The ash crisis displaced 6% of passengers worldwide for Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises, said Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., parent of the three lines.

The near-shutdown of aviation in northern and central Europe affected passengers trying to return home from a cruise or embark on one, RCCL said.

Royal Caribbean International CEO Adam Goldstein said in his blog that the line was handling the situation "on a day-to-day and even hour-to-hour basis. Our goal is to enable as many people as possible to board our ships before the ships must depart to maintain all or nearly all of their scheduled itineraries."

One upside of the ash fallout is that cruise lines are selling out traditionally weak transatlantic repositioning cruises to Europe.

Princess Cruises reported an increase in demand for crossings on the Star Princess on April 24, and Crown Princess on May 1. The Star sold out and there is limited availability on the Crown, Princess said.

SeaDream Yacht Club reported eight additional bookings for its 100-passenger ships, SeaDream I and Seadream II, departing on transatlantic sailings to Malaga, Spain, on April 25 and April 30, respectively.

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