One cruise ship, Royal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas, which was stranded in the Gulf of Mexico before Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, will head to Miami, the cruise line said Sunday.
The other three ships, all from Carnival Cruise Line, that were stuck in the Gulf due to the closure of the Port of Galveston will remain near Galveston until the port reopens.
On Friday afternoon, about 15,000 people on all four ships saw their vacations adjusted as the Port of Galveston closed and braced for the arrival of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall near Corpus Cristi, Texas late Friday night as a Category 4 storm. As of Sunday afternoon, the storm had caused catastrophic flooding in Houston.
Carnival Cruise Line said in a statement Sunday that the Port of Galveston is not likely to open until at least Tuesday, if not later. Both the Carnival Freedom and Valor, each with capacity for about 2,980 passengers at double occupancy, stopped in New Orleans Saturday to replenish supplies, and the 3,690-passenger Carnival Breeze will do the same Monday.
Guests on the Carnival Breeze who wish to disembark in New Orleans Monday may do so, the cruise line said. Travelers who have upcoming voyages on either of the three ships will go on shortened voyages, depending on when the ships return to Galveston, and receive refunds for the time they lost.
“All three ships will head towards Galveston to take advantage of the first opportunity to enter the port while remaining a safe distance from the storm,” Miami-based Carnival said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean International’s 3,798-passenger Liberty of the Seas has set a course for Miami. The cruise line canceled the next sailing of Liberty of the Seas, scheduled to leave Sunday, and all guests will receive a full refund.
The ship is expected to be back in Galveston Friday.
“We are doing all we can to help guests adjust their travel arrangements and appreciate their patience during a stressful time,” Royal Caribbean International said in a statement.