Port Canaveral on the east coast of Florida will be closed from Wednesday afternoon (Oct 5) not just to cruise ships but also other vessels.
The powerful Hurricane Matthew is a major threat to Florida including port operations and as a result, Port Canaveral CEO John Murray issued an evacuation order for landside operations. Everyone located at the port including smaller businesses is to evacuate by noon on Wednesday.
Port Canaveral CEO John Murray said:
“This is a serious storm and the protection of people and property is our primary concern.”
“We expect high winds and storm surge throughout the port and have urged the Port community to prepare their facilities so business can resume as quickly as possible after the storm.”
In connection with the closure of Port Canaveral and the oncoming Hurricane, the U.S. Coast Guard will close the harbour to all cruise, cargo, and commercial fishing boats. Vessels will be able to use the harbor once the storm has passed and the Coast Guard lifts the closure.
Carnival Victory operated by Carnival Cruise Line is scheduled to dock at Port Canaveral on Thursday, October 6 but as of writing this post, no itinerary adjusts have yet been announced. Disney Dream and Majesty of the Seas are scheduled to dock there on Friday, October 7.
The last time Port Canaveral closed was due to a major storm was in 2004 for eleven days. Other cruise ports including Port Miami and Port Jacksonville are also to close until the category 4 Hurricane Matthew passes.
Hurricane Matthew will begin hitting the east coast of Florida late on Thursday evening and will then move north along the coast. The storm currently has maximum sustained winds of 130 MPH and has so far altered many cruise ship itineraries with the possibility of more to come.