Cruises

Cruise lines weigh in on potential impact of President Trump's travel ban

Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer breaks down the executive order

 

President Donald Trump's executive order putting a temporary hold on U.S. entry for citizens from seven predominantly Muslim nations sparked protests at aiports nationwide as dozens of foreign travelers were immediately detained over the weekend.

But not everyone traveling to the U.S. comes via plane. Many cruise lines say the impact from the president's exectuive order is likely to be minimal but they are now working to accommodate guests that may be affected.

Carnival Cruise Line's Chief Communications Officer Roger Frizzell told Fox News that his company "didn't see any impact over the weekend” and didn’t “foresee any real impact going forward.”

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A spokeswoman for Norwegian, which operates Oceania and Regent Seven Seas, told Fox News that its lines are all "reviewing the recent executive order on immigration and will continue to work with the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, as well as local and regional authorities, in order to comply with all governmental policies."

So far, no Norwegian guests or crew members have been impacted by the ban but each line is encouraging guests to thoroughly review current State Department visa and travel documentation requirements. The lines are offering affected guests the chance to cancel without penalty.

But at least one cruiser was caught off guard by the measure. 

Maysam Sodagari, a chemical engineer from Iran who lives in San Francisco, was nearing the end of a seven-day cruise in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico on Friday when he learned about Trump’s travel ban. Sodagari, who holds a valid green card, was unsure if he’d be able to go back home and when the ship docked in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Sunday, he was taken to the Customs and Border Protection office and held for three hours.

Late in the day, after the White House clarified that permanent residents with green cards would be permitted to re-enter the U.S., he was released to go home to California.

Sodagari’s story may be disconcerting to cruise industry leaders who want to ensure passengers have a fun and safe time at sea, but even Royal Caribbean says the travel ban is unlikely to have a major impact on business. 

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“Our records indicate only a minimal number of our guests are citizens of the countries affected by the executive order and its apparent requirements,” said Owen Torres, global corporate communications representative for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. “We are reaching out to those guests individually to discuss their options.” 

But others appear more concerned.

“We’re hearing from cruise lines and airports in our state, the tourism sector, concerned with the visa waiver interview process," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told reporters Monday night.

"And there aren’t a lot of answers as of today. In fact, my staff was told the State Department, as of today, was ordered not to talk to Congress about this issue.”

Travel and Leisure, which has put together a list of tips for travelers, suggests green card and visa holders should take extra precautions to ensure they have all their documentation in order when re-entering the U.S., including a passport from their home country and their U.S. residence card.

Disney Cruise Line and Holland America Line did not immediately respond to requests for comments.