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Carnival and Other Lines Watching Jamaica

May 24, 2010 By: Susan Young

One wonders what popular cruise destination is next? This week, cruise selling agents are learning about a state of emergency in Kingston, Jamaica’s capital city. The emergency began due to attacks by gangs on police stations and is related to the attempted extradition by the U.S. of an alleged druglord.

What effect will the trouble have, if any, on cruise port calls? Perhaps not much, unless the violence spreads.

The two major cruise ports in the country – Ochos Rios and Montego Bay – are about 50 and 110 miles, respectively, from Kingston. In addition, few shore trips head for the capital city.

Any shore excursions that do go to Kingston could be canceled, and guests could simply be offered other day options including zip lining, Bob Marley heritage at Nine Mile, a beach experience, shopping, Dunn’s River Falls or river excursions, to name a few. None of those are in the danger zone.

Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean are among the lines with port calls in Jamaica. So far no line has made any shifts in their Jamaican port schedule.

“Carnival’s ships visit Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, both of which are located on the opposite side of the country and are not experiencing any issues,” Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen. “Visits to these ports currently remain as scheduled. Nonetheless, we are monitoring the situation closely.”

Royal Caribbean's spokesman, Harry Liu, told Travel Agent: "At this time, none of our ships' itineraries are affected by the situation in Kingston. We are continuing to monitor the situation."

Margie Jordan, CEO, ASAP Travel in Jacksonville, FL, says she’s not worried about impact on overall cruise operations, given the location of major cruise ports. She usually does recommend her clients visit Kingston, whether on a land vacation or cruise shore excursions, as she views it as ‘the real Jamaica.’” But not now, she stresses.

“Until this volatile situation is under control, I won't recommend traveling there [to Kingston],” she says. “I won't book any flights into or out of Kingston nor will I recommend any [shore] excursions there. It just isn't safe at the moment. It's a shame because I love Kingston.”


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