alternative to passports for land crossings at the
Canadian and Mexican borders. The bill was passed on Sept. 29;
President Bush is expected to sign it into law. The International
Council of Cruise Lines praised Washington's decision, while
expressing support for increased security: "The cruise industry
applauds Congress' efforts to increase security at our borders but
to do so reasonably," said Michael Crye, president of the ICCL.
LIBYA last week denied Silversea Cruises'
American passengers entry into the country, instead making them
remain onboard during the ship's call there, a repeat of the fall
2005 actions that prompted Silversea and Oceania Cruises to cancel
calls to Libya. "It's the same problem that's been going on," said
Brad Ball, spokesman for Silversea Cruises. "Libya is still not
issuing visas for Americans." Some lines had canceled calls to the
popular destination last spring, before the U.S. State Dept.
announced in May 2006 that it would reestablish diplomatic
relations with Libya.
CRUISES, an offshoot of small-ship operator American
Cruise Lines, signed contracts with Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax,
Nova Scotia to build two new luxury cruise ships and has plans to
build a third, larger ship, according to company spokesman Jamie
Murrett. In a statement, Pearl Seas said the two ships will carry
165 and 210 passengers and would enter service in July 2008 and
June 2009, respectively. The ships will be flagged in the Marshall
Islands and will offer cruises starting in 2008 in the Canadian
Maritimes, Newfoundland and New England, before repositioning to
the Caribbean later that year.
CRUISE LINES will swap homeports and deployments of its
2,124-passenger ships Carnival Legend and Carnival Miracle in
spring 2007, in order to offer a fresh product to repeat guests,
said to Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO. Passenger
reservations on the two sister ships will be shifted from one
vessel to the other and booking and stateroom numbers will remain
the same. The Legend, which sails from New York and Fort
Lauderdale, will go to Tampa, Fla., for year-round, seven-day
western Caribbean voyages starting April 15. The Miracle, now based
in Tampa, will head to New York for the summer season and operate
eight-day Caribbean sailings beginning April 25; it will reposition
to Fort Lauderdale and begin eight-day southern and western
Caribbean sailings Oct. 22, 2007.
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