Cruise lines announce new policies, routings

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NEW YORK -- Tuesday's terrorist attacks continue to affect cruise-line schedules and policies.

• Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced a special cancellation policy spurred by the disruption of the country's air transportation system, causing vacationers booked on Royal Caribbean Intl. or Celebrity Cruises sailings departing on or before Sept. 16 to postpone their cruise.

Travelers who are unable to meet their cruise due to flight interruptions will receive a credit of up to the amount they paid toward a future cruise.

Royal Caribbean is advising vacationers affected by air-service disruptions to contact their travel agents or Royal Caribbean at 800-327-6700 or Celebrity at 800-437-3111 prior to their cruise's departure time. The rescheduled cruise must be taken before Dec. 15, 2002.

Vacationers booked on cruises after Sept. 16 are subject to normal cancellation policies.

• Princess Cruises is diverting Pacific Princess, originally slated to arrive in New York from Bermuda on Sept. 16, to Boston. From there, passengers will receive motorcoach transportation to New York regional airports and the Port Authority Bus Terminal, according to a company statement.

The ship will depart Boston later on Sept. 16 for its regular Bermuda sailing, and is "currently scheduled to return to New York on Sept. 23," according to Princess.

• Among other suppliers, Renaissance Cruises "temporarily altered its standard cancellation policies to be sensitive to the needs and concerns of traveling guests," according to a statement.

Due to air service disruptions, guests aboard Renaissance's R6 and Renaissance VIII, which are docked in Dover, England and Lisbon, Portugal respectively, have been allowed to use the ships as hotels until U.S.-bound travel arrangements can be confirmed.

Renaissance will coordinate air transportation for guests aboard the two ships regardless of whether air packages were purchased through the company. Renaissance also established a link on its website www.renaissancecruises.com allowing users to send message to passengers aboard the company's ships. The company also set up a help desk for pasengers or travel agents needing assistance regarding current or future travel arrangements. The toll-free telephone number is 800-525-5350.

• Adventure-cruise operator Orient Lines is offering passengers who were originally scheduled to depart the United States this week [week of Sept. 10] for European cruise/tours a choice of a new sailing in October or a future cruise credit.

"We will continue to review our itineraries in the coming weeks, as warranted, to ensure the safety and comfort of our passengers," said company officials in a statement.

Existing company policies, terms and conditions will apply to cruise/tour passengers departing the U.S. on or after Sept. 17.

Cruise ports up security levels, policies

Major North American cruise ports imposed tight security measures in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

• Port Canaveral, Fla. is working in coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Florida Marine Patrol and the Brevard County Sherriff's office on penalties and enforcement of recently established "waterside security zones" and "continued enhanced landside restrictions," according to a statement.

"This week's tragedy dictates that we do more to ensure the safety and security of those who work in and visit Port Canaveral," said Joe Matheny, the port's chairman.

• The Vancouver Port Authority asked cruise passengers sailing for Alaska to arrive at the port no earlier than noon of the day of their departure, according to a statement.

Ship sailings will be delayed to allow passengers to be processed through security prior to departure.

• The Coast Guard said Thursday it would escort all cruise ships in and out of the Port of Miami and maintain a 100-yard security zone around ships.

Coast Guard ships are patrolling around the mouth of the port as part of heightened security measures in response to Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

• Caribbean Intl. pushed back the departures of all of its sailings for this weekend to give passengers additional time to reach their ports.

On Sept. 15, Explorer of the Seas will depart Miami at 8 p.m., Grandeur of the Seas will depart Boston at 10 p.m., and Radiance of the Seas will leave Vancouver at midnight.

On Sept. 16, Voyager of the Seas will depart Miami at 8 p.m., Enchantment of the Seas departs Port Canaveral at 6 p.m., Nordic Empress will depart Philadelphia at 6 p.m., Monarch of the Seas will leave San Juan at midnight, Splendour of the Seas departs Venice Italy at 4 p.m. and Legend of the Seas will depart Barcelona at 6 p.m.

On Sept. 17, Vision of the Seas will depart Vancouver at 7 a.m., Majesty of the Seas leaves Miami at 8 p.m., Viking Serenade will depart Los Angeles at 8 p.m. and Radiance of the Seas departs Seattle at midnight.

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