This could be a further game-changer

The world of cruising is being rocked by revelations on a fairly regular basis these days.

Recently, there has been the departure of virtually everyone with any authority at P&O Cruises UK.

Then Mickey Arison, himself, steps down as CEO of Carnival (although remains Chair?!).

Then there are all the route restrictions, as discussed in another recent post.

And now? This.

North American Emission Control Area affects route choices

I had not heard of this. Bravo to Cruise Critic for spotting it.

If you click on the link, you will see a little map of the United States, with a black line drawn around it. From 1 January 2015, this means that if you want to sail inside the line (i.e. stop at most US ports apart from southern Florida), you have to use low sulfur fuel, which costs a fortune. Maryland port officials are unofficially estimating a cost increase of around $150 per passenger.

Carnival UK has kept this very quiet. I would imagine the first place we will see an effect is in less liners, such as Cunard and the Queens, doing the London-New York run, and the utter demise of any special offers on those routes.

Let me know if you spot anything, and I will post anything else I learn.

It’s not just me!

If you are a regular reader and sometimes wonder if I get a little over-whingey and critical of P&O’s treatment of it’s passengers, you may enjoy reading this article.

Arcadia? Never again!

WARNING: It is quite long.

Where do we go from here?

Literally, where do we go?

If you take a look at any cruise company’s website these days, you will see a LOT of cruises to Norway and the Baltic.

Why?

Because there is nowhere else that is safe to go.

Let’s start with the Mediterranean: Italy, fine. Turkey, fine. Syria,? Erm, no. Israel? No, because for some reason the cruise companies have had an almighty attack of cowardice, despite the fact that the Foreign Office have no problem with us going there. Egypt? Nope, not at the moment. Libya? Nope, no visits to Leptis Magna for us any time soon. Tunisia? Er… Malta, phew, yes! Let’s go to Malta!

So the only cruises available in any number at the moment are to the Western Med. Precious little, if anything at all for the Eastern Med.

Okay, so that’s the Med. What about the Caribbean? After all, US ships go virtually nowhere else? Well, it’s okay, but it’s not 100% cheery there either:

Robbed in St Lucia

Shot in Barbados

The cruise companies may well soon start avoiding certain islands altogether.

Of course, this isn’t every island and these incidents make the news because they are so unusual, but the overcautious nature of cruise companies, particularly those owned by Carnival, an American firm, who start with the assumption you are going to sue them and work backwards from there, means that avoidance may become the name of the game in very short order.

And then there is South America. Let’s go the Falkland Islands and see the penguins. Well, we were going to go to Argentina. And, of course,we’re not allowed to do both…

What about the Indian Ocean and the Pacific? In the past, we have been turned away from the Seychelles (pirates), Bangkok (bombs), Tokyo (too crowded!)… the list goes on.

So, the world is literally getting smaller, both for the populace as a whole, but particularly for cruise ship passengers, and I have a feeling it is only going to get smaller, as cruise companies avoid more and more places for fear of what might happen.

I don’t want to make you miserable, but you may just want to bear it in mind when you’re planning your next jaunt. There may well be at least one place, possibly more, you get diverted away from, possibly with very little notice or warning.

I would be interested if any of my readers have been anywhere that might be perceived as a bit dodgy recently, and how it was for you. Please let me know, and maybe together we can persuade the cruise companies that there is more to life than fjords.

P&O stops Argentina stops

P&O Cruises UK has today announced (although we, as passengers, already knew) that for the foreseeable future, P&O ships will not be docking in any ports in Argentina. This is because of the continuing political tension regarding the Falkland Islands.

P&O cruise firm stops Argentine port stops

Recently, Argentina has been turning away ships that have already visited the Falklands and refusing them permission to dock, anyway, so this is purely an extension of their own policy, really. If they don’t want the fairly well-heeled passengers that travel by P&O to spend their money in their country, that’s fine with us.

It’s a shame for some passengers, because Ushaia is the jumping off point for excursions to the Antarctic, but that’s where we stand.

Ironically, I think it’s actually rather hard to dock in the Falklands. Cruise Critic.co.uk explains (Stanley Cruises – CruiseCritic.co.uk), “The area is so windswept and the seas around it so fierce that only about half of the cruise ships scheduled to call at Port Stanley actually make it. Since there is no dock, even if the ships themselves can get into the harbor, the tenders are often unable to handle the wind and high seas. It’s no great surprise, then, to discover that the harbour itself and the areas surrounding it has more shipwrecks from the 19th-century shipping trade than any other harbour in the world … some 20 hulls are actually visible from the town when the tide is out.” So some passengers may end up seeing neither the Falklands nor Argentina!

Mind you, the odds of seeing Port Stanley are still better than for getting into St Helena. I met a man who had visited St Helena four times and had never got ashore, because the swell can reach 40 feet. Forty feet.

South America is a big place, mind you, so I’m sure the passengers will still enjoy their cruises. But it’s interesting to see P&O taking a stand. Bon voyage.