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Japan Earthquake: Major Cruise Lines Report Little Tsunami Impact

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JAPAN TSUNAMI
AP Images

Beth J. Harpaz, Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Major international cruise lines operating large passenger vessels reported no damage from the tsunami Friday, but some itineraries were affected by port closings and reroutings.

"Initial contacts with our members have indicated no damage to any cruise ships operating in the Pacific," said Lanie Fagan, a spokeswoman for the Cruise Lines International Association, which represents 25 cruise lines, including major brands such as Carnival, Celebrity, Cunard, Crystal, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean.

She added in an e-mail that "because a tsunami causes a rise in the height of the sea, a ship at sea is one of the safest places to be. It is when a tsunami approaches the coast that it causes damages as the wave builds in height and causes widespread flooding."

The closure of ports in Japan forced some cruises to reroute, including Cunard's Queen Mary 2, which will skip its planned stop Saturday in Nagasaki. Instead the ship will proceed to its next port in China.

Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America left a port in Kauai, Hawaii, to wait out the tsunami's landfall, according to a statement from Norwegian.

Cabo San Lucas in Mexico was also closed Friday as Latin America braced for the tsunami. The Disney Wonder ship skipped a port call there, remaining at sea instead, the cruise line said.

Crystal Serenity left Bali Friday headed for Singapore but smooth seas were expected along the route. The cruise line gave free phone calls and free Internet service to Japanese guests so they could attempt to reach family members, according to Crystal Cruises spokeswoman Mimi Weisband.

Carnival ships reported no expected impact from the disaster.

There were reports of damage to other types of ships. Japan's coast guard said it was searching for 80 dock workers on a ship that was swept away from a shipyard in Miyagi, and ships anchored in ports affected by the disaster were described as crashing against each other.

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