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Port Insecurity?

Radisson Seven Seas Mariner

Seven Seas Mariner docked in Charleston, SC

by Amber Blecker 

February 27, 2006 Much has been said this last week about potential security issues if the transfer of certain east coast port management goes through. I'm not going to discuss the merits of the management change, or the security and inspection of freight coming into our ports, but feel it is important to talk about cruise ship security.

In a nutshell, will this have an effect? The answer is no. No matter what happens, the same regulations and oversight will be occurring in, on and around cruise ships. The ports themselves actually perform very little of the security provided for passenger vessels. That's done by the lines themselves and the US Coast Guard.

Many people have asked me over the years if cruise ships are safe. They would seem to be such a target. They worry because alcohol gets onboard in checked luggage (believe me, the cruise lines know it's in there, but only Norwegian Cruise Line chooses to do anything about it at this time). Or they see all the food being loaded and wonder if something could be hidden in those pallets.

You'll never see most ship security measures and that's the way the lines want it. They have extensive, well trained security personnel onboard. Vendors that supply the, well, supplies are screened and the lines have security there as well. Every piece of luggage and all other items coming onboard the ship are inspected in one way or another. You've seen the Coast Guard vessels around the ships in port. What you haven't seen are the divers in the water, not just in US ports, but also in foreign ports as well. Did you know that the ships all have divers on staff who do inspections, both mechanical and for security?

So, don't worry. This potential port management change isn't going to affect your cruises. You'll have the same checks as you enter port areas. Your luggage will still be inspected. And a lot of things you don't even know are happening will continue to occur. Those are all in the hands of our government and the cruise lines and won't be affected in any way by a transfer of who actually manages the real estate where the ships tie up.


Amber Blecker, an agent with Cruises Inc., a division of the world's largest cruise retailer, was named their "Agent of the Year" in 2005. A cruise specialist with extensive travel and SCUBA diving experience, Amber is affiliated with CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) and has achieved Accredited Cruise Counselor certification. For more information, visit her web sites at Cruise Resource and Singles Cruise Resource.


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