Will earthquake in Japan impact cruise ships?

By Gene Sloan, USA TODAY 

Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2.
Cruise lines with ships scheduled to call in Japan in coming days have yet to announce any changes to itineraries as a result of today’s devastating earthquake off the country’s coast.

A spokeswoman for Cunard tells USA TODAY the line’s flagship, the 2,620-passenger Queen Mary 2, is going ahead with a scheduled stop in Nagasaki scheduled for Saturday — at least for now. 

“Queen Mary 2 is currently in Japanese waters on passage between Osaka and Nagasaki, where she is due to arrive tomorrow,” Cunard spokeswoman Jackie Chase says. “The ship is currently 450 miles south-west of the epicenter of this morning’s earthquake, and it is extremely unlikely that the ship will be affected in any way by the earthquake or its aftershocks.” 

Chase says the ship’s commodore has made an announcement from the bridge to advise passengers of the situation.

A spokesperson for Azamara Club Cruises, which had a ship calling in Nagasaki, Japan at the time of the quake, also says there’s been no impact to the ship’s schedule so far.

“Azamara Quest, which was hundreds of miles from the epicenter of the earthquake, departed Nagasaki, Japan today as scheduled,” Cynthia Martinez, a spokesperson for Azamara parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises, tells USA TODAY. ” The ship, as well as all of its guests and crew, is safe and sound.”

Martinez says the company has not made any modifications to itineraries that include Japan, but will continue to monitor the situation. The 694-passenger Quest is due in Osaka, Japan on Sunday.

“We are extremely saddened by the destruction in Japan caused by the massive earthquake,” Martinez adds. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan and their family members.”

In a travel alert issued this morning, the U.S. State Department “strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid tourism and non-essential travel to Japan at this time” and notes that “Tokyo airports are currently closed; other airports in Japan may be closed or have restricted access.”

Another ship with upcoming calls in Japan is Oceania Cruises’ Nautica. The line issued a statement on its facebook page today that says initial reports from its ground operator in Japan indicate upcoming calls scheduled for Kobe, Japan and Okinawa will not be impacted.

Other ships currently in Asia this month include Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity. The ship currently is in the Java Sea heading to Singapore, far from the location of the quake, and the line reports it was unaffected.

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