|Cruising Without Flying|
|Cruise Lovers' Quandary - You Want to Cruise, But You Don't Want to Fly|
September 11 changed the world for all of us. The cruise and travel industry have been hit very hard by a fear that seems to have gripped many U.S. residents. Some cruisers don't want to go very far away from home, and others don't want to get on a plane. The President and our government leaders have asked Americans to get their lives back to normal, but that's not easy when the horrific photos of September 11 are still fresh in our minds.
I've been surprised at just how many cruise lovers have written to me and expressed their fears about cruise line or air line safety. After what we saw on September 11, no one can promise you safety--not even at work or in your own home. However, I am certain that all of the carriers are doing their best to make the planes, ships, and passengers as safe as possible. Let's say you want to do your part to help the travel industry, but just aren't quite ready to fly to Europe, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Asia, or the South Pacific. What are some cruise alternatives for the reluctant flyer?
Drive to an embarkation point. Florida, Texas, New Orleans, California, Seattle, Boston, and New York all have cruise ship ports. Depending on the time of year, you can cruise to the Caribbean, Alaska, Bermuda, the Atlantic or Pacific coastline, the Mexican Riviera, or New England/Atlantic Canada, without ever having to get near an airplane.
Take a river cruise. The United States is full of fascinating rivers such as the Columbia, Mississippi, Missouri, and the Ohio. Each of these has river boats, small cruise ships, or river barges plowing the waters and providing a relaxing look at some of the wonderful history of our country.
Take a coastal cruise on a small ship. During certain times of the year, there are small ships cruising along the Atlantic coast from Florida to New England or from California to Oregon or Washington.
If there's a silver cloud in all of this madness, it's that there are some very good cruise deals out there. Cruise lines are seeing a softening in future bookings. Contact your favorite travel agent or start surfing this site and the Web to see what you can work out. Don't give up cruising and stay at home. The world economy (and the U.S. economy) need you to spend your travel dollars!
One word of warning. The decrease in and cancellations of future bookings may cause some of the cruise lines to go out of business. One of my favorite cruise lines, Renaissance, filed bankruptcy two weeks after the terrorists struck. In a way, Renaissance, its employees, and its guests were also victims of the terrorism, and they may not be the last cruise line to "sink" as a result of these horrific acts. When you book your next cruise, be sure to purchase travel insurance, and not from the cruise line. (Cruise line-sponsored insurance will not protect you from a bankruptcy filing.) Read the insurance documents carefully to determine exactly what is covered. Your travel agent will help you select the right travel insurance policy for your needs, but if he/she tries to persuade you to buy the cruise line's insurance, I would insist on one of the other plans as a precaution. See the linkbox for a listing of some travel insurance plans.
I'm ready to start researching my next cruise. The world is waiting, and there's lots to see. I'm not going to rearrange my life and let the terrorists win out against me. How about you?