Last week the U.S. Department of State issued a travel alert on travel to Europe in response to recent events in Belgium, France, and Turkey. Unlike a warning — which cautions Americans against traveling to a region — an alert is a lighter action.
This particular alert, which expires August 31, applies to the entire continent but specifically called out major events in two countries. France hosts the European Soccer Championship this June and July with matches around the country, and the annual Tour de France cycling race spans July 2 to July 24. In Poland, millions are expected to be in Krakow for the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day between July 26 and July 31, causing tight border control and strict screening from July 4 to August 2.
So, what does this mean for cruisers? If cruise lines think there is a viable threat in a specific country or port, they remove it from itineraries — as most major lines did with Istanbul following an attack in a tourist area last fall.
While Krakow is a smaller port, there are a variety of ships from major lines calling in French ports in June and July.
Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Celebrity Cruises have ships in France and are all monitoring the situation, but spokespeople for the lines have said there are no planned changes to their itineraries at this time.
Carnival Vista, for example, will dock in Marseille on the same day as both the quarterfinal of the European Soccer Championship on June 30 and the semifinal on July 7, but Carnival Cruise Line has not announced any changes to those itineraries at this time, either.
While crowds in Europe are usually unavoidable in summertime, you can give yourself peace of mind by following the State Department’s advice. Exercise caution by being aware of your surroundings, and have a plan in place for possible emergencies. You can also register with the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program when traveling to help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency.