On March 29 a bomb threat was received for the Carnival Sensation and before leaving Port Canaveral all passengers had to disembark the vessel while a search was conducted. No bomb was found and the threat was determined a hoax as most threats are.
Last January the Majesty of the Seas was delayed when explosive residue was detected on a pallet and bomb sniffing dogs were brought in and a piece of cargo was destroyed by the bomb squad. The piece of cargo was also not a bomb.
While each of these incidents were not bombs or threats they demonstrate that there are reasonable measures in place in U.S. ports to safely detect and evacuate ships in the event of bombs or other types of incidents.
My question and concern is what about other foreign and third world ports how safe are they? I have seen some very lax standards. Vessels in close proximity to cruise ships. Small craft jumping the wake of cruise ships when coming into port and other pleasure craft circling the ship and waving at people in European and Caribbean ports. My wife and I even had a conversation, from our aft balcony, with a couple having a lovely day motoring the harbor in their 30+ft. cruiser. No one came along to shoo them away. This was in 2004 and security should have been well in place by that time.
What are your thoughts and concerns on this topic? Do you feel safe once you leave?
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Mike, its a very good question, and it is a fact the ports are really cracking down. Even as I was waiting to get a rental car in Ft Lauderdale Airport in March an alarm went off and we all had to evacuate the building for about 90 minutes.
That didn't even make the news.
The fact that they now take all situations seriously, even though the VAST majority turn out to be non-events is a good thing, it makes our ports much safer. I personally think security has had a true deterent effect, and the fact is that we have not had a major terrorist incident in many years, knock on wood.
Europe has always been very secure, used to be much more so than the US. And if you go to the Middle East you see security everywhere. So, to be honest, I think the US was in more of a catch-up mode to the rest of the world since 9-11, but now we are equal with them.
However, I am sure there are some places that are still very lax - the Caribbean & Mexico ports, for example.
Mike, I, too, have concerns about small craft being able to get so close to the cruiseships. I often wondered why that was permitted. It is sad that, in this day and age, we have to think about all the bad things that could happen.
Mary Lou Scanlon
NCL Pride of America April 24, 2010
NCL Epic February 12, 2011
RCCL Allure of the Seas - September 18, 2011
Celebrity Eclipse - February 11, 2012:
RCCL Navigator OTS - February 9, 2013