THE bus crash that killed 12 U.S. passengers sailing on Celebrity's Millennium has focused attention on the dangers of touring in remote areas. The ship was visiting the small port of Arica, Chile, on a 14-night cruise from Valparaiso, Chile, to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where it was scheduled to arrive today.
The group was on an independent sightseeing tour not affiliated with the cruise line. After visiting Lauca National Park, the bus veered off the narrow mountain road. Chilean officials said the bus was not certified to carry passengers.
Cruise lines require tour operators with whom they work to be licensed, have insurance and be capable of handling emergencies, said Crye of the ICCL. Lines also check the reputation, experience and safety record of companies. It's not known when or how the victims of the bus crash booked the tour, but it's clear it was not an excursion purchased through the cruise line.
Ada Brown, the owner of Seaside Travel in Long Beach who frequently books passengers on cruises, says she always cautions about touring independently.