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Wait-And-See Time If Your Cruise Includes Russia

Was it just a few weeks ago that the world was watching Russia because that's where the Winter Olympics were? Is that short a time all it takes for the world to be watching Russia for wintry reasons far more serious…wintry, as in Cold War?

The world includes people who go on cruises because, since safety trumps everything when you're a tourist, there are trips to Russia on the line this year. Compared to what's happening in the Ukraine, this is incidental. Collateral damage, as it were. Yet it's a disruption for people with upcoming cruises booked in and around the Black Sea.

At least seven cruise lines have ships scheduled to visit Sevastopol this year. That's in Crimea. That's where the Russian Navy has blocked the harbor.

Odessa is a Black Sea port on many cruise-ship itineraries, and some river-cruise itineraries. It's in the Ukraine, but not in a potentially volatile part of it…for now.

It's not just safety that could sour plans. If travel visas are banned, it affects every St. P-Philipp Hienstorfer copycruise that touches the Russian shoreline, no matter how far it is from the troubled Crimea region…such as St. Petersburg (above), which both ocean and river ships frequent.

So far, nothing has been canceled or re-scheduled, but the start of the cruise season is just weeks away.

Cruise lines are watching. So is the rest of the world.

This time, it goes far beyond Sochi. This time, there are no gold medals.

Carnival Sensation
4 nights
April 20, 2014
Port Canaveral (return): FreeportNassau
Inside: $289
Cost per day: $72
www.carnival.com

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