With so many ships sailing in regions impacted by the far-reaching Hurricane Idalia, Carnival Cruise Line has reached out to guests to provide an update for voyages in the next few days.
This covers not only itinerary adjustments, but homeport operations and when guests can expect to hear about their upcoming cruises.
Four Carnival Cruise Homeports Impacted by Hurricane Idalia
Hurricane Idalia, currently a Category 1 storm and moving northeast through southern Georgia, has already impacted multiple cruises and is having an affect on four of Carnival Cruise Line’s homeports: Port Tampa Bay, Port Canaveral, Jaxport, and Port of Charleston.
With many cruises either already underway or planning to set sail during the busy Labor Day weekend in the next few days, Carnival has provided an overview of operations and how different sailings are affected. These details can be helpful to guests who are concerned about their travels and whether or not to plan for adjustments.
Sailings From Port Tampa Bay
Port Tampa Bay remains at Port Condition Zulu and closed to all marine traffic. While Hurricane Idalia has passed the region, the storm’s large wind field continues to affect weather conditions in Tampa Bay.
Carnival Paradise is currently sailing a 5-night Bahamas itinerary and is at sea on Wednesday, August 30, returning to Tampa as planned and a safe distance from the storm. While Port Tampa Bay is closed at the moment, the ship is not scheduled to arrive until Thursday, August 31.
“We are planning to return to Tampa once the post storm assessment is completed and we are cleared for entry,” the cruise line’s update stated.
As for the next sailing – a 4-night Western Caribbean cruise to Cozumel – guests are advised not to go to the cruise terminal until the schedule is confirmed, which should happen shortly after the port reopens. Carnival Cruise Line is planning to update booked guests by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, August 30.
Sailings From Port Canaveral
Port Canaveral also remains at Port Condition Zulu, completely closed. Three Carnival ships are impacted from the central Florida homeport: Carnival Liberty, Carnival Freedom, and Mardi Gras.
Both Carnival Liberty and Carnival Freedom are safely away from the port on sailings – a 4-night Bahamas cruise and a 5-night Eastern Caribbean cruise, respectively. Carnival Liberty should return to Port Canaveral on Friday, September 1, while Carnival Freedom will return on Saturday, September 2. At this time, there are no changes for either vessel.
Similarly, Mardi Gras is sailing a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise that departed Port Canaveral on Saturday, August 26. After visits to San Juan, Amber Cove, and Grand Turk, the ship is scheduled to return as planned on Saturday.
For all three vessels, the next sailings are still on schedule with no alterations, and the cruise line will reach out to booked guests with more details on Wednesday.
Sailings From Jacksonville
Jaxport is closed at Port Condition Zulu but anticipates reopening on Thursday, August 31, pending safety inspections and reopening authorization.
Only one Carnival ship, Carnival Elation, is sailing from Jacksonville, and the Fantasy-class vessel – the oldest in Carnival’s fleet – is enjoying a 5-night cruise to the Bahamas that should return to Jaxport on Thursday as planned.
Guests booked on the next sailing, however, are advised to wait for confirmation from Carnival Cruise Line before proceeding to the cruise terminal on Thursday, in case of unexpected delays. Text alerts are available to keep guests informed of any updates.
Sailings From Charleston
Port of Charleston is also at Port Condition Zulu and closed. Only Carnival Sunshine is sailing from the South Carolina cruise port, and the ship is currently on a 5-night Bahamas sailing that left Charleston on Monday, August 28.
The ship is sailing its planned itinerary well out of the storm’s path, and should return as planned on Saturday, September 2. By that time, Idalia should be long since back out to sea.
At this time, there are no plans to change the September 2, 2023 departure for Carnival Sunshine – another 5-night Bahamas cruise visiting Nassau and Half Moon Cay – but the cruise line will provide updates if necessary.
Impacts Onboard Ships
While the storm’s timing has been fortuitous and there have been only minimal impacts on most cruises, Carnival Cruise Line is nonetheless ensuring that the safety and comfort of guests and crew members remain the highest priority.
For onboard operations, this can mean adjusting sailing speeds or routes to keep vessels in the calmest waters possible. If weather does worsen, open decks are closed and outdoor activities moved to indoor venues or rescheduled.
Read Also: How a Hurricane Could Affect Your Cruise
Guests onboard various ships are also being notified of rough weather via letters delivered to their staterooms. “In partnership with our Fleet Operations Center in Miami, we are actively monitoring Hurricane Idalia,” the letters state.
“As everyone’s safety is our priority, we will continue to monitor the weather and provide you with timely updates if anything changes.”
The letters also address weather conditions as they may be felt on the ship. “As we sail, you may feel added movement to the ship,” the letter provided to Carnival Paradise guests explains.
“Our highly trained and experienced officers will do everything possible to minimize any discomfort. For everyone’s safety, please take extra precaution while walking around and use handrails when possible.”
As the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season approaches (historically around September 10), all cruise travelers should remain alert to weather conditions if they have sailings planned, and stay flexible with their travel expectations in case of last-minute delays, adjustments, or cancellations.