SAN FRANCISCO -- As many businesses are grappling with ways to deal with sudden blackouts during California's energy crisis, a number of the state's cruise lines and tour operators said they are set up to handle most emergencies -- or will be soon.

Hawaii World, a wholesaler in Livermore, Calif., has a generator on order after a rolling blackout recently left its offices literally in the dark.

"Luckily, we still had candles around the office from Christmas so we had some light," said Mary Twist, president.

Because of a quirk of the company's phone system, Hawaii World's employees could call out but could not receive phone calls. The blackout lasted two hours during midmorning.

"We called our top-producing agents and told them what was happening and we conducted some internal training that we had been meaning to do for a while," said Twist.

She doesn't belive the company lost any business "because most agents who could not get through to us figured out what happened and called back later."

Nonetheless, Hawaii World is expecting delivery of a generator within the next three weeks that should keep the company up and running if the power goes out again.

Ed Jackson, president of San Francisco-based Runaway Tours, said he's "very concerned" about the possibility of blackouts, which have not hit his company headquarters.

"Business is so good right now that we don't need to be shut down," he said.

But Jackson said he believes his offices are protected from blackouts because they are located close to a hospital.

Pleasant Holidays, one the state's largest operators, based in Westlake Village, Calif., said it can keep operations running without interruption during blackouts because it has back-up generators at its reservations centers.

Classic Custom Vacations in San Jose, Calif., developed a "contingency plan, which includes a generator to keep the system running," said Lois Shore, vice president of marketing.

"Also, we have the ability to forward the phones to our Chicago reservations center if required. So, for Classic, it will remain business as usual."

Crystal Cruises is "fortunate" because it is located in Century City, which has a city-owned power company that is not suffering from the energy shortage in the state that has afflicted the privately owned companies, noted a Crystal spokeswoman.

Princess Cruises, in the process of moving to new headquarters in Santa Clarita, east of Los Angeles, is protected from any power outages.

"We're backed up 100% by emergency generators" that will keep the telephones and computers operating, should a blackout happen, said a spokeswoman.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI