Princess isn't the only line making some last-minute adjustments: Royal Caribbean redirected some of its boats north from the port of Long Beach instead of south, making for a pretty chilly vacation to Victoria and Seattle.
Of course, one man's epidemic is another man's opportunity, and cities added to the itinerary at the last minute stand to gain from the outbreak: Both Royal Caribbean and Carnival are sending more cruises to San Francisco this May and June, which could pour some $500,000 into city coffers. East coast ships are mostly headed to Jamaica and the Bahamas instead of Cozumel or Cabo.
If the available options are a northern city or more days at sea, what do passengers want? A quick check of a recent Cruise Critic survey on what cruise companies should be doing reveals that newbies would rather be able to cancel for credit in either case, while cruise vets are open to new ports of call out of the ordinary. But user Jennglux points out that some of the substitute ports are much closer or cheaper than the Mexican destinations they replace, opening the door to cruise abuse.
No one really wants more days at sea, though; as user Keksie, booked on a Mexican cruise next week, wrote, "I don't want a cruise to nowhere." And user Skywench wrote, "Just being on a ship and not caring where I go is not why I book a cruise." But most acknowledge that the pandemic is what an airline would call an "act of God" -- not something the industry could have predicted. And some suggest a few warm days at sea before newer, colder ports, which is something the leading lines have probably looked into as a compromise.
Don't blame Canada, though: Because of the Jones Act, a rule regulating non-U.S. boats' passage at U.S. ports, some cruises must include a non-American stop in their itineraries, making our neighbor to the north the only (albeit cold) option to avoid breaking the law.
· Cruise rescheduled because of swine flu -- what are my rights? [Elliott.org]
· Cruise lines cancel Mexico stops; air travel also affected by swine-flu outbreak [Seattle Times]
· Flu outbreak diverts Mexico's cruises to S.F. [San Francisco Chronicle]
· Swine Flu Has Travelers On Edge in Mexico, Around the World [Jaunted]
[Photo: Shipment of Fail]