Much of Florida under hurricane watch; Georgia and Carolinas closely monitoring Irma
More than 100,000 cruisers are seeing their vacation re-routed to stay our of the path of the Category 5 Hurricane Irma, whose powerful 185 mile per hour winds have ravaged popular cruise stops in the Caribbean.
As of Friday, the three major Florida-based cruise lines — Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line — had adjusted more than two dozen sailings or canceled trips.
Even ships that do sail don’t always keep their scheduled itinerary. Last month during Hurricane Harvey, four cruise ships were stranded in the Gulf of Mexico after the Port of Galveston closed. About 15,000 cruisers were affected, with about half of them returning to Galveston a week after their original scheduled arrivals.
Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises
Perhaps with Galveston on the mind, Royal Caribbean International has already delayed the return of three ships, Oasis, Harmony and Allure of the Seas, all of which are in the Atlantic, until the storm has passed.
“Due to the unpredictability of the storm, we plan to keep all of our guests currently sailing on these ships safely out of harm’s way,” the Miami-based cruise line said in a statement Wednesday.
Three other sailings have been canceled: Enchantment of the Seas’ Bahamas cruise departing Friday, Majesty of the Seas’ Bahamas cruise departing Friday and Empress of the Seas’ Cuba cruise departing Saturday. Passengers on canceled voyages will get a full refund and 25 percent in future cruise credits.
Nearly two dozen sailings have been modified or canceled by major cruise lines to keep nearly 100,000 cruisers out of Irma’s storm path.
Some future sailings have also been modified. In those cases, vacationers who choose to forego the modified sailings will get a 100 percent future cruise credit; pre-booked excursions will be refunded in full, Royal Caribbean International said.
Allure of the Seas’ seven-night Caribbean cruise scheduled for Sunday instead will depart on Wednesday as a four-night sailing to the Bahamas. Royal Caribbean is providing a refund for half of the cruise fare paid and an additional 50 percent future cruise credit.
Harmony of the Seas’ Saturday seven-night voyage will set sail on Tuesday as a four-night itinerary to Cozumel, Mexico. Those cruisers will also get a refund for half of the cruise fare paid and an additional 50 percent future cruise credit.
Oasis of the Seas’ will sail on Tuesday instead of its originally scheduled Sunday departure for a seven-night cruise. The ship will sail a five-night itinerary to Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. Passengers on that voyage will get a 30 percent refund on the cruise fare paid and 50 percent future cruise credit.
Enchantment of the Seas’ Monday cruise will leave on Tuesday instead for a 3-night Bahamas voyage. Majesty of the Seas’ charter cruise scheduled for Monday will depart on Tuesday on a three-night Bahamas itinerary as well.
Adventure of the Seas, sailing Saturday to the southern Caribbean, will replace a stop in St. Maarten, where Irma caused massive devastation, with Aruba.
Royal Caribbean has canceled three sailings: Enchantment of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas.
The cruise line is also monitoring potential changes to an Anthem of the Seas’ Bermuda cruise scheduled to leave Saturday.
Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Equinox’s itinerary was also adjusted away from scheduled stops in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Antigua later this week.
Carnival Cruise Line
Doral-based Carnival Cruise Line has made more than a dozen adjustments, including cancellations, on future sailings.
Five sailings were canceled as of Friday: Carnival Liberty’s three-day Bahamas cruise scheduled to leave Orlando’s Port Canaveral on Thursday, a three-day Bahamas sailing on the Carnival Victory from Miami, scheduled to depart Friday, a five-day eastern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Splendor from Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades scheduled for Saturday, Carnival Liberty’s four-day Bahamas cruise from Port Canaveral scheduled for Sunday, and Carnival Ecstasy’s Saturday sailing from Charleston to the Bahamas.
Carnival has also adjusted itineraries, moving ships with eastern Caribbean itineraries to western Caribbean itineraries or to courses away from the storm.
The voyages affected are:
▪ Carnival Paradise, sailing from Tampa Thursday to Havana, Cuba.
▪ Carnival Sensation, sailing from Miami to the Cozumel, Mexico on Thursday.
▪ Carnival Conquest, sailing from Fort Lauderdale Tuesday, instead of Saturday, to Cozumel.
▪ Carnival Glory, sailing from Miami Tuesday, instead of Saturday, to Cozumel.
▪ Carnival Magic, sailing from Orlando’s Port Canaveral Wednesday, instead of Saturday, to Nassau, Bahamas.
▪ Carnival Vista, sailing from Miami Tuesday, instead of Saturday, on a western Caribbean itinerary.
▪ Carnival Freedom, sailing from Galveston Saturday on a western Caribbean itinerary.
▪ Carnival Dream, sailing from New Orleans Sunday on a western Caribbean itinerary.
▪ Carnival Pride, sailing from Baltimore Sunday to Canada. The itinerary will be confirmed later Thursday, Carnival said.
▪ Carnival Sensation, sailing from Miami to Nassau on Wednesday instead of Monday.
▪ Carnival Victory, sailing from Miami to Nassau on Tuesday instead of Monday.
Carnival Cruise Line has adjusted sailings for the Carnival Paradise, Sensation, Conquest, Glory, Magic, Vista, Freedom, Dream, Pride, Sensation and Victory.
The cruise line is monitoring potential changes to Carnival Fascination’s sailing scheduled for Sunday.
“In addition, we are making preparations for a potential landfall in South Florida, where Carnival headquarters is located,” the cruise line said in a statement. “The safety of our guests and team members is our first priority.”
Norwegian Cruise Line
The storm’s current track has it potentially arriving in South Florida over the weekend, days where ships usually leave port for new sailings.
Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line is preparing for that scenario by canceling a seven-day eastern Caribbean sailing on the Norwegian Escape scheduled to depart from Miami on Saturday. A three-day Bahamas sailing on the Norwegian Sky scheduled for Friday has also been canceled, as well as a the following Monday sailing of Sky. Guests on either trip will receive a full refund and a 50 percent future cruise credit, the cruise line said.
Two current sailings in the Caribbean are being adjusted.
The Norwegian Sky’s four-day Cuba cruise that left Monday has moved to a three-day sailing and arrived in Miami Thursday. The Norwegian Escape, which is on a seven-day trip, moved to a five-day sailing instead, skipping two stops in Mexico. The ship docked in PortMiami Thursday.
Norwegian Cruise Line has canceled sailings on the Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Sky.
Passengers who do not live in Miami and can’t secure a flight out of the area can remain on the Escape. While Norwegian has not yet determined what course the ship will take, the line said in a statement Thursday that it plans to set a course away from the storm setting sail Thursday evening. All guests, regardless of whether they stay on or not, will get a refund for the missed days and a 25 percent future cruise credit, plus change fees for flights of up to $300 per person.
Passengers who arrived early on Thursday on the Norwegian Sky with nowhere to go were re-accommodated on the Escape, Norwegian said, or taken to area hotels or the airport.