|Map of Japan Courtesy USGS|
The USGS has continued to review scientific data and upgraded the magnitude to 9.0 today, making the Tohoku earthquake in Honshu, Japan the 4th largest in the world since 1900.
The rescue and recovery efforts continue in Northeastern Japan while aftershocks continue and the country works hard to prevent a nuclear disaster.
The earthquake and resulting tsunami will have a lasting impact on Japan and the world. It is estimated that the death toll could exceed 10,000 and the damage could soar into billions of dollars. The loss of life and damage is just one dimension of this natural disaster. The economy will suffer due to the loss of revenue from tourism and other industries during this crisis.
Social media played a significant role in bringing this disaster to the world immediately. When standard telephone communication failed, text messages, sent around the world, told loved ones that for now, they were OK. Incredible images and videos were instantly available. The U.S. and other countries offered assistance after seeing the devastation.
Impact on Cruises
Azamara Club Cruises and Cunard Line modified their itineraries in the wake of the earthquake. These changes were needed because the ports were temporarily closed for damage assessment. See related blog posts for more details about those changes and messages from the cruise lines in reaction to the disaster.
Cruise Lines Return to Japan (six months later, some cruise lines have returned)
Updated March 16th:
Royal Caribbean Legend of the Seas sailing that is scheduled to depart Shanghai (Baoshan), China on Saturday, March 19. Legend of the Seas will now call on Cheju Island, South Korea on Sunday, March 20, and stay overnight in Hong Kong, China from 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 22 until midnight on Wednesday, March 23. Legend of the Seas will return to Shanghai on Saturday, March 26 as scheduled.
The most recent cruise modification is on Oceania Nautica which was scheduled to call at two ports in Japan this week.
Oceania Cruises made the following statement on Facebook:
"Due to latest events in Japan the current schedule of Nautica has been changed, calls in Hiroshima and Kobe have been cancelled and replaced with an extra day in Kaoshiung, Taiwan and an extra day in Shanghai. Guests will also have two days in Hong Kong."
While these ports are not in the immediate vicinity of the earthquake, Oceania Cruises decided to make these changes in the interest of safety.
Cruise lines will continue to monitor the situation and make additional modifications as needed. We will provide updates as the situation is warranted. Our thoughts and prayers join those of people around the world who are concerned for the people of Japan during this time of crisis.