Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Go with the Flow

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Go with the Flow

Article excerpt

The world of travel - post Sept. 11 - is full of surprises. Some are pleasant - bargains abound in cruise fares. Some aren't - because of airline layoffs, you may have to wait longer at the baggage carousel for your luggage to arrive.

Many cruise lines have revamped their itineraries in the past six weeks. You'll find fewer European cruises and more ships now plying the waters of the Western Hemisphere.

Even the European cruises that remain may not be the same as last year. Often, ports that are perceived as "less safe" are being bypassed. This year, for instance, the Golden Princess stopped at Istanbul and Kusadasi, Turkey (see story on page 12), but next summer, Princess has substituted stops in Civitavecchia (for Rome) and Malta.

And don't think that INCREASED security is just for airports anymore. Crystal Cruises has issued a new set of enhanced safety rules. Only ticketed guests will be allowed on board - no visitors. Photo IDs will be checked not only at initial boarding, but also at all ports of call. There will be no visits to the ship's bridge or the engine room. And all luggage - belonging to both crew and passengers - will be X-rayed.

To navigate Today's travel scene, common sense, knowledge, and flexibility are the traveler's best friends. Always pay for your travel arrangements with a credit card. Debit cards and cash cards don't offer the same protection if the airline, cruise company, or travel agency should unexpectedly fold.

If you plan to fly, keep up with the security rules, which have been changing frequently. Those with access to the Internet will want to check one of the large all-encompassing travel websites, such as Expedia (www.expedia.com), before departure. Or call your airline.

But be aware that personnel at each airport may interpret the rules differently. While nail clippers and tweezers have been removed from the official list of carry-on no-nos, some passengers have still had them confiscated. Better to pack anything questionable in your checked luggage.

At some airports, delays have been reported because every passenger's laptop computer is opened and turned on. At others, laptops are allowed to sail through the X-ray machine without personal inspection. …

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