Crew members of the Orient Queen welcomed aboard parents pushing strollers and clutching their children.
Many expressed frustration that it had taken the U.S. government so long to get them out of Lebanon while Europeans and Lebanese with foreign passports already have fled by the thousands.
"I can't believe the Americans," Danni Atiyeh, a 39-year-old civil engineer from Kansas City, Mo., said as he stood with his pregnant wife and sons Ali, 10, and Adrian, 6, while waiting for buses that were taking them to the ship. "Everybody else has gone home ... We're still here."
The U.S. State Department said Tuesday it had dropped a plan to make Americans reimburse the government for the trip, but Atiyeh said he and others were asked to sign promissory notes to pay for the trip before they could leave.
It wasn't clear what time the ship would leave port. An estimated 8,000 of the 25,000 Americans in Lebanon want to leave the country.
cassandra grimly predicts that the ship won't ever leave the port. the orient queen will sit there with its captive evacuees until they are attacked giving george WWIII bush his ultimate ticket to all out war.
i see troy burning! save yourselves!