As the Caribbean moves into its third week of healing from the pain of Hurricane Hugo, Charleston, S.C., is just beginning the process.
While some Charleston hotels are open, damage is serious and lack of power, water and electricity remain a problem for the city and surrounding area.
"We're advising people to stay out for the next two to three weeks," said Sylvia O'Boyle of the South Carolina Division of Tourism. "There is no water or power and the phones lines are down."
The famous historic district, an area containing about 1,000 pre-1840 buildings, is thought to remain mostly intact, O'Boyle said, but it probably will take many months for needed restoration to be completed.
Tourists planning fall trips to Charleston should contact both their hotel and the South Carolina Division of Tourism at (803) 734-0235, or the Charleston Trident Convention and Visitors Bureau at (803) 577-2510 to get a status report on cleanup efforts.
Myrtle Beach, S.C., an area famous for its 57 public golf courses 90 miles up the coast from Charleston, also sustained damage. But most of the resort areas not yet open are expected to reopen by the end of this month.
Hardest hit were cottages and condominiums located on the south end of the Grand Strand, a 60-mile-long stretch of beach peppered with hotels, motels, cottages and condominiums. Some golf tour packages have been moved from damaged hotels to new locations. For more information, call the Myrtle Beach Hotel/Motel Assn. at (803) 626-9668.
Tourists whose vacations have been canceled due to damage from Hurricane Hugo need not worry about money lost on airline flights. Full refunds or rebookings will be available on American, Delta, United and Pan Am, major carriers to the Caribbean and the Carolinas, to anyone whose flight was canceled as a result of the storm.
For more information on American or American Eagle flights, call toll-free (800) 433-7300. For Delta, call (800) 221-1212. To contact Pan Am, call (800) 221-1111. To reach United, call (800) 241-6522.
For the cruise lines, this week will be business as usual, except that in some instances, eastern Caribbean itineraries will be modified as a result of Hugo-related damage.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line tours will depart and carry the same itineraries as usual. Carnival Cruise Lines will be back on normal schedule this week.
But Norwegian Cruise Line has changed itineraries for two of its ships. Until Oct. 14, the S.S. Norway will visit the western Caribbean (Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, Mexico, plus the Bahamas) rather than its usual eastern itinerary (St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. Martin and the Bahamas).
Another of its ships, the M.S. Skyward, will substitute the island of Martinique for St. Croix in its seven-day cruises departing from San Juan. The itinerary will now include Aruba, Curacao, Martinique and St. Thomas.