Mideast Violence Complaints Cause Cruise Lines to Alter Course and Crystal Travel Center Implements New Procedure to Aid Cruisers of their Thousand Oaks Travel Club

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Crystal Travel understands the concern cruisers have over the unrest in the Mideast and have implemented new procedures to comfort and educate potential travelers.

Members pay to have a personal travel agent at Crystal Travel's private club in the Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village neighborhood. And while they save money on each and every trip, it's the advice and counseling provided by the travel agents that is often more valuable, especially with everything going on in the world.

Crystal Travel has implemented a new procedure where clients are educated about each and every vacation that they request. According to Crystal's travel agent Frieda, "Sometimes members will request a cruise that they saw a low price but it's during hurricane season or it's in an area that has a lot of turmoil currently affecting the locals. We try and educate our members and if they still want us to book their trip, of course we will, but most change their plans to their second or third option.

According to the Cruise Critic website, several cruise lines are avoiding areas of conflict in the Mideast. "Another cruise line has altered an itinerary because of ongoing violence affecting parts of Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Celebrity Cruises has made the decision to change Celebrity Silhouette's itinerary. The ship will no longer call at Ashdod (the port for Jerusalem), on Thursday, 22 November or Haifa, on Saturday 24 November. Instead, the line said, the ship will now call in Istanbul, Turkey, at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, 23 November, and stay overnight until 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, 24 November. Silhouette is on a 14-night sailing out of Rome.

Costa Cruises earlier changed Costa Pacifica's scheduled calls in Israel -- Ashdod on 21 November and Haifa on 22 November -- and substituted stops in Santorini and Rhodes in Greece, and Istanbul and Izmir in Turkey. Pacifica is on an 11-night sailing out of Rome.

Oceania Cruises also canceled Nautica's calls on Ashdod and Haifa, Israel -- both overnights -- set for 19-20 and 20-21 November, respectively. Instead, the ship will now call on Athens, Mykonos, and Rhodes in Greece and Limassol, Cyprus. Nautica is on its way to Dubai via the Suez Canal, Egypt, and the Red Sea.

Last week, Norwegian Cruise Line made a change to Norwegian Jade's sailing last week, pulling the scheduled stop in Ashdod, and instead keeping the ship in port in Haifa on Friday (16 November) for an extra day.

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Carl Utheles
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